The holy grail of marketing for local businesses is GOOGLE MAPS.
The holy grail of marketing for local businesses is GOOGLE MAPS.

The holy grail of marketing for local businesses is GOOGLE MAPS.

Most local businesses need and want more good quality inbound leads.

So, why not fish where the fish are?

The overwhelming majority of people that are searching for a local business, product, service or industry, search via the following methods:

Here is a checklist and some tools to use to ensure you have the best opportunity of Google displaying your business in Google maps; and also staying there for years and years to come……..

1. Create your Google My Business listing and get it verified

Ensure business NAPE (Name, address, phone and email) details are all correct and the same as those on your website and other online profiles.

Fill in all relevant information including products, services, business hours and add some photos to the various gallery options.

Do NOT spam or try to manipulate search engine results by creating multiple map listings for your business.

2. Request your clients leave a Google review

Reputation is everything, and what better way to build trust than for an existing customer to leave a Google Review. A Google Review shows clients an unbiased opinion of your products and services they can trust.

Respond to all reviews. Even the negative or fake ones!

The majority of searchers today will read reviews prior to calling or engaging with a business.

3. Continue to post to your Google My Business listing

Regular posting to social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become part of daily life for small business owners.

In an ideal world, many small business owners should be generating between 50 and 60 percent, and in some cases even more of our enquiries through the Google search engine; so, it makes sense to post on their platform too?

The more information your audience can attain from your Google My Business Profile the more likely they are to call and engage with you.

Google My Business should be thought of as a hybrid social media profile/mini website.

Google is continuing to add more great features and options on Google My Business platform as it understands what information people want. As Google My Business becomes more sophisticated it will be a more trusted resource for finding businesses, therefore it should be used as a business tool and updated and maintained accordingly.

The end goal should be to focus on phone enquiries from searchers visiting your Google My Business Profile while on a mobile device! So, the longer they stay and are viewing great content and reviews, the more likely they are to contact you, so make sure your content is engaging, up-to-date and relevant.

Yes, your website is important but to be honest, do you care if anyone visits your site so long as they are calling you to do business?

4. Embed a Google map into your website

5. Ensure your website is fantastic and fast.

Your website needs to be fantastic in the eyes of Google first, and then your visitors.

If your website isn’t highly regarded in the eyes of Google’s search engines, then it simply may not attract any visitors? So, what’s the point in having a beautiful website if no one is ever going to see it? Liken this to the best painting in the world, what’s the point if it’s hidden in the basement of a building where no one can enjoy it?

Think of your website as a vehicle, your vehicle needs to be roadworthy if it is to perform and to satisfy the local authorities.

In this analogy, your website needs to be roadworthy, so it must be optimised, and needs to adhere to the governing bodies rules, Google being that governing body in this example.

It seems like everyone is a website designer these days.

The next-door neighbour, your brother in law, 85% of attendees at the local networking events, not to mention the 1 in 5 calls we receive throughout the day and 95% of phone calls we receive at dinner time, they all seem to be website “experts” and “guru’s”.

Even Alf Stewart from Home and Away will sell you a website these days………….

A good website should be custom developed and coded.

I highly recommend WordPress, it has the largest market share and you will never be limited to find a WordPress developer to assist you in the future.

Template websites serve a purpose but if you want to rank well on search engines they are not typically recommended as they are extremely limiting.

Check your load speed!!

There are many tools available today, but I recommend using the test tool from Google first!

Google has hundreds of ranking factors and load speed has been confirmed as a major one.

Who wants to wait for 10 to 12 seconds for a website to load nowadays?

6. Ensure your website is fantastic and content is unique

Content is King.

Think of your website content as having a half an hour conversation with Google.

If the conversation is engaging, informative and thorough, Google will be happy to refer searchers to you.

If your conversation is repetitive and simply boring, Google will be happy to refer searchers to your competitors, simple.

Check your content here.

7. Ensure your website is fantastic and secure

SSL certification has been confirmed as a ranking factor.

If you do not see https before your website, call your hosting company or your web developer immediately and have it installed.

8. The never-ending story

You are never “done”.

I meet with business owners every day who say to me things like “yeah I have a Facebook page” or “yeah, we have got some Google reviews” as if these are a checklist that once done, they can move on?

The trust you can build with Google is limitless, and this is built on through the activity you maintain going forward.

Keep an eye on, and address and engage the following practices into the future and Google will be your absolute best friend in business.

Ongoing activities/trust building to Google

  • Maintain a fantastic website that loads quickly
  • Test different opt-ins etc on your website as Google loves websites that visitors interact and include, leave details and download stuff.
  • Add fresh, relevant content via a blog once per month at least
  • Post photos, specials, product updates etc on Google My Business as well as other
    Social Media Profiles
  • Build great links with other businesses in your relevant industry
  • Aim for 2 to 3 Google reviews per month on Google first and then other social and
    review platforms

If you drop the ball, spam or try to manipulate search engines through Black SEO and Google will penalise you. It is not a matter of if but a matter of when….

BeLocal Today specialises in Google Map marketing for small businesses.

Should you ever have any questions or need help with anything relevant to marketing for your small business, please do not hesitate to reach out anytime.

Tony Bentall
National Digital Marketing Manager.