As a business owner, you know the importance of making sure that you have exposure in as many places as possible.
That’s why you took the time to create a website to help you with that exposure. But you’ve noticed that when you search for your business on Google, it doesn’t show up at the top of any lists. People have to scroll, even with local input, to find your business--which isn’t what you want.
Your goal, of course, is to end up at or close to the top in local searches, because many people are looking for businesses in their area in order to get a product or a service. Even better, you want your business to make it to the coveted spot in local searches -- the often-named “Google Three Pack”. How do you ensure that your business shows up at the top of Google searches?
Check out our step-by-step guide!
Your business probably already has a Google listing, but if not, you can create one. To create a new listing, you need to go to the Google business website and follow the directions in order to make a listing for your business. You will have to prove the business is yours, of course, but once you complete the verification process, your business will be listed.
Be sure you follow all of Google’s suggestions for listing a business, such as putting in the areas that you serve (we recommend listing as many as possible) and also listing as many categories that your business fits into.
If you notice that your business is already listed, you can claim your listing by finding the business on Google, and then click on the link for people who own the business. Like new business listings, you will need to follow a verification process, but you should be able to complete that without a problem. You can then add service areas and business categories.
Did you know that you can build your business profile for free with the help of Google? Many businesses don’t know that Google has a free service called Google My Business. The service allows business owners to update, modify, or expand their business listing. If you add more content for your business here, it’s more likely that your business will appear in customer searches.
Essential information can include:
A recent study found that more than half the businesses on Google had not filled out the basic information needed on Google My Business, so be sure to fill out as much information as possible!
There are two important things you need to make sure your listing has. First, you need your hours of operation. Many people Google a business look for their hours of operation, so they will know when the business is open. Also, you will need to include pictures of the business. The more pictures you add, the better your chances of landing higher on search pages. In addition, why not include some videos as well? Google, because it owns YouTube, loves videos, and places listings with videos higher on results pages.
Once you have set your business up on Google, you need to pay attention to your customer reviews. The more reviews you get, the bigger your edge over related businesses and the more visible your placement in Google searches will be. Customers look at reviews in order to get an idea of what kind of service they can expect from your business, what your business is good at providing.
Research has shown that less than 60% of businesses ask their happy customers to leave them a positive review on Google. Think about giving those happy customers a discount for a good review, or a free item the next time they come into your store.
A lot of businesses don’t want to ask their customers for reviews because they aren’t sure if those customers will even leave a positive review. However, Google totals both positive and negative reviews in the number of reviews, and if your positive reviews far outnumber your negatives, even your bad reviews will help your business.
No business is perfect, so if your business receives a bad review on Google, you need to respond. Prospective customers look at the positive reviews as well as the negative reviews on any business, because how a business responds to bad customer reviews says a lot about the business. If your business does receive a negative review on Google, you need to respond with courteousness, recognizing that they have a problem with the service they received and offering ways to make the problem better for the customer. Offer to speak with them personally. Potential customers notice when your message to a customer who was not happy got a courteous response and a possible solution or questions for more information. These responses build trust between you and your customers.
Once you are sure that your business is listed on Google, and you are getting reviews, you need to make sure you have an attractive website so that you can draw customers straight to you.
Many small businesses start out with a basic webpage, and never add to it. They don’t ensure that their website is up-to-date, and they don’t make sure their website is mobile-friendly.
If you are not sure how to pretty up your website, why not ask advice of other people to help you out? Also, there are a lot of companies who have great templates that let you build a website for free. Getting a good look at your competitor’s websites wouldn’t hurt either, just so you can see how you might be able to improve your own.
Finally, one last word on your website. Why not think about including instructional videos? Videos can introduce your customers to new products, show new customers what your business looks like on the inside and how your business works. When you add videos to your website, you up the chances your website will appear higher on Google searches.
So once you have done everything you can to maximize the look of your website and move its placement higher, it’s time to start looking at keywords to help your customers find you, which is what the keyword search is for. While some people use language as a way to deceive Google into moving them higher, your goal is to use the right language so that your customers can find you.
First, you need to learn that Google looks at individual pages when they are moving websites around in search engine order. Each page, in the eyes of Google, acts as a separate search. This means that you need to keep in mind that each of your pages needs to have a theme, or your words on those pages needs to center around what you want your customers to know.
For example, if you are a florist, you probably have a page on wedding flowers. In order for this page on wedding flowers to show up higher in a Google search, the whole page needs to have the same theme: wedding flowers, weddings, bride, groom, floral arrangements, seasonal wedding flowers, wedding flowers for a formal wedding--you get the idea. It is the overall theme of the page that ensures Google will move your webpage higher.
If you are not sure that you are placing enough keywords per page for your page to be optimized, why not make a spreadsheet of all of those words you are using on a particular page and see if your words all align to a general theme? By putting your words in spreadsheet form, you will be able to see if there are any holes in your webpage word-wise, and then you can fix them.
You may also want to do a little research into the value of your keywords and which keywords would be best to use to optimize your website. If you’re not sure how to do this, a Google search can point you in the right direction of keyword value (see what we did there?).
As one of its many features for businesses, Google offers analysis of your website. The search engine shows you how many queries that relate to your website there have been, what keywords customers were clicking on, and when customers seem to go to your website the most.
Google Analytics can be your best friend, because it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. It gives you tons of research you can use to make your website the best it can be, so why wouldn’t you use it? Not only does Google tell you which words are getting the most clicks, but it can make suggestions for you which keywords might be better than the keywords you currently have on your site. It’s like getting business advice for free--which we know hardly ever happens.
So, if you’re ready to get busy and get your business noticed, just keep in mind our handy tips. First, be sure that your business is listed on Google. Then be sure that you have put as much information about your business on Google as possible, because that will move you up the search engine queue. Also, be sure that you ask for and receive reviews on your customer service and business merchandise. Make sure your website is as pretty as you can make it, so that it will be attractive to customers. Get your website higher on the Google engine through the use of keywords which attract search engines to your site.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be on the front page of the search engine before you know it!
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