Googling Your Business

Posted by Keith Jolie on Monday, May 11, 2015 Under: Strategies
Frustration about getting calls about Google is rampant and understandable - I’m one of the frustrated! Please don’t misunderstand me though!

Getting Brighter works very closely with Google, we have a dedicated account representative at Google and I speak to the great people at Google at least once a week. In spite of that, we still get calls (often more than once a week) usually a robocall and I’m frustrated because these calls are NOT from Google and I think local businesses are missing out because they want to (understandably) avoid these shady companies.

 Does this sound familiar? The voice on the other end of the line (in a pleasant but robotic voice) says something like "Hi I'm calling from google - we presently have a top spot in search results for your business if you are interested in securing this top spot in google search results press one now" Don't bother - hang up and read the rest of this article instead!

How can I use Google to help my business? What is all this Google+ stuff?

The first thing to know is that Google is pretty interested in your business presenting as much good information on their search listings as possible. Think about it - the value that Google Search provides is being able to present the best search results to their users. If someone is looking for flowers and you are a florist that has a shop around the corner - it's to their advantage to be able to list your shop when someone searches for flowers. If Google doesn't know about your business however - that can't happen. Fortunately Google provides you with some free and some paid options that make it much more likely that that person will find your flower shop. The free option is called Google My Business, and the paid option is called adwords.

Free Option - Google My Business (AKA Google+ for business)

This service has changed names at least twice. In the past this was called Places for Business and Google+ for Business but the service itself is basically the same. In essence this service is the means that Google gives businesses to directly publish information about their business to the search engine. It allows your business to show up on map searches and in a number of different search engine results page (SERP) formats. It is free to use, and if you run a business (with or without a storefront) it is one of the first things you should do to promote your business on Google.

The process for creating your Google My Business listing is really simple:

1.Go to https://www.google.ca/business/

click on the button that says "get on google"

2. Search for your business name

Google may already have found and listed some parts of your business and so this is your opportunity to claim that listing and provide the most up to date information. If there is no listing for your business you will be given the option to create one.

Just completing this step will help your business - Only about 30% of businesses in North America are listed in Google my Business so you will immediately gain an advantage over the other 70% of businesses that don't claim their listing.

3. Provide your listing information

Your Google My Business listing includes your location (even multiple locations), business hours, contact information, phone number, photos of your business, and listings of products and services that you offer. The more information you provide - the better and this information will allow Google to present that information to searchers when they are looking for the products and services you offer.

Let’s look at an example:

In this example a search for “Florists near here” produces a list of florists and their locations. Without a Google My Business profile - your business wouldn't show here.

Note that this type of result is often triggered by searches that include terms like “near here”. Mousing over the individual results in the listing causes the information card on the right to appear (where a map of the listings originally appears). It’s also worth noting that businesses that have at least one review on their google my business listing are more likely to appear in this listing. 

NB: If you are a business that primarily services customers at their location (you don’t have a storefront in other words) then you have the option of listing your business as a Service Area Business.

4. Verify Your Listing

This is VERY IMPORTANT (yep...I’m shouting this out loud) This is done in one of two ways. The first (and the method I recommend) is to verify by phone. This verification method validates your phone number with Google and has some added benefits should you choose to advertise your business with Adwords. The second method is to verify by mail. In this method, Google will send you a postcard with a verification code that you will then enter on the Google my business site. This method obviously takes longer so I recommend using phone verification.

5. Maintain your listing

Things change, so schedule a recurring appointment for yourself to review and update your listing information regularly.

Paid Option - Adwords

I'm often surprised at how little business owners understand about advertising on Google. Google's paid advertising model is called AdWords and it is a tool that business owners should seriously consider. Adwords advertising works by presenting ads that promote products and services that are relevant to the search conducted by the user. For example: Imagine that someone is looking for flowers arrangements so they enter "flower arrangements near here" into Google. It so happens that you are a florist, and you've placed an ad in AdWords that looks something like this:

Beautiful Arrangements
Free Local Delivery!
www.flowers.com/arrangements
Flowers For Any Occasion

Your advertisement will be eligible to appear in search results when someone searches for flower arrangements and you are able to direct anyone that clicks on your ad directly to a page on your website where they can view flower arrangements and choose to order them.

What do you pay for?

On Google Adwords pay per click model you only pay when someone clicks on your ad so your business benefits from exposure and brand awareness (even when someone doesn't click on your ad) as well as direct traffic to the most important pages on your website where you can gain sales. Adwords provides numerous options to allow you to target very specifically the users most likely to buy from you using factors like location, devices, time of day and many other factors.

Adwords vs Adwords Express

Google offers two flavours of AdWords: Adwords Express and Adwords.

Adwords Express is geared primarily to very small businesses with small budgets and perhaps no website. I don't personally recommend this option very frequently as it offers very little control over how or when your ad is displayed.

The second option, a full Adwords Account offers all the tools and options that are available on the platform. The challenge that this option presents is that it requires much more effort to be successful, but it also gives you complete control over your advertising. Unless you are willing to dedicate some significant time to learning the Adwords system, I would strongly recommend engaging a search marketing agency like Getting Brighter to manage your advertising spend for you. There is a cost upfront to set up your advertising campaigns and for ongoing management of your account but our clients typically find that the return on that investment is quickly realized in terms of more carefully targeted traffic, conversions (sales, booked appointments etc..) and a focus on the other metrics that matter to your business.

What about SEO?

The majority of search results are Organic Search Results - These results are governed by the Google Search Algorithm and these are completely separate from the paid advertising results. You can influence how likely your website is to appear in these results by following the best practices for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as outlined in Google, Bing and Yahoo’s Webmaster Guidelines, by providing a great user experience on your website, providing relevant up-to-date content, ensuring that your website provides a good experience on both desktop and mobile devices and through references to your website such as social mentions reviews and other links from reputable sources.

How do I get help?

If you would like more information on how Google My Business or Google Adwords can help your business or if you need some help with SEO, please contact me today to book a free no-strings-attached consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.

In : Strategies 


Tags: adwords  google my business  seo 
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