Are you one of the thousands of local businesses that no longer show up in Google’s local search results for similar businesses in your area?
As you probably know by now, Google replaced the 7-pack Google Local business listings with what’s now called the 3-pack as of August 2015. (See illustration, right.) If you no longer show up here and customers aren’t finding you fast online, here are 4 action steps you can take to improve your chances to getting found on Google.
1) Check Your Name Address Phone (NAP) Data
Most local business owners don’t realize the critical role that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data plays in your local search visibility. It is vital that these three key pieces of information about your business are submitted in a consistent format to the key business data aggregators and business directories. Even if you are a home services contractor who does not serve customers at your home or physical location, Google checks your NAP data to ensure that the information is correct and to determine if your business is legitimate and credible.
2) Check the Accuracy of All Online Business Directory Listings for Your Company
Start by checking that your information is complete and correct on your Google My Business listing, including your business categories, hours of operation, website URL, and photos. If you are a Herbst Marketing client, we can take care of this for you.
If you have a storefront or show room, be sure to post photos of your place of business on your Google My Business Page, and make sure as well that you have set your Google My Business address to display. In order to be considered a storefront business in Google Maps you must have pictures of your storefront with clear signage.
Next, make sure that your business information is correct in every directory listing/website your company appears on. If you have ever moved locations, change phone numbers etc. any listing you may have created with the old information can now hurt you. All of these should be correct. Herbst Marketing can provide you with a report that will show you where your business data is accurate, where it is inconsistent or wrong, and where it is nonexistent and should be submitted.
3) Ask Your Customers to Review You Online
Many business owners are hesitant to ask their customers to review them online. But the fact is, the more 5-Star Google Reviews you get, the more you will stand out in the local search results. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by how many of your customers will cheerfully do you the favor of reviewing you online — provided they are happy with your company’s products and services.
Note: It is never OK to pay or provide your customers with an incentive to review you online. All reviews should be authentic and genuine and not motivated by any kind of reward or financial compensation.
The more reviews your customers submit through your Google My Business page, the more likely you are to be displayed in the new 3-pack. Make it a standard practice to follow up with every customer you serve and ask for them to provide feedback about their experience with your company. Herbst Marketing can set up a private feedback page where customers can submit their comments before you direct them to your Google page. This way you can ensure that their comments are positive before you ask them to review you on Google.
Getting feedback from your customers is important for your overall marketing, not just for purposes of enhancing your Google visibility.
The best solution is to simply direct your customers to a page on your own website where they can provide feedback, then direct your happy and satisfied customers to your Google My Business Reviews link and ask if they would mind copying and pasting their feedback there for you as well.
Herbst Marketing can provide you with a Google Reviews Instruction flyer that you can hand out to every customer. (See example below.)
To create the link to your Google Reviews page, follow these steps:
If you go to your Google My Business listing, the URL in your browser should look something like this:
https://plus.google.com/+HerbstMarketing/ (notice the + sign with company name)
Then all you have to do is simply add the following code to the end of that link:
/posts?hl=en&review=1 which will then look like:
As you see (if you click the link above), this URL automatically loads the form for the client to input their review of Herbst Marketing. This increases the likelihood that your customers will take a quick minute or two to write a review about your company on your Google My Business page.
Note: Unfortunately, only customers who already have a Google account (gmail address) can review you on Google, so you will want to limit your requests to your customers who already have gmail addresses.
4) Your Website Should Link to Your Google My Business Listing & Map
Your website should have a link in the footer which links directly to your Google My Business page and/or a “Write Review” link with a Google logo. Besides that you should also have a MAP on your Contact page. Clicking that link will take your customer to your listing to leave a review within Google. Remember: customers must have a valid Google connected login to leave a review. It’s good practice to have your businesses Google My Business listing embedded on your contact page. This way Google can be certain you are located at the address you have listed by confirming that with your Google My Business listing.
Once you have completed all of the information above and ensured that your NAP is accurate, consistent and complete, then your business should start to move higher in the Google local map listings. Google My Business updates can take weeks or even months to “go live” depending on the extent of corrections done throughout the internet.
Actions That Will Negatively Impact Your Google My Business Rankings
- Using a 1-800 phone number. Google wants to see local area codes that match your location address.
- Having multiple addresses on the contact page. Don’t confuse Google. Make sure that your contact page information is consistent with your Google Maps information.
- Negative customer ratings on your reviews. You can’t remove these, but you can minimize their impact by increasing the number of positive reviews obtained. You should also respond directly to every review submitted, whether negative or positive. This shows readers that you are paying attention and increases your perceived trustworthiness and credibility.
- Multiple listings with the same business name. If you are a franchise or have more than one location, identify it with a city, ex: One Hour Heating & Air Fairfax instead of naming it one Hour Heating & Air.
- Multiple listings with the same address or phone number. Please read the NAP section and link above again to better understand how non-uniform information can hurt your rankings. Google will remove listings that contain duplicate phone or address information.
Confused? Need Help With Your Google Visibility?
Call or email us today to schedule an introductory 15-minute consultation. We’ll review your specific situation and identify ways we can help.
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