What I want to share with you today is an excerpt from my presentation”Grow Your Business Online”. I call it The Not-So-Secret Secrets that Google Wants You to Know About in regards to what you need to do with your website. Eighty percent of this presentation came directly from Google and the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) which is a partner with Google on helping local businesses get their Google Maps listings updated, and that’s something that we do through the SBDC.
So as a part of that training program, they give you this presentation and say, “Here’s what you need to go and share with businesses.” So this is not based on my interpretation– this is directly from Google, the source.
The first thing you have to do on your website, and anything you do online, is answer the question, “How do you actually measure success?” A lot of times we think, “Oh, how many friends do I have? How many likes did I get? How much website traffic? Is the traffic going up? Going down?” That’s interesting information sometimes, but that’s not the end goal. Traffic isn’t the goal. Customers is the goal. So we always have to remember, we want qualified prospects.
Everything that we do needs to be built around that. How do I get a qualified prospect? And is the site– is the social– is whatever we’re doing, moving us towards getting a qualified prospect? These things might be interesting information in terms of traffic and subscribers and friend and followers in our total reach, but it’s not necessarily the goal of what we’re trying to accomplish. So this is a good reminder on that.
Google has really taken a mobile-first strategy in how they’re doing everything now, because so much of the search has transitioned away from desktop to mobile. At the point that someone has a need, they grab the phone, they do the search. Google calls it a “zero moment of truth.” How do you show up at that particular moment and those split-second decisions that people are making about your business?
These are just some stats that Google has. 80% of consumers use the search engine when looking for information about local businesses, 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. So in terms of local business, what’s happening on mobile is critically important. And how your business will show up on that mobile device really matters, and we’ll talk about this, tips that they have for that.
Below is a typical search query– I’m using a bakery for this example. Someone puts in their search query and then this comes up. You can see has got the little word, “Ad” next to it. They used to be only on the top and on the side, but now they’re only on the top now and on the bottom, so Google has actually made fewer ad options. You used to be able to spend a little less, by choosing to get an ad on the side, but now that’s completely gone, so you have to compete with the top three spots and try to get there as an advertiser. But we can adjust that in the algorithms in our bidding, so you don’t have to advertise. These are organic search results, so this is just the website, but this is the Google Maps listing over on the right.
So how do you get there? If you don’t have the listing, or you don’t have a login to go in and change it, then this is what you need to do: If you go to www.gybo.com/business, you can do a search for your business. Google will probably find it, and then give you the chance then to claim that listing. The way you claim it is through a verification, which is usually a direct phone call. It will call your business phone number, and as long as someone can answer that, it’ll give you a six-digit code. You type in the code, and you’re verified.
If you can’t do it via phone, you can do it via a postcard that Google will send to you through the mail. So you’ll say, “Send me the postcard.” which will take about a week to get to you, and then you can go back in, type in the verification code, and you’re verified. Once you do that, the information you want to appear is going to show up there. A lot of times, the information is out there, but it’s the wrong information because you haven’t claimed the listing and haven’t updated it. So that’s verification.
So what can you do once you’re verified? You can edit all the info. You can add your hours and put in special hours if you’re taking off holidays and things like that. The photos are really a big piece of this. People really look at the pictures. I don’t know why. For some businesses it makes sense, but for other businesses where you would think they wouldn’t care about seeing the pictures. But there’s a dashboard in the back of analytics for this that shows how many people view pictures, how many people got directions, how many people made a call. It’s all tracked in the back end of this. Updating the pictures makes it more relevant. It also helps improve the search results, because Google sees that you have a more updated listing than your competition, then Google will give you a little more preference.