Why Is Google My Business Important For Local Business
Intro: Welcome to the Trust Factor Radio, bringing you interviews and insights to unlock the power of the subconscious mind to create authority, credibility, and trust, with your host the authority architect and best-selling author, Neil Howe.
Neil: Hello and welcome to the show, this is your host, Neil Howe, and today my special guest is Bill Smith. And Bill helps small to medium-sized local businesses increase their revenue by positioning them in front of people that are actually looking for other services. Bill is an SEO professional and owner of Boston SEO Services and he’s been involved in SEO for a very long time in the SEO terms, back in 2003. So welcome to the show, Bill Smith.
Bill: Thank you, Neil, thanks for having me.
Neil: Well, you know, there’s so many people getting into this industry and SEO, to find somebody that’s been doing it since 2003 is, you know, it’s donkey’s years in SEO terms. You’ve must have found what has been working and what hasn’t worked over the years and found all the best practices by now, right?
Bill: I hope so but, you know, as you probably know, things change over the years and, you know, practices do change, you know? What’s an accepted practice by Google one day, they can just change their mind and decided it’s not a good practice anymore. So, yeah, with, you know, we stay up to date with the best practices but they’ve definitely changed over the 15 years that I’ve been doing it.
Neil: They really have. Even over the last 5 years, it’s an industry the changes so much and, you know, you have to keep up with it to stay on top and to stay relevant. So let’s talk about the kind of people that you helped, Bill. What kind of businesses do you like to help with their SEO?
Bill: I like to work with… I’m focusing more in the in the past year and a half with going back to working with local business owners. Throughout the years, I’ve worked all different types of businesses, national companies, you know, in the IT and bioscience and, you know, and local businesses, a lot of local businesses. And I find myself personally, it’s very rewarding to work with local businesses so that’s what I focus on is working with local businesses. It doesn’t have to be in the Boston area, but a local small to medium size business and in any type of area.
Neil: Hmm, yeah, it’s definitely rewarding working with the local businesses, they are the backbone of the economy, these local and small businesses and they need your help. So what typically are the problems that these businesses are having?
Bill: So they do vary. I mean, it varies from a business that really has no online presence, they may have a website but they, you know, they don’t have in traffic go into it, they don’t get any calls from it, up to the businesses that do have that traffic and they want to… and they understand the value of it and they want to get more of it. So with a local business that, you know, may not have, you know, even their online presence set up like, you know, for local business, one of the things that’s most important to start off with, I think it’s a cornerstone of digital marketing is your Google My Business page. And I see lots of business is this still, I don’t know the exact percentage of unclaimed Google My Business pages out there, but that’s one of the first things that I look at is to see if a business actually is has claimed that and has control of it and, you know, it’s presenting the right information about their business. So people that… business owners that don’t have that, they should really look into it and start with that. So, yeah, I mean, local business in general, and like I said, it varies from, you know, someone that has nothing going on to someone that just wants more of what they have.
Neil: Hmm. Well, let’s talk about the search engine results page which is what people see when they do a search in Google. Now, more people in law or doing searches from their phones now than they are and on the desktop but, you know, there aren’t really that many opportunities to show organically on that search page, you know, other than the map that’s, you know, kind of front and center, are there?
Bill: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and that’s going right back to, you know, having you optimize Google My Business listing. Because on a mobile device, if you searching… Google really wants to deliver, you know, relevant results and they have it down even to, you know, locally with just… it could change, vary from one block to another depending on, you know, with the population, with the density of the city your in is. So, yeah, that’s… it’s definitely one of the things that’s important is that Google My Business page. I know it sounds like I’m already hopping on it, but for local business, Google wants to deliver what’s near you in what, you know, what’s relevant for what you’re searching for.
Neil: Mm-hmm. Well, when you think about it, it’s the only thing that really shows up on the top, and to get in 1 of those 3 map pack positions can really be money for the local business owner, right?
Bill: Absolutely. And what I find is, you know, one thing we do with the web… one of the first things to a project is, you know, having Gooogle analytics on a website. So analytics shows how many people have visited your website, what pages they’re visiting, but there’s also analytics just for Google My Business listing. And for a local business, I find the majority of the time that that… if they’re ranking in that 3 pack, their Google My Business listing is getting a lot more traffic than even their websites getting. And that traffic is very targeted because there’s only thing… a couple things they can do when they get to that. They can either call you, get directions to your business or, you know, visit your website. So, yeah, that… those 3 listings are super important, bring a lot of traffic to businesses.
Neil: Well, let’s stick on this for a minute because, like you said, I think that the Google My Business listing is supremely important to local business myself. But, you know, you also mentioned that people are just going to that listing sometimes as well and they’re not even making it to the website. Talk to me how that’s all working and, you know, then let me know how you actually rank a business on the Google My Business map.
Bill: Yes. So how it works, if you do a mobile search for a business, even if it’s valuing for… a lot of times you may not be looking for a local business, but if Google is going to try to present to you results that are local to you first. And those first 3 results typically the first thing you see is those 3 map listings, and if you scroll down from there, you’ll see the organic listings.
Neil: And, Bill do, you know, how many people are really just looking for a phone number or looking for directions compared to, you know, trying to find out more detailed information on the website?
Bill: I would say I think it’s going to vary from business to business, but… so I’m just going off of my clients. The majority of it is a phone call, so that’s the only place… so, you know, that Google My Business, the statistics that give you every month or you can look at it at any time really, the majority of those are phone calls for my clients. But my clients are more in services where, you know, it’s not… a lot of them are retail services. I would guess that after that would be directions to a business, because I used it all the time, I mean, I’m sure most people do, right? If you’re looking for something, it’s just too simple to do, right? You just hit the directions right there and you’re there. So I would say directions are next and then maybe visits the website to find out more info, but it’s right there, you know, it’s just a key piece of real estate in the Google search results.
Neil: Yeah, it’s seeming like Google really just wants you to, you know, stick on Google. And they have even given you the option now to create your own website under that Google My Business platform, haven’t they?
Bill: Yeah, yeah, so you get the business… I think they call it business start site so you can… yeah, even if… so that’s… and that’s another thing, I’m glad you brought that up because that’s another thing that I tell business owners, if some… some business owners don’t have a website and Google My Business platform, you will just set one out for you, you know, it’s pretty much they just use the information that you give it and set up a simple website for you. So… and actually those rank too because, you know, you can actually use that to rank organically also.
Neil: Hmm. So tell me how, you know, somebody goes about trying to, you know, achieve those rankings in the map pack.
Bill: Yeah. Well, the first step is claiming a Google My Business page, I mean, that’s absolutely first step. Then we want to make sure you’re, you know, fill… pretty much any question that’s asked there, fill it out, like fill in everything as accurately as you can. You know, try not to leave any spaces blank, that’s one of the things in the optimization that you do. Business name, like where the business name is, I recommend don’t try to stuff it with any keywords, just use your business name. If your business name does have like the keyword you’re trying to rank for, that’s great, but I don’t recommend stuffing it in there. It’s a good way… you know, you can get flagged. There’s people out there that actually just like go out and flag businesses but using that. Then make making sure if you do have a website, making sure you name, your business name, the business address and the phone number are consistent on the website and on the Google My Business because that’s kind of what threads through the eye of a needle and ties everything together. There is a benefit of having a website because that’s kind of just building your, you know, your authority in Google’s eyes, it’s not just a standalone Google My Business, even though those can rank but, you know, the website helps the Google My Business rank and vice versa, the Google My Business will help your website rank. But having consistency is one of the main things on that page between, you know, your name, address, and telephone number, those… we call it the NAP, right, in the industry.
Bill: Making sure that NAP is consistent, and then also going out in making sure any place else that’s listed, your business is listed having that name, address, and phone number consistent with that Google My Business. So I always stock… for me, I always start with the Google My Business, making sure all that’s right and then matching it up with everything else.
Neil: So what else really goes into ranking on the map? I know proximity is one of the main factors, you know, how do you get around that if you want to rank all across the city?
Bill: So there’s other things you can do. So ways to rank around the city, you can… it depends how dense, you know, it is for the… for whatever business you’re in. Typically, you know, I can’t get more than 25 miles radius from your business ranking. But, yeah, the citations which is that name, address, and phone number, wherever you can list those, do help you. Also, finding industry-specific citations, so if you’re an attorney, to have citations from, you know, other attorney websites like maybe Justy or Fine Law, even local… and then also local directory listings, those help. And when I say it directory listings, I mean, I just mean like a telephone directory type of thing, not like the old school like directory link, you know, just… it’s just, you know, pretty much white hat type of methods. And then also, another thing, and this… well, this is probably a misconception, some people don’t think that reviews matter. I have business owners that look at… you know, I really have to push the case of asking people for reviews like on their business. And it’s just good business practice anyway, right, like you want to know if somebody’s happy or not happy with you with your business, with your services, but also, you know, if you’re not asking for reviews for your business, most likely the first review you’re going to get is going to be a bad review. And in Google My Business, it’s not filtered like Yelp is, so if you have zero reviews and then you get a 1-star review, now you’re instantly a one-star listing, and that’s just going to hurt your business anyway. So asking for reviews and then prompting people on what… you know, just really just ask, “Could you mention the service that you had?” you know, that that’s going to help you also. So you can see it in the search results when you search for something, excuse me, and you look at a business listing, you will even see in there on that listing that, you know, it will like bold words that people put in their reviews. So asking for… being active asking for reviews and being specific about what service they have will help you.
Neil: Hmm, yeah very good tip. Are there any other things that can make a difference when trying to rank on the map?
Bill: There are. I mean, to get more advanced, even where your map listing shows up, so, you know, this place is where you can embed your map that will help it, that’s kind of almost like a backlink to you to that listing. So map embeds, I would all recommend at least embedding it on your website. And so if I on your website you have maybe service areas pages, so if you have… it depends how deep you go with your website, but if you had different city pages to put that on there, that will actually build relevancy too for maybe cities that are kind of outside of your main area.
Neil: Hmm. So how much weight does the actual website have on the map listings? Does the authority come from the website or is there, you know, more weight based on the actual location of the business?
Bill: I would say probably more location first, but then, you know, they definitely is… so those search result so it’s called a blended result where your map listing and, you know, your website do contribute to each other. So I would say more relevancy is location wise and then the authority of your website will help you map listing. So if you have a higher authority website, you know, if we’re looking at…. you know, there’s a lot of ways to look at or a lot of metrics domain authority page range or trust score. You know, so if the if those numbers are high… so if you have a higher authority website with those, you know, the metrics that we usually look at, that is going to help you map listing also rank.
Neil: So what other services do you offer for a local business? Obviously a Google My Business is very important, but there’s other ways that you can get traffic as well, what other services do you offer?
Bill: Yep, so Google My Business is one of the main ones that I like for local business, also, you know, just standard SEO for their website. Then also, if you’re taking this work to get visitors to your website, you always want to make sure you… even if you never run into ad, you want to make sure you have remarketing pixel on a retargeting pixel so those are what Google and Facebook use for the ads, because you’re building an audience so you have that option of running ads. Also another thing I’m offering and a lot of local businesses aren’t doing it right now is YouTube ads. So in-stream YouTube ads are a great way to, you know, kind of just put yourself in front of a lot of eyeballs for very, very cheap money. You know, so the in-stream YouTube ads is the service that I offer, along with Facebook advertisement in Google ads.
Neil: Now, we mentioned in the intro that, you know, you put people in front of… you know, you put businesses in front of people when they’re actually searching and they’re searching and looking for a product or a service, explain how that differs with something like the YouTube ads or even a Facebook ad or something like that.
Bill: Sorry, Neil, lost you for a second there.
Neil: Oh, I explain what the difference is between somebody doing a Google search for a service or a product compared to like an ad on Facebook or even YouTube.
Bill: Okay, yeah. So Google has searched…. you know, the search results ad is what most people use and for different industries, it can be very competitive the cost per click. So those top… when you when you do a Google search, those top results that actually say ad next to them or all paid ads, and every time someone clicks on one of those, you have to pay. Then below that is the map listings that we were talking about, and below that is just the standard organic listings which all free. Actually there is an ad, so for a local business, there is an ad in the map pack too that you can do. Facebook ads we can target with that retargeting, so we can target people that have visited your website and maybe you just want to make them an offer or just remind them that you then… you know, it depends what you’re doing. If you’re just looking for branding, you can just, you know, run type of branding ad, or if there’s a special offer you want to offer them. With YouTube in-stream ads, you can either use your remarketing pixel data, and that would be probably more of a branding or offer type thing also, or you can actually target what people are searching for. It’s similar to Adwords with a standard AdWords where somebody’s searching say for a personal injury attorney and the ads will show up in this regular results. If somebody was looking for on YouTube, “What do I do after I get into a car accident?” so you could target something like that in your ad could show, you know, in stream. So that in-stream means that 5 second and the 5 second thing that you have to watch and then you can click skip, you can show up there. And it’s, you know, even for attorneys, there’s not a lot of trainees doing it, you know, on a local level, so it’s just a great opportunity now for a business owner to, you know, even gain more presence.
Neil: Yeah, how effective is video advertising now? I mean, I know video is definitely a medium where you can see and get a feel for people and the how they’re going to be able to help you. Do you find that really effective then local as well?
Bill: It is effective, and what I found is it’s, a lot of times, it’s more for local business, it’s more of like a branding play. I do it myself personally and, you know, I’ll run it this home say, “Oh, I saw you… I mean, I saw you on YouTube.” And, you know, it just makes you more prominent, you know, but there are always if you have your funnel set up correctly and, you know, if you have an offer for them, maybe the attorney, you know, offering, you know, a free consultation or whatever and then you can take them to a landing page. But a lot of times it’s more of branding and just being top of mind.
Neil: And of course you go out Facebook Live as well, it seems to be gaining in popularity, is that something that you use?
Bill: I don’t personally use Facebook Live, but I know a lot of people that do and they have good success with it, but it’s not something that I do myself. But, yeah, any way to get more eyeballs on you, right? I mean, it’s just it’s one of those things, I forget who said it, maybe it was… I can’t even remember but, you know, now when people are watching TV and a commercial comes on, the first thing they do is go to their phone, right, like they’re not watching the commercial, they go to their phone so… and their probably on Facebook most likely, right? So, you know, it’s a… you can get… the advertising now, like you really… you know, there’s some big companies using it, but a lot of big companies just a missing the boat on this is a great opportunity to, you know, get some great advertisement. It’s almost like buying a TV advertisement because those aren’t being highly… those aren’t being as watched as much as they used to be, right, like they just… people just tuned out when they when the commercial comes on in they and they’re on Facebook. So, yeah, I’ve see it as a very effective way.
Neil: Yeah. Well, give me an example, Bill, of somebody that sticks out in your mind that you’ve helped, you know, what kind of problem did they have when they came to you, what were you able to do for them, and ultimately what was the outcome for them?
Bill: Yeah. So one for last year which is a great project was I have a local personal injury attorney and it was he’s, you know, sole practitioner and, you know, I think we started… it was right around January of last year and, you know, he was… you know, he had a website, he actually was on… and he was doing SEO, he was using Justia which my first question is, you know, “I can see Justia… and I don’t want to knock Justia but I can spot a Justia website without even looking at the website, you know, just through the search results, the way they format the page titles, they’re all the same,” so like he was getting like cookie cutter SEO service. And then the other question is, you know, I know in in the in the city we were going for, there were 5 other attorneys that are using Justia, so how does Jesse decide who’s going to be the number 1 SEO person in that city? So, you know, I took… I actually took that website from Justia took it over and, you know, he went from, you know, working out of a small office by himself throughout the SEO by I think was about June, we had him at the top of the search results and he expanded into a larger office after hiring more employees. I don’t know if that’s a good thing but, you know, that’s what he got to do, you know? So, you know, he’s growing his business through that. So, you know, I think that I consider that a success story that, you know, he was… he did that well with it and booked more… you know, booked more cases.
Neil: Yeah, that certainly is a great success story, anytime you can help businesses expand like that means that you’re doing a good job and they’re obviously going to be very happy about that as well. So, Bill, if anybody listening to this wants to reach out to you for help, whether in Boston or New York or any other city around the country, yeah, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Bill: They can go to my website bostonseoservices.org, I offer free half hour consultation where we… you know, get on and it’s nothing to do with sales. I’m an SEO nerd I love talking about it so, you know, in that half hour consultation, we’ll go over and, you know, look at what opportunities are they, look at the competition so they can book a, you know, a half hour private consultation right there for, you know, complimentary. And then, yeah, so just go to bostonseoservices.org and there’s a button there to schedule a call.
Neil: Excellent. Well, Bill, it’s been enjoyable talking with you this morning, obviously there’s a lot of local businesses out there that need help with their ranking, getting that traffic from Google is the best thing that you can have for your business, and the Google My Business especially listing is certainly one place that gets a ton of that local organic traffic. So…
Neil: Bill… yeah, Bill Smith, the owner of bostonseoservices.org, thank you very much for being my guest on a Trust Factor Radio today.
Bill: Thank you for having me, Neil, I appreciate it.
Neil: And to our listening audience, if you like what you hear, hit the like button and share and we’ll see you next time on the show.
Outro: You’ve been listening to the Trust Factor Radio with Neil how. To learn about the resources mentioned in the show and to listen to past episodes, go to thetrustfactorradio.com. To get a copy of the book ‘The Trust Factor’, go to thetrustfactorbook.com. If you are ready to act now and build your authority, credibility, and trust, schedule a consultation with Neil at theauthorityarchitect.com.
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