Improving the visibility of your website is one of the most important steps you can take to make your website investment more worthwhile. One of the most effective and simple ways to do this is by adding your business to Google’s local search, Google My Business.
What Is Local Search?
Back in the day Google’s search results were not weighted towards your local position. This meant that a search for ‘Local Web Designers’ was just as likely to return results for those based in New York as London, no matter where you were searching from. Fortunately this behaviour has changed and grown as Google has developed and now the same search will take in to account a large number of factors deciding just exactly what you mean by ‘local’.
That’s not to say you even have to stipulate you want ‘local’ results to make your search results relevant to your current position. Just searching for ‘Web Designers’ will return results that are weighted towards where you are, with local businesses having more of a chance of ranking highly than those that are country wide, international, or just in a different location.
Who Uses Local Search?
So who is it that is using local search? And why would a consumer use the World Wide Web to search for information that was available locally to them? The answer to that first question, due to Google’s weighting of the search results, is basically everybody – whether they actively mean to search for it or not. The answer to the second question is answered quite neatly by analysing Google’s own data on what people are searching for. Check out these two graphics which illustrate the point with some facts and figures.
So it turns out that 4 out of 5 people actively use Google to search with their location in mind. The kinds of information they are searching for are highlighted in the second graphic-
- 54% – Company Trading Times
- 53% – Directions To A Local Business
- 50% – Address Details For A Local Business
As a website owner, making these top three pieces of information available to local searches has got to be in your best interest. So how do we go about it?
Making Local Search Information Available
First and foremost these pieces of information should be available on your website. Telephone number, address details and map locations are essential for any business website. Having these available on your ‘contacts’ page is the most obvious way. If you want our advice having your telephone number easily available on your homepage is never a bad idea either. Google will actively search out this information on your website and check it is the same as it is expecting. But what is Google checking this against?
Google My Business.
‘Google My Business’ is an umbrella term which collects together a lot of features that have been developed by Google to collect information about your business. It encompasses your Google Maps results, your Google+ pages and your search results. Google stores various bits of information there and delivers them to Search, Maps and Plus. The kind of things Google keeps there are just the sort of things it knows its searchers want to know:
- Name, Address and Phone number (NAP)
- Type Of Business
- Opening Hours
- Physical Location
- Reviews / Customer Ratings
That last point – reviews and customer ratings, can be extremely important to your business. It’s something we have already discussed in some detail in this post – gain trust with customer testimonials.
Adding your business to Google’s local database is the single most important thing you can do to improve your visibility online for the following reasons:
- It delivers your business as a result right up in the top half of the Google Search screen, along with other local businesses.
- It adds your business to the Google Maps results
- It adds your business to the Google+ pages
The single action of adding yourself to Google My Business will result in your business being found by local people ahead of even more established businesses that are less relevant from a local perspective. By adding yourself you are effectively bypassing a whole lot of SEO effort, with one easy step. Look at this next image to see just how powerfully the information you provide is presented by Google. Note the generic search for ‘Mail Boxes Etc’ has delivered local results for the searchers location (Colchester).
So How Do I Add Myself To Google My Business?
We’ll cover this in full in another blog post, but to stay ahead of the game follow this quick action plan:
Visit this link to get started: Google My Business
- Follow the directions provided by Google to sign up and get going
- Google will send you a card with a code on to your physical street address to prove where you are (no cheating!)
That’s it for today’s lecture. If you’ve got any question please do ask away in the comments below, but if there is one take home from this post it’s this: You need to be on Google My Business.
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