Location, Location, Location
Most businesses consider their Google Business Profile to be a road sign. It just exists to help people find you - and that’s that. But what if we told you that your Google Business Profile is one of the biggest digital assets you own and that you can do so much with it to support your business’s SEO efforts?
In our latest vlog, James and Noah will explore the importance of visibility and reach as well as local SEO in the context of optimizing your Google Business Profile. Let’s start!
James: Hi everyone! It’s James and Noah, and today, we're talking about a really cool topic. It's all about location, so for local businesses, Google My Business (Google Business Profile), also known as Google Maps, is super super critical. It's probably the most important business directory that you have and second only to your own website as an online hub in terms of importance.
Noah: Today, we're going to go over four points, which are Visibility and Reach, Local SEO (in this episode), Customer Relationship Management and Insights into business performance (in episode 6).
Visibility and Reach
James: Starting with visibility and reach and how that relates to your Google maps - let's talk about what this is. We'll show some screenshots on the screen. We'll also say, how often do you use a Google map or a Google profile in your own life day to day? Is it daily? What would you say?
Noah: All the time, every time. Yeah, every time.
James: So let's see some examples - like the last few times you used a Google Business Profile to find something?
Noah: Typically, it would be like a lunch or restaurants. Specifically with my kids - everybody's got a specific dietary need, so I'm always looking at the menu, and I'm always looking at the location - how far is it from me because these kids are hungry, they're hungry now, and they all want to eat very specific things. So I need a somewhat diverse menu, and so that's going to be on Google nine times out of ten. If the company's done it well, it's going to be there, and so I'm typically using it for restaurants or a place to eat.
And then I'll look for things like Sporting Goods or any of those kinds of things, whatever my day holds. Seldom am I like, “That's going to be my spot; I just go there every single time.” I'm always looking for something new, and Google's a great spot for that, so that's how I use it.
James: That's right. In terms of visibility, the businesses that don't have a Google Business Profile or they're not on Google Maps - haven't optimized things well. They're just getting less exposure to people that are searching for stuff.
And some of the stats we have are pretty interesting with so many people starting (their search) on Google, even when they know the company, you know? But they don't have the phone number memorized, or they don't know if the store is open at that moment, so they're checking the hours, or if they're debating whether to go to company X or company Y or company Z, they're figuring out which one's better, and that's where we get into some of the later stuff about reviews and how they improve the relationship side.
But Visibility and reach is just really such a key point.
When you're a business owner or manager, you just need to understand that this is the most important business directory that you'll ever have.
Think back to before the internet; how important was it that your business was listed in the phone book or in the Yellow Pages? It doesn't matter if you're a retail store, direct-to-consumer sort of thing, or you're a service that only deals with other businesses.
Because people are people, and they're still searching for things, they still want to find what they want to find, and that's the bottom line.
Noah: And it's all in one place. That’s the most important thing. The address - it’s proximity to me, how long it'll take to get there by either walking or driving. Phone number, menu or items - specific items that you need or that you just Googled for, as well as photos and reviews, so everything is all in one place.
And reviews; you can get them anywhere - you can get your Yelp reviews, you can get your TripAdvisor reviews, but Google has a really great review system built in there, so it's really cool to see what other people think of that location, and it's also fun to read both good and bad reviews. There are a lot of comedic ones.
James: As a business owner and manager, it's a responsibility to manage those reviews and reply to both good and bad.
What if I asked you this? This is a question to maybe stump you; I am an owner of a company that doesn't really have any local customers or my customers are all across Canada or all across the USA - it's completely irrelevant that my map marker is hovering over my office in my own City. Is Google my business still important, or should I not care?
Noah: For me, it's still important because I want to know whether that company has a headquarters within North America, within Canada or within my backyard.
I think as global consumers, we're all looking for localization, and I think it's important to know where the companies are from.
James: Even if your customers are National or Global, localization is still (important). This is how I tried to stump you, but you actually answered it pretty well.
Interestingly, if you don't know this, you can set up multilocation Google Business profiles so if you're a bigger company and you have more than one (profile), your headquarters has one, and then your satellite offices have Google Business profiles as well, so if people are dealing with customer service in Toronto then they should be leaving a Google review or something or looking up your information for the Toronto profile versus the Vancouver one or Calgary or LA or whatever it happens to be.
James: And that's a good point; localization is just so important. This is our second point - that local SEO makes a very big difference. So, having a properly optimized Google Business Profile has a very, very positive benefit and impact on your local SEO. Local SEO and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) go hand in hand.
There is no such thing these days as SEO that is not related to local SEO because of the way the algorithms are working.
When people are naturally searching for something, Google will bring up results that are actually going to be closer to where you are physically in the world, so it helps to have that competitive Advantage. It is a really good strong signal to the Google Al algorithm to rank you higher and higher.
Your own website will actually have a stronger ranking in the search engines if your Google Business profile is filled out in full and optimized.
Check out our previous episode: Branding No- No's
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