- Verify your Google Places Information
- Get Google Reviews
- Properly Categorise Your Business
- Embed a Google Map on Your Website
- Optimise the Listing Description
- Use a Local Telephone Number
- Add Photos to the Listing
I’ll go into detail on all of these points.
Google has made quite a few changes to the search engine results page (SERPS) recently. Google maps listings are now ranking for several different industry categories and the once 5-7 pack is now only a 3 pack. Getting ranked higher on Google maps is now a lot harder since the amount of listings has been dramatically reduced.
Why Did This Happen? There is speculation that Google wanted to give more space to ads and clean up the design of the search page. To be honest, I have no idea?
This is what a typical search looks like when I searched for “Peterborough Plumbers”. As you can see, the 3 pack has been pointed out and surprisingly the business with fewer reviews is at the top.
I think the reason that Google has displayed the results like this is so that unscrupulous people don’t try to game the system as they have in the past by getting several fake reviews to boost their listing. However, I still advise you to get as many genuine reviews as possible. Your clients like to see them and it’s good for business.
Verify your Google Places Information
To verify your Google places information, do a search in Google for your business and see if it is listed. If it is listed and not verified you’ll need to verify that the business actually belongs to you. For information on how to do check this page out. That link will also show you what to do is someone else has mistakenly claimed your listing by mistake (can but rarely happens).
Follow the instructions and you’ll be able to edit the listing in no time.
Get Google Reviews
This one sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, so many local businesses fail to ask their clients for reviews of their business.
Here’s what you need to do to get them to leave a review:
- Search for your business in Google.
- Click on the “Write a review” button.
- You should see a Google review box. If you do, simply copy the URL out of the address bar (web address).
- Shorten your Google review URL. You can use a free service like Bitly to do this.
- Send to your clients and start getting Google reviews.
Tip: When working with our clients we advise them to send this out when they are either sending an invoice or receipt via email. You can also send a text message after the job is complete too!
Properly Categorise Your Business
This is an extremely important part of the optimisation process and is sure to give this plenty of thought. This is where you will list 5 of your primary services that your business offers. Even if you don’t have 5. Add your services in the category field.
In most cases, your category will autocomplete when you start typing your services in. However, on the odd occasion, it might not. If this is the case, try and find a category option that best describes your business. Please don’t fill in your own service terms.
Embed a Google Map on Your Website
Just how do I embed a map on my website?
You will need behind the scenes access to your website to carry out this task. If you don’t have access, then get your webmaster or agency to do this for you. For them it’s a 5 minute job that shouldn’t take too long.
Follow the instructions here to embed a map on your website
If you don’t have face to face conversations with your clients at your premises and your clients have no reason to visit you, then I would advise that you not to actually embed a map at all. This would encourage visitors.
Optimise the Listing Description
Whatever the maximum characters allowed is in the description field, ensure you max this out. Try not to spam this section with keywords but write as naturally as possible.
Use a Local Telephone Number
Where possible, try to use a local telephone number. In my experience, a 0845 and even a 0800 number can still be used and there’s no evidence that suggests you shouldn’t. However, if the idea is to get local business from local clients, your listing will be trusted by more people if you simply have a local number. For example, local numbers have a specific prefix:
Northampton is 01604 xxx xxx
Cambridge is 01223 xxx xxx
Peterborough is 01733 xxx xxx
You get the idea?
Tip: We advise a lot of small businesses to get themselves a Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) number. This means that you don’t have to have an expensive BT or Virgin business line installed
I don’t normally market XenMedia services. However, if you need to get yourself a VOIP number we can help you with that. Feel free to get in touch. The numbers are really cheap and you can forward them to your mobile, home telephone or even a 3rd party call centre.
Note: You will need to pay for additional call charges when your clients ring one of these numbers!
Add Photos to the Listing
If you have decent photos of your premises or services offered then enter them where it says photos. If you are a retail store, then add as many photos of the interior and exterior of your premises (obviously clean up and clear away any junk so that you can showcase your business at its best).