Smarter Google My Business Strategy

Optimizing Your Listings & Reviews for Smarter GMB Strategy

Google My Business is without a doubt one of the most impactful weapons in your local search marketing arsenal. An active, properly managed GMB presence demonstrates to Google that your location’s photos, reviews, Posts, videos, and other media are the best response to relevant queries from local consumers. This is where customers go for solutions to their immediate needs. In fact, 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information.

Enhanced and accurate local listings not only increase search engine visibility, though. They drive motivated traffic into your locations, even in highly competitive markets.

In a recent webinar held by Binary Fountain and Rio SEO, we explored the latest features available to multi-location brands in the Google My Business dashboard.

Presenters included: Aaron Clifford, SVP of Marketing at Binary Fountain; Krystal Taing, one of our Listings Management Product Specialists, and Brian Smith, Director of Local Strategy & Data Partnerships here at Rio SEO.

Check out the highlights from our Google My Business Strategy: Optimizing Your Listings and Reviews webinar here. Also, you may scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the recording in its entirety.

Finding Your Brand’s Place in the Local Google Search Landscape

Our webinar participants learned which GMB optimizations promise the greatest return on your investment today, and:

  • How to avoid common pitfalls that can damage your Google presence
  • Strategies for improving online review scores
  • Tips for optimizing the presence of each of your locations
  • Time-saving local listings and content tips
  • Practical advice for engaging new and prospective customers

In crowded, competitive local markets—and on mobile devices where your competitors are only a click away—how can your brand make the best use of GMB across hundreds or even thousands of locations?

Local Reviews Matter

A recent study by BrightLocal took a look under the hood of local reviews and their impact on local Google Search rankings. We learned that the average rating between search engine ranking positions appears to have an impact.  

Local Reviews

In fact, we can see that:  

  • 45-50% of clicks go to positions 1-3
  • 10-15% of clicks go to positions 4-6
  • 2-5% of clicks go to positions 7-10

Clearly, it pays to be in the first three positions when it comes to search discoverability. As with all content, reviews must be nurtured organically. Paying for reviews or otherwise trying to game the system can do long-term damage to your reputation with Google. It can even result in the removal of your listings.

Instead, implement a reviews strategy that closes the loop for your consumers. Enable them to share experiences and respond to them, whether positive or negative. This allows a thoughtful way for consumers to see the benefits of doing business with you. Dig in and learn more in our recent blog post, Local Reviews Strategy: 10 Ways to Make Yours Smarter & More Effective.

It Pays to Be Top 3 in the MapPack

Visibility is great, but how can you draw searchers into your brand experience? Sparktoro recently found that in 62% of mobile searches, the consumer does not click on a result. In fact, we can confirm that just 1 in 60 MapPack listings views results in a click-through to the website.

Google Local Pack

Isn’t that a bad thing, you ask? Don’t we want people to visit our website?

If you’re trying to drive people (and sales) into your locations, what you want is highly motivated searchers finding the information they need to convert them to foot in-store traffic. More and more, Google is facilitating this by including relevant information from the website and your GMB dashboard and displaying it in the search results. The consumer doesn’t need to make that extra click. They have your complete local listing information and are on their way to see you now.

How great is that?

Of course, this requires that you claim your Google business listing, that it’s up to date, and as complete as possible. Get more tips and see what smart local listings strategy looks like in practice in this case study.

Claim and Optimize Your Brand’s Local Listings

According to Google, 78% of shoppers use search before visiting a store. And 8 out of 10 use Google to search. What are they looking for?

They want hours of operation, directions and proximity from their current location. They also seek current wait times and contact information. Consumers want to be able to contact you to set up an appointment or ask questions of staff. Or they may want to make their way directly to your store knowing that you are open and ready to receive their business.

Claim and Optimize Your Brand’s Local Listings

Adding this information to your listings and keeping it up to date removes any friction from this segment of the customer’s shopping journey. At a bare minimum, make sure you have this critical information in each location’s listing:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Hours
  • Category
  • Description
  • Website URL

See Top 4 Google My Business Updates We Love for Enterprise Local for a few more helpful GMB optimization tips.

Draw Customers In-Store with Enticing Digital Ambiance

What sort of expectation does your GMB presence set for customers considering a visit to your location closest to them?

Enticing Digital Ambiance

Share each location’s character and ambiance with attractive, high-quality photos and video in GMB. Use high-resolution photos that look just as good on massive desktop monitors as on mobile (aim for a minimum resolution of 1400 pixels wide).

Show customers what to expect when they arrive. How will they know they’re in the right location? Upload an exterior and an interior image. If there are recognizable local landmarks nearby, show where your location is in proximity. When you’re ready to take it further, add images of your product displays and staff. If you have the resources, upload photos regularly. It shows both Google and consumers that you are actively engaged in putting your best foot forward in search.

In January, GMB added a new capability to allow businesses a 30-second video in their listing. Using video, you can share richer, more engaging stories and showcase specific elements of your business. For example, you could demonstrate in a video how simple it is for customers to order online and pick up order in-store.

Reap the Rewards of a Rich, Dynamic Local Presence

With the holiday season almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to give your GMB presence the attention it deserves. Set yourself up for a more successful 2019 with a Google My Business strategy that takes full advantage of the unique features and capabilities of this platform.

Be sure to make Google Posts an integral part of your GMB routine. Download Rio SEO’s Google Posts Playbook now to learn how to use this powerful tool to its full potential.

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