Google My Business for local retail- the deciding page one. Optimize your account and drive customers engagement and sales
“Let me check on Google”, “don’t know exactly their opening times, I google it.” – how many times did you say or hear sentences like this? Do you use Google only for information gathering like an encyclopedia or do you search also for places, restaurants and shops you intended to go? Exactly. Your customers and potential ones do the same. Google is the dominating power in online search. The importance of an online presence nowadays, also for local retailers, is unchallenged considering the modern consumers which are tending to spend more and more time online.
“The customer journey starts long before they even enter a store and should never end with leaving it.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO of mPocket.
Did you ever check your own Google My Business account from a customer’s point of view and do you know how to optimize it? It is much more than a simple entry of your business’ operating information. If filled completely and correctly there is information available on first sight which might be found on your website as well but needs to be quickly accessible for your customer like: opening hours, parking nearby or your phone number. GMB is also pictures and videos, reviews, posts, news, a contact form with live messaging and creates consistent listings on all Google services (e.g., Google search, Google maps, Google local guides) that will stand out when customers search online.
Google My Business can be a powerful tool to leverage more sales when used properly and give you valuable insights about your customers. It is a big deal also for SMBs, even if you don’t have a shop front.
The deciding page one
Imagine yourself going for a weekend trip and searching for the best Indian restaurant or a hiking shop, because you just forgot something. Do you scroll down in the search results to the very bottom and click the next page of the search results? Think about it – you probably choose one of the first ones showing up. Standing out amid constantly growing competition on- and offline is one thing retailers are struggling with. A higher ranking is the solution, since 80% of local searches result in conversions, but most people don’t get past Google’s first page of search results. The better your ranking is, the more it influences your outreach to customers and drives organic traffic to your website. GMB is predominantly oriented for locally oriented SEO (search engine optimization) of the respective user, but there are things you can actively do to influence the Google algorithm, improve your ranking and your position on the search engine results page (SERP):
1. Upgrade your website’s user experience: the top four ranking factors are the number of website visits, the time spent on the site, the pages per session and the bounce rate. You can increase these by ensuring an easy and enjoyable website visit with the best possible page speed. This gets you more visits, increases the time that is spend on your website and improves your search rank.
2. Publish relevant content: Optimized for SEO, with high-quality and addressed to the needs of your target audience your content is one of the key drivers of your search engine ranking and is according to Google itself more important than the page experience. Frequently updating your content will push your ranking as well.
3. Be the answer to your target audience questions: User questions in Google search are answered by special featured snippets by Google, pulling contents from relevant websites. To be credible and visible you should think of searches and questions related to your business and pay tribute to them on your site.
4. Modify for voice search: Since more than 60% of people use voice search on their smartphone, incorporate full sentences in a conversational style rather than just single keywords.
5. Optimize for local search: Claiming your business not only on GMB, but also on other sites like Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Citysearch, Foursquare and TripAdvisor together with reviews (link how to get customer reviews) adding some localized content on your site will boost your ranking in the SERP.
6. Improve your images: Unlike the traditional word-based online searches the popularity of image searches is growing. Make the images on your website more findable by using alt tags (serve among others as description of the image for search engine), by creating descriptive filenames (e.g. “Burger” instead of “IMG_0815”), by reducing the file sizes (large images are slowing down page loading and are hurting search rankings). 90% of potential customers are visiting a business when there are images on Google.
“We gained 11.000 more views on Google within one week after we got the advice and instruction from mPocket how to update our GMB account” Toni, CEO of Burgermeister and customer of mPocket from the very beginning.
Google shows 10 results on the first page when any user is searching for a particular term. If you can reach the top of the first page this is an excellent opportunity for your business, although it is only half the battle. Staying on top is equally as hard and can be achieved only by constant updates and engaging with your customers. Engagement and interaction with your customers as well as gaining insights to their preferences and shopping behavior will help you stay on the deciding page one.
“If your business becomes visible on top you achieve more authenticity and trust for possible customers which are leading to more leads and traffic in-store.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO of mPocket.
Get started with Google My Business today. If you need help with setting up or optimizing your GMB we are glad to help. If you want to read more articles how to improve your business or about developments in the market, sign up for our newsletter.
Marketing & Communication Manager mPocket
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