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A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

Ensuring that your business shows up in Google Maps is paramount to long-term viability.

Prospective customers are often skeptical of businesses with little or no online presence.

Fortunately, Google Maps provide one of the easiest and fastest ways to get online.

Business owners now have an opportunity to market their goods and services in real-time to anyone with a mobile device.

What Is Google Maps Marketing?

Google Maps marketing is simply the optimization of your business presence on Google Maps.

The goal is simple: by ranking higher in search, you have an opportunity to significantly increase your business.

The better your profile optimization, the better your chances are for showing up in a Google Maps search for your business type in your area.

Why Is Google Maps Marketing So Important?

Google handles about 3.5 billion searches per day and accounts for nearly 88% of all mobile searches.

Local Google searches also directly translate into sales with 76% of those searching for local products visiting a store within the day.

Google Maps marketing can impact the way Google views your business and how or if it appears in organic search in what is known as the local 3-pack.

A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

Google Map Results (local 3-pack) appear at the top of the page in this Google Search.

Google Maps can channel thousands of potential customers toward your business.

Unless your business ranks in the 3-pack, your chance of being found is exponentially lower.

That is why Google Maps Marketing is generally considered the most important facet of local SEO work.

Setting up & Optimizing Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

Creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing is totally free.

This is because it technically isn’t an advertisement at all – you are simply letting Google know that your business exists.

That said, the end goal is to get your business to rank higher than your competitors.

Setting Up Google My Business

To set up your Google My Business listing:

  • Sign in to Google and go to https://www.google.com/business/
  • Then locate or create a listing for your business. Sometimes other factors or inputs have led to an impromptu assumption listing about your business. Make sure you claim and correct it if that happened.
  • Fill out all of the information to the best of your ability.
  • Make sure to select the correct category and to add a contact.
  • Verify your account. This can be done with Google via phone, email, or traditional mail.
  • Add quality photos.
  • Double-check all of your information.

Read this guide to learn how to completely optimize your GMB listing.

How to Rank Better in Google Maps

Google Maps take into account a number of factors when it decides how to rank results.

The geographic distance from the person conducting the search and the business category relevant to their search are the most obvious.

Perhaps more important is how complete and accurate your GMB listing is. This could be the tie-breaker among you and your competitors in determining who appears in the search.

Finally, positive sentiment (good reviews) can be a deciding factor.

Getting Good Reviews

Many companies have developed systems around cultivating positive reviews.

Some will ask customers directly, at the conclusion of a transaction, to give them a review.

Other businesses put a request for a review prominently, at checkout. Some even have used QR codes.

One effective method is to leave a review request, on a business card, attached to a “Thank You” memento. Something as simple as a complimentary air freshener can go a long way.

In all of your promotional materials, it’s good business practice to provide a link for customers to leave a Google review.

What About Bad Reviews?

Handle bad reviews calmly. Work hard to overcome them with more good reviews.

When you get a bad review, apologize, accept responsibility and offer to make it right; even if it wasn’t your fault.

It’s a losing proposition to get defensive or aggressive in your reply.

A bad review give you the chance to demonstrate your professionalism, helping to mitigate any potential damage.

Posting on Google as Your Business

This is an underused feature.

Business owners can “publish … offers, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and maps.”

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This can be another effective way to stand apart from your competitors.

Google Maps Optimization Checklist

To give your business a better chance of showing up in Google Maps for relevant searches, just follow the checklist below.

  • Claim or create a listing for your business.
  • Fill out all of the information:
    • Correct service area and address.
    • Business hours / workdays.
    • Website / URL for them to make a purchase.
    • List your specific offerings. Clearly and simply. Try to add keywords in naturally when possible.
  • Pick the most relevant and common categories for your business.
  • Ensure information is consistent across the web.
  • Add high-quality photos.
  • Double-check all of your information.
  • Cultivate good reviews.
  • Talk about your business in Google My Business.
  • List your business in other directories.
  • Use analytics to adapt your strategies.

Paid Advertising & Local Search Ads

Google gives you the tools to target your local area with local search ads.

This is paid advertising that can help you appear at the top of the Google search page or Map App when someone searches for your relevant services.

If you are struggling to bring in customers and can’t wait for your organic efforts to pay off, you may want to consider paid advertising.

Many businesses have had great success in employing local search ads on Google. It can be the perfect complement to organic marketing efforts.

Tracking Your Google Maps Marketing Performance

Tracking your performance on Google Maps is done via analytics offered with your Google My Business account.

This is necessary for evaluating your current web presence and optimizing it, moving forward

Following are the key metrics you should pay close attention to:

The Google Services That Customers Use to Find Your Business

An important metric to pay attention to is the type of searches leading to your website.

This will let you know the volume of users that are searching for you by name, vs those discovering you via the keywords relevant to your brand, location, and industry.

This may help you gauge the percentage of new versus repeat customers coming to your site via Google.

Where Customers View Your Business on Google

This section will let you know the frequency that you are being found on general search vs map listings.

Taken in conjunction with the first metric you can gauge the general success of your Google Map Listings in attracting new customers.

As you make changes, monitor these stats to ensure you are making the right decisions and moving in a positive direction.

A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

Listing Visitor Action Taken

“Customer actions” will show you what actions people are taking in response to your listing.

You will discover if your listing is helping people find your location, your website, or leading to some form of contact.

This is perhaps the most important metric as you embark on optimizing your listing.

Working to improve customer engagements and interactions is your best path to success.

A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

Where Customers Are Coming From

“Directions requests” shows where customers are requesting directions to your business from.

With this information, you can begin to localize and better target your other marketing ventures as well as perhaps adjust your target keywords.

The Performance of Your Photos

Photo views and Photo quantity” shows how your photos are performing as compared to competing businesses.

It also shows the mix of photos coming from you versus those posted by your customers.

Humans react positively to appealing visuals, so you should take the time to capture the best possible photos of your business.

A Complete Guide to Google Maps Marketing

The Final Takeaway

While getting the basics right is simple enough, fine-tuning will set you apart from the competition.

Pay attention to your analytics.

The best way to market yourself across all Google apps is to:

  • Keep your information up to date.
  • Keep your social proof (customer reviews) positive.
  • Make certain that your visual presentation is always top-notch.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, October 2019

HAVE YOU CHECKED THE AUTOMATED ADS TOOL ON FACEBOOK YET?

HAVE YOU CHECKED THE AUTOMATED ADS TOOL ON FACEBOOK YET?

A new Automated Ads tool was announced by Facebook recently. The social networking site claims it to be of great help in creating result driven ads.

The Tool Will Have Following Features:

  • Suggestions to create up to 6 different versions of your ad.
    • Call-to-action buttons
    • Text
    • Other creative details

(Facebook will show the best-performing version, once the ad is active)

  • Tailored audience recommendations based on the information available on your page.
  • Budget recommendations that are likely to generate results as per your goals.

(Your own budget can also be shared to determine the estimated results)

Receive timely notifications to help you understand how your ads are performing and how you can improve them.

Additionally, Facebook has expanded its free business tools to allow appointment booking and managing.

You can also find 3 new features added to their video editing tools…

  • Automatic Cropping
  • Video Trimming
  • Image & Text Overlays

Have a look at the announcement page that provides complete details and video guides on how these tools can be used.

You Measure SEO success by

You Measure SEO success by

Measuring SEO Success

If you measure SEO success by the progress on a to-do list, you are doing it wrong.

At the end of the day, we want to be judged by one thing – the results we provide.

It helps if everyone agrees on what success looks like in the beginning.

There are no guarantees in SEO, but everyone can agree to goals.

As long as those goals are achieved using Google’s guidance on good techniques, clients and bosses need to give the SEO provider enough rope to either climb to new heights or hang themselves.

I tell every prospect, if we can’t show you at least a 3x return on your SEO investment in 6 months, you should fire us.

The goal may be 3x return – or it may be a percentage increase in email subscriptions. The bottom line is the bottom line.

You need to know what success looks like. Then either help your SEO person/team, if you are able, or get out of the way.

Sure, it’s fine to send an article over asking what your SEO manager thinks if you are curious.

I don’t know an SEO professional worth their salt who doesn’t love to talk about the latest and greatest developments in the algorithm.

But if you are constantly questioning whether your SEO is doing a good enough job, you either need to re-evaluate your goals or fire the SEO.

In the end, you’ll both be happier.

Tony Wright

Tony Wright
CEO at WrightIMC via Search Engine Journal

 / March 25, 2019

Feb 2019 SEO News letter

Feb 2019 SEO News letter

NOW YOU’LL BE ABLE TO VERIFY YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING OVER A VIDEO CALL

It’s quite ironic that an internet giant like Google relied on old school “Postcard verification” process till now. In order to verify your business, you had to send a request via Google My Business and then wait for 14 days to receive the postcard. In many cases, the postcard arrived on time, but in some cases, it didn’t arrive at all. So the whole process was slow & troublesome, to say the least.

 

Although Google did offer Phone verification too, it was limited to selected industries because it’s really hard to check the authenticity of a business over a phone call, and Google wants to list only genuine businesses, or at least they try their best to do so.

 

After a ton of complaints and thousands of emails with subject line “I have not received the postcard,” they decided to verify a business over a video call. Although it’s not currently available to everyone, we can say that it will be a norm in near future.

 

Here’s how Video verification works:

 

  • Go to Google My Business and click on the verify my business listing from the left menu.

 

  • There will be 2-3 verification options depending on the type of your business. Choose “Verify now with live video chat”.
  • You will receive an email from a Google representative, asking you about the right time for the video chat. Confirm the time and date and you will receive a video call from a Google representative.

 

  • They will ask you to show your place of work & a business card or letterhead that has the exact same address as your listing. They may ask for some other proofs as well. So keep all documents handy.

 

  • The whole process takes only 10-15 minutes and you will receive verification email (if everything goes right) within a few hours or 2 days at max.

The 10 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know

The 10 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know

The 10 Most Important SEO Tips You Need to Know

important

A lot has changed in the world of search engine optimization.

However, certain fundamental principles remain unchanged.

For example, targeting keywords with the sole intent of improving organic rankingsno longer works with search engines, but keywords are still essential.

Beyond getting SEO juice, keywords reveal a lot more about users and what they’re struggling with.

With so many SEO techniques, it’s become almost impossible to determine which ones to stick to and which you can safely ignore.

Is link building a thing of the past? Should you devote your time and energy to on-page SEO? How can you write a title tag to drive your rankings with search engines? Where do SEO and social media intersect?

And, seriously, what are the truly best SEO tips that’ll lead to results?

Both B2B and B2C marketers want more search leads, because they carry a 8.5X higher chance of conversion than an outbound lead.

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Brian Dean did a fabulous job when he created a post showcasing 200 Google ranking factors. The post went on to become extremely popular, generating thousands of new leads, from organic search, for Brian.

This article may not be as in-depth as Brian’s. Nor will I be answering all of the questions raised above. Instead, I want to show you the 10 most important SEO tips that you need to know right now.

If you focus on these techniques alone, you’ll definitely drive more organic traffic to your blog and improve your search rankings without risking a Google penalty.

Let’s get started: 

1. Remove anything that slows down your site.

Page speed is a critical factor in SEO.

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In the past, you could get away with a slow-loading site. I can recall a time when I had to wait for about 5 minutes before a popular news site fully loaded.

I’m sure you can relate to that.

That’s never a good experience, but it’s the kiss of death in today’s marketplace. A slow page can frustrate the user experience and ultimately discourage people from buying your product.

Data from Strange Loop shows that a 1-second delay in page load time can yield a7% loss in conversions.

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In the mind of potential buyers, a slow site is an untrustworthy site. Period.

Page speed is vital, both to users and to search engines. According to eConsultancy, “40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”

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As businesses become more aware of the opportunities to generate targeted leads and increase revenue through search engine optimization, there is a huge demand for speed.

On April 9, 2010, Google included site speed as one of the all-important ranking factors.

This means that if your pages are slow, you’re fighting a losing battle for top organic listings, regardless of the quality of your content or your professional website design.

According to the search engine giant’s internal studies, when a page loads slowly, visitors spend less time there. On the other hand, faster loading pages reduce operating costs and improve user experience, among other benefits.

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Get rid of non-essential elements that slow down your site. If you’re a WordPress user, consider deactivating plugins you may have installed and activated but don’t actually need.

Also, declutter your sidebar and put only essential widgets there.

To learn how to get more out of search engines by improving your page speed, see the resource pages below:

2. Link to other websites with relevant content.

Linking out to other blogs is critical to growth,

says Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media.

To most people, linking out to relevant and authoritative content pages is bad because it takes people off your page.

But, I don’t think so. Link building remains a fundamental part of smart search engine optimization strategy.

According to Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz,

Linking out sends trackable traffic, it makes your site a more valuable and scalable resource.

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll notice that linking out to other sites is my custom. Whenever I write a new post, I reference other trustworthy sites, where appropriate.

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You can’t expect to get from others if you’re unwilling to give first. For example, if you’re looking to get inbound links from authoritative blogs, one of the easiest ways to do that is to show your willingness to link out to those blogs from your own content.

Of course, you should only link out to content pages that offer tremendous value. It’s a good SEO practice.

More important, you can notify an influencer when you link out to them, and, if your post is valuable, they can link back to you, share the post or even email it to their huge email subscriber list.

Link building is also all about quality, not quantity. You’ll build more trust in your niche if you have a few authoritative links rather than a dozen poor quality links.

3. Write for humans first, search engines second.

Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more bloggers and content creators are going back to the old method of SEO, wherein keywords meant to drive search results surpassed the real qualities of engaging, valuable content. If that’s you, it’s absolutely time to change your mindset.

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Many people still aren’t capitalizing on long-tail keywords, preferring instead to attempt to manipulate search engines.

That’s the wrong approach.

Don’t prioritize search engines over the actual humans reading your work. Instead, write content for the user, people who have eyes to read and credit cards to purchase your product. Search spiders are just scripts — they don’t buy products, they don’t engage with you on social media, and they won’t become a loyal customer.

Copyblogger is my #1 go-to site, when it comes to putting readers first. No wonder Brian Clark is so successful at content marketing. He’s even turned Copyblogger into a multi-million dollar digital marketing company.

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It all happened because a marketer like you was passionate about helping people.That’s what drives me, too — and maybe you, as well.

So, what does it mean to write for users first, before search engines?

Well, it’s simple.

Forget that Google and other search engines exist when you’re writing. Instead,create content that will help someone. This is known as SEO copywriting.

Funny enough, when you put users first, you’ll actually write helpful content that search engines will reward, because search engines follow users. It’s not the other way round. At the same time, you’ll be enhancing the user experience and building trust with your audience.

4. Encourage other trustworthy sites to link to you.

To a large extent, inbound links are still the lifeblood of search engine rankings.

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When you combine dofollow and nofollow links, you get a natural link profile that even Google will reward.

Content marketing is all about creating high-quality, engaging content and creating in people the need and urgency to link to you and share your content on social media.

Do you know why so many bloggers link to my posts on QuickSprout.com and NeilPatel.com?

The major determining factor in my success is that I invest a lot of time, money and resources into creating a single post or other piece of content.

How much effort do you suppose when into creating, “The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand”?

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When you’re at the forefront of your industry, creating useful content and linking to authoritative blogs, you’ll find that more people will link to you naturally. This is the essence of effective link building.

5. Have web analytics in place at the start.

After defining your search engine optimization goals clearly, you need software to track what’s working and what’s not.

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Google AnalyticsGoogle Search Console and other, private web analytics software solutions can help you track your success.

Tools like CrazyEgg also show you where your site visitors are clicking, and how they navigate away from your site.

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You should have these web analytics in place, even before you send the first visitor to your site or landing page.

6. Write unique and relevant meta descriptions for every page.

One of the most important SEO tips that most people neglect is the well-craftedmeta description.

The meta description is the first section that people see when Google serves up your page to search users.

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Generally, the search engine giant doesn’t like duplicate content. Yes, there are times when there is a need to cite a paragraph or sentence from another site (and link back to the source), but if publishing duplicate content becomes your way of life, you might get penalized by Google.

In the same vein, duplicate meta descriptions could get you into trouble. But, even if you don’t get penalized straight away, you’re still not providing a great user experience.

You can’t have the same meta description for a page that talks about email marketing and a page on making sales. There’s a big difference in those topics and your meta descriptions should communicate that fact.

If you’re a WordPress user, you can fix duplicate meta descriptions by installing theAll-In-One-SEO Pack or Yoast plugins.

Then, in your WordPress editor, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and add a unique title tag and meta description.

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7. Use readable and meaningful URLs only.

If users can’t read or understand your URL, then search engines may be confused as well.

Here’s how my page URLs look:

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Granted, the URL above is long, but it’s easy to understand, for both users and search engines. There are no numbers or characters, other than the words and dashes.

Stay away from page URLs like this:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/272531

Remember, search engines follow search users.

Brian Clark once said that Google bots are like infants, who need to be spoon-fed regularly. And, he’s right.

Even in this age of search evolution, including the RankBrain, search spiders are still programs, not humans. You need to guide them accordingly.

If I were to adopt a new URL structure, I might pattern it after Brian Dean’s structure. He ensures that only 2-4 words are included in any URL.

This makes the URL memorable to the user, search engine-friendly and easy to type. Copyblogger does the same thing:

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You can learn more about optimizing your page URLs from this infographic:

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8. Build momentum with social signals.

Social media is an integral part of SEO strategy, and search signals are important. You’ve got to focus on increasing yours.

It’s true that Google hasn’t added social signals into their ranking algorithm factors, but I’ve personally seen that social signals do impact search engine rankings.

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Don’t believe me?

Well, several case studies have proven the impact of social shares, likes, tweets and pins on search engine rankings.

As an example, Moz started to rank on Google for “Beginner’s Guide” after Smashing Magazine tweeted out the guide. Shrushti’s search rankings improved from page 400 to page 1 of Google, due to social media.

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If you want to get more social signals, the rules haven’t changed. Here’s the summary:

  • Create useful content that’s share-worthy across your social media platforms.
  • Add share buttons to your post and make them visible.
  • Encourage people to share, by asking them to.
  • Host a social media contest to get more shares.
  • Mention and link to social media influencers/power users in your post and notify them.

… And so much more. Social media is at your disposal. Use it, and use it well.

9. Use the right keywords in your images.

Images are important in search engine optimization.

Google dedicated an entire section of its search results to images. This should tell you how concerned the  search engine giant is with pictures.

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When users are looking for a particular image, what do they search with?

Keywords.

For this reason, you should use the right keywords in your image names and accompanying text (like the caption). Of course, this is not permission to engage inkeyword stuffing.

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However, if your image is of a “blue women’s hat,” don’t name your image “click here to buy hat.”

Always remember that in search engine optimization, relevance is more important that creativity or cleverness.

10. Create & publish unique content consistently to improve your rankings.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, producing unique and engaging content is a challenge for most marketers.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, you need to be disciplined, when it comes to content creation.

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It’s even more important than you might think, due to something called the “fresh factor.” Unique content is one of the factors that affect this freshness score, and, consequently, the search engine rankings for that specific page.

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If you’re not Brian Dean, who’s mastered the art of content promotion and can regularly get tens of thousands of users to read a new post and share it with others on social media, the easiest way to optimize your freshness score is by creating content consistently.

If you’ve chosen to market your business online, then creating unique and helpful blog posts isn’t an option — it’s a must.

Conclusion

The age of a domain or web page is also one of the top SEO tips you should keep in mind. Indeed, it’s crucial for your success. For this reason, don’t constantly change your domain name. Pick one and stick with it, unless there’s a very good reason to change.

That does happen, by the way — just don’t make it a regular practice. I’ve used QuickSprout for over 10 years and I intend to keep the domain name.

If you’ve published a post in the past that’s no longer relevant to users, especially due to the recent Google changes, then instead of writing a new piece of content from scratch, work to update that page.

That way, you can retain the backlinks, social media shares and other on-site engagement metrics it’s already earned.

Finally, learn to focus on and create content around long-tail search phrases (e.g., social media marketing techniques), and not head keywords (e.g., social media).

When link building, think quality, not quantity. And, don’t forget to make your web pages mobile-friendly.

If you pay attention to these important SEO tips, I guarantee that you’ll create better contentdrive more organic traffic, acquire more leads and grow your revenue.

Which other search engine optimization tips or techniques do you think are most crucial for improving search rankings? Are there any SEO tips that have worked against you? 

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