Finding new customers is an important part of every business. It used to be as simple as buying the biggest advert in the Yellow Pages, then sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
Then the internet arrived.
Hundreds of social media platforms, online directories, search engine optimisation, Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, Google My Business – the list of plates for the photographer to spin to try and bring in new enquiries are endless.
Together, over this series of articles, we will explore ways to help you with your online presence.
In the first of our series, we will explore the centre of our online universe, the largest search platform Google; the Yellow Pages of our time.
Let’s look at the statistics. Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, that’s over 3.5 billion searches per day and a whopping 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
People are looking for answers and most of us head to Google for them.
Google My Business – Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before
When interviewed recently, Google’s Vice-President of Search – Amit Singhal, explained his vision. He dreamed of Google becoming like the computer in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. The ultimate objective: creating a virtual assistant that can answer any question.
Understanding this vision, and the products coming to market like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, can really help us to develop our online strategy. Search engine optimisation – the tactic of tweaking our website to rank on that essential first page of search is changing. It’s part of a revolution that we are taking part in, and Google want’s us as businesses to be part of.
In the past we could have optimised our website for a short phrase like ‘photographer surrey’ but search intelligence and searching styles have changed. We often ask questions like ‘barber near me’, ‘Sainsburys opening times’. With most searches coming from a mobile device, location data is now part of the search parameters. It’s important that we now show up not just in search, but in our local area too.
Remember how Yellow Pages was a local information source, Google have given us a free tool to ensure we show up in Local Search too, and it’s massively under-utilised, Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free service provided by Google to help us show up in Search Results. It partners a mobile phone app and online portal. It’s more than just a business listing, it should become a living breathing profile for your business, updated regularly.
If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Our Top Tips to Get the Best from Google My Business:
- Claim your FREE Google My Business listing.
- Complete all your details – from location, to opening times.
- Add your Logo. Keep your branding consistent across all social media.
- Keep your NAP consistent across the Web – Your name, address and phone number should have the same formatting and style across everything, right down to punctuation.
- Play the visual game and stack the odds in your favour.
- Include photos of building exteriors and interiors – these are things that help people find you and entice them inside.
- Upload behind the scenes videos and images – people love to see artists at work.
- Add Staff photos – we love to see who we are dealing with!
- The average profile will have 15 images. It’s a numbers game and we are in a visual industry; post regular fresh relevant content and you will see progress.
- Get customers to leave you reviews on Google. Claim a short URL on your account to send clients to the review area. The average competitor will have 10-15 reviews, storm this and you build trust. Respond to every review, even negative ones.
- Post to GMB regularly. Your posts are like mini-ad’s that will show up in the Knowledge panel in Search. These can be key word optimised for search and you can write an article up to 1500 characters.
- Add products, promotions and events. Your profile is a sales tool!
- Enable Messaging. People trust the Google portal, so are likely to engage through it.
How often should I update my Google My Business Profile?
As a minimum monthly.
A neglected profile is like a derelict shopfront, however, the more often there is fresh content, the more relevant Google will see it to the user, to see the best return try to update daily or weekly.
Need help with your Google My Business profile? We can teach you how to use Google My Business, or we can take care of it for you. Talk to us today.
Another Local SEO tool to discover is Apple Business Connect find out more in this 2023 blog post.