1. Claim your listing:
Go to https://www.google.com/business/Claim and verify your business (google will send you a postcard with a code for verification, always use the postcard, DO NOT phone verify or have an agency tell you they can get you verified. Again, follow Googles Rules)
2. Search The Competition:
Open an Incognito Window, Google the major terms for your area. Examples- AC Repair in Your City, Heating Repair in Your City. Look to see who the top-ranking company is and look at their profile. Is it complete? How many reviews? Really study what they are doing, this is who you are going to outrank. If you see a Fake Listing, drive to the location, and snap a pic with your mobile phone and report it. These are rank and rent sites.
3. Business Citations
Go to https://www.neustarlocaleze.biz/this is a listing platform for your business and the largest data aggregator that Google validates. Make sure your business is listed and make sure your Name, Address and Phone number are an exact match. Like exact, any character difference can be a huge deal. The major listings are Four square, apple, manta, yelp, bing, BBB and chamber of commerce to start with.
4. Get Reviews
Once you have a Verified Listing, get reviews from ACTUAL customers. The best ones will be reviews that mention your brand, the business owners name (or tech), the service you preformed, include trust words (best, reliable, trusted), local guides. Then, respond to these reviews, not two weeks later, but immediately. With a unique response for every single one.
5. Add Photos and Logo
Add photos to your listing. Photos of your logo, trucks wrapped, office sign at your office, taken with a mobile phone. Google will read the exif data which tells them the location. Google can also read images, want to see how? Go here and drop a photo in https://cloud.google.com/vision
Do a live tour of your office. Hire a Google Trusted Photographer and do a 360. It works, the platform was designed for it.
6. Get a Youtube Page
Sign up for a YouTube channel and link the two properties together. Google gives you a free website. This is not to replace your website, but it is another Google Property. It does not matter if it’s pretty, but make sure it is optimized for your BRAND. Add the widget to the site for “posts”. Then, go to https://sites.google.com/new and make another Google Property Site. The key with this site is to be “Your Services” Embed your GMB listing on this site, which is interlinking the properties. Make sure you NAP (name, address, phone) all match.
7. Create Posts
Create a total of 15 Google Posts. 5 that are brand focused, 5 that are keyword focused, 5 that are services focused. Make sure everyone one these posts have a Call to Action.
8. Drive Traffic To GMB
Get traffic to the GMB, this can be paid traffic, or it can be organic. Google has as share button for a reason! Think Facebook, E-Mail, any platform that you can get real users to interact and engage.
9. Services and Products
Make sure your services and products section are filled out with the exact keyword phrases you use on your main website. This is a big one folks, Google rewards consistency. If you have services pages on your main website, look at the Title or Url. That should match your services you are trying to rank for in GMB. If not, that is a problem.
10. Google My Business App
Download the GMB App, yes even if you are the owner. This shows Google you are using their platform. Set-Up messaging on the GMB listing. Have someone send a message thru the system and respond to it immediately. Do this a few times over a few days IN YOUR SERVICE AREA.
11. Answer Questions
There is a section on GMB to answer questions customers ask, again have someone ask a question and answer it. These questions can be used on your website to bring more consistency between properties. Think to yourself…” how would Google feel about ranking my business if my main website answers the exact questions my customers are asking?” There is a ton a developer can do, but for the sake of this just make sure you get this section filled out.
12. Driving Directions
Directions… Ok here is where the big players are crushing the little guys and they aren’t doing it on purpose or even have a clue why. The big players interview and hire a lot. Every single time someone asks Google for directions to the business, then drives their vehicle to the office. You guessed it; points are awarded. So, here is a tactic to level the playing field. Do not overuse this! If your tech is doing a service call in an area you are trying to rank for, then is coming to the office. Yup, you guessed it, have him or her put office directions into the map.
13. Youtube Videos
YouTube Videos. The first thing I will mention, just do it. Nobody cares if it is high production quality, authentic videos are better IMO. Have some of the office staff participate, I have found that it can help bring a much-needed change to the workday and improve moral. It will let you know who really wants to help the company grow! The videos should be separate Branded and Service/Location videos. Meaning the Title and description. Make sure you include a Thumbnail with the keyword, company name, logo, phone number (remember google can read an image). The description should also include your NAP, your GMB shortcode, geo coordinates. This will interlink these videos from YouTube to your GMB. Next share them around, all the social platforms (paid and unpaid).
This list above is not every method to help rank you GMB, but if you accomplish this list, I promise you will outrank most businesses in your area for just a small investment of your time.
There are many professional methods that can be used once the foundation above has been completed and can really change the direction of a business for many years to come.
A word of caution, Local SEO is only effective when a keyword is typed into a browser, meaning it is only effective when there is demand. Measuring and predicting the volume of business is exceedingly difficult. That is why Local SEO should only be a part of an ongoing marketing strategy. Paid media should be used to even out the ebbs and flows of seasonality.
If you have any questions about this process click the button below, I’d love to chat.