Google My Business Optimization Tactics

Google My Business (GMB) profiles are listings that let businesses manage how they appear on Google Search and Maps. These profiles are a quintessential element of an optimized digital marketing ecosystem because they contribute to:

  • First Impressions: They are the FIRST THING someone sees when they search on Google for your locations (i.e. “Massage Envy La Jolla” or “Amazing Lash Studio near me”).
  • SEO: According to the marketing analytics company Moz, GMB profiles account for 25.12% of the local SEO equation.

Recently, Google has implemented a series of upgrades to their GMB platform, and there will be many more to come! This infographic is designed to help your business capitalize on the features that exists today.

 

Google My Business Infographic Summary

 

Location Groups

  • Set up a location group (formerly known as ‘Business Accounts’) for your brand’s GMB profiles. This will provide the franchisor with the ability to add, verify/claim, and manage their network’s profiles, giving them a level of control over the content on the accounts, as well as the ability to delete accounts for closed locations and claim new locations without the need of a pesky postcard. 

 

Naming Convention

  • Use a consistent naming convention for your locations. The name of each location’s GMB profile should include a local indicator. For example, instead of having the same ‘TITLE Boxing Club’ listed for every location, they include local indicators such as “TITLE Boxing Club – Green Hills” and “TITLE Boxing Club – East Nashville.”
  • Bonus SEO Tip: When possible, consider including a keyword in your naming convention. Pop-A-Lock includes “Locksmiths” in their naming convention (example: “Pop-A-Lock Locksmiths of Phoenix”), improving their GMB profile’s rank on local locksmith-related searches.  

 

Categories

  • You have the option to choose one ‘Primary’ category and multiple ‘Secondary’ categories. Be sure to select relevant answers for all available category boxes, with the ‘Primary’ category being the most important one. 
  • Bonus SEO Tip: Consider mixing up your ‘Primary’ category over the course of the year. For example, An HVAC company could have ‘Heating Contractor’ as their primary category during the winter and Air Conditioner Repair Service’ in the summer.

 

Service Area

  • Service-based companies like locksmiths, plumbers, and electricians do not want to list their address on Google. By setting up a ‘Service Area’ in their listing, you can let customers (and Google’s algorithm) know all the specific cities you cover. 

 

Services / Menu

  • You want to submit and publish information related to your products and services. This is a terrific way to inform Google about the specific offerings your company provides, improving your chances of ranking highly on search queries related to those offerings. 

 

About

  • While the general messaging can be the same across your GMB profiles’ ‘About’ sections, be sure and make it unique to each location by including localized keywords (i.e. city, neighborhood, service area, local membership information), handicap accessibility information, and links to the locations’ Facebook page. 

 

Photos

  • Upload high-resolution photos of your business (interior, exterior, employees in action).
  • Bonus SEO Tip: These pictures are indexed by Google, so rename each picture file. For example, before you upload a picture named ‘8102.jpg’ to your GMB profile, change the file name to something like ‘Scenthound – West Palm Beach, FL – Dog Grooming.jpg.’ By doing so, Google better understands the content of your picture, helping the image to rank highly on image-based Google search queries related to each location in your franchise network. 

 

Hours of Operation

  • Ensure that your hours of operation are accurate at all times.  You can manually edit your listed HoH, and you can set up ‘special hours’ designed to highlight your hours of operation during major holidays. This can be done at a national level if you have a location group set up!

 

Posts

  • Promote special offers to potential customers via Google Posts. For example, LSM set up posts for TITLE Boxing Club highlighting kickboxing and fitness classes. Over a 12-week period, the posts generated 615 leads and $21k in new membership revenue!

 

Video

  • Repeat the same process mentioned in the ‘Photos’ section. 

 

Followers/Offers

  • Google recently introduced the ability to ‘follow’ GMB profiles. This is similar to how someone ‘Likes’ a Facebook Page and begins seeing posts published by that page. We suggest you encourage folks to follow your profile, and share offers directly with your followers to show how much you appreciate their loyalty. 

 

Results

  • Visit your GMB dashboard to review key metrics at national and local levels. Setting up proper UTM codes and conversion goals allows you to better understand the number of people viewing your GMB profiles and taking action (i.e. website visits, phone calls, direction requests, etc.).

 

GMB Case Study

  • LSM implemented much of what I just covered in European Wax Center’s SEO strategy. Using an apples-to-apples YoY comparison, our GMB optimization efforts generated a 108% increase in discovery searches, a 105% increase in website actions, a 46% increase in phone actions, and a 26% increase in total views.  

 

Conclusion

  • Optimizing your GMB ecosystem provides your business with better control over how your brand is displayed throughout your entire network, ensuring better first impressions, greater online visibility, and more new customer opportunities. Google continues to refine its GMB product (example: they’re beta testing a ‘Product Collection’ that gives businesses an option of listing their products along with a description, price, image, and call-to-action), so expect more features to be released over the coming 12-24 months. Have more questions about Google My Business? Contact LSM today!

What is an Ad Extension and How Can It Help Your Business?


Want to give your prospective customers more reasons to click on your ads? Ad extensions do just that.  These extra pieces of information – such as your business address, website or phone number – can be added to your pay-per-click ads to better serve your customers’ needs.

Google and other search engines will tend to rank ads with extensions higher than ads without. Why? Google values the quality of an advertisement when calculating its rankings. Since ad extensions provide more information to a customer, they are viewed as superior ads.

An Infographic on the importance of ad extensions


Ads in higher positions  have higher visibility and lead to higher click-through rates. Below are some of the types of ad extensions you can use to provide more value to both your customers and your advertisements.


Call extensions place a small button on the side of your ad that allows customers to directly call your business from mobile devices. A call extension would work great if your business requires customers to make phone calls to either purchase products or schedule services.

An example of an ad extension


Location extensions show the address of your business and help nearby customers find you. This type of extension works well if your  business has multiple locations and you want your customers to know when they’re in close proximity.


Review extensions show your business’s positive reviews from third-party sites directly in the advertisement. If your business has great reviews or provides a product or service that many consumers research before purchasing, this extension would be useful for you.


Callout extensions let you show additional descriptive text about what your business offers directly underneath your ad. If your business runs any special offers and wants to share them with your customers, callout extensions would be ideal for your ads.


Sitelink extensions provide links to different pages of your website. They give your customers quicker access to the content  they want to see as it pertains to your ad.


Google offers several other extensions that your business can use. Have a mobile app? The app extension links directly to the app store where customers can download it.  Want to show off the 5-star rating of your e-commerce site? A seller rating extension shows the overall rating of your online business. Have high quality survey results to share? A consumer rating extension highlights your survey results.  All of these extensions serve  specific purposes, so it’s important to identify what exactly your customers might want to see before adding an extension. By doing so, you stand to serve better ads that produce higher value.

For more information on ad extensions and how they can help your company receive more value from its advertisements, email us (bizdev@localsearchmasters.com) or call us at 615-387-9157. You can also visit our web page about online advertising to learn more about Google pay-per-click ads, or you can go straight to Google’s web page about ad extensions.

4 Things We Learned At The Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference

A few weeks ago, we traveled to Atlanta for the Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead. Created by Franchise Update Media, the Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference is a two day event focusing on all aspects of franchise marketing. Many of the industry’s top experts are brought together to discuss everything from how to utilize new technology to enhancing franchisee participation. LSM engaged in several interesting workshops addressing the changes and challenges facing franchise marketers today. LSM’s Chief Marketing Officer, Matthew Job, moderated the session voted best of the conference: ‘Local Marketing – Imperative For Location, Market and Brand Growth,’ which we thought was pretty cool! Needless to say we look forward to attending again in 2017!


Below are four key takeaways from the conference:

  1. Your brand promise is one of the most important components of your business to communicate to your consumers. It’s vital to the long-term health of your business, and it’s an element that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your brand promise extends to every part of your organization – from sales to customer service. Your brand positioning can drive innovation and even change the course of R&D based on customer feedback. Terri Snyder, CMO/EVP of the Checkers/Rally’s restaurant franchise system, described her experience of identifying the brand promise after she started with the organization, and encouraged us to go back to the foundation of the brand for inspiration.
  2. Local marketing is imperative for location, market and brand growth. This was a terrific presentation by Nancy Bigley, CEO at Bottles & Bottega, Ali Rauch, Director of Marketing at Chicken Salad Chick and Angela Paules, VP of Marketing at Mosquito Joe. In a nutshell, having an effective local marketing strategy is paramount to the success of many franchise brands. The first step is laying the foundation, which includes finding passionate franchisees who aren’t afraid to be true brand ambassadors, and helping them understand the importance of local marketing prior to them even becoming franchisees. Next is providing franchisees with turn-key marketing resources that make it easy for them to participate and understand the results of their spend: customizable marketing materials, checklists, lead tracking and online reporting dashboards for example. Working with vendor partners that specialize in different aspects of local marketing can be a great resource for brands that don’t have the internal resources to complete all the work needed to create and maintain an excellent local marketing strategy. Showing franchisees examples of successful marketing plans or initiatives will improve their likelihood of participation moving forward; testimonials from their peers can sometimes mean more than recommendations from HQ. They emphasized the importance of collaborating with others on a regular basis to unearth fresh ideas and solutions.A photo of LSM at FCMC
  3. Meet your customers where they are. Allow your advocates to interact with your brand where they are online. This is especially true with respect to reviews and reputation management. Get your dissenters offline immediately, and work with them to resolve issues as quickly as possible. Most importantly, make your responses geared towards the general public, not just towards the customer who left a negative review. Dave Randall, Sr Manager of Marketing Strategy at Great Clips, said it brilliantly: “Never get in a pissing match with a skunk – you’ll both end up stinking.” A potential customer’s opinion of your business is largely based on what people say about your business online; when responding to reviews, write with this potential customer in mind.
  4. Programmatic advertising is no longer “the future” – it’s now. Programmatic advertising is a way to purchase highly-targeted impression inventory (like banner ads and sponsored content) on the websites of your choosing. The goal is to serve the right ad to the right visitor at the right time. On programmatic advertising networks, you can target website visitors based on things like cookies and device ID’s (especially critical to mobile implementations) as well as contextual topics. Location targeting on these networks, in many cases, is also much more robust, factoring in GPS data of mobile website visitors. Darryl Singer, National Director at Centro, explained that the value exchange between privacy and relevancy is becoming more equal; if ads are inevitable, we probably want to be served ads we actually care about, and this is made possible by the advanced targeting options in programmatic technology.


These are only a handful of takeaways from the sessions that we were fortunate enough to attend. We’re positive that several more nuggets of valuable information were discussed during the conference.

For more information about the Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference, you can click here.

It was a terrific event and Local Search Masters looks forward to attending in 2017 and beyond!