How to improve your local ranking with Google Business
Around 46% of searches on Google have local intent. That means people are looking for businesses like yours, in their area. For example “Christchurch plumber” or “mechanics near me”.
If you business isn’t coming up in the Google Maps results for local businesses when people search using these local terms, you are missing out! Google Business Listings are entirely free and a very important part of your overall marketing strategy.
In this post, we’re going to explain what a Google Business Listing is, how you can create one for your business, and how you can continue to improve your local rankings utilising your listing.
What is a Google Business Listing?
If you’re not sure what a Google Business Listing is, head along to Google Maps and type something like dentist, or flower delivery, or coffee shop into the search panel. You’ll see a list of local businesses, their location on the map, phone number and website link, opening hours, reviews and review rating and more.
Is your business listed here? First test by typing your business name. If you do, that’s great! Now try typing something in your industry that people might use to find you (like vehicle financing if you are a Finance provider). Did you still come up?
If you do have a listing, there are some really important things you should be doing constantly to improve your rankings and ratings. If you don’t, then don’t waste anytime, create one right now.
How do I create a Google Business Listing?
Setting up your Google Business Listing is quite simple, just follow these simple steps:
- Log into your Google account
- Go to https://business.google.com/ and click Manage now
- Follow the setup prompts from here. Google will step you through each part of the process.
One of the most important steps in setting up your listing is ensuring that you put the right address so that you can receive the verification code in the mail. Without this, your listing cannot go live.
Make sure once you’ve followed the prompts to set up your listing, you click through each of the tabs on the left and fill out all the details. This is especially important in the Info tab. But you can also:
- Upload your logo, cover photo, team photos and other photos for your business
- Turn Messages on so that people can contact you via Google
- Add Products
- Add Services
After that, wait for the code to arrive. Once it does, enter the code into the Verification section and your listing will be live. Now you can start sharing the Review link, add the map to your website and start Posting!
How to improve your local ranking
With so many people typing local searches on Google like “mechanic near me” or “Christchurch florist”, it’s really important that your business rank well for the searches relevant to your industry.
Here are some ways you can improve your local rankings on Google:
- Ensure you have filled out all your data and that it is accurate and up to date.
- Make sure your business is verified. As part of this process, Google will require you to receive a postcard via snail mail to your physical address.
- Request reviews from all your happy customers. Respond to all reviews you get, whether good or bad. This will increase trust from your potential customers and show that you care about them.
- When there are public holidays, enter your special opening hours. Make sure people know if your business is closed.
- Have a Covid update? Let people know if your business has special entry conditions, requires masks or contact tracing.
- Add photos of your staff, products, projects and anything else to do with your business.
- Include your Google Business Listing on your website.
- Add weekly posts to the Posts section of your listing. You can make this a part of your social media schedule, and utilise posts that you are putting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. There are a variety of posts that you can do, including events, general updates and products.
What if I get a bad review?
You cannot delete a bad review – if there is profanity or hate speech then you can request Google remove the review, but for a simple poor review of your service you cannot get it removed or hidden.
So what should you do if you do get a bad review?
The reality is that you can’t please everyone. There’s always going to be a disgruntled customer that wants to share their bad experience with the world. Here are some steps you can take though:
- Respond to the review honestly. Apologise if there has been an issue at your end, explain if there was nothing you could do, offer to try and help the customer sort the issue out. Maybe you can resolve the issue and get them to change or remove their review.
- Review the processes in your business. Sometimes these bad reviews can be really helpful in showing you areas that need to be improved.
- If there is hate speech, terrorist content, dangerous or derogatory content etc, you can request a review from Google. It will take time, so be patient.
Do you want your customers to give you great reviews? Well you can do this for them as well! Whenever you have a great experience, pop onto Google Maps and give that business a review. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be helping them. Other businesses will see your engagement and may do the same for you.
Ensuring you business is listed on Google Maps is imperative to growing your business. Once you do have your business listing set up, don’t neglect it. Post weekly to the posts section and always ensure your data is accurate and up to date.