What Is Your Business Doing About Google My Business (GMB)?

Let’s face it, when someone Google’s “Paving Company Bergen County NJ” and you happen to own a paving company in Bergen County NJ … you certainly hope to be visible up top of those search results. Let’s look at how Google My Business will help.

Today, if someone in Bergen County NJ is searching for a paving company, they don’t necessarily have to type “Bergen County” because local paving contractors will almost always automatically appear. Likewise, if they need a driveway paved they want a local paving company.  And yes, Google often knows where that consumer is searching from and so they serve their search results accordingly.

The question for (you) the marketer: is your business content, on and off website including GMB, optimized for local search results?

How To Use Google My Business (GMB)

So how do you get your business to show up in those local search results? Using the various parts of Google My Business is certainly going to help. Syncing it with more in- depth content on your website, via links in GMB business descriptions and in the posts, will improve that local search presence a great deal.

Typical search results include a stack of information including advertisements up top, a local Map Pack of GMB listings and then the organic search results. With GMB you are shooting to be in that local Map Pack of listings, just beneath the ads. Pay attention to these details in order to maximize GMB for better visibility in those hyper qualified local search results!

1. Information – What Does Your Business Do?

Get into the details and offer a full presentation of the business. If you are a builder, choose categories correctly from those offered … and dig for extra categories. Name, Address, Phone, Website and Hours of Operation are obvious, but be sure to describe experience, recently completed jobs and the type of work your business excels at. If someone is looking for a deck and deck construction is NOT in the detail you probably aren’t going to show up in their local search results. The more information and data available the more likely your business will pop up!


2. Location – Where is Your Business Located?

There are multiple search techniques and the map is only one.  If you are business that has no storefront there are options to show this; however, you must verify that your address is correct via a process GMB will dictate in setup. And note: UPS boxes need not apply!

 

3. Hours of Operation – When is Your Business Open?

Days, times and holiday hours matter, at least they do for that map pack area. You have a much better chance of appearing in a Google search if the search arrives during your hours. If you are closed, you likely won’t be there. Keep hours consistent between GMB and website, the Google algorithm cross references! Hours are important for many that search, this detail MUST NOT be overlooked.

 

4. Contact Information – What is the Phone, Website and Email Address?

The more options for connection the better! People can choose their preferred method of communication and get a message to you easily.


5. Manage Reviews – Better Yet, Seek Out Good Reviews!

Ask customers you know are happy to write reviews. Furthermore, respond to reviews. Thank people who have taken the time to post a review. If someone had a rough experience and maybe leaves a bad review then take the time to answer them in a way that demonstrates genuine concern! In many cases this is as much for prospective searchers as it is the party involved. Additionally, say a little something about how you enjoyed that particular transaction. Use keywords, they matter!


6. Photos – A Photo Can Say a Lot, So Choose These Carefully!

When you are selling a service like paving or construction post photos of jobs you are proud of. Potential clients want to see your work. Unfortunately, this can be a headache because only certain sizes will be accepted. Videos is welcome too; however, it is also tricky – too heavy a file and it won’t load.


7. Posts – What’s New, a Special or a Project Matters!

To ignore posts is a LOST opportunity! It’s not only a link to more in – depth brand- ready website pages and posts lost, but a chance to reinforce the all he keywords you target. Not to mention, a post on your listing may call a searching consumer who sees it to action. Again, those posts matter!

 

What it boils down to is local information matters to consumers AND what people want locally matters to Google, so it had better matter to you! These details affect your business visibility when it comes to hyper local search results and the ‘map pack’ area dedicated solely to Google My Business listings. So plug in your data and pay attention to your GMB account, Google holds you accountable to being up to date. If you can’t  do it, get someone in the know on Local SEO involved … we’d love to help!

Google Listing Post - Google My Business Tools Why Marketers Must Use Google Listing Posts


Having a Google listing post strategy is more important than ever! When business owners produce ‘Google My Business’ posts that are timely & relevant they often find consumers click through at a high rate. But why?

Remember that the mental availability of the viewer is much higher than, for instance, with advertisements which are generally an interruption to something a person is reading. In this case they see it because they are searching for the entity, the geography and/or related information.  The consumer is qualified by the search they pursue, which otherwise would not place the Google listing & related post there on that search results page.


Google Post Benefits Include:

 

  • They can improve Google’s entity knowledge of the business  relevance for
    • target keywords
    • business geography
    • specific products and
    • specific services
  • They are an opportunity to place valued offering content high on a SERP
  • They can inform Google about business relevance for images, video and/ or ideas
  • They drive qualified traffic to a listing, where a summarized presentation is made 
  • They can drive qualified traffic to the website, via clicks directly from a post or via the related listing detail 

 

Support With Google

 

Any confusion about the many names and options for managing your local Google presence is warranted. ‘Google Places’ used to be the tool for owners to manage their business profile, but it was retired in 2014. There is also Google’s social network ‘Google+’,  but while it could support the creation of groups its use has diminished to a degree it may not be a productive option for the business hoping to reach local consumers. Today ‘Google My Business’ is the place to manage how the business appears in a local Google Search, on Maps, etc. 

While Kinetic Knowledge tends to listing posts as a standard element of a Local SEO Plan – getting ‘Google My Business tools set up, optimized and verified can be a chore. Ask us about the ‘Google My Business’ tools today!

on duplicate content

On Duplicate Content

We get the question, “may I duplicate content I believe will be valuable to my audience?” quite often. Our answer is always the same: duplicating someones content is never a good practice. Plagiarism can, in some cases, involve liability for copyright infringement. And while Google isn’t interested in policing it, in certain circumstances plagiarism will get a website tossed from the search indexes.

There is a safe practice for copying someone else: If the content is truly valuable to an audience then excerpt & block quote the piece, then credit the author with a live link to her page or post.  

 

How Google Defines Duplicate Content 

To be specific, let’s go to the source / Google for their definition: “… substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” They also say, “Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin… In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries.”

They go on to add you should not concern yourself with occasional snippets or quotes being identified as duplicate content, but in the event you are removed from the search results you must then review webmaster guidelines in order to define then deal with the situation. Once you’ve corrected the problem based upon those guidelines, and the site is in order, you can submit for reconsideration.  


Google Duplicate Content Practices

Apparently, during spider crawling and then the serving up of search results, Google trusts their algorithms to rank similar pages correctly. The say, “When filters identify an intent to manipulate rankings or to deceive searchers, the appropriate ranking adjustments are made.” *And Google readily admits they’d rather rely on their automated- filters than on making manual rank adjustments. Because they don’t define a threshold for “adjustments” good logic might place the range of adjustment anywhere between a lesser rank to removal. Your logic is as good as ours, but no one’s time, effort, money and / or future business is worth the risk that comes with duplicating content irresponsibly. Simply put, just don’t!

According to SEOMoz.org’s Eric Enge in his post ‘When Duplicate content really hurts’,

“Conventional wisdom among experienced SEOs is that there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. There are exceptions to this rule. Search engines implement a filter… there is apparently a duplicate content threshold where Google’s filter will identify and actually penalize a site.” He says, “I write this based upon a combination of hearsay and also some experience we’ve had we could only speculate about.” Enge also warns that Search Engine spiders only visit with so much crawl bandwidth or what he refers to as budget. If you waste those crawls on content that won’t be indexed successfully, you are sacrificing other useful content that could have been indexed.

In a similar instance we saw a business copy all the lead stories from their local newspaper, despite our warnings against such practices. One day they disappeared from the search engine results pages [SERPs] eliminating any potential visibility. And let’s face it, consumers are researching your service for it’s value & accountability. The risk of their disapproval should be a concern.

Duplicate Content Summarized

Regardless of what one can and cannot get away with, demonstrating a trustworthy, knowledgeable presence on the web is what appeals to most people. If the search engines don’t penalize you for cheating, the humans most certainly will!

Reviews Are Not In A Business Owners’ Control

 

Good Reviews are some of the best advertising; however, web- based reviews and even a negative review are NOT IN a business owner’s control! Reviews posted to random search or directory listing websites is a modern day reality. It is content that consumers seek out when they wish to know how other people’s experience has been.

And yes the chance of a negative review scares and frustrates business owners, but there is ALSO BIG opportunity here! A simple plan for ‘reputation management’ that not only pursues good reviews but both protects against and also deals with negative reviews (see the tips below) MUST become ‘standard operating business practice’. Serious marketers NEED a proactive approach to identify, contact and follow through with happy customers for a review. Be thorough: show them (step by step) how to give that review! If so, those annoying listings & citations will become a HUGE competitive advantage even when that negative review occurs! Caution: we said ‘management’ because attempting to automate or simply game reviews is NOT going to fool anyone, certainly not Google’s algorithms.

 


In fact it is crucial to get proactive about asking happy clients & customers for reviews NOT ONLY because

1) a good review is some of the best advertising a business can ever have or 
2) 9 of 10 people won’t get around to giving one unless they are asked, BUT because
3) lots of good reviews will serve as the hedge a business needs for if that bad review ever comes! 

Important: Google Map or Search Listings are where reviews are the most visible, so be certain there is a fully verified and optimized set of Google My Business listings in place! Sure JudysBook, HomeAdvisor and the like run television advertising and maybe someone somewhere mentioned they use FindLaw, but given a choice for where a person’s one review will be most visible … there simply is no comparison to Google listings. 10- maybe even 25X more visible, it is not even close! 

 

The Correct Steps For How To Deal With A Bad Review

1. Go Direct!:

Respond privately to the individual before responding publicly, if possible. Apologize and acknowledge a mistake or a misunderstanding. Maybe, there’s an opportunity to make up for it in exchange for taking the negative review down or, better yet, for an updated good review. Online reviews are not set in stone, they can always be updated by the reviewer.

2. A BUSINESS MUST PRESENT A POSITIVE POSITION:

  • Never react, never make excuses in a public response
  • Prepare a response to amicably resolve the situation, but always have others review it before going live
  • Identify yourself as the business owner, explain customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance and that given a chance to speak directly you are certain you can resolve the situation
  • Restate the issue because that person is likely annoyed, they want to know they were heard
  • Do not motivate or engage in a back and forth battle online for the entire world to see. Arguments or trying to explain how events didn’t occur in the fashion reviewed is not going to help! CONSUMERS reading it will lean toward other consumers when they see this. We must understand WE are speaking to the public and the prospective consumer too!
  • Acknowledge a mistake — even if you’re not sure you have made one — apologize and (again) offer to proactively fix the situation.
  • If an agreement can be reached the person will often take the review down, but if not you have still demonstrated goodwill and the way you conduct business for everyone to see!

3. Management Of Consumer Expectations:

Let’s do our very best NEVER to be caught off guard! How? We need to be thorough communicators from the very start. This obvious tip is prevention: a company should carefully manage expectations about what is and what is not being sold. Leave nothing to chance! Some might call it making sure buyers are not set up for confusion or the disappointment that can motivate a bad review in the first place. And folks, drop the ego – we all want support when we buy services and those prospective buyers are no different – so be sure to give them the best you’ve got!

4. Directory Review Policies:

Getting a review removed depends on the listing cos. documented policies and whether or not you can prove they were violated, but its’ worth a careful look. Yelp, for instance, doesn’t support reviews from a competitor. No directory will support false user accounts, so be sure the individual is legitimate or you may be able to have it taken down. And there is usually a way to FLAG a false review in your account dashboard calling the directory out to review it with your reasons for why it should be taken down. 

 

 

About Bad Reviews

The negative side of this coin is you CANNOT control all the listings out there witHazardous Negative Reviews And How To Deal With Themh your company’s information, nor the chance anyone will post a review. If the possibility of getting a negative review makes you hesitant, remember that sooner or later almost every business will get one. There are those rare individuals out there who may NOT be fair. Maybe it’s a less than honest ‘reputation management’ firm using nefarious tactics to scare up new business for its client at the expense of competition. No matter, it’s why all business owners must have a proactive plan ready. Getting reviews MUST be seen as standard business practice!

And by the way, having nothing but glowing comments can make some readers wonder about whether or not your reviews are even legitimate. Your plan for managing that bad review will speak volumes with potential customers (including the unhappy customer) and can have a far greater effect than the bad review itself. We all know some people are impossible to please and consumers get that too. Google listings and other review sites certainly allow you to respond publicly to a negative review so that consumers can see you take customer satisfaction seriously.