Episode 005 of SEO Hackerz - Google My Business for Local SEO

Episode 005 – Google My Business for Local SEO

This is the Google My Business for Local SEO episode.  I wrote about Google My Business optimization for Local SEO and the recent updates a few months back.

I noticed that a lot of businesses were still either not aware or not taking advantage of the new opportunities within GMB.  The podcast seemed like a great way to reach more people about it.


Show Notes from Episode 005 of SEO Hackerz

Only 3 days late but better late than never. This week we talk about the new features of Google My Business. That not exactly new as I wrote about them 5 months ago but A LOT of businesses are not aware of them yet.

The new features include

  • Posts: Add your specials/promotions
  • Services: A menu style listing of your services (Originally created for restaurants)
  • Booking Button: Allows users to book you right from your GMB listing
  • Messaging: Allows visitors to your GMB listing on mobile to message you from their mobile device.

We talk about why it’s important to check and update your listings accordingly. The perfect example is I thought my description was added but apparently. not. So I added it during the recording. We discuss NAP and also the latest SEO news. Check it all out and join my SEO Community at http://seohackerz.com

SEO News:

Google Explains Why Singular and Plurals Rank Differently

The Page Speed update: what SEOs need to know

Google Launches Structured Data Codelab

Transcription Coming Soon


Episode 5 of SEO Hackerz - Google My Business for Local SEO

local business listings for SEO

Jump Start Your Google Rankings with a N.A.P. [Improve Traffic by 20-70%]

Jump Start Your Google Rankings with a N.A.P. [Improve Traffic by 20-70%]

  • N.A.P. is an acronym that stands for Name, Address, Phone Number
  • Maintain accurate and up to date listings across the internet is important
  • What happens when N.A.P. is updated on business listing sites to be accurate and up to date?


Why is N.A.P. So Important?

What I Discovered While Researching the Client’s Local Listings (This is Probably Happening to Your Business)

How We Fixed the Local Listings

What Your Business Needs to Know

local SEO local Search NAPIn a recent case study, I worked with a client on their local listings.  We uncovered the following before we got started.

Of 61 listings, 52 of them were nonexistent.  Five of the remaining 9 contained incorrect N.A.P. information.  We took on the task of updating these listings to improve their overall rankings in Google.  Once all the local listings were updated the traffic to their site saw a 70% increase in traffic and a 12% decrease in bounce rate.  These increases were from local, qualified traffic.  Meaning it was not junk traffic from another part of the world.  The traffic increase was from organic search results.  In fact, the bounce rate for organic traffic was even lower than the overall number.

See – What is Bounce Rate & Why Is It Important to SEO?

You might be wondering what N.A.P. is.  N.A.P. stands for Name, Address, Phone Number.  This is the basic information of any listing for a business on any number of local directory listing sites.  There are hundreds of local directory listing sites ranging from Google My Business to Yelp and lots of lesser-known ones in between.  Some of these sites are not very valuable to your SEO strategy (What Is SEO?) or your business in general.  Others will provide a boost as Google scans the internet to ensure business information is accurate.

Speaking of Google My Business, if you don’t have GMB listing accurately set up for your business then we need to have a different conversation.

Why Is N.A.P. So Important? 

Google My Business is a very important component of local SEO.  Having this set up completely and accurately is a necessity for any business.  Google does not only confirm your business information on Google My Business.  It also scans the internet to validate that your N.A.P. matches what you have on Google My Business and that all the other listings match.

Variations in your name, address, and phone number can send signals to Google that the information is not accurate across all your web properties.

What I Discovered While Researching the Client’s Local Listings

Let me start by saying that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of local directory listing sites.  There are the necessary listing sites such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp.  There are the lesser known but still somewhat important sites like Apple, Yellow Pages, YP, and Mapquest.

After these sites, there are local directories that are not very popular at all.  These include sites like ABLocal and AroundMe.

You may not have heard of the last few sites above, but they still provide value to your Local SEO efforts.

local business SEOThere are more listing sites that provide no value as well. In some cases, adding your information to low-value directory listing sites can send the wrong information to Google.  In most cases, you just won’t receive any benefit to adding your business to them.  This is where having an experienced and knowledgeable SEO comes into play.

We scanned 61 local listing directories for their business information.  Their business was not listed at all on 52 of the local directory listing sites.  Of the remaining 9 more than half had the wrong information.

The 9 that were set up included Google My Business, Bing, Google+, Yelp, and Yahoo.  The business at least knew the importance and value of claiming their business listings on these sites.

What happened to the listings is that over time the address and business name changed.  The listings were also created with the owner’s cell phone number rather than the business number in some cases.

This meant that of the 9 created listings there were Name mismatches, address mismatches, and an incorrect phone number.

How We Fixed the Local Listings

We were able to discover and update the listings quickly.  In a matter of days, 51 of the listings were live with accurate information.  The rest soon followed.

After day one of the updates, we saw a 20% increase in traffic and a small drop in bounce rate.  The traffic increase came almost exclusively from local organic search.

After one week we saw an increase in traffic of just over 70% while noting a decrease in bounce by 12%.  This is significant as it indicates more qualified visitors are coming to the client’s website.  In other words, people who want to potentially do business with the client.

We did not see an immediate bump in monitored keyword rankings.  It is possible that other keywords that we are not actively monitoring moved up.  We will know when we do our end of the month review.

What You Need to Know

There is no indication from Google that having N.A.P. set up correctly on these local listing sites impacts your Google Rankings.  I have no way to prove that a listing site helped or hurt SEO efforts.

It is obvious that Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and other business listing sites of this caliber are critical to your SEO success.  They should be included in your plan.  The client did include 9 of the top business listing sites in their plan.  The client did not maintain those listings which eventually became stale and outdated.

The remaining business listing sites may or may not impact SEO and Google Rankings.  It’s hard to tell as we updated 61 listings at the same time.

If you as the business owner decide to do this on your own there are third party sites/applications that can assist.  Yext is the most well-known one.  Synup is also a good option.

You can also go the manual route.  This will take you more time obviously.  It also increases the chances of a listing becoming stale or inaccurate.

local business listings for SEOStart from the top of the business listing pile.  Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook are some of the most important ones.  Continue from there.  You can easily find a list of important business listing sites by, wait for it, Googling it.

Or you can ask us to do an initial scan for you!

You may or may not get the same results we got for our client.  Having your business listed on local directories is helpful regardless of the impact it has on your SEO.  Having accurate information is very important.

I will close with this.  Every year on Christmas Eve I get cannolis for the family.  Growing up in New Haven this was easy as there were a few Italian bakeries within a mile or 2 of me.  Now I live about 30 minutes away from New Haven.  A few years ago, I thought I would try a newer bakery closer to my home.  I googled the business information on Christmas Eve.  To my surprise, the Google listing said they were closed.  I had to go to New Haven to get Cannolis.

Turns out the bakery closer to me was open on Christmas Eve but their Google My Business listing was not accurate.  They lost my sale and potentially many others.  Have you ever gone to an Italian bakery on Christmas Eve?

Are you prepared to lose sales because you can’t be found or your information is not up to date?


Google My Business New Options

How To: 6 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Page

(Edited 4/15/18-Google added a menu option for all businesses)
When it comes to Local SEO one of the very first, yet often overlooked, tasks is to create your Google My Business listing.  Google My Business is where Google Maps and the Google 3 Pack get their information from.  If you don’t create a listing for your business on Google My Business then your business will either not show up, or show up with incomplete or inaccurate information.  Google My Business also increases the likelihood your business will show up on the Google 3 Pack and in the organic search results.

Google has recently implemented some new changes to your Google Business listing that will help further your engagement with potential clients.  These new updates will allow you to further attract new audiences.  Utilizing these updates will also improve your standing within the Google Local Pack, especially since there’s a good chance your competition is not aware or acting on the updates.

Google My BusinessGoogle has put more and more emphasis on Google My Business in recent years.  While Google+ personal profiles have drifted into the social media abyss, Google My Business continues to evolve into a very important component of Local SEO.

There are 3 opportunities for your business to show up on the first page of the Google Search Results Page.  The first is with Google AdWords.  The second spot is the Google 3 Pack (Also known as the Google Local Pack).  The third is in the organic search.  Ads may or may not show up in the results depending on whether or not you or a competitor is using Google AdWords to advertise locally.  The information that is included in the Google 3 Pack comes from your Google My Business listing.  Chances are there are more than 3 businesses doing what you do locally.  So the 6 optimization steps below will help you secure one of the top 3 spots.

If you have not already claimed your business listing then that will be the first step.  Visit www.google.com/business to started.  You will enter some of your basic business information and be asked to verify that you are the owner of the business.  The verification process is usually done through a postcard with a pin number mailed to the business address.  In some cases, phone verification is also an option.

  • Complete All the Information Google Asks For-I cannot express how critically important it is to have complete and accurate information on your Google My Business listing. I have personally been the recipient of inaccurate information on because someone failed to provide the correct information to their Google My Business.  Included in a complete listing is contact information such as website address, phone number, and physical address, hours of operation, categories relevant to your information, and pictures including your logo (profile picture).
  • Use the Booking Button-A recent addition to the Google My Business listing is the ability to add a booking button.  This is great for service businesses and for end users alike.  Using one of the dozens of scheduling sites that Google has partnered with you can easily incorporate a booking button into your Google My Business Listing.
  • Post to Your Google My Business page – Often-This blog post will get posted on our Google My Business page.  So will many, many, other posts.  As often as you post to Facebook you should be posting to your GMB page.   These posts show up on the Knowledge panel and on Google Maps.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for your business) most businesses have abandoned the practice of posting to their Google My Business Page.  This tactic can separate you from the pack (pun intended).
  • Set up Text Messaging-I bet you didn’t know you could do this!  Now people can send you a text message directly from your GMB listing on mobile.  Google uses Allo to send text messages to your mobile device (or another number that receives text).
  • Reviews, They’re Important-It used to be frowned upon to ask for reviews but today you should encourage your clients to leave you a review.  The difficulty is people leave reviews where they want to leave them.  Facebook, Yelp, or Google to name a few.  The method that we find works best is to send an email with a link to your Google review section.
  • Google Local Pack Google My BusinessQuestions & Answers-Another feature that has begun to grow wings of its own is the questions and answers. Google Local experts can answer questions that other Google users ask about businesses they visit.  This helps Google ensure that the information on the Google Business listing is accurate and up to date.  That also means that your information should be up to date and correct.  While it’s not clear what impact this has on the Google Local Pack there’s no doubt that it will factor in one way or the other.  Oh yeah, we’re Google Local Experts as well.
  • (Edited 4/15/18) Menus-Up until early April 2018 only restaurants were able to add menus to their Google Business listing.  Now all businesses are able to add a menu.  You can list products or services that your business offers.  I added this to my client’s business pages but have yet to see it in the search results for Google Maps or the Google 3 Pack.  One added bonus I can see this potentially having is added keyword phrases.  Keep in mind many business owners, I would say the majority of businesses, are not paying attention to the updates giving any business that does a potential upper hand.  The worst case scenario is eventually you will have a listing of products or services on your Google Business Listing.

As you can see there are a lot of opportunities to engage with your audience and potential clients using Google My Business.  Just like SEO it’s not just a set it and forget it task.  Your Google Business listing requires constant review and optimization.