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Does Google list the wrong information about your business location? Do you wonder how you can get listed above your competitors in the Google Map results? The world of Local Search has special challenges for any business where customers deal with specific people in your business, especially if those individuals work in multiple locations.
What's the most common problem? It's Google Maps listings
I regularly help people who start by asking "Why doesn't my business show up in the little map in the Google search results when my competitors do?" The answer sounds simplistic “It's because you haven't told Google you exist - or you haven't done it in a way that it understands” but it causes huge headaches until we fix it.
Start with Google My Business
When my clients haven't got a map pin, we start with the basics and set up their Google My Business locations properly. Sometimes this is enough. If it doesn't fix the problem, we keep on working through a series of changes until they get a map pin.
How to get on Google Maps
If you set up your My Business and you still don’t get a map pin, it’s because Google is confused. Most often this happens because there are still old contact details and contact names linked to your business. It takes time but we can fix it.
If you have already tried to update your Google account several times but the obsolete information comes back, we can stop this from happening.
Clean up your data
We think of Google as a big, shiny, coherent entity. In fact, it’s a jumble of different databases which get pulled from lots of different sources of data. The frustrating thing is that Google doesn’t trust us fully so when we tell it that our address is 123 ABC Street, it goes to check this information with other “people” it trusts. So, even if we tell Google our correct address, if other websites say our offices are at 234 XYZ Street, Google gets confused.
The same problem occurs when people in your business move on to other firms or you move office or change your website or do any of that myriad things that happen to real businesses. When this happens, you need to be clear with Google: get important websites to update their information so it matches your own. Even if all you’ve done is change the format you use for your address, you need to think about doing this.
Clean Data Means Better Google Rankings
The good news about data cleanup is that you will fix the problem AND increase your status with Google. My clients see big improvements in their local search rankings when they invest in getting their data cleaned up. Because there are very few companies that take this "humdrum" housekeeping very seriously, you have a chance to excel.
You can imagine my client's relief when we finally stopped Google from listing their Banbury-based business at an address in Wales! The two businesses had similar names and slightly similar industries so Google was confused. We gathered evidence and submitted it to Google in the right way. We weren't surprised that we had to submit our evidence a couple of times but ultimately they fixed the problem and it stayed fixed. Now it's easy for my client's suppliers and customers to find them in Banbury and people have stopped asking them why they've moved to Wales!
Reviews affect Google Maps rankings
Because Google is obsessed with reviews, you have to become obsessed with reviews. It seems you can't cross the road without leaving the lollipop lady a review. Do you relish the feedback (because your customers show you where you need to improve)? Or do you fear what might be said (although they'll be saying it behind your back anyway)? Whatever you think about them, reviews are invaluable to your prospective clients. That's why Google likes them. If you follow the right “rules” you can even get a star rating the shows in Google search results.
There is something very encouraging about seeing little gold stars against a business in the search listing. They catch your eye and give you a sense of the way that business treats its customers. But what happens if people start leaving you undeserved bad reviews? What if your competitors launch a negative review attack? How will you know? One client had no idea how many negative reviews were being left for them and, what was worse, most of the complaints were unfounded. We agreed a methodology of monitoring, responding and building up the number of positive reviews from the huge body of happy clients. We also discussed ways to encourage unhappy clients to talk directly to them rather than taking to social media. They were in a tricky sector but their competitors were doing better than them at getting good reviews. It was vital for them to put in place a strategy that allowed them to recover lost ground and move ahead.
Is Your Site Good Enough for Google?
Having talked about good data, good rankings and good reviews, you will still need a website that is good enough for Google to do well in Local Search. It can seem strange to clients that we need to focus so much on niggly details but that is an important part of Local Search SEO. A technically strong, mobile friendly website gives you the foundations and the ongoing Local SEO helps you build a castle on those foundations.
When I talk to prospective clients, I am honest. If you ask me about your site, I will be open with you about the challenges and results we are likely to face. For example, we're unlikely to get you a map pin for Solihull if your business is closer to Shirley and it will be harder to get good results if you use 0800 numbers. I give my clients a straightforward appraisal and then, if we are both happy, we work forward to build a long term relationship.
Would you like to know if your site is "good enough for Google" or want some pointers to explain your poor Google Maps ranking? Just ask me! You might even be able to take advantage of my professional SEO reports offer to get you started.
If your goal for 2017 is to get more income through more leads and better enquiries, this is the place to start.
Discover your opportunities
Make fact-based decisions.
Take expert advice.
What are you waiting for? Don’t let your competitors grab those free reports and free trials before you do!
p.s. There's no catch. I'll send you the report and then you can do whatever you want with it. I won't bombard you with pushy sales calls or endless emails (although I'd like to be able to send you mailings about new blog posts or other offers in future please).
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