Reputation

Category: Reputation

Get to the Top of Google with</br>Google My Business

Google My Business to Find More Ready-to-Buy Customers

The latest updates on the #1 Listing service used by your customers.

Google Listings can be a challenge. On a good day. There’s just something about the process that can fluster even the best of us. Below, we share all of our tried and true steps to optimize your Listing; each and every one of the steps we take to boost our clients subscribed to Listing Management along with all of the latest updates to the tech giant’s free service.

Looking for just the updates? Skip ahead to this month’s updates.

What is a Google Listing? What will it do for me?

A Google Listing is a free service by Google and it garners the lion’s share of the click-traffic from ready-to-buy customers. Think of it this way; when researching a product or service, a potential customer will most likely head to the organic search results (websites that appear below the Listings) to learn or read more about the variety of offerings. When a customer is ready to buy, go, or take an action, they head to the Listings. As such, let’s get your Listing optimized!

Like it on top? There are only three ways you can get to the top of Google.

  1. Paid Ads. (Pay to play service. Average click-thru is 13.8%.)
  2. Google Listings. (Free Listing service from Google My Business. Average click-thru is 28.8%.)
  3. Organic Search Results. (Earn your way to top position with SEO. Average click-thru is 43.9%.)

Let’s get your business to the top!

A Breakdown of Your Google My Business Listing

Home

Your Google My Business Home tab is a quick overview of your business Insights (how many visitors, top search terms, requests for directions), competitor content and customer posted photos. Be sure to check it out and find some new ideas for content.

Posts

Posts are Google’s equivalent of social media posts: with the exception that Google wants you to promote your sales and discounts, as well as announce events and share news. Posts are a direct pipeline to Google; your chance to have a 1:1 conversation with Google, and say, “hey Google, here’s what we’re all about!” 

Curious how many customers see your Posts? Carefully look under a Post and you will see a number beside a little “eye.”

Get the full scoop on what posts can do for your business and all the details in Google Adds Posts to Your Listing. 

Info

The Info tab is the heart of your Google Listing. Here you can update all of the details about your business including Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), your business category(ies), hours and holidays, contact information, add a business description as well as products and services.

What is a business description you say? Glad you asked.

Here’s the short version. A business description is a 750 character, keyword-friendly written overview of your business. Want Google and potential customers to find you for website design? How about SEO services? Or reputation and listing management? This is the place to do it!

Looking for a few more details? Check out this video How to Add a Google Listing Description.

Up-to-date information about your business is HUGE. Repeat HUGE for getting your business found and chosen by customers. Don’t just think about it – finish reading this article and go update your information!

Insights

Ahhhh, insights, a data lover’s dream! Did you know that you can find out how many times your Listing was viewed? And what the top search keywords are for your Listing! The Insights tab gives you the ability to tailor new content according to what potential customers are searching for, giving you even better visibility in the search results!

Take a moment to look at the number of customers who view your Listing, click-thru to your website or ask for directions to your location. As the number of actions taken from your Listing increases, so too will your sales!

Power Up Your Business with Online Listings

Uncover the most powerful way to get your business on the first page of Google!




Reviews

Google and Facebook agree (shock!). Reviews are the #1 driver of success in Listings. Customers choose businesses with higher star ratings at an alarming rate. If you don’t have Reviews, you need to ask all of the customers you’ve wow’d! Finding it tough to ask? Check out this article, Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews for tips to make it easy-peasy.

Oh but wait! Responding to Reviews is equally important; good or bad. In fact, responding to Reviews will greatly improve your online reputation. Learn all about the 4 Simple Steps to Respond to Reviews. 

Messaging

Prefer a text or SMS message with your customers prior to a phonecall? Messaging allows you to chat with your customers, book appointments or answer questions even before a potential customer is ready to discuss their needs in detail; or until you are ready to disclose your number.

Jan 2019

It is believed, though it has not been confirmed by Google, that Messaging will be shut down in March 2019. If you did not setup Messaging, it is likely no longer an option for your business.

Photos

A picture says 1000 words. Imagine how many words you say with current and up-to-date pictures of your business, location, products, services, team and logos. You can speak volumes and the customer is listening!

Don’t forget – customers can upload photos too; what a great word of mouth marketing opportunity!

Website

Did you know that you can create your first website for free with Google? If you don’t already have a website, this is a great place to get started. Your website address will be listingname.business.google.com, but you have the option to buy a domain and build a more sophisticated site using Google Sites.

Your new, free site can include location, services, hours and pictures and is mobile friendly.

Users

Adding Users will allow you to collaborate with team members and share posting duties. In this section, you can add additional people to your Listing to be able to add and edit your Listing’s content. This feature makes collaboration and coordination with colleagues a breeze.

Create an Ad

Last but certainly not least, you can create a Google Ad from within your Listing. **TIP** Creating your first Ad from your Listing will connect your Google Ads account and your Google My Business account, offering you the added bonus of displaying your ad within the Listings.

Remember, ads are one of the top three ways to get your business to the top of Google and help customers find you. 

Are you convinced of all the amazing (not to mention free) features that a Google My Business Listing can do for you yet? Need a hand getting setup? Check out our step-by-step instructions below. 

You’ll be ‘above the fold’ in no time!

Latest Updates

February 2019

February saw continued improvements for Service-area businesses, right from start-up to well-established.

Info

If your business serves customers at their location, or within a specific area, check out the new ways for customers to find you based on how you want to manage your customer communication.

Hotel Industry Rejoyce!

Google must think the most frequently asked question in a hotel is check-in and check-out time because you can now add it to Google My Business. If your Listing is marked “Hotel” you will see this option in Info.

Reviews

Google is making it easier to respond to Reviews. Business owners can now respond to reviews right from Google Maps on desktop. Best practices for responding to Reviews are to respond with 24 hours. Need a hand responding? Check out this handy video!

 

Listing owners and users can now leave Reviews with #hashtags to keep like-minded comments together. #FamilyFriendly #SundayBrunch #SinglesOnly will help steer customers in the right direction.

Spam Detection

Google will never call you to confirm details on your listing, offer to optimize your listing or threaten to close your listing. These are spam phone calls and if you receive a call protect yourself. Do not give any personal or identifying information.

January 2019

Another exciting month of changes is behind us as Google continues to change up their plans. 2019 will see the end of some significant Google apps, namely Google+ and Allo. While Google+’s loss seems to be minimal, for those tied into Google My Business Messaging, Allo is a bigger deal.

Messaging

Allo, Google’s Messaging app, is saying good-bye in March 2019. Predictions are that Messaging within Listings will also go away, however it was recently noticed that some Listings display a larger, more prominent “Message Business” button. Many are hopeful that Google will allow messaging through an app, or through a mobile device.

For many businesses, Listing Messaging is tied into chat bots and drip sequences. If your business relies on Messaging, stay tuned for more updates!

In the example below you can see two options to Message the business. One in “Message” and the other in “Contact us now.”

Add Products and Services

Restaurants are long since familiar with the ability to add their menu, pricing and delivery information to Google Listings but most business categories will now see an option to add Products or Services within Info. Businesses can add numerous types of products and services including pricing to the Listing. Interestingly, content added here is only visible on a mobile device AND according to a Google spokesperson, this content does not influence search results.

Don’t let that sway you! In true Google fashion, what does not influence search today is bound to be a top performer tomorrow!

Mobile App

Google updated the 2014 mobile app on Android and iOS to include robust features such as Posting, Locations, Customers, Profiles and more. Most users will find the new app meets all their Listing management needs.

Agencies however are not able to use the app to service multiple clients at the same time.

Posts

Many users report seeing a decline in views and clicks to their Posts. Some business categories indicate Posts are no longer visible in search results. Google claims this is a temporary reduction but we are watching this trend closely.

For the time being, we recommend continuing to post keyword-friendly content to your Listing.

Google Guarantee

For a very select few business categories, Google is testing a Google Guarantee Program. This gives a business an “endorsed by Google” badge and drastically increases consumer confidence. Read the details on Google’s support page.

Agency Users

If you are an agency user, like Above the Fold, good news this month! Within the Agency dashboard, spreadsheets can be uploaded and downloaded to quickly integrate customers with multiple locations.

Spam Detection

Google will never call you to confirm details on your listing, offer to optimize your listing or threaten to close your listing. These are spam phone calls and if you receive a call protect yourself. Do not give any personal or identifying information.

Google My Business Step-by-Step Setup

Login page for Google My Business

Google My Business Login
As stated on Google’s website.

Computer

  1. Navigate to Google My Business.
  2. Search for your business using its name and address.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click No, these are not my businesses or I’ve correctly entered the business. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly.
  5. Click Submit.

Mobile

  1. Open the Google My Business app.
  2. Sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business.
    • If this is your first time adding a business to Google, sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business and touch Continue.
    • If you’ve added a business before, tap the menu icon , then tap the name of your business to reveal a list of all listings in your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose + Create new business.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. Enter your business name and information and agree to the terms of service. Touch Continue once you’re ready to create a listing for your business.
    • You may want to access Google My Business on desktop to access more advanced editing features, including adding service-areas. Learn more

Mobile Listings View

Google My Business Listing Sample Above the Fold Canada

To enter the verification code you receive:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you’re managing multiple businesses, choose the one at the address where you received the postcard.
  3. Click Verify location from the menu (or click the Verify now button) and follow the prompts to complete verification.

Voila!

You have added or claimed your business on Google. Let us know how it went! Did you have any difficulties or was it an easy process?

Keeping your Listing up-to-date is a key feature of climbing the search ranks. Read more about adding Posts or a Description. By utilizing all of the features of the Google My Business Listing service, your business information will remain accurate and customers will more easily be able to shop with you.

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!




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Local Safety Company at the Top of Google

Langen Health & Safety is an independent business committed to providing personalized experience and top quality products to fit their customer’s needs.  With 25 years of health & safety experience in regulatory enforcement, electrical transmission/distribution and power generation, industrial construction, oil & gas and mining, they ensure that companies are fitted with the proper protective clothing.

Langen Health & Safety is competing in an industry typically reserved for national companies. But yet, here they are at the top of the Snack Pack (the local listing top 3 on Google).

Let’s look at the simple strategies used to get real results for Langen Health and Safety.

 

  1. They contacted Above the Fold Canada for some help “getting found on Google.” (And yeah, we’re biased but can’t help but think this was most important.)
  2. We created a Google Listing.
  3. We worked through the basics of optimizing their Listing with images, posts, a description and specific business categories.
  4. We worked with their marketing and website guru to help her understand meta text, how Google reads a web page and how to add pixels to your website for tracking. This insider information gave us a detailed look under the hood for their website.

detailed look under the hood

Once we were armed with this information, we were able to:

  1. Make recommendations that directly impacted their search results
  2. Research industry keywords to determine the most effective term.

The final piece of the puzzle in managing their online reputation was paid online ads specifically targeted at their customers.

Langen Health & Safety has had great success getting to the top of Google. Try these simple strategies for real results for your business today!

Interested in being featured in an upcoming Feature Friday? Drop us a note here.

Thanks for reading!

Here’s more you might like:

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!




Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews

Canadian eh? Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews

Asking for Customer Reviews is so un-Canadian of us

It just feels wrong to ask people to leave nice reviews about your business!

Competitors are likely to Attract more Customers

Does it feel any better to know that 85% of people google a business before deciding whether or not to shop your location. Competitors with more Reviews, are likely to attract more customers. That might make it feel much more Canadian!

Here’s our simple approach that anyone can use:

1. Thank the customer for their business.

2. Ask. Ask immediately after you wow a customer.

3. Ask in-person, through email or through our text service with a 90%+ open rate.

4. Keep your request simple.

A small percentage of customers will leave business reviews without being asked. A much larger percentage will leave a review after being asked. If you’d like more reviews, you need to ask.

Here are the quick steps to find a direct link to your Google Business Listing Review request.

  1. Login to Google My Business.
  2. Find your Listing.
  3. Click “View on Search”
  4. When your business listing appears, click on “Reviews” or “Write a Review.”
  5. An entry box will appear on screen, allowing you to write a Review. Copy the URL in the address bar to a location you will remember. (IE bookmark or e-notebook)
  6. Share this direct link when asking customers for a Review.

Test it out yourself to be sure it is working correctly. You can also use a “link shortener” to make the URL smaller.

And now that you have new reviews, don’t forget to respond! Check out this quick video on how to respond to reviews.

Reviews are one of the fastest ways to grow a small business. Get started today! Tell ya what. Become our customer and we’ll send you a request for a Review after we wow you. Deal? 😉

Thanks for reading!

Here’s more you might like:

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!




A Handy-Dandy Little Black Book on being Google-Friendly

Get Your Business Found on Google Today!

Looking for a quick check on your Google-friendliness? Here’s a handy checklist to measure your progress.

Moving up in the search results takes time, patience and high quality information that includes the keywords your audience is searching. Remember, your audience, or customers, are looking to solve a problem. You want your business to be the solution.

Google condensed the number of visible Business Listings in the search results down to three. These three listings are referred to as the Snack Pack. Here is an example of the Snack Pack in the auto dealer category. These three businesses listed increase their exposure exponentially.

snack pack

Top the Organic Charts

Only a small percentage of consumers will click the “ADs” at the top of the search results. Only 7% of searchers feel the content matches their search, or feel safe clicking the content. Organic content is the other 93%!

Organic content is free. It’s a genuine match to what the searcher was looking for and as a business owner, you have complete control over the content. But here’s the thing. It takes time and it takes effort, but the checklist below is everything you need to know to rise to the top of the organic search results.

As a business owner, you have complete control over the content

1. Backlinks still matter.

Those inbound and outbound links on your website matter. Linking to other areas of your website, other content and articles, it matters. As do the inbound links to your website. Google likes to see other websites (Facebook, Twitter) linking to your website.

2. Be sure your Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) match your social profile info.

The business information on your Business Listing, social profiles and directories should be the same. Google rewards businesses that take the time to keep this information consistent.

3. Optimize your Google Business Listing category based on your target audience. IE local business categories.

If Google does not know your business category, then it is nearly impossible to appear in the search result. Be as specific as you can about the type of business you operate. IE If you are a Consultant, list yourself as a Consultant, not as a Corporate Office.

4. Optimize descriptions on your channels. IE use your keyword research!!

Each business listing and social channel gives you another opportunity to describe your business. The descriptions should be the same, or similar, but should describe your business as accurately as possible.

5. Geo-tag your photos on all channels.

Add location specific data to your photos, or “allow” location data to be saved with your photos. And don’t forget to name your photos with “keywords” and “business name.” IE “Be Google-Friendly Above the Fold”

6. Use G+ for photos,
descriptions and posts.

Google+ is the unknown, hardly-heard-of Facebook twin. It never took off in Canada but boy does it improve search results!

7. Enhance your Google maps details.

Complete all available details on your map Listing. This links to your Google Business Listing.

8. Complete your meta data, titles and descriptions on your website.

Use the titles, descriptions and all of the meta data available to you in the back end of your website.

9. Add Reviews to your site, Listing and social profiles.

Google loves to see business Reviews! Ask for them. Respond quickly to them. Share them.

These simple steps will keep your business Google-friendly. If you would like to see your business search results improve, this list is exactly where you need to start!

Let us know how it goes!

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How to Respond to Customer Reviews

Responding to Reviews is Key

Customer Reviews….you love ’em or you hate ’em, but either way every business gets Reviews. And that’s a good thing!

Customer Reviews can improve your search results by 10%!

Customer’s seem to share their opinion from every direction. Facebook. Google My Business. Indeed. Yelp. Glassdoor and dozens more.

Think of Reviews like a phone call from a customer. If a customer called with a concern, would you ignore it? Hang up? Put them on hold for more than 24 hours? Responding to customer reviews promptly is critical to capturing your 10% search result improvement.

We get asked “how to respond to Reviews” a lot, so we decided to do up a quick video. Listen below for our tips on responding to positive and negative Reviews.

How to Respond to Customer Reviews

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

  1. Say thank you.
    • Your mom was right! Be sure to say thank YOU!
  2. Be sure to mention your business name.
    • This will help increase the likelihood that the Review will appear in search results when looking for your business.
  3. Add a marketing message.
    • This is a great chance to reinforce what your business accomplishes.
  4. Invite future business.
    1. Ask the Reviewer to share their experience with family and friends, or return for a future purpose.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

  1. Apologize and empathize.
    • As soon as you can, apologize with the customer.
  2. Add a marketing message.
    • It’s ok to mention what your business does and strives to achieve.
  3. Keep it short. Be sure not to mention your business name.
    1. Keep your response short and simple.
  4. Direct the conversation to someone offline.
    • Always, always, always give the Reviewer an offline contact.

Where to Find Reviews

In Canada, there are approximately 20 Review sites. They include:

  • Avvo
  • Caring.com
  • Cars.com
  • Citysearch
  • DealerRater
  • Edmunds
  • Expedia.com
  • glassdoor.com
  • Healthgrades
  • Houzz
  • indeed.com
  • Kudzu
  • OpenTable
  • Rate MDs
  • SureCritic
  • TripAdvisor
  • Vitals
  • Yelp
  • Zocdoc
  • zomato.com

In addition to these, many social sites and Directory sites also include the ability to leave a Review.

 

An Easier Way

Managing Reviews from a number of different sites can be time-consuming, frustrating and likely to cause error. It is estimated that managing your online reputation takes approximately 300 hours per year. Here are three ways you can manage your online reputation:

DIY

You can manage your online reputation on your own. Here are a few quick steps to get you started:

  • Create email alerts for your business name, your name and all of the products and services your business offers.
  • Create email alerts for your competitors and the products and services they offer that you want to monitor.
  • Review the emails daily to be sure you are responding as quickly as possible.
  • Monitor trend data for industry keywords.
  • Create Listings on all relevant sites being sure to return each time business information changes. (holiday hours, sales, etc.)
  • Add your competitors to your list of “Watch” pages in Facebook and other social channels.
  • Respond to Reviews on each Listing and Review site.

With a Little Help

Subscribe to an automated service that will scan keywords, competitors, social media and media mentions for each of the key terms you define. There are a few subscription app services available. We shopped them all, and chose ReputationManagement for its ease of use, cost effectiveness and comprehensiveness. We also chose ListingSync to keep all of our Listings in sync.

If you decide to shop the app, be sure to look for:

  • Use and popularity in Canada
  • Central repository to respond to Reviews
  • An overview of your business Listings
  • Competitive data and monitoring services
  • Analysis of sentiment
  • Includes proof of performance reporting
  • Ability to generate Reviews, and most importantly
  • Ability to pre-screen and respond to Reviews before they are publicized. 

Hire a Reputation Management Expert

Hiring someone to manage your online reputation is similar to hiring someone to build your website or create content for social media. Owning and managing a business is an already busy task. Hiring someone to actively monitor and manage your online reputation will help you focus on the job of growing your business.

Large firms and media monitoring services can be hired for 1000’s of dollars each month. Some of the firms to compare include BrandWatch or Meltwater. Above the Fold, yours truly, is a local option providing all of the service at a fraction of the price. If you’d like to learn more, please start by visiting Review Management and drop us a note to discuss further.

Managing your online reputation could be one of the best things you do for your business this year (and next!). Start today by completing a FREE online assessment. The assessment will determine if:

  1. Online information about your business is consistent.
  2. 5-Star Reviews from your customers will improve your search rank.
  3. Social Media posting is leading to conversion.
  4. Website visitors can find you and easily use your website. 

Ready.  Set.  GROW!

Above the Fold is Saskatchewan’s #1 resource for customer acquisition and sales growth strategies. Start your free online assessment today!

Home to THE Largest Marketing Store.

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Google My Business Stands Out with “Posts.”

NEWSWORTHY

Google My Business Stands Outwith “Posts.”

Are you familiar with Google My Business?  If not, check out our DIY Resources section here, for tonnes of free stuff, easy information and all sorts of tools to manage your digital strategy and online presence.  Let’s just say that Google My Business (GMB) is all kinds of awesome. For free.

In June 2017, Google announced that business owners could use their GMB Listing to also include a “Post.”  Whatchu talkin bout Willis?! (And if you’re old enough to understand that social meme, you’ll really appreciate this post!)

**Updated April 2018. Google My Business now includes the ability to add a ‘Description.’ Read more information here.**

A Direct Pipeline to Google

What good is a “Post” on a GMB Listing? Think of it this way…a direct pipeline to Google and free advertising!

GMB “Posts” allow business owners to publish content to their Listing to promote sales, coupons or communicate with customers and potential customers.  Here is a sample GMB Listing with a Post.

Jazzes it up pretty good! If you have not yet taken advantage of this free opportunity, go ahead and give it a try today!

There are a couple things you should know before you get started.

  • Google My Business Posts expire one week after posting.  Be sure to keep fresh content posted.
  • You can add text, images, events, buttons and links to other web content.

Ready to get started?  Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account here.
  2. If you have multiple locations, click Manage location for the correct location.
  3. Click Create post. Or click Posts from the menu.
  4. The “Create Post” screen will appear. Just enter the relevant information.
  5. Once you’ve created your post, click Preview. If it looks good, click Publish in the top right corner of the screen.

Working from Mobile? Click here for a more specific explanation direct from Google.

If you use an app to schedule your social media, you will want to consider an app that can post to GMB and all of your social channels. The app we recommend is called Social Marketing. The link will open a new window to the Above the Fold Marketing Store.

Thanks for reading!

Here’s more you might like:

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!