09 Sep 4 Search Tips for a Better Small Business Google Rank
Search is increasingly becoming an important factor for how people discover and make purchases from Small Businesses. Local searches are growing fast and convert at an amazing rate, with 78% of local searches resulting in a purchase. It’s important for small business owners to consider what they can do to get the most out of local business searches, first by ensuring that their web presence is fully linked and coherent, and then by making sure it has the right information and engages customers who look for their content.
1. Claim your Google Business Page
Google is the most popular search engine in the United States, taking up 64.4% of the search market at last measurement. Claiming a Google Business page allows you to control and improve what shows up in local searches, so that people will be prompted with all the crucial information they might need on your business. Google finds businesses with more information more convenient and thus lists them higher, so be sure to include the following:
- Web address
- Phone number (your primary phone number should include a local area code, as this increases your local relevance in the eyes of Google)
- A business description
- Types of payments accepted
- Professional associations your business may be affiliated with
- Hours of operation (61% of restaurants and 47% of banks do not list their hours of operation!)
- A primary image or profile photo (89% of apartment complexes and 77% of hotels do not have a primary image!)
This is a crucial step to improving your local search rank, as Google’s services here stand out from other search engines. With Google maps integrated into Google Business Pages, it’s also as easy as a click for customers to start navigating their way towards your shop. Sign up or claim your Google My Business page here to get started for free.
2. Connect all your social media profiles
Much like Google Business pages, quality social media profiles rank highly in local search results. Potential customers are also using Facebook and other social media to search at an increasing rate, and social media profiles that are linked with other pages and have consistent index information across all of them improve the rank of your results on search engines.
By claiming and linking together the few popular – if not dozens of available – social media sites (the essentials like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Youtube to the fun stuff like Pinterest and Tumblr) available for your business, you can get the most out of the natural linking that Google and other search engines look for when displaying results.
3. Encourage review content
It used to be that high search rankings depended on appropriate tags and keywords, a highly technical process whose mysterious practitioners could often be likened to the Alchemists of the High Middle Ages or the Oracle at Delphi. Now, things have gotten a little simpler, and instead of keywords being crucial to a business’ search ranking, being part of a conversation has taken the lead.
As Google is increasingly modified to consider contextual phrases in the way its users ask for local information (e.g. how “Walmart” and “shoes” were combined in a voice search demonstrated in the article linked just above), it’s important for loads of content to be available online that show all the different ways in which your business serves its community. Encouraging review content is key to creating this conversation, and it also allows for feedback and testimonials on particular goods or services – something 89% of content creators find is the most effective means for marketing a business.
4. Create your own content
While encouraging review content can provide a bulk of content for your business, don’t hesitate to create your own content that elaborates on your business, services and values. Online reviews are overwhelmingly motivated by positive impressions, but relying on them to discuss every one of your products, services or methods of service may be tricky and unreliable.
What’s more, 80% of business decision makers prefer informative content to advertising, and 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business that creates custom content. It pays to make the effort and communicate about your business. Even if it is a set of simple blog posts, short social media comments, or web pages that catalogue your goods and services – any original content can make a difference, and maybe even include you in a whole conversation you may have otherwise been left out of.
Follow up by improving your overall online presence
Working within these guidelines, you should be able to create a great search presence and maximize your relevance to local and nearby consumers. However, search alone isn’t enough. Small businesses need to improve the design of their web and social media pages so they can convert casual browsers into loyal customers. One means of doing this is by adding features like Appointment Booking, Live Chat, Click-to-Call and other “Calls-to-Action”. With searches increasingly becoming the first thing customers see when discovering a new business, having an engaging web presence and the right Calls-to-Action can drastically improves the speed at which a customer build a relationship with a business. While the right search tools and tips can help you get found, Calls-to-Action and other features can help you convert browsers into buyers in no time!