Navigating Google for Local Businesses

google my business info

You are probably familiar with the behemoth search engine, Google. You may even know that it can be extremely beneficial to your business to rank at the top of search results when a local customer searches for products and services that you offer. What you probably don’t know is that the Google platform and all of its components are extremely complex and often overwhelming to navigate when trying to increase your local rankings. Our team of SEO experts is here to offer some tips on the basics of Google for business, how to get the most from Google My Business, and how to improve your local search results.

Google Business Basics

The Google platform itself is huge! Right from one account login, you can access email, the Google + social network, a storage drive (Google Drive), and the maps, news, and calendar features. Not to mention, it’s the biggest search engine on the internet and holds a whopping 68% of search market share. But Google goes beyond just personal use and has created important features for businesses. These are extremely important to utilize if you intend to show up in local search results.

Google My Business is:

“a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.” -Google HelpGoogle SEO expert

The biggest benefit to signing up for Google My Business is that you can manage how your business information appears across Google in Search results and Maps. When a business verifies their information with Google My Business, they are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers, and even more so if there are good reviews left by previous clients.

Google My Business also lets business owners see insights on how customers have searched for their business, where those customers are located, and how many people have called the business directly from the number displayed on the local search results in Maps and Google Search.

Get the Most from Google My Business

In order to benefit from the rank boost Google My Business can offer, you must first claim and optimize your business listing. It’s free and fairly straightforward to set up so there is really no reason not to do it. Plus, if your listing is optimized and properly set up, you have a much greater chance at showing up in Google’s local three-pack or the most coveted 1-box.

Drop by google.com/business and start creating your listing. There is a verification process that you’ll need to go through first in order to confirm that your business is legitimate and that you are actually the business owner. Google will send you a postcard to the business address with a PIN that you will need to enter on the verification page once it arrives.

Once you have verified your business listing, it’s time to optimize your Google My Business listing with the correct category, business hours, types of payments accepted, proper description and so on. You should also upload your logo and photos of your business and may even include pictures of products and services you offer. Complete as much information as you can when building out your listing. The more relevant information you include, the better your chances are at showing up in local search results when customers perform a Google Search.

Once your listing is complete and verified, it can show up in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google +.

What Can I do to Improve My Ranking

Google’s algorithm changes constantly but there are a few key “signals” Google uses in order to determine your rank in Search Results. Here are the most common:

  • My Business signals (proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.)
  • Citation signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.)
  • On-page signals (presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.)
  • Link signals (inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.)
  • Review signals (review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.)
  • Social signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.)
  • Behavioral/mobile signals (click-through rate, mobile clicks-to-call, check-ins, etc.)
  • Personalization

The proximity of the business address to the point of search (Searcher-Business Distance) is probably the most important key to how and when you will show up. The closer your business is to the location of the searcher, the higher the probability is that your listing will show up. Other ranking factors include the quality of inbound links to your website. The more quality links you have from people sharing your website in their blogs, social media sites, and websites will give your domain more authority which Google highly values. Get more quality backlinks – gain better ranking results.

Consistency in citation information is also extremely important. Citations, or online business directories (just like Google My Business), are an important step in improving your ranking abilities. There are hundreds of citation sites, but remember quality is better than quantity. It’s a good idea to set up a citation document that includes all pertinent information like your business’s name, address, phone number, website, categories, keywords, locations served, products and services offered, and a short and long description that you can simply copy and paste when you set up your citation listings. This ensures that your listings are consistent and accurate which will help you gain authority with Google.

online review plan

Reviews are also a key component that can help your listing and website stand out against the rest. Encourage your customers to provide reviews on sites like Google & Yelp. With more than 5 reviews, a star rating image will show next to your listing in the local results and Map results, and these are highly valued by customers.

All in all, Google can be an asset to your business online but you need to know how to use it. Our experts at Brandtastic have years of experience with navigating through the Google platform and can help business owners gain better rankings by properly managing their Google My Business listing and all of the other components Google has to offer. It’s no small task which is why many companies hire our team to perform these critical tasks to improve local search performance. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you get a handle on Google.

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Responsive Web Design vs. Dedicated Mobile Site

Franklin Painting LLC, Farmington CT- Responsive Web Design by Brandtastic

Franklin Painting LLC, Farmington CT- Responsive Web Design by Brandtastic

With over 7 billion mobile devices in the world, having a website that is optimized for mobile devices is no longer a question of “should” but “how.” Most companies know that having a mobile friendly site is imperative to reaching their target audience that spends most of their time on-the-go, but many companies are confused as to whether they should choose a dedicated mobile site or a Responsive Web Design.

What’s the Difference?

Mobile Website- A mobile website is a separate website designed entirely for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A mobile website is a simple & ergonomic design that allows users to quickly and easily navigate the basic aspects of your website on their small devices. When designing a separate mobile website, company should keep in mind the smaller screen size, touch screen interaction, and slower connection speed. In most cases, the URL for a dedicated mobile website would be m.companywebsite.com.

Responsive Web Design- Responsive Web Design is a single website that automatically adjusts to fit the screen size of the desktop, laptop, or mobile device on which it is being viewed. Platforms like WordPress (our favorite) allow web designers to adapt the written content, navigation, visual design and method of interaction so that your company website looks amazing no matter what computer or device it is being viewed on.

So Which is Better?

Although both of these types of mobile-friendly sites can optimize your content for mobile devices, dedicated Mobile Websites are becoming outdated for a number of good reasons. Because having a dedicated mobile website means needed multiple URLs, your customer has to remember at least 2 URLs, or wait to be redirected to the mobile website (which can take several seconds) if they visit the primary web address first.

Not to mention, you will need to pay for and maintain two separate websites. This can be costly and time consuming, especially if you do not have the expertise to design and implement an effective website. Also, two separate sites means you will need to take double duty on SEO & marketing methods. If you want both your dedicated mobile site and your regular company website to rank well, each website will need separate SEO work in order to compete.

Another important fact to remember is that not all mobile devices are universally compatible. Some mobile devices provide a touchscreen interface whereas a few still require keyboard navigation. Because of the different types of capabilities, one single mobile website won’t look or function the same way across all types of devices.

Responsive Web Design, on the other hand, is a great combination of usability and convenience. Because RWD only requires one website, it is easier to update content, administer changes, and quickly refresh the look and feel of your site. This also makes sure users can easily find you on their mobile devices without having to wait for redirects. These few seconds saved can determine whether or not a potential customer will bounce from your site before it loads or stay to play. A single, responsive website also means that less time can be spent on SEO and creating specific content strictly for mobile devices. And as we all know, time equals money.

Yankee Doodle Inc, Wilton CT - Responsive Web Design by Brandtastic

Yankee Doodle Inc, Wilton CT – Responsive Web Design by Brandtastic

Since site performance and load time are a factor that Google considers in SEO rankings, Responsive Web Design may provide leverage in SERPs. Also, if your website is responsive, each page will have one single URL so that it is easy to share across social media platforms. That way it won’t matter whether a user is viewing your Facebook post on their smartphone or desktop, they will go to the same webpage when clicking on a link you share.

If you are getting ready to redesign your website, it’s the perfect time to implement Responsive Web Design. Here at Brandtastic, we offer custom-coded WordPress website designs (none of those out-of-the-box template themes) that deliver a state-of-the-art, adaptable interface for users on all types of devices. Responsive Web Design is a powerful tool for most companies. If you have more questions on Dedicated Mobile Sites & RWD, give us a call so we can discuss the goals of your business and how you’d like your website to function.

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