When we start doing this one thing for all of our clients on Google My Business, we immediately see an average increase of over 300% more inclusion in local search results! And when we maintain that effort consistently over time, we’ve seen as much as 1,100% increases!
Posting To Google My Business Reaps Big Local Search Rewards
We are huge advocates of local directories as a key area of focus for any storefront or B2C service business that relies on being included in local search results (via the search engines or any of the corresponding mapping apps on mobile). And Google My Business offers the best opportunity to get your unfair share of attention in search results.
It’s a lot like posting on Facebook, but it has a little different purpose for local search.
Know What People Type into the Search Engine to Find What You Do
Our unique local search strategy always begins with understanding what people most commonly type into search engines to find what you do.
There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. My favorite is to set up a free Google AdWords account (you only pay money if you advertise, but you can set up the account without spending anything). Once you’ve got that account, in the TOOLS section under PLANNING you’ll find something called KEYWORD PLANNER. Here, you can type up to 10 words or phrases that describe what you do; you can even include your own business name and the names of competitors. The planner will then generate a fairly exhaustive list of actual search terms people type into Google, along with how frequently they type them, and how competitive bidding is in AdWords around these terms. You can also adjust the geography being considered to your primary trading area so that you’re seeing the local information most relevant to where you do business.
You can export the whole list, and I recommend doing that. By ranking this list of key words and phrases from most-searched to least, you’ll typically see between 3 and 18 key words and phrases that are most frequently used by your potential customers when they search for what you do. This becomes the road map for your local search posting strategy.
A small business with limited time, money, and expertise should focus on the most important key words and phrases first, and then stop if there are no more resources to allocate.
Create Posts That Concentrate on Each of Those Topics (Independently)
Let’s define “core posts.” If you do the keyword research, you’ll most likely find there are between 3 and 12 key words or phrases that are typed most frequently into the search engine by consumers, and then a huge drop off where the rest of the search volume splinters off into a lot of different searches with very low frequency. These are your “core” search terms, and for businesses with limited time, money, and expertise – this is where you start (and maybe where you end).
For each of these search terms, you want to create a post with the following elements:
- A headline that includes the search term;
- An original image or video that includes the search term in its name when you upload it;
- Between 300 and 1,200 words on the topic, where you repeat the search term at least 1x/hundred words.
Create at least one post for each of your core search terms. Some weeks a core post might only get a few views; other weeks it might get hundreds or even thousands of views. We commonly find that core posts evolve over time; it’s perfectly OK to keep editing them indefinitely to update and enrich information.
If you find a topic is very broad and commonly has other terms used in a phrase with it, make posts for each of those phrases. It’s OK to keep adding posts on the same topic; monitor them over time to see which ones Google finds most useful for local search.
Consider Using Offer Features. Some directories allow you the option to convey offers to potential customers. Discounts and Deals are not necessarily core to the marketing strategy of every business. In fact, I’m not much of a “Discounts & Deals” sort of marketer. I deal with a lot of luxury retail and service providers, and highly-discourage discounting in those environments because luxury customers don’t tend to be motivated by price, as much as the emotion evoked from making the purchase and/or the overall experience surrounding the purchase.
Google Rewards You for Posting
How does Google use these posts in local search results?
Most commonly, for desktop and mobile users these posts will be featured in local search results. You’ll get reports regularly to know how many views each post has received; we find that this fluctuates all the time. Search volume isn’t consistently the same, so neither will the viewing of your posts.
Get The Most Bang For Your Buck
These posts should also be permanent blog posts or landing pages in your website as part of your SEO strategy, so that you get double duty out of them. For triple duty, you can also post them to your social media here and there.