It’s not easy for digital marketers to stay informed on SEO trends shaping their reputation in the eyes of the world’s largest search engine.
To break down the current Google landscape and how best to optimize your listings, we brought together Hannah Borchik, customer success manager at Binary Fountain; Joy Hawkins, owner of Sterling Sky Inc.; and Emma Cook, digital media manager at Gene B. Glick Company.
For our latest webinar, they gathered for a discussion about the attributes of Google search and Google My Business that digital marketers should focus on heavily in 2020.
Here are some of the topics they covered:
- How to optimize Google My Business features, including zero-click searches, local 3-packs and the Google Knowledge Panel.
- Using other attributes of Google My Business and Google search that are gaining importance in 2020.
- Finding opportunities for online reputation growth through local search and SEO.
Here are some key takeaways:
On Google My Business Trends and No-Click Searches
Over 50% of searches result in a zero-click search, meaning consumers use the information provided on the search engine results page (SERP) instead of clicking through to a website. This means having your information listed on Google My Business, in addition to your business website, is essential to your search strategy.
Google My Business (GMB) has been launching many features to give users more information directly in the search results. Although we still see the website and backlinks as the main factors for ranking, the first impression someone gets about your business is incredibly important.
Your GMB listings are meant for customers early in the sales cycle, and should be used to create awareness, increase exposure and share information that will impact prospects during their research phase.
On Crucial Information for Your Google My Business Profile
Across almost all industries, the four main ranking signals remain consistent: name, categories, website URL and Google reviews (both the volume of reviews and their content).
The most important part of establishing or optimizing your GMB profile is the categories you pick. Focus on choosing the most accurate primary category and add additional categories to build out your profile – this is the main factor deciding where you rank. Categories attract users and provide general information, then CTA buttons nudge them in the right direction to take action. Provide the clearest CTA possible, such as “get this offer” or “sign up,” instead of vague directions like “learn more.”
Publishing photos on GMB varies in importance depending on your industry – Gene B. Glick’s photos of multifamily properties get thousands of views, but the same won’t apply for insurance companies or lawyers. Upload high-resolution photos of your business from both the corporate and local levels, along with other hyperlocal content like Google Posts. When your company has multiple locations, like property managers or restaurant chains, users want to know what the local facility looks like, not the logo or corporate headquarters.
On Monitoring Your Local Search Rankings and Ongoing SEO Management
Monitoring Google Q&A is very important to any company, and it’s a missed opportunity if someone posts a question that goes unanswered. If you don’t have too many accounts to keep track of, you can set up email alerts for new questions on Google Q&A. If you have dozens of locations, you might consider using a listings management vendor or software solution.
All three panelists recommend responding to every Google review, unless there is no comment attached to it. Users that leave reviews get an email alert when you post a response, making it a useful tool for retention and service recovery. In industries like healthcare, where you can’t respond to some reviews online without breaching patient confidentiality, create a strategy to take the conversation offline. Generally, having more reviews will boost your click-through rate over time and increase your local search rankings.
For ongoing management of your GMB profile, pay close attention to the Actions section of your GMB dashboard. These statistics track when someone calls, gets directions to your facility or clicks to your website, giving you insight into how customers engage with your business listings and which CTAs lead to conversions.
For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar.
For more on Google My Business updates, check out these resources:
- 4 Great Google My Business Features to Utilize
- How to Keep Google Fed with Fresh, Unique Content
- 6 Frequent Questions About Google Reviews
- Ask an Expert: Build a Winning Strategy for Listings Management
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist