We’re back with another episode of The Digital Marketing Troop.
SEO experts Jacob Clarke and Jordan Wogenstahl explain the importance of an optimized Google My Business profile for increasing potential customers’ awareness of your service. They also provide guidance on what should be included, how to optimize the profile, and its intended impact on a prospect.
John Tyreman: Hi gang, welcome to The Digital Marketing Troop, where we talk about changes and trends shaping the world of digital marketing. I’m your host John Tyreman, and I’m joined today by Jacob Clark and Jordan Wogenstahl, both active practitioners on our SEO team at Silverback Strategies, and we’re here to talk about why companies should add an optimized Google My Business. But before we dive into our topic today, I realized it’s been over a year since I’ve actually sat down at a decent restaurant and ate a meal, and that got me thinking, what the best dish I ever had was at a restaurant. So I want to ask you both, and Jacob, we’ll start with you, what’s the best dish that you’ve ever had at a restaurant?
Jacob Clarke: I think the best dish would have to be a family style Italian dinner at a local Italian spot here in the DC area – been multiple times and definitely a favorite.
John Tyreman: Right on. Jordan, what about you?
Jordan Wogenstahl: Big fan of Yard House. You guys might have it, it’s a national chain. They always have really great food. They are a pretty great spot to get a little beer. So I recently went there and got mac and cheese, which you would think is pretty basic, but a lot went into it and, yeah, the good combination of beer and carbs is always gonna hit right.
John Tyreman: That sounds great. I’ve never heard of Yard House but that sounds amazing. Anyway, let’s dive into the topic at hand today, Google My Business. Jacob, let’s start with you. What kind of company benefits the most from having a robust Google My Business Profile?
Jacob Clarke: It’s definitely companies that have a local presence that are going to be benefiting most from GMB. That means that the customer either comes to your business, or if your team visits the customers at their own home like a plumbing or HVAC contractor. That’s where a GMB is going to be great for acquiring new customers. It’s estimated that close to 50% of Google searches have a local intent, meaning someone’s looking for a business they can visit or someone they can call to come do the service at their own home and so a GMB profile is really critical to showing up for those searches when someone has something that’s a very local intent search.
Jordan Wogenstahl: Yeah, and I’d love to touch base on that because I’m looking currently at a Bright Local survey that shows some of the types of businesses that get the most discovery searches. What I mean by that is that when someone searches for a pretty broad topic, or a pretty broad business, it shows that Google Maps local pack, and the top businesses that get the highest discovery searches that are found through discovery, are hotels, restaurants, car dealerships, repairs, bars, just to mention the top five. Definitely if you’re a local business, small to medium, if there’s some locality and those searches, definitely should have a Google My Business.
Jacob Clarke: Yeah, if your business is one where people kind of search for your category followed by “near me,” that’s a really great indicator that a GMB profile would be super helpful. So like Jordan mentioned, a car dealership, restaurant, whether it’s a hotel, anyone searching with “near me,” is definitely an indicator you should create one.
John Tyreman: Well, it sounds like you both have experience working with clients who have the geolocation, who are trying to address a certain market. Can you each give an example of work you’ve done on a client’s Google My Business page that’s had a big impact for them?
Jacob Clarke: Yeah, I can start. We were working with a Home Services contractor who was expanding from the DC region into the northeast. It’s really difficult to rank for those local terms without having a physical local presence in that area. And so when this client was opening up their new office, we were able to create a comprehensive GMB profile for that additional location, which allowed them to rank for searches for people in that area, who are searching for their particular services, followed by either the name of the city or “near me.” It’s one of those where we could have just filled the website saying you know our company now serves this location, this region, but that’s far less effective for Google to be able to rank you in that area. It’s way more effective to have a physical presence where you’ve created a GMB profile as opposed to just hoping that people land on your website and then see that, “Oh yeah, they do serve this particular area.”
John Tyreman: Interesting. Jordan, what about you?
Jordan Wogenstahl: I’ll give an example, just one thing that I thought of just to kind of add on to that, is that Google My Business really looks at your location and prioritizes the results based off of your location. So, if you are any type of business and you have three locations, it’s important to have all three of those because you can really capitalize on all those different local searches and optimize your Google My Business to be at the top or at least within the top three in those three areas. That definitely is really important in terms of multiple businesses that have multiple locations, Google My Business is really primed for really optimal results. But my example for what’s kind of worked in the past for a client of mine is reviews. One of the main things that users use Google My Business for is reviews, plain and simple. We look for that five star rating. You know, we pretty much live and die by it. We won’t touch a place if it doesn’t have a four star rating, right? So, I thought this with one of my clients, who was struggling to get new reviews and also, capitalizing on the reviews that they already had. Just to touch base on the easy one that we had was just simply replying to reviews – the reviews that you have. It really shows customers that the business truly cares about reviews that customers have given to the business, and share their feedback. So, right there it was a pretty easy win. And as well as integrating a process to ask for reviews. Google does have a couple of guidelines about what you can and can’t do, you cannot have any sort of dollar amount associated to review, no discounts, nothing like that. I worked with the client that would send a follow up email through their CRM, that would ask for a review in hopes that they would just capture more reviews. And it actually came out that about every two out of 50 emails that were sent, people had actually left a review. So, 4%. That’s a pretty good return. And the old saying is, “You miss every shot that you never take,” so it’s always worth asking the question.
John Tyreman: That’s right, you can’t score if you don’t shoot. I’m glad that you brought up reviews, Jordan, because in the research that we did, outside of price, the next biggest driver of how customers evaluate a home service provider is looking at online ratings and reviews. So, it’s critical for these businesses to get those reviews. I love the follow up email example, 4% is actually pretty good. I could see how SMS text message follow ups would be another good way. Curious, Jacob, I’ll ask this one of you first. What are some of the core elements that a solid Google My Business page would have?
Jacob Clarke: You definitely want to provide all the basic information about your business like your business name, address, phone number, the types of services you provide, and then there’s some additional strategies within each of those. One of the examples that comes to mind is choosing your business’s primary category. You want to choose the primary category that’s going to be most important to your business because it’s going to be pretty difficult to show up for services that are outside your specific category. So for example if you’re a Home Services contractor who provides roofing, windows, gutters, kitchen remodeling, it can be tough to show up for all of those individually, like if somebody were to search siding contractor “near me,” you’re going to notice that all the top results are businesses who have chosen their primary category as siding contractor, the same would be for kitchen remodeling. It’d be tough if you chose your primary category as Home Services contractor to show up for searches that are specifically for kitchen remodeling and so it’s a little bit tough to decide exactly how you should balance those factors. You don’t want to only be showing up for kitchen remodeling, if you’re a Home Services contractor. But if you’re choosing Home Services contractor as your primary category, you might find it difficult to show up when people are searching for really specific services. And so that’s one you want to look at. What are your competitors doing, what percent of revenue comes in for those service lines, if you were to lose your revenue in one area, how much is that going to impact your business? You don’t want to have something that’s, you know, 80% of your overall revenue and not have that be your primary category because if you miss out on that revenue, it’s really gonna hurt your overall business. And so, looking specifically at areas like that. But then you’ve also got things like your business description where you want to kind of provide a brief recap of your company, maybe a little bit about its history, the types of services you provide. That’s kind of a quick elevator pitch for why someone should choose your business.
John Tyreman: Jordan, anything to add to that?
Jordan Wogenstahl: I would say also, images, I think, are super underrated. I think there’s definitely a lot of things you can do with images. You can highlight the inside of your store, you can highlight, if you’re a restaurant, food, you can highlight the menu. So many different things with images, but I think what is very underappreciated is high-quality images around your business that are relevant and engaging for people that are looking at your Google My Business, what might they think is interesting or helpful to learn more about your business. We have all of the helpful descriptions, and things that you can fill out into Google My Business, but I always kind of find myself perusing Google My Business Photos, if it’s a restaurant that I want to go check out or something, somewhere that I’ve never been before. I definitely do appreciate photos that were taken within this decade. Something, too, is regularly adding new photos, high-quality. You don’t need a fancy camera, just something to update it regularly. I think images are very underappreciated. And if you look in your Google My Business Profile you can actually see how many times a searcher has viewed a photo. Now that doesn’t mean a photo view doesn’t equate to dollar amount, but it still can be an interesting stat. If a searcher or user is engaging with your Google My Business Profile, they’re more likely to take a desire to action, call you, look at your website, consider you within that buying process. If it’s a larger purchase, I think if your Google My Business can be as engaging as it can be, then you’re definitely leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.
John Tyreman: I’ve got say, I think the photos – I love that thought. I guess you need to be careful what photos you put up there though, right? Because not all photos or content is good content. I’d look at it like; my stepdad owns a construction business and when I was like, fresh out of college, I helped him build a website and do all that and he gave me this big binder of pictures. He’s like, “You should put these up on the website.” But they were like, stage by stage, layer by layer, and I’m like, “This doesn’t really – show me a good contrast of like before and after.” That would be much better than showing every stage of the process. What would you guys say to something like that?
Jacob Clarke: I would definitely also plan to avoid stock photos. A GMB profile that’s just full of stock photos can definitely give the appearance that it’s a fake business and so even if they’re not the most high-quality photos that you’ve taken, just something that showcases that your business is real, with real people, actual projects, that you’ve done is going to be much better than super high resolution, high-quality stock photos.
John Tyreman: Can you put videos on a Google My Business page?
Jordan Wogenstahl: Yep, definitely. Yeah, if you’re really a go-getter, creating an introduction video, I haven’t seen this very often. I think this is a tremendous idea. I haven’t seen it a lot but if you have a video that is a 30 second/minute long video that kind of welcomes searchers and says, “Hi, we’re so and so. We offer these services, offerings, and these locations. If you’d like to learn more, check out our website or continue browsing our Google My Business.” I haven’t seen it very often. I think it’s, I’ve seen maybe one or two examples, and it looks very authentic and I think it’s a really great possibility. I mean, you can also do videos for just about anything but I think that’s the best case scenario when it comes to using videos for Google My Business.
John Tyreman: I want to ask about one more thing about Google My Business before we round out our chat here today. And I’d love each of you to pick maybe one advanced feature of Google My Business that users might not know or maybe it’s something that it’s in beta testing and a new feature that could be exciting, or a game changer. Jordan, let’s start with you.
Jordan Wogenstahl: All right, I hope I’m not stealing your thunder, Jacob. I’m going to go with the insights tab, and your Google My Business, it’s said to have some data discrepancies, but if you were to, check out if you have a Google My Business Profile currently, and you want to learn more about how searchers are finding your business online, what they’re doing, what specific actions like call you or visit your website, your Google My Business Insights has all of that. Another really great use for insights, is you can discover popular times that people are searching for your business, keywords that searchers are searching for in order to find your business. Things like photo views, I think I mentioned before, popular times and popular times that people call you so it can just be an additional layer of data on top of your existing analytics tools. Google My Business as a whole has a really solid amount of information.
Jacob Clarke: I would definitely recommend kind of a more advanced feature would be setting up call tracking for the phone number that you put with Google My Business. So when you’re setting up your Google My Business Profile, you’re going to be filling out all the basic information about your business. and then it asks for a phone number that a user can use to call your business. And it can be helpful to look into the types of reports that Google sends you with all the different data about how people are interacting with your profile, but the one piece of data that we often have trouble with is, it’ll show you how many people have called that number. And so you can know, this month we had 100 people call it, last month we had 75 people call it, but it’s actually only the case that that number is going to come up when somebody is on mobile and clicks to call that number. So there’s gonna be a lot of instances in which somebody uses your Google My Business Profile on desktop and they call the number or they’re on their phone instead of clicking the call, they just type it into their phone. And so if you’re setting up call tracking, instead of just relying on that click to call data that you’re going to be getting from Google, you can instead use your call tracking platform to see exactly how many times that number was called, and then kind of more sophisticated ways, able to see what the final result of that call was – did that call lead to booked revenue, was it dropped immediately – just see how your Google My Business Performance is performing compared to the calls that come in directly through your website.
John Tyreman: Yeah, that is interesting. Well, thank you guys for taking the time to hop on this podcast to chat with me. I learned a lot about Google My Business. I know our listeners did, too. And you offered some really great insight and stories. So, thank you both for taking the time.
Jordan Wogenstahl: Happy to do it.
Jacob Clarke: Happy to.
John Tyreman: If you found this podcast episode insightful, please subscribe, tell a friend and leave a rating and review. And to learn more, head on over to silverbackstrategies.com where we have a wealth of digital marketing insights on our blog and Resource Center. We’ll see you next time on The Digital Marketing Troop.