4 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Listings

4 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Listings

Setting up a Google My Business listings is a simple, effective way to showcase your business on the web. Optimizing your listing is the best way to draw traffic to your website, serve your clients, and generate interest in your products.

#1- Use Relevant Keywords

When ranking your listing, Google uses relevance, distance, and prominence to determine where your listing will appear in a search. The more keywords you use in your listing, the better your chance of being seen. Using relevant keywords in your descriptions will help your listing get the attention it deserves.

Relevance– The easiest way to find relevant keywords is to go straight to the Google search engine and begin entering your product or service. What other options does Google suggest while you enter your words? For example, when I enter the word “writing” in the search engine, Google also suggests: writing reviews, writing for SEO, writing a business plan, writing prompts, writing desk, and so on. These suggestions are relevant keywords to your topic and using them appropriately will help boost your listing.

Distance– Google will automatically consider the location of your business in the algorithm it uses, but adding keywords such as the name of your neighborhood or surrounding areas may increase your ranking. This is most beneficial if you operate a brick-and-mortar business and want to drive more traffic to your location.

Prominence- This one takes time as prominence literally refers to how often your business shows up in searches, how many positive reviews you receive, and how many websites link to your business. This is why you’re more likely to see big brands pop up first. But don’t give up! Stay the course and you will see your business rise in the ranks.

#2- Stay Up-To-Date

If you’ve ever googled a restaurant to find out what time it closes only to drive across town and find that they’re already closed, you know how important it is for business listings to stay up to date. Google My Listing allows businesses the opportunity to share vital information such as their hours, menu, dining options, delivery options, address, phone number, etc. Updating your information to keep potential customers well-informed builds trust and establishes integrity with the community.

Furthermore, the current global pandemic has made Google My Business listings an invaluable resource for restaurant-goes and shoppers by sharing information such as whether or not curb-side service and indoor dining options are available. Adding holiday hours, happy hours, early-bird hours, or elderly shopping hours will also help customers stay in the know.

Additionally, if you want to build prominence and relevance with your customers, it’s crucial to display accurate and up-to-date information at all times. If your hours, services, products, or other options fluctuate periodically, setting a reminder on your calendar to monitor your listing for accuracy may prove to be quite beneficial.

#3- Optimize Your Photos

Google My Business listings offer opportunities for businesses to share their logos, pictures, and videos with the world. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but in your Google My Business listings, it can also be worth thousands of dollars in sales. Here are a few tips for putting your images at work effectively in your listing:

Categories– After uploading photos or videos to your listing, select the appropriate category. The more complete your profile, the higher Google ranks it. Completeness of listing and choosing accurate categories both rank in the top ten factors Google uses to rank Google My Business listings according to a recent study by Darren Shaw. Consequently, listings that utilize appropriate categories perform much better.

Text– Adding text to your logos and images helps Google understand your images, maximizing search results. Adding geotags and keyword-heavy descriptions will also boost your ranking.

Variety– Frequently adding quality images of your products, services, buildings, and multiple locations is absolutely essential to your listing’s success. For best results, add a few new photos every week. Make sure the photos are relevant and engaging.

#4- Establish Credibility

When consumers review your Google My Business listings, they want you to show them why they should choose your business over someone else’s. Because reputation is everything, establishing credibility is a great way to win them over. Here’s how to stand out over the competition:

Start Date– Have you been serving clients in your community for a few years? In the “Information” section of your listing, under “Description”, add a “Start Date” to show longevity in your field.

Get More Reviews– The best way to establish credibility is to let others share how much they love your business. Reviews are the key to making this happen, however, most consumers don’t even think about leaving reviews, despite how much they love your products or services. To help them help you, create shareable review link by creating a “profile short name” in your listing, click on “Get More Reviews”, and email the link to your customers. Remember, offering an incentive for a positive review is against Google’s policies.

Share Reviews– Getting great reviews? Share them on your Facebook Business page. Let the billions of Facebook users find credibility in your business by sharing the praise of your current customers.

Google My Business is a great tool for businesses to utilize, setting themselves apart from the competition. The more thorough the profile, the higher the ranking. The more optimized the listing, the more ROI on your time. Now that you have a better understanding of how Google My Business uses your information to rank your listing, you will be better equipped to optimize your listing for best results.

Why Every Business & Organization Should Utilize “Google My Business” (+ a Step-by-Step Guide to Setting it Up)

Why Every Business & Organization Should Utilize “Google My Business” (+ a Step-by-Step Guide to Setting it Up)

Google My Business Google My Business? Once upon a time, if you wanted to go out to eat at a new restaurant, you would search for the business listing in the Yellow Pages and pray the company had purchased a small ad that would tell you a little bit about the menu, hours of operation, and maybe even produce a small map. Then one day websites entered our world, and we were able to access this information much more easily. Almost every business had a website, and we could scroll through pages of information to answer our questions. As the online world continues to evolve, consumers now have even more information available with minimal clicking and scrolling thanks to Google My Business, an amazing little free tool that Google offers businesses and organizations, giving them the opportunity to showcase their most sought-after information using Google Search and Maps. 

If you’ve ever googled a local business, you’ve been on the receiving end of Google My Business data. Information such as the address, hours of operation, special services, menus, maps, photos, videos, reviews, and more are immediately produced simply by entering the name of the establishment into Google’s search engine. You already know how valuable this information is as a consumer, so let’s take a moment to look at how meaningful this little tool can be for your business or non-profit.

Google Business Profile vs Google My Business Listing

First off, we need to note that setting up a business listing known as a Google Business Profile is not the same as setting up a free Google My Business account. Any random consumer or even an automated listing generator can create a Business Profile. All that is needed is the business name, location, and category which can be supplied by anyone. Customers can begin leaving reviews and Google may pull additional information about your business listing from the web, but you as the owner/operator have no control over the content.

 This is why you need to create a Google My Business account. By setting up a Google My Business listing, you have total control over the complete customization of your profile and the information your customers receive. You manage the data so that it is accurate, timely, and appealing to your target audience.

Google My Business Benefits

Now that we’ve established what a Google My Business listing is (and what it isn’t), let’s dive right into the value it brings to your business or organization.

  • Get Discovered– Whether you run an online business, a brick-and-mortar storefront, or a multi-location non-profit organization, the biggest reason you list with Google is so that people can find you. Your Google My Business listing ensures that Google searchers can find you and access the information you’ve made available to them. It also improves your local SEO, moving you up on the list of Google searches.
  • Get It Right– Since this pandemic began, if I had a dollar for every time I drove across town to a restaurant I’ve been craving only to find that they’re closed or are no longer allowing indoor dining, I probably wouldn’t have to write blog posts for a living anymore. That’s why it’s so important to keep your customers coming back by providing them accurate, up-to-date information about your business or organization. You can do this easily with your Google My Business listing for free. Share your open hours, services offered (such as dine-in seating, free wi-fi, handicap accessibility, etc.), and any specials you might be offering, as well.
  • Get to Know Your Customers– Your Google My Business listing can actually resemble a social media page if you stay actively involved with it. Because Google searches are the most widely used method of looking up information, your Google My Business listing provides the perfect opportunity for you to engage with consumers, clients, and potential volunteers. You can reply to reviews posted by your customers, answer questions, provide updates, share photos, announce upcoming events, and more.

Setting Up a Google My Business Account

  1. To set up your own Google My Business listing, you first need to log in to the Google account you want to use for managing your listing.
  2. Then you can create an account by visiting the Google My Business home page. Click on “Sign-In” and then “Add your business to Google”.
  3. After entering your business or organization’s name and category, you’ll have the opportunity to enter additional information such as a physical address, phone number, web address, etc.
  4. Once your information is entered, Google will ask for your physical address so they can mail you a postcard containing a verification code. Click “Continue” to finish setting up your listing.
  5. From here you will be asked to enter information such as your business’s open hours, a brief description, and photos of your business.
  6. Finally, you will be directed to the main Google My Business dashboard where a world of opportunities awaits for you to share pertinent information with your customers, volunteers, and potential donors. Share pictures of your products, select attributes that best define your organization, and let customers know what areas you service (if you’re in the service industry).

Would you like to learn how to optimize your Google My Business listing to increase traffic to your website, your physical location, and to increase sales? Would you like to work your way through the Google My Business dashboard like a pro? Stay tuned for our next blog post where we dig into some simple ways to optimize your listing, increase your sales, and engage with your audience.

Why You Need a Killer Website (And Not Just a Stellar Social Media Presence)

Why You Need a Killer Website (And Not Just a Stellar Social Media Presence)

Is your website being overlooked? As an entrepreneur or non-profit, you have your hands full.  Between building relationships with clients, managing your products and services, and keeping track of the bottom line, there’s little time left to leverage the power of the ever-changing world of online marketing.

Is your audience more present on Facebook or Instagram? Do you have a large enough following on Pinterest? How do you convert “Likes” into sales or donations? These types of questions are exhausting. While social media is a crucial component of your communication strategy, we think you could be missing out on great opportunities if you’re not giving enough attention to your website.

We know, we know. We just acknowledged you have your hands full running an organization, and that social media is time consuming and fickle, so why are we suggesting you add one more thing to your plate?

Because websites are an under-appreciated goldmine and we just happen to be great at mining for gold.

Advertising Roles

We’re not knocking social media. It absolutely has a vital role in your organization as the mouthpiece of your message. Whether your message is “Save the Sea Turtles” or “Buy These Shoes”, it needs to get out there. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are great for getting out your message, making your brand recognizable, and communicating directly with your clients and consumers. The primary duty of your social media campaign is to help you communicate clearly and efficiently with your audience.

Your website, on the other hand, should be showcasing everything your social media is bragging about. Think of your social media posts as those sign twirlers that stand on the corner, getting people’s attention,  driving customers towards a business.  You’re not going to make any money if your sign twirlers direct people to an empty store. Your website has to serve up the goods and services that your social media has been advertising and make your customers want to come back for more.

Street Cred

Frankly, owning a website is just foundational to owning a business or running a non-profit. It shows your commitment to building a trustworthy enterprise and strengthens your reputation and social integrity.

A business without a website lacks credibility. A business with a poorly constructed website lacks sustainability. If you want to earn the reputation of a competent and professional organization, invest in creating a website that will showcase your strengths, not your weaknesses. Never let what you lack overshadow what you have in abundance. A haphazard website suggests a lack of time, effort, and energy. And even if you’re out of all three, you don’t want that to be the message your customers receive.

Control Issues

One of the greatest advantages your website has to offer you is that it is all yours. The design, format, and content are completely and fully yours to do with as you wish. There are no censorship issues to deal with or fears that someday your posts will be gone. As long as you own your domain, you own the content on your webpage. You are free to customize your site to reflect your brand, values, lifestyle, products, and goals in a professional and fully controllable online atmosphere.

Social media platforms do not offer the same level of personalization and creative freedom that your website possesses, so why devote all your time and energy into a service that you only get to manage verses one you get to completely design? The sky is the limit for your website, and we want to see your organization fly high.

Let’s Talk About ROI

When it comes to social media, one of the greatest perks is the cost- it’s free, (unless you spend money on ads which many entrepreneurs and non-profits do). But as the old adage goes, sometimes you get what you pay for.

What’s beautiful about owning a killer website is the high return on investment (ROI) that it brings. A modest investment into the brick-and-mortar equivalent to your business’s online presence is invaluable. Your website provides a one-stop shop to meet all of your clients’ needs.

Show Me the Money

Finally, in addition to the many amazing tools a website offers such as video capability, blogging, customer reviews, and FAQ’s, a website also provides the greatest opportunity for your audience to spend or donate their money. While your social media accounts are busy talkin’ up your meat and potatoes, your website is checkin’ them out and baggin’ them up. The greatest marketing tools in the world are useless if they don’t inspire your audience to do something and your website is the place that magic happens.

Let Us Help You

Here at HeartWired, we understand that building an exceptional website is not in everyone’s wheelhouse. You’ve created a business or a non-profit with amazing products and services. You’re trying to make the world a better place, trying to see your dreams come true, and trying to keep your head above water. You’re working with clients and customers, vendors and voters. You’re spinning so many plates right now that they’re making you dizzy, and we just told you that you need a dynamite website if you want to survive and thrive.

It’s ok. We’ve got this.

Let our team of creatives design and build the website you and your organization deserve. We can help you tell your story, refine your brand, and teach you how to take the reigns to maintain your website.

Book a Consultation Today

How to Create a 2021 Content Calendar + 10 of Our Favorite Blog Post Ideas for the New Year

How to Create a 2021 Content Calendar + 10 of Our Favorite Blog Post Ideas for the New Year

A new year means new goals, new strategies, and new opportunities. It also means new content for your blog which can seem overly daunting and time-consuming at first glance. Fortunately, we have some suggestions and methods for alleviating the stress and exhaustion of coming up with daily, weekly, or monthly content.

In this post, we show you the best way to organize content for the coming year using a simple tool – the content calendar.

What is a Content Calendar?

Before we show you a simple how-to guide on creating a content calendar, we should probably start with explaining what it is and why you need one. Simply put, a content calendar is a shareable tool that your team can use to visualize how content will be shared throughout the year, offering these great benefits:

  • Time saved during the creation and publishing processes
  • A centralized location for tracking blog content, social media, newsletters, etc.
  • Full team alignment, with all team members knowing what is being published, when and where it’s being published, and what is expected of team members
  • Ability to plan around holidays, events, and other occasions

3 Ways to Save Time with a Content Calendar

Batching Content: One of the greatest benefits of creating a content calendar is the time saved by planning ahead and batching content, whenever possible. For example, a bookstore may want to create a content calendar for their store’s blog, featuring a different genre of books for each month. By creating the calendar in advance, the store ensures that romance novels will be focused around Valentine’s Day, travel books will be featured over the summer travel months, and children’s books will be highlighted just before Christmas.

Once the calendar is laid out, the bookstore’s blogging and social media teams will be able to save time by working on batches of posts, all at once. Graphics can be created for the theme of each month and reused across social media and the store’s blog. Not only does this save time, but it looks professional, polished, and reader-friendly, allowing a consistent flow of quality content from the store.

By batching their content, the bookstore is able to ensure that their posts look well thought out and planned rather than appearing to be someone’s last minute thought. (Face it, we’ve all been there.)

Repurposing Content:  Create more with less. Perhaps the greatest time-saving tip of all when it comes to creating content would be to repurpose your content. Do you have old blog articles that you published long before you had a large following? Dig them out and re-use them! Freshen them up and give them new life on your blog.

But don’t stop there. There are other ways to repurpose your content.

Let’s use that bookstore as an example, once again. During the month of February, the bookstore may want to highlight romance novels by interviewing a famous romance author. The interview can be recorded and shared as a video on social media or as an audio file on a podcast. An article can be written about the interview and shared on their blog. A quote from the book or from the interview can be made into a graphic and shared on social media. And just like that, one interview has been repurposed in several different ways. A content calendar makes this a seamless process.

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Publishing Content: Once your content has been created in batches and repurposed appropriately, it becomes much easier to schedule the publication of your content in advance. A number of online tools exist to help users schedule both social media and blog posts to be published at certain times on specific days. This eliminates the need for sticky note reminders and cell phone alarms that urge you not to forget to make a social media post or share your blog. Imagine the amount of stress that would roll off of you if you only had to think about your blog and/or social media once a week, a month, or even a quarter!

Spontaneous posters, have no fear! A content calendar does not prohibit you from impromptu posts or spur-of-the moment blogging. In fact, it frees you up to be more responsive to the world around you. There are times when our logically flowing media campaigns need to be interrupted and important world issues need to be addressed. Having a content calendar full of pre-batched media allows you to focus on what needs to be said in the moment, without losing your other content.

How To Create a Stellar Content Calendar

  1. Choose Your Format The world wide web offers everything from templates to apps to plugins for formatting your content calendar. You can open up an Excel spreadsheet, a Google Calendar, or any number of apps such as BaseCamp, Trello, or CoSchedule. There’s no right or wrong way. Use what works for you.
  2. Define Your Needs Do you need to be posting on social media every day? Twice a day? Twice a week?
  3. Brainstorm Get out a piece of notebook paper or work collectively on a dry erase board and start brainstorming topics you want to cover. Can they be grouped together cohesively in a logical manner? (Think about the bookstore covering a different genre each month.) Don’t get stuck here. There’s no rule that says your topics must follow a logical order. Sometimes this just helps creatives plan and organize their material.
  4. Start Scheduling Take a look at the calendar and take note of seasons, holidays, events, etc. Start broad and then narrow in. (One genre a month, a different author each week, interviews on Mondays, videos on Wednesdays, podcasts on Fridays, etc.) Then start plugging in your topics where they fit best to you.
  5. Decide How Often to Batch Do you or your teams need to sit down and batch out your content weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Even yearly? Every business is different and no one can answer this question except you and your team.
  6. Schedule Creative Time It’s easy to schedule the topics you want to cover each month, but it takes more thought and effort to schedule each piece of the creative process. Don’t forget to schedule time to record videos, podcasts, and live social media events, as well as time to write scripts, create graphics, reserve film spaces, and any other pieces of the process that may need to be scheduled.

Your time is valuable and implementing the use of a content calendar is sure to take your marketing strategy to the next level while saving you time, effort, and energy.

To get you started, here are ten of our favorite blog ideas for the new year:

  1. Make a Top 10 List
  2. Share Why You Started Your Business
  3. Disprove a Myth About Your Niche
  4. Take a Topic Seemingly Unrelated and Compare it to Your Vocation
  5. Do a “This Day in History” on a Day Related to Your Company
  6. Ask for Questions on Social Media and Write a Blog Post Answering Them
  7. Film a “How To” Video Post
  8. Invite a Guest Blogger to Post
  9. Share a Life Hack from Your Industry
  10. Share a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Your Life or Business