Allow us to introduce you to Wolfgang Digital. They are a team of Digital Marketing nerds! They are Ireland’s leading Digital Agency. They are winners of Best Search, Best Social & Agency of the Year in 2018.
The data experts from Wolfgang Digital are coming again as Keynote Speakers at 3XE Digital’s Conference on 16th May – UX & Design Thinking Conference 2019.
The team of Kevin Moore (Deputy Head of SEO), Gustavo Pelogia (SEO Specialist & Client Lead) and Robbie Deighan (PPC Specialist) will deliver a main stage presentation on the topic ‘How to Manage your Google UX in 2019 & Beyond’
To give you a head start on this topic, they decided to share 5 effective & simple methods to improve your local SEO. Let us look into the suggestions by Wolfgang Digital.
It’s true that search engine optimisation (SEO) is often complicated, full of technicalities and dubious language which often ends with an “it depends” kind of answer. However, if you think SEO usually sounds like another language, some areas are actually very simple.
Local SEO is one of these areas. Just to have everyone on the same page, a local search means Google shows you information about things that are physically located in your area. It could be a restaurant, a store, a pub or any brick and mortar business or service where you can visit a physical location, like a locksmith or a plumber.
Usually, a local search will return a local pack, which are map results such as below:
Let’s say you’re searching for a pub or a restaurant near you. Chances are that you’re looking for a place to go right now and all you need is a phone number or an address – At this point, many of us will go to an application such as Google Maps and find our way.
Did you see what happened here? I made my journey from online to offline and converted without necessarily going through their website. Often these results will also lead to what’s known as no-click searches.
With the rise of voice search on mobile phones and smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, we could have done that even without an interface—checking the opening hours of that restaurant or requesting a taxi just after we decided where to go.
We’ll discuss more in depth the world of local searches, no-clicks and voice in our talk ‘How to Manage your Google UX in 2019 & Beyond‘ at 11h20 on 3XE UX Conference 2019, but here we’d like to start by giving you five places to start your local SEO.
The steps below are a starter pack, although the talk at 3XE will go more in-depth into the local SEO world and cover beyond the basics.
Claim your business
If your company has been out there for a while, chances are that your business is already on Google Search and Maps, even if you didn’t ask for it. Google has a team working to add new businesses on its platform, as well as rely on users to create those. The first step is to search for your company name or address on Google Maps. Once you find it, follow the steps to claim the location using a service called Google My Business, which is used to manage your company details. You can verify ownership by phone, letter or email (the latter is only available for some businesses and you must have a @yourcompany.com email address)
The basics: name, address, phone and opening hours
Here’s a scenario: someone is looking for a local service they’re not familiar with. Let’s imagine you need a solicitor, which is something that many of us will need at some point but won’t easily be able to pinpoint which firm to use (it’s not like picking your favourite pub!).
You’re potentially looking for a service near you, as you’ll have to pay them a visit, talk about costs and meet your lawyer. Many companies fail in this simple step to correctly display the business name, address, phone number and website as listed on their profile. Also very important to mention, you should have your opening hours up to date as well, including holidays and any days you might be closed or open.
Google My Business allows you to update all year at once, for many locations you can update your Christmas hours, when you’re closed for renovations or any other dates and times. Are you open on Good Friday? This is a classic example where some businesses are open and some not.
You don’t need to understand a thing about SEO to know the frustration of a customer when they find a closed door or when they can’t reach you. For many businesses, this means losing a client to your competitor around the corner!
This feature is the easiest place to highlight any promotions, offers, jobs or any urgent message your client needs to know. Google gives rare opportunities for businesses to control what customers see when they search and this is one of them. You can create any message to feature in your profile, much like a social media post.
Here’s an example from HOMS Solicitors promoting their job openings in Limerick:
Any publications on Google Posts become available instantly and remain live for seven days, after which they go to archive but remain visible under “View previous posts on Google”.
Business Categories: let Google understand what you offer
Did you ever go to Google trying to find something but you weren’t really sure how to search for it? Or found a company, but aren’t sure if they offer exactly what you’re looking for?
Let’s say you need to find a gym. In your way from home to work, there are dozens of options. This gym must have a swimming pool, so you already filtered out many options. Lastly, you would like a personal trainer. This has narrowed down to just a few businesses.
How would Google know that your gym offers all three services? This is where the business categories come into play. Any company can have one primary category, that represents your business as a whole and nine others called additional categories. Here’s an example:
Once you select your main category, try all others that would fit your business by typing some of other categories you can think of. Google My Business categories can be very specific, such as “hydroponics equipment” to “egg supplier”.
This doesn’t allow you to treat your website poorly because Google still uses information from your website. Here’s proof: if you search for “afternoon tea” in Dublin, Google is using information from a page to display information directly on search results:
If you have a page about this topic or offering and it also mentions the same as a business category, that’s a double confirmation that your business matter for that.
Reviews are Key
Everyone has a bad day sometimes and everyone running a business knows how clients can be hard to please. We all resort to social media when we need to show our frustration with a company and as business owners and managers, it’s our goal to calm those unhappy customers and try to turn the situation around.
You’re not just replying to those who had a bad experience, but for all other sceptical customers who will read those comments before making the decision to do business with you.
Another reason why replies are so important is that they influence your results too. Let’s imagine you’re looking for a coffee shop near Grafton Street in Dublin. Such a busy area has more coffee shops than one could visit in a week.
If all have similar average review scores and are located within walking distance, reviews will play a role when Google decides which shop to show. If a particular location has a lot of positive reviews where customers mention “Grafton street”, this could be a tie breaker into making you appear on Google or not. First step: ask your best clients to leave you a review, or use personalised posters templates which Google offers for free.
We have a few examples where reviews helped businesses to appear on the local pack in a matter of hours, but you’ll have to attend our talk at 3XE to find out about those!
The Bottom Line
Even if you know nothing about SEO, the recommendations above can help your business to thrive on Google. None of them require technical knowledge and many of them are simple to understand for business people. The results can be immediate, so make sure you don’t fall behind!
Event Schedule – 3XE User Experience & Design Thinking Conference, 16th May 2019
Reserve your seat – Group Ticket Offers are available!