With our recent focus on local area marketing, we’ve covered off a lot of different aspects across both social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), so this will be our last one for a little while. We have definitely already covered a lot with regards to local SEO and Google My Business in this previous blog, but this time we thought we’d focus on the channel as it pertains to SEO on the Sunshine Coast, while noting that it can be translated to any area that you might want to focus on. But first a little background.
To say that Google My Business has gone through a lot of different names and iterations in its lifetime would be criminally understating the matter. Originally an offshoot of Google’s failed attempt to rival Facebook (Google+), for a long time Google did not want to admit that it had any bearing whatsoever on SEO. For a while, in the beginning, this was sort of true because back then they didn’t view (or didn’t want to view) social media as a big player in terms of online presence and didn’t assign much weight to the contributions it made in that field (links, information, etc). But as time rolled on and Facebook went from strength to strength they eventually had to cave and admit that social signals were something that should count towards your search engine rankings for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because it was a great indicator of activity around the business and consumer confidence in it.
“Maps are also now an integral part of search results and are one of the most used features on the search engine.”
Fast forward a few years and social signals are an integral part of attaining good rankings, but Google+ unfortunately did not get to be a part of that world in any of the ways that matter to a truly successful social media platform. In an effort to combat this and maintain relevance (but also possibly to avoid admitting defeat or as a last-ditch attempt to revive the platform in this writers humble opinion), the search engine decided to put more focus on getting you to fill out your business details in order to fully take advantage of the increasingly popular “Google Places” (a renamed Google+) and Google Maps features. Selfish and competitive as their motivation could well have been, this turned out to be a very good idea as it eventually gave rise to everything from Android navigation and the ever popular Google Street View, through to the sometimes maligned star ratings and even technologies such as Uber!
Maps are also now an integral part of search results and are one of the most used features on the search engine. So put all of this together and you have a number of compelling reasons not to neglect your Google My Business listings.
So what’s the most SEO friendly way to set up your My Business Account?
Well at the risk of repeating ourselves (our previous blog), there are a number of features available via the platform such as links back to your site, a posting function for updates, the ability to offer specials codes and the ability to manage multiple locations (and multiple businesses) all from the one login. The convenience alone is good enough reason to use it, but utilising as much as what’s on offer as possible offers you a much more robust presence on search engines and you can guarantee that if you’re showing up for location-based keywords, Google will want to serve up the best of what’s available for search results. Simply paying My Business lip service by filling out a few details just doesn’t create as valuable a listing and there is no reasonable logic that says a listing like that would rank above others.
It’s also important to note that the search engine now has an AI (Artificial Intelligence) sorting its search results. In particular, it is looking at click-through rates or the ratio of people who click on your listing after seeing it compared to those who don’t. When it notes a lower click-through rate over a consistent amount of time, it will automatically sort you further down the list below those listings that have a higher click-through rate (ie: are more attractive to users). This is basically “real-time SEO” and it’s a relatively recent but increasingly utilised part of search engines as technology is able to take the need for human intervention away from time-consuming tasks that wouldn’t previously have been deemed worth the effort.
As for how this has an impact on SEO in a Sunshine Coast specific way? Well for starters, fill out your business address. Your full business address (you’d be surprised why there’s a need to point that out). If you don’t have a service address then be sure to fill out an accurate service area. Include photos of your business. Fill out your description with keyword (product/service) relevant content. Add your business hours and update them regularly. Tell people if you have parking. Post regular updates on business happenings. Be real humans there. Show that you’re a part of the local community there. Offer discount codes and specials. If you have multiple locations, show that off there. And once you have a fully fleshed out, living, breathing My business profile, you get to point all of that good stuff back to a location/contact us/bookings page on your own website.
We could easily nerd out further about how this will benefit your rankings algorithmically, but we think the point stands pretty clear. Google may have denied that such a thing could boost your rankings once upon a time and they might have been right to do so in the name of fair competition, but at the end of the day your My Business listing is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to local SEO. As always this is translatable whether you’re doing SEO on the Sunshine Coast or the moon (seriously, that will be a thing one day) and it does need to be part of a larger SEO plan, but it’s doable right now so get cracking!
As always, if you’d like us to elaborate on anything here or just start a general conversation around your marketing we do SEO from Fortitude Valley (our offices) through to anywhere in SE QLD and even the rest of Australia. So feel free to get in touch!
Finally, thanks to the team at visit sunshine coast #visitsunshinecoast for the use of the spectacular image of our local beautiful beach paradise for this week’s blog. https://www.visitsunshinecoast.com/