It is integral that your business has a good presence online and is search engine optimised to show up near the top of the Google search rankings for your relevant key services. One of the main ways of doing this is to take control of and maintain your Google listings. 
The process of boosting your Google listing is something of a battlefield. That’s because your competitors will be trying to similarly increase their presence – and occasionally pushing down yours. However, there are various ways that you can boost your listing without having to spend a fortune on elaborate marketing strategies or playing nasty. 
 

Think local 

The key is to think local. Unless you are a large business with resources, you won’t be able to compete at a national level. So, targeting more general SEO terms is going to put you up against businesses who will be able to outspend you. You need to try and focus your SEO work on your local area. 
 
This is how people search for businesses online, often using your local town or city as part of the search term. So, instead of filling your listing with references to say ‘best web design’, you should adjust your SEO terms to ‘best web design in Watford’, for example. By being more specific about your location you can boost your listings for localised search terms. This, after all, will be your core market. 
 

Stay up to date 

You need to make sure that all your listings are up to date, including addresses, opening hours and other relevant information. You also need to ensure that you are listed in all the relevant places. The most important of these for Google purposes is Google My Business. You need to confirm you are correctly listed here and that you are managing your listing, keeping up to date with reviews and more. 
 
It is also very important because anyone can edit your Google My Business listing and make changes using an edit tool. So, there is the potential there for someone to change your information without you even realising. If your business address or opening hours have been altered, this is the information that the search engine is going to be using. 
 
People can also upload photos to your Google My Business listing, which can add misleading or inaccurate content. Just another reason why you need to spend some time managing your listing. 
 
However, managing your listings and staying up to date is not just about keeping control of your information. It is also a great opportunity to make some positive additions. These listings are a great place to direct people to new content or your website. You can upload photos and videos but you need to make sure that these are taken at your business or are of members of staff. 
 

Build relationships and manage your reputation 

You can use Google My Business listings to engage with your audience, using banner or text ads to promote seasonal offers or to drive traffic to your website. Remember that you should always keep your content optimised for mobile browsing as many people will be searching on their phones. 
 
You can also engage using other formats. One very popular way to do this is with a Q&A section. This allows potential customers to get in touch and ask you questions and gives you the chance to share relevant information and build customer relationships. However, you need to remember that anyone can ask questions so you will need to monitor this. 
 
Another way you can build relationships and enhance your reputation is with reviews. These are becoming more and more important for businesses, as people rely on other people’s opinions and experiences to make judgements. 
 
The more good reviews you have, the better. But don’t be scared of bad reviews either. You need to try and engage, be proactive and do everything you can to make the situation right. Just leaving a bad review hanging there or, worse still, engaging in a negative way creates a bad impression of your business. The more you can react and respond, the better for your listing presence. 
 
You should always try and earn your reviews too. People are very adept at telling when something is real and when it’s not. Don’t be tempted to create fake reviews or to pay for positive responses. This can cause lasting damage to your reputation. 
 
Try and proactively encourage reviews from your customers. You can do this by simply asking. The more genuine reviews you can get on your listing, the better. It’s worth paying attention to the Google My Business policy surrounding reviews and who can legitimately post them to your listing. 
 

Use SEO wisely 

By keeping your content aimed squarely at the local market, you can create a good presence and build your reputation within the local community. Google listings can have a very positive impact on your business. Focus on keeping your SEO local and avoid falling into the traps of bad techniques, such as keyword stuffing and fake reviews on your listing. Give your customers the credit to be able to spot poor SEO practice from a mile away. 
 
Good SEO management on your listings can help you to create greater awareness in your local community. But it needs to be done well and managed regularly to be at its most effective. 
 
If you are not sure where to start or simply don’t have the time to manage your listings, then it might be worth outsourcing this to those in the know. That’s where we come in. We can help you to do all of the above, boosting your SEO and giving your business a solid platform to engage with customers. 
 
To find out more and how this can work hand in hand with creative, and professional websites, please get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you. 
 
Tagged as: Google My Business, SEO
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