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Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

How to Create & Verify Your Google My Business Account

Your free Google business listing (known as your Business Profile) can do more than you think. When properly optimized, it showcases your best features and makes it easy for consumers to discover, learn about, and contact your business. But in order to properly optimize your Business Profile, you need access to it, and in order to access it, you need to verify with Google that you are the rightful owner.

While it seems as though it should be as simple as “step one create, step two claim, and step three verify,” the process is neither that simple nor that linear—which, if you’re reading this post, you have already figured out. That’s because it requires three different Google accounts and two different Google platforms, all of which have very similar names. Talk about a brain bender.

So, in this post, I’m going to first iron out for you exactly what’s what in Google, and then give you a clear-cut roadmap to creating a Google My Business account and using it to claim and verify your Business Profile on Google.

Why create a Google My Business account?

Your Google My Business account makes it easy for consumers to discover, learn about, and contact your business online.  These are the core benefits of a Google My Business account, and if that’s not enough to convince you, consider the disadvantages of not having one.

You risk losing customers. Without a Google My Business account, you don’t have control over the information displayed in your Business Profile, and according to a BrightLocal study, 68% of consumers would stop using a local business after finding incorrect information online.

You risk a poor reputation. Without a Google My Business account, you cannot respond to your Google reviews. And with reviews being both a Google ranking factor and the number one influence on consumer buying, being able to manage them is a must.

You lose out to competitors. An empty or bare-bones Business Profile is akin to having an unkept storefront. If you don’t take care of your business, how can consumers trust that you’ll take care of them? They’ll be much more likely to click on and engage with a Business Profile in the search results that has lots of attractive information and looks lively.

You lose SERP real estate. Google ranks Business Profiles according to their quality, and a Business Profile alone is not enough. A Google Business Profile managed through a Google Business account, however, can be optimized to rank above competitors for relevant keyword searches.

Which listing would you choose? The unclaimed one on the left or the one optimized by Google My Business account on the right?

What you need in order to claim and verify your business on Google

By now, it should be clear that creating a Google My Business account and verifying ownership of your business is crucial if you want to provide accurate information, respond to reviews, attract customers, and rank higher in local search.

As mentioned earlier, however, the process is not super simple. It involves two different Google platforms and three different Google accounts, all of which have similar names, and some of which you likely already have. So to get you off on clear footing, let’s first iron out the terminology.

Google Account: This is the free account you create with Google so you can have access to Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail, and more. Many call it their “Gmail account,” but Gmail is just one of the features; you can actually use any email to set up a Google Account. In this post, I’ll use the term “standard Google Account“ to refer to this account type, just to avoid confusion. Most business owners already have two standard Google accounts—one they use for their personal life and one they use for their business.

Business Profile: This is your free business listing on Google that appears on Google Maps, the local results of Google Search, and the right-hand Knowledge Panel of Google Search.

An example of a Business Profile on Maps.

Google My Business account: This is the free account you create that gives you a dashboard to manage and enhance your Business Profile.

Your Google My Business dashboard.

How to verify your business on Google

Now that you have the proper terminology laid out, let’s put the pieces together to form a full picture of the process.

The goal is to gain full access to your Business Profile on Google.

The means by which you do this is your Google My Business account, which you sign up for using a standard Google Account.

The steps to complete the process are as follows:

Make sure you have a standard Google Account for your business.
Make sure you have a Business Profile.
Create a Google My Business account.
Request to claim your Business Profile.
Verify ownership of your business.
Now, with the groundwork laid out, you are armed and ready to successfully claim and verify your business on Google. The steps outlined below are written linearly, and in some cases, you’ll need to skip down a step. But I’d still encourage you to read them all carefully to avoid hitting roadblocks or creating duplicate accounts.

Step #1: Make sure you have a Google Account for your business

This is the standard Google Account we described in the terminology section above. If you already have one (make sure it’s not your personal-use Google Account), skip down to Step #2. If you don’t have a Google Account for your business, follow the steps below.

1. Go to accounts.google.com/signin.
2. Click “Create account.”

3. You’ll see a drop-down with two options. Choose “To manage my business.”

4, Supply the necessary information.

Step #2: Make sure you have a Business Profile

Your Business Profile is the official term for your Google business listing. As mentioned above, Google Business Profiles are separate from Google My Business accounts. A Business Profile can exist on its own, without Google My Business account. The problem with this is that the business owner has no control over the information in that Business Profile until they claim it, and this is done through Google My Business. Bottom line: You’ll want to make sure you have a Business Profile to claim once you’ve set up your Google My Business account.

If you know you’ve already created a Business Profile, skip down to Step #4. If you haven’t created one or are unsure, follow the steps below.

Note: Even if you didn’t create it, there’s a good chance your Business Profile already exists. This is because a Business Profile is simply a place on Google Maps, which any person or computer can add. So to check and see if you need to create a Business Profile, follow these steps:

1. Go to Google.com/maps.
2. Search your business name.
3. If your business name populates in the drop-down with an address next to it, this means your Business Profile already exists. Great! You can move on to Step #4.

If your business name does not populate with an address, select it and you’ll see something like this:

4. Select “Add a missing place,” and you’ll see a screen like this:

5. Provide the requested information. Notice that you’ll have the option to claim the business within that same window. Since you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, you’ll need to move on to Step #3. If you already have a Google My Business account, you can follow the prompts and you’ll end up at Step #5—look at you go!

Step #3: Sign up for a Google My Business account

The means by which you claim your Business Profile on Google is through a Google My Business account. Provided you have a standard Google account (see Step #1), here’s how to sign up for a Google My Business account.

1. Make sure you are logged into the standard Google Account for your business (and not the standard Google Account for your personal life).
2. Go to google.com/business.
3. Select “Manage now.”

4. Provide the basic information Google asks for, including.

Business name
Address
Website
Phone number
Delivery area (if applicable)
Category
Once you connect this account with your Business Profile (the final step of this post), additional fields will open up in your dashboard so you can provide even more information about your business. This information is the key to optimizing your business for local SEO and attracting more customers through your free listing.

Step #4: Request to claim your Business Profile

This is where we start putting the pieces together. Unfortunately, creating a Google My Business account (from Step #3) does not automatically connect it to your Business Profile (from Step #2). You need to tell Google to connect them, and you do this by verifying ownership of your business. To do this, start by locating your Business Profile on Google Maps or Google Search and requesting to claim it. You can do this one of two ways:

Claim request method #1:

1. Go to google.com and search for your business name and location. If your Business Profile appears on the right-hand side, find the “Own this business?” option and select it.

2. From there you’ll be taken to a screen that says “Manage this business so you can reply to reviews, update info, and more.”

3. Click “Manage now,” and follow the prompts to claim your business. Once again, make sure you’re logged in with the standard Google Account used for your business, and not for your personal life, referred to in Step #1.

Claim request method #2: Google Maps

1. Go to Google.com/maps.
2. Type in your business name.
3. Click on your Business Profile, which will expand.
4. You’ll then see an option to “Claim this business.”

Clicking on “Claim this business” will then overlay the same screen you saw in the first method, but this time right over the map.

4. Click “Manage now” and follow the prompts. Again, make sure you’re logged in with the Google Account you created for your business referred to in Step #1.

Step #6: Verify ownership of your business

This is the home stretch! If you need to grab a Gatorade or some orange slices, I’ll be right here when you get back.

When you click on “Manage now” as instructed in Step #5, you’ll be asked to provide information to prove you are the rightful owner of the business. Depending on the type of business you have, if you created the Business Profile and you’re logged into your Google My Business account, you might get validated on the spot. If you aren’t the one who created the Business Profile, Google will send you a verification code that you’ll enter into your Google Business dashboard. Depending on the circumstances of your account/security requirements of your industry, you may be given your verification code via regular mail, email, or text.

Once you receive the code and enter it into the box, you will have full ownership of your Business Profile on Google! You can now manage reviews, update information, add more attractive details, and optimize it for successful local marketing.

Take the time to verify your business on Google

Google is changing the way consumers find and engage with local businesses, so if you want to continue reaching your audience and attracting customers with your free Business Profile, be sure to follow the above steps. The process has different parts and pieces, but it doesn’t have to be quite so complicated with guides like this and options like doing it on mobile. Get started with creating, claiming, and verifying through Google My Business today so you can get the most out of this incredible and free tool available to you.

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The State of Local SEO Industry Report 2020, Announced

Posted by MiriamEllis Moz’s very warmest thanks to the 1,453 respondents who volunteered time to contribute to this second installation of our industry survey. It’s rewarding to have such a large survey group; as this report details in high relief, the work of marketing a single business location can pass through a dozen hands.

Owners, staff, in-house SEOs, agencies, creative directors, webmasters, project managers, and consultants may all be contributing to promoting just one local company. By capturing their hands-on experience, we get the big picture of local SEO as an effort not confined to experts, but rather, requiring all hands on deck.

In this report, you’ll find insights to share with coworkers and clients on:
company infrastructure for local ranking factors, tool & software usage, gaps in the marketplace and high ROI strategies and tactics.

A window in time on local business marketing.

The data in our survey depicts the local SEO industry both before and during the public health emergency. As such, it’s an eagle’s eye view of both the status of marketing priorities up to the present and a gauge of preparedness for change. Change has always been the only constant in local SEO — our industry is accustomed to an environment that can turn on a dime, literally overnight. This challenging setting toughens businesses for tough times.

No one knows yet how COVID-19 may ultimately alter consumer behavior, but in the short term, one good sign which has emerged from the State of the Local SEO industry report is that local businesses were strongly embracing organic assets prior to the pandemic. Not long ago, you might have encountered narratives about websites being “dead” due to the dominance of local packs, zero click SERPs, and other Google features.

Fortunately, our report indicates that many marketers have wisely ignored such schools of thought and have continued to promote the vital role local business websites play in connecting with communities.

For now, if connection is curbside or delivery instead of foot traffic, local businesses which have been thoughtfully maintaining their websites own a strong platform for next moves — perhaps implementing local e-commerce, or taking orders via form submissions, or hosting gated video consultations.

Access to the State of the Local SEO Industry’s data will enable you to do your own analysis of the sum total of marketing knowledge up to the present with an eye to future strategy. Here’s a preview of 3 emergent narratives that particularly caught my eye.

Proximity falls to third as a local ranking factor

Our 2019 report cited user-to-business proximity as the dominant influence on Google’s local pack rankings. So has every Local Search Ranking Factors survey since 2017. This is a surprising departure. Download the report for further analysis and view the numbers in the light of how Google might adjust proximity based on new factors like curbside pickup and local delivery.

YOY, 19% more respondents are involved with offline marketing
94% (up from 75%) of our survey group are consulting with clients at least some of the time on topics like real-world customer service and consumer policies.

This statistic professionally delights me, because of my years of advocacy here on the Moz blog for local search marketers to care deeply about what happens in real time between consumers and brands. Some enterprising agency should consider doing a webinar or eBook on the history of brick-and-mortar marketing so our industry can engage in deeper levels of learning and make informed decisions about future offline marketing strategy.

COVID-era customer fulfillment strategies are here to stay
51% of respondents intend to permanently offer amenities like home delivery, curbside pickup, and video conferencing. Now is the time for innovative marketing agencies to put in the work researching the best possible solutions for clients for the long haul. Will it be in-house delivery fleets, or outsourcing to third parties like Instacart and Doordash?

Which e-commerce platform is the best, not just for UX but for SEO? Many brands swiftly cobbled together new services to meet the state of emergency, but as time goes by, consumer feedback and marketing analysis will point the way to thoughtfully choosing the best transnational methodologies and platforms. All of these technologies predate the pandemic, but the year ahead is going to see them much more fully tested.
Please accept our invitation to download the free State of the Local SEO Industry Report 2020, with 30+ timely questions on topics that impact how you work, what to offer, and how to improve your strategy for the year ahead whether you own a local business or are in the business of marketing local brands!

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Google My Business Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

Local Mapping the Local Essentials

I came across an interesting article on supporting your local ecosystems. I live in Princeton, New Jersey. I have been a believer of be local – buy local ! For me, supporting your local mom & pop stores is all about preserving your local economy. Sure, large box stores add some value, but in today’s world, Amazon has become the large box store next door and can practically deliver you the same day.

So, it makes sense to be local and support your local business. It is all about Local Search Engine Marketing.

Yes, let’s do Local Mapping the Local Essentials !

Here is the article posted by Miriam Ellis:

How should a business operate now? Where is there work to be done? Economists are making stark predictions about the future of small businesses in the US, but at the same time, I live in a town without a courier service established enough to meet the mushrooming demand for home delivery.

Frankly, it’s devastating reading headlines forecasting the permanent closure of 7.5 million American SMBs, but while absorbing these, I also spent six weeks shaking the Internet for bathroom tissue before locating some 1,400 miles away.

Point being: Where there’s need, fulfilment can be a public good, and where there’s upheaval, any possibility is worth considering. Necessities are emerging in bold relief on the map of each town and city. Demand must be met by determined small entrepreneurs to keep society functional.

If you have a strong desire to actively support communities in new ways, by either retooling your existing business or even launching a new one, the doors of opportunity are open:

Tools and exercises can help you assess local demand, with the goal of building a stable business based on serving the public exactly what it needs most. What I see emerging is a marketplace that’s essentials first, luxuries second. With a consumer public struggling to get its basic needs met, you want to own the business that grows, sells, or markets the dried beans if you can determine they’ll continue to be a must-have in all times and seasons. Let’s think this through together today.

Local Map Local Essentials

One of the hard lessons so many of us have learned from the past few months is that our local communities are neither prepared for disasters nor sufficiently self-sufficient to meet all basic needs.

Create a local map based on local needs. Once you’ve created your own map, answer these five questions:

1) Based on what I currently know, where in my community are the worst, ongoing local resource deficits? For example, in my community, we make too much alcohol for the residents to drink and don’t grow enough food for them to eat.

2) From what the present emergency is teaching me, which local resources have proven both essential and hard to access during a disaster? For example, there is only minimal manufacture of necessities in my town and a tax base that hasn’t been geared towards safety from wildfire.

3) Where would my existing skills and passions fit most easily into this map today? My skills, for example, would enable me to teach almost any business in town how to market themselves.

4) What new skills and assets would I need if I want to adjust my current offerings or move to a completely different role in my community? Let’s say I wanted to be an organic farmer instead of a local SEO — how could I transition?

5) If large-scale government planning fails to ensure that all members of my community have what they need to support life, what are my options for cooperating with neighbors at a local level to ensure my city or county is more self-sustaining? For example, my city has a Buy Local association I might tap into for large-scale, organized planning.
From this exercise, I want you to be able to tell yourself and others a compelling story about what your place on the map lacks and what it requires to become more self-reliant, as well as begin to gauge where you might personally fit in contributing to solutions.

Changed Demographics

In 1960, 95% of the clothing Americans purchased was made in the US. In the 21st century, that figure has fallen to just 2%. A couple of generations ago, 60% of us lived in rural areas near farms, but today, only 20% of us do.

More Local Jobs

In these days of “buy online, pickup in store” (BOPIS) and same-day delivery, I recommend befriending your city’s library or historic society to gain access to business records depicting the state of local 20th century commerce. See how your community was sustained by the farmer, the tailor, the baker, the vegetable wagon, the milkman, the diaper truck, the cobbler who repaired non-throwaway shoes, the town-supported hospital and doctor who made house calls, and the independent grocer. What you find in the archives could shine a light on creating modern sustainability if trying times and local desire converge in a demand for change.

Once you’ve done as much research as you can into the demand, it’s time to consider how you would promote your offering.

Assess local demand

Now it’s time to research specific demand. How do you know what’s most needed at a local level?

Center your own experience and see if it’s trending.  More than anything else, it’s your powers of local observation that will tell you most about business opportunities. Businesses exist to solve problems, and right now, the problem we’re confronting is local self-sufficiency during times of emergency as well as in better days.

  1. Have I identified an anomalous spike in demand or a permanent need?
  2. Is there explicit value for customers if this demand could be supplied locally instead of via distribution/online channels?
  3. Are there already local companies fulfilling this demand?
  4. If I got into this line of business, who would my local competitors be and how well are they marketing themselves?
  5. What do you know about supply and demand in your community, from lived experience?
  6. See if your need is mentioned in Google’s Rising Retail Categories
  7. Crosscheck demand via keyword research tools
  8. Ask, listen, repeat
  9. Look Back

Market like Ma Perkins

When unemployment peaked at 24.9% and thousands of banks closed in the 1930s, who was still operational? It was Ma Perkins, “mother of the air”, progenitor of content-based marketing and soap operas, and radio star who offered homespun advice to her fictional town while selling Oxydol to the listening public. Realizing that people would still need soap even in hard times, Proctor & Gamble swam against the austerity tide, doubling down on their marketing investments by launching the “Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins” radio show, making the brand one of the most famous Great Depression- era success stories.

This historic example of tying an essential offering to dedicated communication feels just about right for our current time. Scanning headlines like “Some small businesses are flourishing in the COVID-19 pandemic”, I’m hearing crackling echoes of Ma Perkins in the storytelling ventures of Cleancult’s orange zest cleansers and Tushy’s bidets. There’s precedent behind SEOs telling clients not to pause their marketing right now if they can afford it. Being a visible, reliable resource in this moment isn’t just good for brands — it’s a relief and help for customers.

Tell a Story

For your local business idea, there will be a tandem marketing task ahead of you:

  • Tell a story of and to your local customers and tie it into your offering.
  • Tell such a persuasive story of the need for local resource security that you needn’t go it alone.
  • Help the local business community reimagine itself as a city planning task force with the goal of increased self-sufficiency.
  • Marketing needs to be baked into your business concept — not treated as an afterthought.
  • To broadcast your storytelling to the public in modern times, local radio can still be a great tool

Need Our Help?

We will be delighted to help you map your local strategy. Reach out for us and let us add value to your local presence.

Local Mapping the Local Essentials!

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Content Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

How to use Headlines to Help Create and Optimize Content ?

Catchy headline is very important to draw attention of the reader about an article or an advertisement. It should include words and ideas to draw someone’s eye and reader’s interest to read the entire content.

4 Ways to Help You Think Up Engaging Headlines

  • Use a numeric value in your headline
  • Keep it short (8-12 words)
  • Add emotion such as curiosity or anticipation
  • Ask a burning question

Types Of Headlines

  • Flush Left Headline
  • Banner Headline
  • Inverted Pyramid Headline
  • Cross-Line Headline

Fractl’s Growth Specialist shares a guide on how to optimize content through effective headlines. It covers how you can frame, promote, pitch, and sell your content.

The post How to use headlines to help create and optimize content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Source: Read More

Content, SEO, content, Content marketing, content optimization, content tips, evergreen content, Google, keyword optimization, long-tail keywords, SERPs

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Content Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

How-To Content Isn’t Going Anywhere (and What That Means for Your Strategy)

Let’s discuss How-to Content and is working?

Recently, Amanda Milligan posted an interesting article about the how to content, what it means and how it helps.  What caught my eye was the tie from witch burning 500 years ago to CDC how to wash your hands ( now come on, do we really need instructions on how to wash hands? )

Extracting content ideas from circumstances is what exactly illustrates the problem and the opportunity; when you have lemons, make lemonade !

Content is still king.  Good content still goes miles.

So, I am reproducing the article below by Amanda

Posted by Amanda Milligan

I’m a big fan of the Lore podcast, and in a recent episode, the host discussed a book called the Malleus Maleficarum.

Two words starting with the “mal” prefix doesn’t sound super friendly, right?

Well, the book is essentially a guide on how to identify witches and conduct witch trials. It turned out to have quite the horrible impact on society — as we’ve learned in history classes — but the host notes that it’s also one of the first how-tos ever written.

And it was published in 1486, more than 500 years ago.
How-to content isn’t new, and from what I can tell, it isn’t going anywhere. Look at how many search results come back when you narrow content down to titles including “how to.”

It’s not just that there’s a ton of this type of content, either. People want to read it.

The prominence of “how-to” content

My team at Fractl did a study about how different generations search online. We gave nearly 1,000 people this prompt:
You just got engaged! It’s time to start thinking about the wedding, but you’re not sure where to start. What is the first word or phrase you would search using Google or another search engine?
Thirteen percent of all the respondents’ hypothetical searches had “how to” in them, and the youngest respondents — millennials and Gen Zers — used it the most.

It serves as additional proof for what we already suspected: how-to content remains a staple in the content world.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? How-tos not only lend themselves to the thrill of learning new information online (and the seemingly endless number of things that are available to learn); they also serve as a tool of empowerment. Even if you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out just by going online and reading/watching/listening to content someone else put together for you.

If people continue to desire this type of content, how can you make sure you’re incorporating it into your content plans accordingly?

Finding how-to opportunities

In some cases, it’s obvious how more how-to content can help your brand. Perhaps you’re a B2B SaaS company with a product designed to help teams collaborate online. You could write how-to articles about improving communication, transitioning to a new chat client, and plenty of other topics.

It’s important to have these articles, because not only do they speak to a direct need of a certain audience, but they’re also directly related to your brand offering. They’re rife with more natural call-to-action opportunities, and they demonstrate your willingness to help solve a problem.

This article by Brembo is a perfect illustration of this.
After the helpful guide, they have a CTA to:
“Just go to the configurator (www.moto.brembo.com) and enter some simple information about your motorcycle such as brand, engine displacement, model and year. The configurator will search through the entire Brembo line and quickly indicate which Brembo products are available for the selected bike, even including the pad compounds.”
And voilà! You have a useful guide that ties directly into your product.
However, the trick is making sure you’re seizing every opportunity and not settling on just the obvious how-tos.

Here are some ways you can find creative new opportunities:
Ask your audience. Run a poll on social media. Survey your email list. Call your customers. Whatever your preferred method, ask what they want to see! Get to know their challenges better so you can create content that will address them.

Research what’s being asked online.

You can start by going to Answer the Public or using BuzzSumo’s Questions tool. Both allow you to see what people are asking across the web regarding topics. But you can also look at similar content that exists and see what people are saying in the comments. Is there any confusion? Any points that still need to be covered?

Talk to your sales team. They’re the ones “on the ground” discussing potential worries and concerns from your clients and customers. If you haven’t already, set up a regular check in with the sales department so you can stay updated on what questions are popping up that the marketing team can answer in its content.

Additionally, for brands that might not have clear ideas for how-to content, it’s important to explore top-of-the-funnel opportunities, which you can do using the same tactics above.

Top-of-the-funnel means that, while the how-to guides might not be directly related to your service offering, they’re still good for introducing your brand to people who are interested in your general industry.

For example, like many other food brands, King Arthur’s Flour has recipes involving flour on their site. However, unlike many other food brands, their article, “How to make high-rising biscuits” has more than 94,000 engagements on Facebook, according to BuzzSumo.

Now, this is arguably middle-of-the-funnel because you need flour to make the biscuits and it’s a flour company creating the content. But people looking this up probably already have flour in their homes. The benefit of creating this content is that now they’re familiar with this brand of flour, and if the recipe goes well, they have more trust in this particular brand.

So, the article doesn’t have to be “how to choose the right type of flour.” It can be something your audience wants to know related to what you offer.

Getting creative with how-to content

Sometimes you want to create a guide that technically might already exist, but you want to do a better job in one way or another.

That’s great! But it means going the extra mile, thinking outside the box, and every other cliche you can think of. And that doesn’t always mean doing something costly or extravagant.

For example, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC released a piece about how to wash your hands correctly. Rather than sticking to the diagrams you see in restaurant bathrooms, they created a clean list of steps followed by a video showing exactly how to execute each step.

Just the addition of the videos made the content much more valuable to readers.

I also love this article from Taste of Home. I’ve read a million recipes on how to make chocolate chip cookies (what? I have a sweet tooth!), but this is the first time I’ve seen one that helps you adapt a basic recipe to make the best cookie for you.

The simple addition of this graphic adds an entirely new value to the piece that so many other variations lack by offering visual representations of textures for each recipe option.

So how can you achieve the same result?

When you’ve decided on a topic to write about, do the following:
Sum up in one sentence exactly what you want to teach people. Be as specific as possible. This will keep you focused when you’re creatively brainstorming how to execute.

Explore what other how-to content already exists and what they’re lacking. Does the type of content work well for the topic? Is it too long, too confusing, too boring? How can you make yours easier to understand and more interesting?Constantly bookmark inspiration you come across. All kinds of content out there can provide you with creative ideas on how to execute a how-to guide. Put all of the links or images in a Google doc to create a sort of virtual vision board, or make it a habit to go to sites like https://www.reddit.com/r/InternetIsBeautiful/.

Conclusion
Knowing that how-to content is always going to be desired is a great prompt for examining its role in your strategy. Which of your previous how-to pieces have performed the best, which have performed the worst, and what can you learn from both?

Twitter @millanda!

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How Do You Measure the Success of a Local SEO Campaign?

How do you know whether what you’ve done has actually worked?

We track rankings internally, but we never share these with clients. Rankings don’t mean squat to a business’s bottom line. Everything we do is focused on ROI, which means the only way to truly judge success is that the client’s site gets more organic visitors and more organic leads. Typically, we see an increase in leads from other sources, since the content and optimization work tends to make it more likely that visitors will convert, regardless of how they got to the site. But ultimately, we look at an increase in organic traffic and organic leads.

Greg Gifford (VP of Search, SearchLab)

Start with simple end ideas

Yes, you can have multiple goals (both macro and micro), but establishing one simple primary end goal is essential.

To understand what a website’s primary end goal should be is to have a clear understanding of the website’s objectives and/or client goals. How to improve Local SEO Rankings !

Goal setting tips

  • Measurable: If you can’t identify it, you can not improve it
  • Be specific: Keep it simple
  • Share your goals: Studies have shown that writing down and sharing your goals with others boosts your chances of achieving them.

Some simple yardsticks

  • Organic Traffic
  • Referrals
  • Reviews
  • Backlinks
  • Domain Authority
  • Leads
  • Phone Clicks
  • Top Keywords

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Google My Business Search Engine Marketing Search Engine Optimization

What Is Google My Business & Why Do I Need It?

In an effort to gain more visibility on Google, many businesses create a Google business listing (known officially as a Business Profile).

If you’re one such business owner, something you might not realize is that creating a Business Profile does not give you management over it, and you need those management and editing capabilities if you want your Business Profile to work for you as an effective SEO and lead generation tool.

So how do you gain management over your Google Business Profile? The answer is that, in addition to creating a free Business Profile, you must also separately create a free Google My Business account for that profile.

You need a separate Google My Business account to manage your Business Profile.

A Google My Business account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile, attain management rights to it, and unlock additional free features to increase your visibility on Google. In this post, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about Google My Business, including:

What Google My Business is
How to use Google My Business effectively
How to use Google My Business for SEO
How to create a Google My Business account
Read on so you can incorporate this free and powerful tool to your marketing toolkit!

What is Google My Business?

As mentioned, Google My Business is a tool that enables you to manage and optimize your Business Profile on Google. So to explain what Google My Business is and how it works, let’s first make sure we’re clear on what a Business Profile is.

Your Business Profile is Google’s term for your Google business listing. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google Search.

Business Profiles on Google Search look like this:

Business Profiles on Google Maps look like this:

 

And Business Profiles on mobile look like this:

Creating a Business Profile is the same thing as adding a place to Google Maps—which is something that anyone (including a random stranger or an automated listing generator) can do. All that Google requires is the business name, location, and category. Once Google confirms it is not a duplicate, they will create the Business Profile for that location. The Business Profile is then open to consumers to leave reviews, add photos, ask questions, and even answer questions. The Business Profile may also get populated with information that Google pulls in from across the web.

What this means is, a Business Profile can exist on its own, apart from a Google My Business account. And whether you created your own Business Profile or not, you don’t have the ability to manage the information it displays or the reviews it collects.

That is where Google My Business comes in. By creating a Google My Business account, you can access, customize, manage, and enhance your Business Profile on Google, all still for free, which we’ll get into next.

How to use Google My Business for local marketing

So we’ve established that Google My Business is not your Business Profile, but rather a tool by which you enhance your Business Profile to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Let’s cover the four core ways you can use this Google My Business to make your profile on Google listing a better local marketing tool.

1. Engage with consumers

There are a lot of ways consumers can interact with your Business Profile, and you use your Google My Business account to engage back with them. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, enable direct messaging, and set up associated alerts. You can even use Google My Business to publish posts to your Business Profile, much like you would with Facebook and other social media platforms.

Your Google My Business dashboard is where you can respond to reviews, publish posts, and answer questions asked on your Business Profile.

2. Highlight your business

A Business Profile alone contains limited information about your business. But through your Google My Business account dashboard, you can provide hours, a link to your website, products and pricing, attributes, and other details that make your business unique. You will also use your Google My Business to make edits and updates as needed.

A complete Business Profile offers a complete snapshot of your business, including its best features, right in the SERP.

3. Gain insights

You can use the Google My Business dashboard to gain key insights on your audience and local search performance. In the analytics tab of the platform, you can see the queries customers are using to find your Business Profile, whether they found you on Google Maps or Google Search, a breakdown of actions taken on your listing, and how your photos are performing compared to other profiles in your category.

4. Perform local SEO

Just as Google has algorithms for ranking its ads and websites, it also has one for ranking Business Profiles. Through your Google My Business dashboard, you can incorporate keywords into your Business Profile and perform other optimizations to help it rank in local results, which we’re going to cover next.

Google My Business can help you optimize your Business Profile to show up in the coveted 3-Pack.

How to use Google My Business for SEO

Google Business Profiles are dynamic. Not only do they change form based on platform, but Google will also prioritize sections of your profile according to the term that was searched as well as the type of information most important to consumers in your category. Even better, Google will embolden keywords in the content of your profile that it thinks are relevant.

But there needs to be information to prioritize and keywords to embolden in your profile in the first place. Just as you (or your agency) would use a content management system like WordPress to optimize your website for search engines, Google My Business is used to optimize your profile and expand your reach. How do you use Google My Business for local SEO? Well, since optimizing for Google is essentially optimizing for searchers, it all comes down to the same three things: targeting, quality of information, and trust.

Target your information

To use Google My Business for SEO, make sure to incorporate relevant keywords into your Business Profile so you can tell Google what you’re trying to rank for. Use them in your “from the business” description, your responses to reviews, your answers to questions, and in the posts you publish. Make sure to incorporate them naturally just as you would with any other SEO strategy.

Include keywords in your description, editable through your Google My Business dashboard.

Maintain quality of information

The completeness and accuracy of your Business Profile impacts its rank, so make sure to provide the requested information in every section of your Google My Business dashboard. Especially important here is your contact information, special hours, and attributes.

Build trust

The final approach to using Google My Business for SEO appeals to the trust component of Google’s algorithm. Keep your information updated and accurate as your business evolves. Keep a steady stream of reviews coming in and respond to them. Also, signal to Google that you are active by regularly uploading photos and publishing posts to your Business Profile through Google My Business.

Reviews and responses appear on your Business Profile. Be sure to manage them through your Google My Business dashboard.

SEO is important for any business, but particularly for small businesses that can use local targeting to compete against large competitors on the SERP. Google is making local SEO even easier with its robust Business Profiles, so a Google My Business account is essential for any business trying to maximize visibility in their local market.

How to sign up for Google My Business

A free tool that turns my Business Profile into a power marketer for my business? Where do I sign up?

To get a Google My Business account, go to google.com/business and click “Manage now,” which will take you through the steps of creating an account. Remember, a Google My Business Account does not automatically create a Business Profile—it gives you access to it and the ability to add more to it. So you’ll want to make sure you have an existing Business Profile to access.

Also remember that creating Google My Business account does not give you automatic access to your Business Profile. Once you create and are logged into your Google My Business account, you will then need to locate your separate Business Profile on Google Maps and then select the “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” link seen right on the profile. Once you complete that process, your Google My Business account will then be connected with your Business Profile and under your management.

Get started with Google My Business today

With a clear understanding of exactly what Google My Business is, how it works, and how to use it, you can now see that using this free tool isn’t just a good idea for local marketing but a must. Get your Google My Business account up and running now so your Business Profile can outshine your competitors and attract more customers on the world’s most popular search engine.

Source: WordStream

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