William R. Fox Company
The New Google Search Results Page
The new Google search results page for desktop has caused a bit of a stir since it rolled out in February 2016. While once featuring three Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top of the page and multiple ones down the right-hand side of the page, things have changed quite a bit.
They have wiped out the ads on the right-hand side and there are now four ad spots at the top at three ad spots at the bottom of the page. In fact, Google will only show three ads at the top unless it’s a highly-commercial inquiry, which in that case, it will show four.
So the total number of possible ads in any given search has been reduced from 11 to down to 7 at the most. Besides making the page appear a lot more basic, this has also left marketers wondering how it will affect them.
Organic Search Is Affected
Not only does this shrink the potential advertising space, but it also pushes the organic results farther down the page. Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever before. Companies that want their websites to show up on the first page of the results will have to work a lot harder to grab and secure one of the limited spots for long-term success.
Paid Search Has Become A Lot More Competitive
Due to the fact that several Google AdWords ad spots have been dropped, the fight for the top four available spaces just became even more important.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses are now going to have to pay a lot more attention to their paid ad campaigns to get the level of exposure they want. There is a lot less room for error than with the previous results page layout. So you’ll have to pull out all the stops and ensure your ads are set up correctly and targeting the right audience.
Costs Are Potentially Going To Be Higher
Along with that comes the potential for higher costs-per-click being that many businesses are competing for these prime pieces of real estate.
With more competition and fewer results showing on the page, you may have to be willing to pay a little more to be featured above your competitors.
It isn’t all bad news however, if you do manage to make it onto the shortlist, there’s more chance of consumers clicking on the ad. This is because they now blend in a lot better with organic search results. While they have the signature “Ad” sign next to them, at first glance they appear as organic results, rather than paid ones.
There’s no doubt that the new page layout is going to affect businesses whether they’re using Google AdWords or whether they’re trying to rank higher organically byway of SEO. However, it could be used as an opportunity to improve your overall digital marketing strategy to ensure your company receives ample exposure using various means.
Making sure your business is easy to find is the number one key to ensuring your success these days – especially digital marketing success. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The detailed process of helping your company stand out from your competitors can be both time consuming and difficult.
However, Google My Business has helped local businesses gain more exposure and convert more local prospects into paying customers. This local listing platform helps to attract more consumers in the area who may be searching for your type of product or service.
The problem is, there are still millions of local businesses that have not yet capitalized on this critically important marketing platform.
All it takes to turn Google My Business into a profit machine is to complete your profile, add as much information as possible, and optimizing it for higher rankings. But most businesses struggle with that very first step, which is to complete your profile. Very few business owners are completing their profiles to 100%. However, if you want to get the best results, this step cannot be ignored.
Here are a few tips to help you get started won the right path:
Make Sure Your Business is Actually Listed
Of course, before you can focus on getting a 100% score, you need to first make sure you’re listed on Google My Business. Type in your company’s name, address, or phone number into Google search and see if anything comes up. If so, you know you’re listed and you can proceed to completing and claiming it. If it’s not listed, you want to create a listing for your business as soon as possible.
Filling Out Your Profile
If you want to get a 100% score, you’re going to need to ensure that your profile is completely and accurately filled out. First, fill in all the required fields. This actually contributes towards a great bulk of your score. It includes fields such as:
- Your company name as used in your everyday real world business
- Your physical address
- Your local phone number
Once you have the basics filled out, you get additional score points for listing:
- Your company website address
- Your company email address
- Hours of operation
- Payment methods
- Detailed description of your business
- Pictures and Videos
- Appropriate categories
- Strategic keyword placement
- … and more
The good news is that it is really simple to see what you need to do to improve your score via the Google my Business dashboard. Simply log in and take a look to see what your next steps should be. This is indicated by the profile completion bar shown on the dashboard. Should you need help with anything, it may be best to get the help of a professional local marketing expert.
5 Ways to Show Off Your Awesome
Customer Reviews and Testimonials
You probably already know how important reviews are in terms of marketing your products and services. They break down the barriers your potential customers may have when trying to decide whether or not to do business with you.
Reviews and testimonials can bring a lot of credibility to your business, which ultimately results in higher conversions and more revenue.
Whether you’re a dentist, handyman, attorney, chiropractor, electrician, or other local services company, it is important to build up a certain level of trust with your prospects – and reviews can help you do just that.
In other words, they bring an incredible level of profitability that businesses cannot afford to ignore.
Maybe you already have some glowing reviews and are wondering how to get more eyes on them. This is key.
Here are three places you can show them off for maximum exposure.
- Your website
Displaying customer reviews on your actual website will really help draw in sales because these prospects are obviously already interested in your business. So putting your customer reviews and testimonials where they can clearly see them will only work to your benefit. Ideally, you should have a testimonials page, but don’t be shy about posting a few of them on your home page and other pages as well.
- Social Media
It’s hardly surprising that displaying your reviews on social media is going to give you ultimate exposure. With millions of visitors every day, these sites give you the opportunity to show off your ratings to a massive number of people. Take Facebook for example.
If you go to the ‘about’ section on your business page timeline, you’ll see it if you edit the address section, there’s an option to check a box which reads “show map, check-ins and star ratings on the page”.
- Place them inside of your e-books or reports
If you’re giving away free e-books or reports to get opt-ins for your email list, put your reviews and testimonials inside of them to boost results. You’re already giving them helpful information that they find valuable by providing the content. Including your reviews and testimonials will further add to the fact that your business is the right one to meet their needs.
- Add them to your printed marketing materials
Just like everything mentioned above, reviews and testimonials can also help any printed advertising perform better. Most of the time, you may be limited on space, but it only really takes one or two reviews to show prospects that you are reputable.
- At your place of business
Showing off your reviews and testimonials inside of your place of business is powerful. It’s a great way to show existing customers that they’ve made the right choice and can go a long way in customer retention and referrals.
Reviews and testimonials themselves are important. But it’s where you display them that brings the real value. Displaying them in the places mentioned above will definitely shine a positive light on your business, increase conversions, and help you generate more sales.
3 Tips to Help Your Business Show Up in Google’s 3-Pack
The change from Google’s 7-pack, to a reduced 3-pack has had a major impact on local SEO. Many businesses struggled to get featured when there were seven spots available. Now getting into the top three can seem like rocket science. The good news is that this goal is not impossible.
However, it does take time, skills, and knowledge to get it done. Being seen by local consumers just as they’re searching for your type of product or service is the most targeted type of marketing known today. But getting there can be tricky unless you really know what you’re doing.
To help you get started down the right path, here are three helpful tips:
- Get more citations
When it comes to ranking your local listing, one thing Google pays close attention to is how often a company is mentioned in other sources. In other words, it looks for “citations” to validate your business. A citation is a mention of your business name along with another piece of business information anywhere on the web – with OR without a link back to your website.
The additional information could be your phone number, website URL, or physical address – combined or individual. In order to count as a citation, the information must be an EXACT match to the information on your Google My Business listing.
Citations help prove to the search engines that you are a real company; therefore, the more of them you have from quality sources, the better your local listing rankings will be.
- Add photos to your listings
It’s no secret that consumers love photos. The more, high quality images you have on Google local listing profile, the more appealing it will be to potential customers. This goes farther than Google; Yelp has even published advice on how to optimize your business listings, claiming that photos make a massive difference. It even goes as far as to say that according to research from Review Trackers, consumers spent 2.5 times more of their time on listings that featured photos.
- Get as many reviews as you can
Reviews are an important part of getting noticed online these days. Consumers love writing reviews about businesses and they also like reading them. Google has taken note of this. It wants to promote the best local businesses and what better way to determine who those businesses are than through positive user reviews? If you want to really increase your rankings, encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever you can.
Getting your business to show up on Google’s 3-pack is a lot more challenging than it was with the 7-pack; obviously, because there are less spots. The tips above will help, but you will need to continually keep up with local search changes and ensure all of your company’s information is listed correctly and updated going forward. Not only that, but make sure you make smart use of categories and strategic keyword placement within your profile to give it strength.
Google My Business Links