• Sarah Grimmer

3 Things Local Businesses Can Do Today to Improve Organic Performance

Google My Business Screenshot

In the age of social distancing, the online presence of your business matters more than ever before.

The bad news? For brick and mortars “visit” based traffic online is down at the same time that these retailers are seeing less (or no) physical foot traffic.

The good news? Buyers are spending more time than ever in front of screens and that means opportunities to attract new business abound.

Search traffic has serious business implications:

  • 46% of all Google searches have local intent, and

  • 88% of searches for local businesses from a mobile device call or visit the business within 24 hours (source: HubSpot).

  • 50%+ of companies say the highest ROI activities are search-related (source: Hook Agency).

As a local business cutting paid search budgets, how can you maximize organic search performance during COVD-19? The answer: show your Google My Business listing a little love. A quick recap before we dive in:

What is Organic Search?

“Organic” search refers to listing on a search engine results page (SERP) that you didn’t pay for. They appear because the search engine deemed them relevant to the intent and query of the searcher. In short, it’s the blurb on the Google result’s page that doesn’t say “Ad” next to it.

And Organic Search Traffic?

If your business’s website ranks on the SERP and someone clicks on that listing to get to your site, that’s called Organic Search Traffic.

And Organic Search Performance?

A combination of what the user does after the click (how long they stay on your site, how many pages they visit, if they make a purchase), and whether or not they were newbies to your site or they’d been there before determines your Organic Performance.

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

It’s a free tool from Google that helps businesses get found by managing their Search and Maps appearance. It’s especially relevant and useful for local businesses.

And How Do They Work Together?

Google has reported that businesses with a GMB listing that shows up in local searches are up to 70% more likely to attract location visits, and when a customer finds a business through GMB they are up to 50% more likely to make a purchase (source: ThriveHive).

Not to mention that one of the best non-paid ways for local businesses to show up on a SERP is in the Google Local 3-Pack, those coveted three spots right below the map. And what increases your odds of getting one of these very-special-spots? Yep, Google My Business.

Chic-fil-A Google Local 3-Pack Listing
Example: Google Local 3-Pack Listing

Here’s what you can do today to use your existing Google My Business listing to improve your organic performance:

1. Update Your GMB Hours

Okay, let’s start with a slow pitch… Your working or “open” hours have likely changed (or been eliminated). You must update your GMB listing to reflect this. No one wants to drive to your place of business all masked up and ready to buy only to find that you’re closed. And you don’t want a potential buyer to not drive out to your store (all masked up, ready to buy) just because they didn’t know you’d recently reopened with limited hours. Give the people what they want, and update your operating hours on GMB as often as they change.

2. Update Your GMB Product or Services Listings

Curveball here, do you have something you weren’t showcasing before but that people might have a greater need for today? List it! If you’re using product listings on Google you know that they can include your photo, name, description, price, and link to buy. If you’re not using them, now is the time to start. To note, GMB products supersede GMB services, meaning if you were listing services and now you’ve added products your services listings may disappear.

You can also use Attributes to highlight features like “takeout” and “delivery” options for restaurants, payment methods accepted, etc.

Bonus, Google recently opened up free shopping listings.

3. Grab Those Glowing Reviews

The home run, a 5 Star review. Review quantity, keywords, positive affect, variety, and authority can all impact your organic search performance.

Almost everyone is logging more screen time these days, and that includes your existing customers. Nudge them to leave product and service reviews by providing a direct link in your purchase follow-up emails and on your social channels. Depending on your business and community, you might even reach out to some of your top customers personally.

The Bottom Line...

These GMB tips will help your customers find and connect with you today, but SEO is a long game, and the real value of investing more heavily in it today is that your business will be better equipped for future marketplace volatility.

YOU CAN DO IT! But if you want some help, we’re here for that too. Visit our Contact page to connect today.

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