Google Optimization: Keyword Research

Google optimization is a long-term process in the Search Engine Ranking Game. And is the question on the tip of every business owner’s lips; How do I improve my Google optimization?

Anyway, my first experience with Search Engine Optimization was way back in 2003 when I ran a small recruitment business in South Korea. Back then all it took to rank number 1 on Google was a keyword-rich domain name and some keyword-stuffed content. Those were the days.

Nowadays things are a lot different. Keyword stuffing is out for a start. Thanks to the Panda Google search algorithm update.

Since then there have been thousands of Google algorithm updates. Some worked. Some didn’t. But generally thanks to these updates. You’ll find that Google these days generally prioritizes well written, well keyword researched content in line with user search intent.

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To keep up with Google’s algorithm updates, marketers should prioritize content quality and understand user intent. 

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007

Well, that and nearly 250 other ranking signals. Everything from on-page semantic markup, to backlinks, to expertise, authority and trust (EAT). And not forgetting the all-important page speed optimization that has to be completed for your website before it can rank.

Choosing keywords to get you ranked on Google Search. I find personally, that choosing your keywords for search engine/Google SEO is a lot like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of mud before you get a golden nugget.

I’m going to go through one approach for doing keyword research to rank on the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Doing keyword research for Google ranking is different from doing keyword research for other marketing activities such as content marketing for social media.

Starting Google Optimization of the Rebel City tour.

I’m not in the tourism niche or anything. However, I am in the interactive content and web app space. And in order to raise the profile of Hahamarketing.com as well as to celebrate the 100 years of the birth of the Irish nation. I’ve created a Rebel city tour web app.

The Rebel city tour takes you on a tour of Cork city 100 years ago. Listing the various republican volunteer actions against the British Crown forces in the city.

The tour features everything from bomb factories, assassinations and shootings. All on the streets of Cork city.

And provides geolocation info to steer you between way points on your mobile phone. Assuming you are in the city center with your smartphone. As well as pictures and an audio description of the stories of the Irish war of independence you can access from home.

To take advantage of this [position zero] feature and generate more clicks, include a page of fairly general frequently asked questions and provide clear answers. For example, a sales software provider can post answers to questions such as “What does point-of-sale mean?” to cast a wide net and draw in readers. “More than 50 percent of Google clicks originate from featured snippets

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007

Goals:

I have 3 main goals in mind for this Google optmization project.

  • Create a blog post that’ll drive traffic of at least 100 daily visitors to my Rebel City tour of Cork city from Irish searches within 4 months.
  • Use topic clustering to create relevance for my chosen keyword head term on Google. I will do this by creating a pillar post and several (around 6-8) cluster posts linking back to the pillar post. I hope to produce 1 blog post a week over 7 weeks.
  • Rank my chosen blog post on the first page of the Google SERP in 3 to 4 months for my chosen keyword search term ie. ring of kerry cycle.

Measuring My Progress

There’s hardly much point in setting SMART goals if you can’t measure your progress now is there? To this end, I’ll be monitoring my Google ranking and other metrics in the Google search console.

I’ll also be using Google Analytics to measure my user session time, bounce rate, sessions and other metrics. While keeping a close eye on dimensions such as geolocation, device type and language of visitors.

To use Google Analytics effectively. We’ll first need a measurement plan.

In my measurement plan I’ll set out exactly what it is I wish to measure and what exactly my Key Performance Indicators are going to be. I’ll also be sure to set goals in analytics for things like new users, newsletter subscriptions, video views etc…

A side note about the search volume figures. Generally, you’ll find search volume figures from 2 source categories. Google keyword planner and various other sources such as chrome extensions like whatsmyserp or ubersuggest.

Also SEO tools such as SEMRush.com, SERanking.com and Ahrefs.com provide search volume figures, keyword difficulty and domain authority (DA).

People change. Plain and simple. And as our behavior changes, technology evolves to keep up with our wants and needs. So, search engines have to change too.

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007​

Keyword Difficulty Score

I personally ignore the keyword difficulty metrics from such SEO tools. As I have my own method for ascertaining keyword difficulty, which I describe below. I don’t really trust the SEO tools for this important task.

consumers who search for less popular keywords expend more effort in their search for information and are closer to a purchase, which makes them more targetable

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=8e3a398a-e16e-4111-bcb3-5367cf07d792%40sessionmgr4007​

Domain Authority

As for domain authority. I find it of some use for high-DA websites with E.A.T. Any site with a domain authority of over 70 using these tools. Generally means that it’s a relatively important website. Anything below 70 and the tools start to vary their estimates wildly. Anything below a DA of 30 and the figures should not be trusted in my opinion.

For smaller websites, I prefer to use Alexa ranking instead. Note: Alexa is being retired.

Search Volume Metrics

As for search volume figures. My initial reaction would be this. If you want to find out what people are searching for in Google. Ask Google.

Especially considering Google doesn’t release exact search term volume. The problem however is that keyword planner search volume is bucketed eg. 1K – 10K searches. While also at the same time being broad match. So ring of kerry cycle will be included in search term results for cycling kerry. This has advantages and disadvantages.

Is the search volume from the various SEO tools and extensions any better? And where do they get their data from?

Like I stated previously. Google is really the only one that knows what the search volume figures are.

However by piecing together figures from multiple sources such as Clickstream data, Google ads forecast and user data.

SEO tools take a rough best guess at search figures. While these figures can be useful. They should not be taken for the gospel. They are not accurate exact match figures like the SEO tool creators would have you believe.

The Keyword Research Begins

This is how I personally approach searching for Google optimization and SEO.

First, find a competitor web page that ranks highly in Google for your head term ie. “cork city tour”. You might find it easier to break down search queries into groups when gauging user intent ie. Navigational queries. Informational queries. Commercial queries. And transactional queries.

​Since a tour sales company is in the number 1 spot for this search term. It’s safe to assume that the search intent for this term is commercial.

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Google search term for ‘tour cork city’

Run the leading website of your choice through a Google keyword planner analysis to get a list of relevant keywords. In this case, i’m going to go with the website on the number 1 spot on Google. Now sort the table records by the all important Avg. monthly searches.

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Running Competitor site through Google keyword planner.

According to Google, there is only moderate search volume for terms like cork attractions. However there is lots of search volume for the term ring of kerry. Since Kerry is an adjacent county to Cork. And is only a relatively short drive away. It may be interesting to follow this path and see where it leads.

Taking Ring of Kerry of as my head term I now turn to my whatsmyserp chrome extension. I type ring of kerry in to Google and see what comes up on whatsmyserp.

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Ring of Kerry Cycle Search Term

If you don’t want to use whatsmyserp chrome extension. If for example, you aren’t using chrome. You can get the same results or better using the Google autocomplete function. Which will suggest search terms for you when you start to type a query.

​These search terms will be ranked in order of search volume descending. And are a great indication of Google search volume.

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Google Autocomplete

Whichever solution you use. We can come to the conclusion that the head term ring of kerry gets somewhere in the region of 22K searches per month.

According to our moz bar metrics above. The number 1 webpage in the Google SERP has a DA of 46 and has 554 backlinks to their webpage.

Although, it’s the quality of the backlink that counts. Not the number. At this initial stage, this page is probably too competitive to be pursued. Instead of the head term, it makes more sense to go after a long-tail derivative search term instead.

​It seems – from whatsmyserp – that ring of kerry cycle is a popular long-tail search term. Definitely something worth looking into. So again, we search for user intent and general Google search results by entering the search term ring of kerry cycle into Google.

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UGC content for Google search term ‘ring of kerry cycle’

BINGO

On this Google results page or SERP. We find web pages from charity donation sites, sports clinics. But most telling of all – less prominent User Generated Content (UGC) pages from social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. This tells me that it will be worth my while competing for this search term.

Finally, so the question remains. What does a Rebel city tour in Cork city have to do with a cycle around the ring of Kerry?

Well perhaps we’ll create a blog post or web page which ties one to the other. Maybe a web page with the title… ‘Ring of Kerry cycle finished. What’s next?’ well, come to Cork city and do the Rebel city tour of course.

Of course creating a blog post for online content creation is another blog post which I hope you’ll read.

​Happy Hunting!

Page Speed Optimization for SEO

Intro

Wondering how page speed optimization can help with SEO?

Ever since Google introduced mobile-first page indexing. Page speed has become a top priority for web devs and marketers alike on the net. Especially since large websites stand to lose millions of Euros or more for every fraction of a second their website takes to download.

Don’t forget to check out our guide to keyword research for SEO and our guide to keyword research strategy for content creation while you are researching SEO strategies.

Have you ever wondered why Google search queries have such a fast page speed? Google optimizes it’s algorithms and page speed for this task. And Google expects you to conduct page speed optimization as well.

Slow loading is detrimental for search engine optimization (SEO) because it can lower your site’s ranking, resulting in fewer visits, reads, and conversions; ​

https://searchengineland.com/google-speed-update-page-speed-will-become-ranking-factor-mobile-search-289904
SEO Site Check
SEO Site Checker

Page Speed Optimization; Reducing Your Page Speed

We’re going to go through some high-level paths to increasing your page speed. Leaving out the bleeding edge solutions that may or may not shave milliseconds off your page speed. We’ll focus on some basic page speed optimization techniques in this post.

Generally for the web, your page size should be around 500KB or half a MB. And should load in less than 3 seconds on a mobile device.

So let’s begin shall we?

Any site that takes longer than three seconds to load is in serious SEO trouble. Ensuring that any multimedia content is optimized for fast load time and performance is key. 

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007​


Tip 1: Optimize your images

No doubt. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when you optimize images on your webpage.

Image Format:

There are 3 main image formats that are compatible with modern browsers. PNG, JPEG and WEBP. Some people recommend WebP images. While they do have better compression ratios and are compatible with most modern browsers.

I personally use png when details are intricate, I need transparency or the resolution required is high. And I use JPEG otherwise. PNG formatted images are known as lossless images. They store all the image information.

JPEG images on the other hand are lossy. They lose some of the image information during compression.

Raster vs Vector Images:

When to use raster vs vector images: Raster images ie. PNG, JPEG or WEBP encode information pixel by pixel usually. This is memory and bandwidth intensive. Especially for mobile devices.

Vector images on the other hand. Simply trace or outline images and can be resized easily. They are suitable for patterns and logos. But not for photos or detailed images.

Serve responsive images:

By serving images of the required dimensions. You can save memory, bandwidth and page speed times all at once. Responsive images are served from adaptive websites and are common in Content Management Systems such as WordPress.

Adjust the bit depth of your image:

If you were a painter, you wouldn’t squeeze red, blue and orange paint on to your palette. If you knew your painting only required black and white paint. This is kinda like adjusting the bit depth of your image.

If you have to use banner or larger images, the adjusting bit depth can create large gains. By removing colors from the palette that aren’t necessary.

Use Delta Encoding for Your Images:

Delta encoding works like this. If you have 2 adjacent pixels of the same colour. Then why waste space saving the information on both pixels? Just save one pixel’s information and only save the difference for the second pixel. In this case the delta would be zero.

Remove EXIF Data on Your Images:

Each image you create is stored with EXIF data. Everything from GPS location if the device has a GPS chip. To camera information and so on.

Lazy Load Your Images:

By loading images on your webpage. Only when the visitor scrolls down the page and consumes the images. You can save significant resources.

Personally, I use browser-level image lazy-loading. This form of lazy loading is compatible with most modern devices and is easy to implement.

Add new post wordpress
WordPress Javascript Optimization

Tip 2: Optimize Your Javascript:

Use the PPRL Pattern to Preload Javascript Assets. The PRRL acronym stands for Preload, Precache, Render and Lazy load.

  • Preload the most important assets first.
  • Render the initial route ASAP.
  • Pre-cache the remaining assets.
  • Lazy load other routes and non-critical assets.

Generally though, while also using the PRPL pattern. It’s best to inline critical JS and CSS above the fold for your webpage.

Precaching assets with a service worker can help your page operate offline and reduce resources and page speed at the same time. Workbox provides a collection of tools that allow you to create and maintain a service worker to cache assets.

Code Split Your Javascript

Decide upon what JS you need and what JS you don’t need for every page.

There is no point in downloading a large JS file on webpage number 1. If the JS is only used on web page number 2.

Use web dev tools to find code that isn’t being used. And split it into different files.

Remove unused JS:

Any code that isn’t used on your site. You should get rid of. Use chrome web dev tools to find unused code. This holds especially true for libraries that might contain lots of unused JS code.

Press Control+Shift+J (or Command+Option+J on Mac) to open Dev Tools.

  1. Click the Network tab.
  2. Select the Disable cache checkbox.
  3. Reload the page
  4. Check coverage tab
  5. Compression and minification of JS:

Minification:

Minification is the process of removing extraneous characters from your code ie. newlines and white spaces. If you are debugging on the client side. You can always use a Pretty Print function to create readable code again.

Tip 3: Compression

​Compression is the ability of the server to zip or compress files and resources before sending them over the network to your device.Make sure your server is compressing it’s downloadable content before sending it to the browser.

This can save you lots of time and bandwidth at the end of the day. 

Google Results Page Editor Example
Google Results Page Editor Tool – Great for SEO.

Finally

So that’s a brief run through of the various aspects of page speed optimization. We didn’t cover the other methods of optimizing page speed. Simply because of the diminishing returns those methods will achieve. 

First concentrate on the above. If your web page speed is still too slow. Check your server for Time To First Byte and other metrics. 

Page speed optimization is a great first step towards optimal Google ranking. However writing great content is also a must. For info on how to research Google optimization.

Alternatively, if ranking on Google isn’t  your thing. And you’d prefer to be the toast of the content networks ie. YouTube, Reddit, IndieHackers.

Read this blog post on keyword research for creating online content.

Happy Hunting!

6 Tips To Seriously Save On Your Businesses’ Website Costs.

Saving Money On Your Website Costs.

Need to save on the cost of website design for your small business? Having been in a position of running a local business. I can empathize with the business owner. Every penny counts. I personally started a business that suffered liquidity problems. So I know what it’s like to reach into your pocket; only to come back empty-handed.

In our role as consumer champion. We are going to share with you these tips on how to save serious cash on your design and development charges.

Saving an extra few thousand on website fees is a no-brainer. This means you have that bit extra to put towards paying wages or marketing your business. Maybe even starting an expert SEO campaign with a measurable ROI?

1. Is Your Web Designer Building Your Website Using a Ready-Made Template Design?

Template websites are ready-made, turn-key websites that come pre-built. These websites typically just take a few hours or days to install and build. All the designer has to do is change around some colors, text and add images.

If your designer is charging you more than 2000€ for a template site. You might want to think about saving money by creating your own website using one of the many website builder websites out there such as Shopify or Wix.

Certainly, see whether you can market your business online before splashing out 4 to 5,000€ on a template site. Ask your designer can they code custom websites? And what design experience do they have?

Or alternatively, if you do want to design a website that’s easy to Search Engine Optimize (SEO). You might think about commissioning a bespoke, custom designed website with a great ROI instead.

2. A Big Save On The Website Cost For Your Small Business. Make Sure You Own Your Own Domain Name.

We’ve seen clients in the past get caught out by unscrupulous operators who claim ownership over a businesses’ domain name ie. website address.

This usually happens when the business owner tries to change the webmaster. Make sure you own your domain name and that its DNS info is registered with your details. Not your webmaster’s.

3. Don’t Overpay For Website Updates.

If your webmaster charges by the hour for updates or fixes to your website. Save money by getting him/her to update as many different issues as possible at one time. Instead of being billed 5 times. Ask for 5 updates altogether to save cash.

Alternatively, in order to save on website design costs for your small business; find a webmaster that’ll charge you by the half-hour for updates.

4. Build Your Website With SEO in Mind From Day One.

SEO is a process. Not a one-time job. The first area of SEO. The one that’s most important when you are building your website. Is called technical SEO.

Technical SEO involves writing website code that is search engine friendly. This can become a lot harder if your web designer is using website design templates, see above.

Also, your designer should be SEO-proficient and be able to code. Ask to see websites they’ve created that rank on the first page of Google.

5. Ask About Your Web Designer’s Skill Set.

Designing websites is more complicated today than ever. To be a proficient web designer. The designer should be not just be able to design. But also be able to write server (back end) and browser (front end) code. SEO. Administration. Copywriting. Marketing. At the very least. Knowing HTML isn’t enough.

If they aren’t proficient in these areas and more. It’s going to cost you extra time and effort to source someone who can take on these extra jobs.

6. Be Wary Of Proprietary Content Management Systems.

Proprietary Content Management Systems (CMSs) are a bad idea in our opinion.

Not only do they add extra expense for less security and features. But they also tie you in to your web designer. Should you wish to change web designer in the future. Then you have to start your website all over again.

The best CMS on the market is undoubtedly WordPress. It’s open-source, free and runs 38% of websites on the Internet.

Finally

Taking all these tips on board. Should save you at least 5000€ over a year on your website design costs. Money that can be better spent elsewhere. Remember to sign up to the Hahamarketing.com newsletter for more money-saving tips for your business.

If you have any questions. Or need any advice on ways to save money on your website charges. Then by all means, feel free to contact us.

Maybe you have some tips on how to save money on website charges of your own? Leave a comment below.

Happy Hunting!

Getting More Local Business With Google SEO Ranking in Ireland in 90 days…

Let’s Begin:

Wondering why you aren’t picking up more local business through Google? You are not alone. We’ll go through some tips here on how to boost your Google My Business profile, improve your SEO ranking in Ireland and start dominating local search.

Below I’m going to list several things you can do to raise your local profile in Google. I’ll point out which tasks you can do yourself and which tasks you should hand off to your webmaster or local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) pro for help with.

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. 

https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038063

Google local search pros will generally spend their time correcting Name, Address and Phone info for your business (citations) across the web, building backlinks from other websites in your niche, creating hyperlocal content for your site, and building more citations from trusted websites.

People think of Google as just an Internet search engine. Whereas in reality, it’s several search engines rolled into one. It runs different search algorithms for Universal Search, Organic Search, Local Search etc…

This means when you search for ‘fitness gym‘, you’ll be served by the organic search algorithm giving you the standard Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with the blue page links we are all so familiar with.

Whereas the search term ‘fitness gym cork city‘ and similar phrases with local search intent will be handled by the Google local search algorithm. And should return local results with a map and what’s termed a local pack list including business information, click-to-call links etc…

78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases

https://searchengineland.com/study-78-percent-local-mobile-searches-result-offline-purchases-188660

Try searching for the search term ‘your business your city’ where ‘your business‘ is the name of your business and ‘your city‘ or area is your location. If you have a Google My Business profile, it should show up on the right-hand side of the results page on Desktop or laptop screens. Or front and centre on mobile screens.

Google My Business Listing Hahamarketing
Open Shop Google My Business Listing

1: Claim Your Google My Business Listing Already!

The single biggest step you can take towards improving your local visibility in Google is to claim your Google My Business listing. If you haven’t done this already. Then now is a great time to start. You may be able to complete this task without help.

And with over 50% of Google My Business listings going unclaimed. It’s a great way to get a leg up on your competition.

Since you’re going to the trouble of claiming your Google My Business listing. It goes without saying that you should really spend a few minutes to choose the right categories, write a killer business description, add pics and post regularly which we’ll come to later. In other words, optimize your listing.

holistic SEO hahamarketing.com
Holistic approach to SEO.

2: Focus On Holistic Search Engine Optimization For Better SEO Ranking In Ireland.

Like Santa Claus. Google knows all and sees all. Google tracks behavioural signals and knows when people avoid clicking on your site in the search results page. Also Google knows when people click-through to your site then press the Back button after a few seconds to find another website (called pogo-sticking).

Since one of the biggest factors in Google ranking is User Experience. It pays to pursue a holistic approach when it comes to local and organic SEO. This means fulfilling visitor needs at all levels and matching content with user search intent.

In other words, you should provide a mixture of video, images, great copy, blogs, infographics, white papers, stats, industry research and last but not least – online tools. In order to boost your SEO ranking in Ireland.

By doing this you can increase visitor time on site (session time), improve user experience, increase conversions (customer leads to paying customers) and generally provide Google with a search result that it can be confident about ranking in the top 3 positions in the Search Engine Results Page or local pack. While at the same time hopefully weathering any Google algorithm updates without losing Google ranking position.

You might need to consult an SEO pro to complete the above tasks.

Not Google Maps Hahamarketing.com
Not Google Maps.

3: Does Your Local Page Have A Google Map Embedded?

Having a Google map embedded on your local page is a must for several reasons. First, you can let people know instantly where exactly you are located. Next, the Google map will provide directions to your store or business

This task is best left to your webmaster.

Pro Tip: by embedding the specific Google My Business Local map on your page. You’ll get an extra boost in your local search ranking.

Google Pics and Video Hahamarketing.com
Google Pics and Video.

4: Add Pics And Video To Your Google My Business Profile To Boost Your Page Ranking in Ireland.

It always a good idea to add pics and especially video to your Google My Business profile regularly. This shows Google that you’re serious about maintaining your profile and along with answering questions, responding to reviews and posting. Will help boost your ranking in the Google local search results.

For bonus points, you might want to alter the EXIF data on photos you add to your profile. What’s the EXIF data? Whenever you take a photo with a GPS-enabled device eg. mobile phone. The photos are usually marked with GPS longitude and latitude data that indicate the location of the shot.

Photos you take in your business will have this data automatically encoded. But when you take photos in other locations and want them recorded as business photos. You can alter the EXIF data with this free online tool.

Using the Google My Business app which I talk about below. You should be able to do many of these tasks yourself.

Pro Tip: Be very careful when adding stock photography to your Google My Business profile. Google discourages this and has been known to remove your profile entirely for small infractions like this.

Google My Business App Hahamarketing.com
Google My Business App

5: Install The Google My Business App On Your Phone

If you’re serious about monitoring and improving your Google My Business profile search position in the rankings. Then installing the Google My Business app on your phone is essential.

The app will notify you when someone asks a question or leaves a review so you can respond immediately. It also allows you to post updates and pics. And gives you information on how people interact with your Google My Business profile.

This is a task you’ll probably be able to do yourself. All you’ll need is a mobile phone and a free Google account.

Pro Tip: Google can remove the Question and Answer section of your profile if you don’t respond to questions regularly.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I would encourage you to claim your Google My Business profile first before doing anything else. This is where all local search optimization begins with Google.

After that, you should regularly update your profile with pics and video if possible. While collecting and responding to reviews and questions in a timely manner. All the while monitoring your progress with the Google My Business app.

Once those tasks are regularly completed you should start to see improvements in your local Google SEO ranking Ireland within 90 days assuming you aren’t in a very competitive local niche.

In which case, significant improvement may take longer. Don’t fall into the trap of just spending a bit of time on your Google My Business profile and then forgetting about it.

But rather think of your profile as you would of your house plants. It’ll need to be tended to and watered often if you are to see lasting results.

For more specific information pls read the other posts in the Hahamarketing blog that covers other areas such as claiming and updating your Google local profile in more detail.

Happy Hunting!

Google My Business Profile | Login And Claiming

Want to get ranked in the top 3 local listings on Google and have your business info listed on your Google My Business local profile…?

Study: 56% of Local Retailers Haven’t Claimed their Google My Business Listing …

Study: 56% of Local Retailers

We’ll go through how to improve your ranking in the Google ‘local pack‘. Of course, ranking in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Or in other words the organic listings.

Can take much longer and generally is a combination of sweat, backlink building, keyword analysis, meta-descriptions, headers, and anchor text. But that’s for another day and another blog post.

What is the Google ‘local pack’ on Google My Business?

Google Local Pack for ‘Dog Grooming Cork Douglas’

This is the Google ‘local pack’ and to utilize it fully, you’ll usually need to claim your Google My Business profile. If you haven’t claimed your business already,

it’s about time you do it now. Not only does this prevent someone else from claiming your business and uploading false/malicious data or answering the questions about your business incorrectly.

But it’s also an excellent way of getting on the first page of Google and having people review your products/services.

The chances are pretty high that your business already appears on Google My Business and that it’s either managed by you, or else it’s maintained by Google and the search community.

Remember no-one knows more about your business than you do. That’s why it’s important to claim your business with Google My Business.

What are the benefits of Google My Business?

Here are just some of the many benefits of claiming your Google My Business listing…

  • List your website, phone number, opening hours and location for Google searchers to see.
  • Draw in new customers with pictures of your services or products. Add as many pictures or videos as you want.
  • Start a conversation about your business. Get notified immediately when someone posts a review of your business with the Google My Business mobile app.
  • Find out how many people are searching for your business or clicking on your products with Google My Business Insights.

Let’s get started …

An Irish small business guide to Google My Business

To claim your Google My Business listing simply follow these 5 steps…

Step 1: Sign in to your Google Account, or create one. Sign into Google My Business. Then, click Next. Sign up with your business email domain since this account will be for your business eg. myname@MyBusiness.com.

Step 2: Enter your business’ or chain’s physical address. You may also be asked to position a marker on the location of your chain’s branch on a map.

If your business doesn’t have a physical location but works in a service area, you can list the area instead. Then, click Next. 

Make sure your details are correct, as any incorrect details might cause ranking issues in Google My Business.

Step 3: Search for and select a business category. You can also choose a more specific category as appropriate. Then, click Next.

Step 4: Enter a phone number and website URL for your chain, and click Finish. Then select a verification option.

Step 5: Once registered Google will send a physical postcard to your registered address. This will usually arrive within 14 days. Some businesses will receive an automated phone call or even an email instead.

Use the supplied code to verify your business in Google My Business.

Conclusion

Finally, remember in order to claim your business, you’ll have to be logged into your Google account. The account you’re logged into will be the controlling account for your Google My Business listing.

Also, try downloading the Google My Business app to get updates on when people leave reviews or ask questions on your Google My Business profile.

For information on optimizing your Google My Business listing. To climb to the top 3 in the local pack. Contact us and we can help. Or alternatively, read our other blog post on Optimizing your Google My Business Listing.

Local SEO Ireland | Optimizing your Google Profile

There’s few better options when it comes to marketing your local business online than creating and optimizing your Google My Business listing. Google currently has over 90% of the search engine market.

Almost 50% of Google searches are local. While 63% of people who search online on their mobile for a local business visit that business within 24 hours.

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/local-seo-stats

When you consider that a Google My Business listing is totally FREE. It adds up to a no-brainer. If your business has been established for a number of years. You probably already have a Google My Business listing. You just need to claim it.

82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches

https://searchengineland.com/survey-82-percent-of-smartphone-shoppers-conduct-near-me-searches-304512

Google Posts

Google posts allow you to share content about your business in a variety of ways. Such as ….

  • Highlighting a new product range with pictures and a description.
  • Showcasing an upcoming event.
  • Sharing an update on a recent company announcement.

Google Posts allow you to add photos, text, gifs and even call-to-action buttons including – Sign Up, Buy, Learn More, Get Offer and Reserve.

Remember though Google Posts disappear after seven days unless you set a shorter time frame.

Setting up Google My Business

There are a number of important elements to consider when claiming your business in Google My Business.

Such as entering the most detailed and accurate info. Including relevant keywords, updating business operating hours and keeping them accurate. Adding photos regularly and managing and responding to customer reviews.

The number one mistake that businesses make on Google My Business is listing incorrect name, address or phone number. This information should be the exact same as listed on your website.

The second most common error is having duplicate place listings. Followed by poor on-site optimization and then poor backlink profile.

For more information on setting up your Google My Business listing, check out our blog post.

Google Insights:

Nowadays Google offers businesses a way to understand how clients/customers interact with their Google My Business listings. Including …

  • Customer actions
  • Direction requests
  • Phone calls
  • Where customers find you on Google
  • Photos
  • What your business is known for
  • How customers find your Google My Business listing
  • Search queries

How customers find your listing

Customers can find your Google My Business listing either through a Direct Search where customers search for your business name or address.

A Discovery Search where customers searched for a category, service or product that you offer and your listing appeared.

Or a Branded Search which is defined as a customer searching for your brand.

While Total Searches are the total number of direct, discovery, and branded searches.

Search Queries

Search queries focus on the terms that your customers used to find your business on Local Search and Maps.

Where customers find you on Google

Listed in Google Insights in your Google My Business profile. Is how many customers found you via Google Search or Google Maps.

  • View on Search: A customer/client found your business via Google Search. Displays as “Search views” on reports.
  • Views on Maps: A customer/client found your business via Google Maps. Displays as “Maps views” on reports.
  • Total views: The total views of both Google Search and Google Maps.

How Google determines local ranking

So you’ve claimed your business on Google My Business and you’ve filled out the info accurately. But how can you ensure that most customers possible find your business?

Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.

Relevance is determined by how well a Google search matches your listing.

Distance is based on the distance of your business to a local search.

Prominence is determined by how well known a business is.

Also, more reviews and positive ratings will (more than likely) improve a businesses Google My Business ranking.

Conclusion

So really it’s quite simple. If you want more local business – claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

When used correctly, Google My Business can increase customer loyalty and increase sales.

Don’t make the mistake of simply claiming your business, entering a bare minimum of information and then abandoning your listing.

Should you require help in setting up or optimizing your Google My Business listing you can always contact us.

Google Structured Data – What You Need To Know.

Haven’t heard of structured data? Well, basically structured data allows Google searchers to see the value of a website before they visit the actual site.

Want to take bookings directly from the Google search engine results page? Structured data. Want to display your 5-star reviews to your Google visitors? Structured data.

Forms of Structured data …

Structured data comes in many different forms. Besides the ‘plain blue ink’ general search term you find in a regular Google search of Title, URL and description.

Enhancements

You can enhance your rich or plain results with different types of enhancements. Including but not limited to sitelinks, search boxes, breadcrumbs, corporate logos, and more.

Below is an example of an enhancement whereby Google shows a corporate page as a structured data enhancement.

Google corporate page structured data

Rich Results …

A rich result is one that contains thumbnail images, review stars, graphical elements or some kind of visual enhancement.

Also in structured data rich results, you can show a critic review … A snippet from a review that an editor has curated, created or compiled for a publisher.

To see a full list of rich results types, click here.

Rich results can include images such as these for search terms.

Knowledge Panel …

The Google knowledge panel is a collection of information from one or more than one pages, displayed in a rich result with text, links and images.

Daniel O’Connell Knowledge Panel Google Structured Data

Featured Snippet …

Have you ever searched Google, only to see a snippet of a specific search result site on the results page? That’s a featured snippet.

For more information on featured snippets click here.

Featured snippet with text and images …

Business Information:

Google provides a variety of ways to display your business information on the search engine results page.

So what structured data should my site be using ?

Your content type is…Recommended features and enhancements
Articles/blogsArticleAMPFact checkHow-toSpeakableSubscription and paywalled content
BooksBookReview
EducationCourseCarouselDataset
Entertainment/media/newsCarouselEventFact checkLivestreammovieReviewSubscription and paywalled contentVideo (and Video Livestream)Podcast, (see also Video best practices)
BusinessBusiness or corporate identity informationLocal business (for a business with a physical store), Top places list
EventsEventVideo and Video Livestream
RecipesRecipeCarouselAMPReview
ProductsProduct typeReviewSoftware appFAQ
Scientific or research organizationDataset
Job-related contentJob postingOccupationEmployer aggregate rating
Any typeBreadcrumbsSitelinks search box (for larger sites)[ExperimentalActions: Integrate with Google Assistant, a spoken interface that enables users to interact with your content using voice commands.See Image best practices for including imagesSee AMP and Mobile-friendly best practices to learn about practices and features to make your site mobile-friendly.Q&A tags let you indicate questions and answers on your page.Provide search-friendly limited free access to your site by using the Subscription and paywalled content tags.

Conclusion …

It’s important to note that providing structured data to a page for Google doesn’t guarantee that the page will be shown with the data. It’s up to Google to make that decision based on what’s most relevant to its search users.