69 | Local SEO & Google My Business (GMB) with Claire Carlile

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In this episode I speak to Claire Carlile, an active local SEO marketer who works on a range of businesses on their digital marketing. She has particular interest in Google My Business (GMB) and local SEO; both heavily intertwined together. 

Who should focus on GMB?

If you have a brick and mortar and serve people in a particular geographical area. This is something that you need when you want to (need to) rank for the types of searches that have a local intent in their search, eg. ‘childminders near me’ or ‘coffee shops near me’. 

It’s a way to show that you operate in the local landscape. Currently, GMB is imperative for local services and organisations that have pivoted to offer service in a strange time. So, local SEO is more important than ever. 

Local SEO and GMB very much intertwined. There’s the map pack that’s mostly powered by GMB vs the regular blue links, powered by locational optimisation on website and landing pages.

If you don’t do GMB can you do good local SEO?

Some businesses may not require or need GMB so it depends on your niche. These should focus on locational landing pages instead. Claire is big on GMBs though because she uses it to give businesses more visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages.) In my opinion, if there’s a way to gain extra visibility then the company should test it, especially if GMB is taken note of more by Google as it’s their own platform. 

Top Tips if you’re starting out GMB

GMB populates your business profile for brand name search. It also is used for users who click through from maps or the local finder. GMB may look like set it and forget it (address and phone number) BUT it’s not done; pace of functionality that’s added to it has increased in the past year due to COVID-19 pandemic. People used to go through to the site but now from the profile you can click to call for example. This was created by Google because the search experience was so bad for SMBs on mobile. This is a gamified panel with new functions but take advantage of all of those and find out what’s new. Do the basics for sure but look at the extra bits as well. 

Primary category is important and explore this in your category because you can have extra available functions depending on what one you’re in. Look at posts for engagement factors with your brand. Keep up to date with GMB updates on blogs and resources, influencers on Twitter AND Claire’s own site here: https://www.clairecarlilemarketing.com/ 

Tracking GMB Ideas

Some believe that Google is ‘robbing’ us from clicks but UTM tracking helps differentiate traffic from Organic search or GMB so Claire wrote a handy UTM tagging guide but also links to a Google sheet where it auto populates your tags for you. Check it out: https://www.clairecarlilemarketing.com/resources/claires-complete-guide-to-utm-tagging-for-gmb/ 

GMB insights and reporting

There are various sets of information that you can plug into a Data Studio dashboard, like reviews data, per month and what’s the average rating. Clicks to call, driving directions and so on. Call tracking is a further data stream to add. 

There are free listings on Google Merchant centre. Check out what posts or content is driving sessions and there’s a Google product so look at ecommerce revenue via the product added.

Set up goals and events tracking then you can see conversions, find out whether GMB is better than paid ads for example.

Arnout Hellemans recommends adding tracking into any link, especially if it’s in GMB. This makes sure it’s tracking properly, which can showcase you’re getting an organic link. 

Reviews are Important!

Pull out the themes out of reviews. It’s good to show potential customers how the business responds to reviews too and if the business responds well then it can save the business sometimes when a fair response. Darren Shaw surveys what is more or less important in map pack and organic local rankings and reviews within GMB gets increased prominence every year. An average rating of reviews and the amount of reviews are probably the weighted factors. 

So take a look at your feedback loop of reviews, how, where to get them, what to use reviews for and what ways to use them and how to respond. A big piece of work that’s fun, Claire says!

Work on getting reviews, what are the touch points and how do you ask. Also, where will you have interaction which is appropriate to ask. This is often dependent on the sector. For example, Claire uses GatherUp (to email people after a purchase with review request which can include a link.) Look at the business profile and Google reviews, you’ll find that it often pulls third party sites into the business profile. Organisations overlook that though! If it’s bad then you need to get more reviews from that space.

You need somehow to process that data. Perhaps undertake, n gram analysis and look at the words that are frequented the most. READ the reviews, positive and negative, because it’s feedback for free that you can do something with them. Then, repurpose them as testimonials but mostly for intelligence. Why not do the same with your competitor reviews too? 

What’s New with GMB 2020/2021

  • New GMB dashboard
  • Google started to put a message button next to CTA button
  • New attributes: change of interface since COVID-19

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Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.

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