I was on a call with a client recently discussing SEO strategy, when a question came up about how to climb the list of suggestions that Google gives whenever a user searches for a specific topic in a given location. You know the list I’m talking about, with the Google Map right next to it?
There’s a few inputs that Google uses that impact this list and in what order a business may appear in this list. Remember, Google’s goal is to offer up the absolute best search results possible based on what the user is searching for. But you have to remember that it's not just good enough for Google to provide you search results based on the specific thing that you're asking for, they also want to make sure that the search results they give you are of the highest quality. So in this example the user may have searched for “Copiers in Buffalo, New York” and Google definitely provided results based on that, but Google also wants to make sure that they order those search results based on what Google discerns as the most popular and quality options in that list.
So how does Google determine how to rank search results based on their perceived quality? Google takes into account a number of factors into their algorithm, all of which would be too lengthy to define or list out here, but some of the easy inputs involve a lot of the information from a company's Google Plus business page. Many people don't understand the value of Google+ or even think that anyone uses it very much, but Google uses it and it figures it into how search results are displayed.
So what are some practical tips that help an organization improve the way their company is listed on Google Plus?
1. Tell Google About Yourself
The first tip and possibly the easiest one would be to make sure that all the information on your organization's Google+ page is fully filled out and populated. This allows Google to really get to know your business and understand what it is you do, when you do it, where you do it, and as I stated before all of that information is figured into how Google serves up information on your business to prospective customers. How can Google tell prospective customers about you if you don't tell Google anything about yourself? It's just that simple...
2. Get Others Talking About You (Reviews)
What's better than telling people about your business? When others tell people about your business! Customer reviews can really go a long way to help boost your ranking and credibility in online search results. A common question that we get around this topic is “how do I get people to leave results on my Google Plus page?” Well, the simple answer to this question is to just ask people if they would mind giving you a review on Google. This has been one of the best ways that we've seen to get customers to actually think about writing a review after a positive experience.
It's easy for people to think about writing something publicly whenever they have a negative experience, and no business owner likes that, but if a service technician has just successfully repaired a problem for a customer, or exceptional customer service was given during an interaction, then it only makes sense to ask the customer if they would mind leaving a review on Google. A wise book once stated that (to paraphrase) “you have not, because you ask not.”
I had a co-worker at one time who had scheduled a piano tuner to come over to her house and tune her piano professionally. The gentleman came over and worked his magic on the piano, and successfully got it tuned. At the end of the appointment the man handed this co-worker of mine a business card and on the back it had step-by-step instructions for her, telling her how to go to Google and give him a review if she felt like his service warranted it. I bet he got a lot of reviews.
3. Employee Reviews
If all else fails (and I doubt the above tips will fail) there’s not wrong with asking your staff to consider leaving some review or comments about what kind of employer you are. This might be a good way to “jumpstart” the reviews. Sometimes people just don’t want to be the first to do something and so if you can get just a couple of comments or reviews on your Google listing then it may encourage others to go ahead and chime in.
Given a little bit of intentional effort, and a strategic approach, your business listing on Google can begin to become more and more visible. I’d love to know if you’ve ever tried any of the tips, or maybe others, and how those worked out for you.Comment below about your experience.