How’s your Holiday season? Stressed out? Relaxed? In zombie mode?
Either way, if you need some motivation or just an opportunity for reflection, I highly recommend John Lee Dumas’ podcast: EntrepreneurOnFire.com. Every day he interviews a new entrepreneur who is killing it in their life right now. The most valuable piece is he forces them to tell a story about a failure in their life (most find it hard to choose just one). With 700+ episodes, you’re likely to find someone to relate to and motivate you.
Now on to This Week in Local SEO:
This week it was hard to choose just 3 – but with your valuable time in mind, I’ll pull out the most relevant.
Google My Business (GMB aka Google Places aka “the pin on the map with your address and phone number”) Guidelines – New Local Listings Menu Coming? –
GMB Guidelines Update
This week has been a flurry of what to do about the new Google My Business guidelines update. Some point out just the highlights. Some are skeptical whether the changes will be enforced or not. Here’s 3 pages of forum discussion on the topic.
There was even a large discussion about it in this week’s InsideLocal webinar. Chad Russell pulled out the takeaways and listed them in the Local Search Pros Google+ community.
Here’s the highlights I see for the construction industry:
- Use your common business name (“Inc”, “LLC”, etc – use what you use everywhere else). By no means should your city be in your GMB title.
- PO Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable. If you operate from a home office, use that address and select service area business. Your home address will be hidden.
- Use a local phone number instead of central, call center helpline number whenever possible.
- Use as few categories as possible. If you’re an electrician, select that. If you’re a general contractor, select that (not that and electrician).
- If you’re a brand with multiple locations, just use your brand name. The address, phone number, and URL will indicate the difference.
If you choose to ignore, the worst case scenario is “removal of your business information from Google”.
Action: If you have absolutely no idea what I’m even talking about, please do yourself a favor and set up your Google My Business page. It’s free. And powerful. Joe Hughes from Contractor Dynamics gives examples and steps to do so.
You can also give me a call and I’ll walk you through it over the phone – free.
(notice the “free” three times here)
Google’s New Hamburger
It wouldn’t be a week in local without something from Mike Blumenthal. Although this news is about a month old, I haven’t mentioned it before, and it came up in discussion this week. Since, like most things Google changes, it doesn’t have a name (like the search algorithm best known as Pigeon).
What I’m referring to is the new local search results, where there used to be your complete name, address, and phone number along with your review rating and link to your Google+ page. This new rendition however does not have all of those any more. Primarily it has REVIEWS.
This change is only on limited categories, like restaurants. It’s basically a replacement to the old carousel search results that used to be in that black banner at the top.
Action: Your action to this? GET REVIEWS. Since there’s no telling if this will spread to all categories, having reviews is never a bad thing.
If you need help with getting reviews, contact me and I’ll be happy to help. I’ll throw you a free handout to give your clients instructions.
(There’s debate on what nickname to give the new results. I prefer “the hamburger menu”)
Post-Google Local Survival Guide
This last one is a bit of thinking outside the local box by Andrew Shotland.
It’s a good read if you’ve been focusing all your efforts on the Google My Business mentioned above.
Action: I’ll be easy on you this week. Same as above: GET REVIEWS.
That’s it for this week. As always, shoot me an email and tell me what you need help with.
Local Search Meetup
If you’re a fan of all things local as well, I invite you to join me to chat in person. Last meeting was a breakfast. Next is your choice. Join and make a suggestion.