Aloha, Nick Ponte here. I head up a digital marketing agency here on Maui, and I love helping small business owners stay ahead in the marketing game. Updates to technology and internet services happen all the time, and it can feel challenging to keep up with all the SEO trends. Luckily, I’ve got some insights to share with you. 

Today, I’m talking about finding success with local SEO through one of Google’s new marketing features. I’m also sharing some tips about how to keep customers engaged and increase traffic to your local store through updates to your Google business profile. 

Google Local will now let you place ads that directly connect potential customers with your business. When local users search with keywords related to your business, your Google Local ads will start to populate their results. These ads lead directly to a free profile you set up with your business’s information. You only pay for actual, relevant leads, and you have the option to communicate with them through Google’s Local Services app. Many types of businesses already have eligibility for these new features, and more continue to be added.

Since the new features offer some awesome potential for local searches, how do you plan to integrate them into your current SEO plans?

Also Read: How Hawaii Businesses Can Control Random Changes to Their Google My Business Listing

Get More Traffic!

You want to outrank your competition and get traffic in your door, whether that’s with in-person foot traffic or clicks through to your website. Google’s streamlined business services will help you do just that.

We’re all familiar with the numerous challenges the last couple of years have brought. A local drive-in restaurant was recently forced to close for the day because of staff shortages. However, their online ordering system didn’t indicate their temporary closure, and neither did their Google Maps listing. You can imagine the resulting confusion and frustration.

This has become a common story for many businesses over the last two years. How can you, as a small business owner, stay on top of communications about these sometimes sudden changes? Google has options for you.

Part of the benefit of Google Local ads is the ability to update visible information about sudden changes to your business status, like temporary closures. Not only does it let your customers know, you won’t be charged for leads while you have certain settings in place. You can resume regular business at your convenience.

Google Local also lets you include information in your ad about your COVID-19response and fluctuating regulations, so customers can know what to expect each time they visit your physical store.

How can you incorporate these new features into your current SEO strategy? Keep reading.

Also Read: Local SEO: Make Your Brand Famous in Your Location

3 Ways to Use Google Local Services in Your SEO Strategy

Take these three practical tips to implement Google’s new features into your current strategy.

  • Communicate Your Business’ Current Basic Information

Many customers check the open status of a business through Google or the Google Maps app. If you want to keep them in the loop, be sure to communicate changes to hours and services through these avenues.

Have your hours changed due to the pandemic or staff shortages? Do you have special Covid policies? Do you offer curbside service? Can your customer find this information when they search your business online? Your customer can find out all this information from your Google Local profile—if you regularly update it when the most up-to-date information!

  • Promote Special Offers and Events 

With the Google Local profile, you have the option to update your information at any time. This means that you can keep this as updated as your social media profiles. You get the opportunity to include promotions and details about upcoming events.

Do you have a coupon for half off a product or service? Do you want to host a live or digital event? Include that attractive information on your profile! Just like you want to attract leads to contact you or sign up for your email list, you can direct users to these special offers and draw in more business—and more revenue

  • Get Customers to Leave Reviews 

Star ratings and reviews affect your Google Local ad rankings. Don’t have many reviews? The fact is… you can’t get good reviews if you aren’t getting any reviews! And if you aren’t asking people to leave them, you’re likely to only get reviews from disgruntled customers.

At the end of emails, on receipt copies, and at the end of transactions, ask customers to leave reviews of your business. Even if they can’t do it right away, let them leave their experience with something to remind them to provide feedback. Find ways to encourage them to leave more information than just a star rating. If you have a popular photo op spot, have a sign that reminds them to write a review and post photos. Google Local even includes a feature to ask for reviews through your business profile.

My business specializes in local SEO. In fact, we’re the #1-ranked for “Maui SEO” and “Hawaii SEO.” In addition to websites, we also optimize Google profiles for all of our SEO clients. If you want to learn more about our services or want help getting started, reach out to us today!

Further Reading: 3 Ways to Optimize Your Website and Google My Business to Drive Leads

Photos Courtesy of Luca Bravo and Tim Mossholder

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