If you’re like me and you have a WordPress website that promotes your business or service, then you’ll always be on the lookout for new ways to get targeted visitors to your site. In this article are going to look at one such way and that is Google My Business.
For anyone promoting themselves and their services online, there has never been a better time to be doing so than now. With so many different channels available that can send potential clients and customers your way, the hardest part of generating traffic today can be choosing which method to implement next.
While focusing on SEO and ensuring you’ve done all you can to increase the visibility of your website in the search engines should be your first priority, after that, you’re spoilt for choice. From paid advertising, content marketing, guest posting, social media marketing, and a whole host of other options, there’s always something new to try.
However, most of those channels for generating more traffic are ongoing and that means your work is never done. Nevertheless, there is another way you can attract more visitors to your site that you might’ve overlooked. That is adding your website to Google’s recently launched My Business service and it’s something you can do today, and then check off your list.
In this article, we’ll explain the purpose of My Business and how it ties into Google’s new strategy. We’ll also walk you through the process of getting set up on Google My Business. This will help you to start getting more targeted traffic to your website and increase the number of ways you can be found online.
As well as this being something you can implement for your business website, it’s also another value-adding service you could offer your clients. So let’s get started and find out how to get featured on Google My Business.
What is Google My Business?
From the mouth of Google, My Business enables you to connect directly with your customers. Due to the unparalleled reach of Google and their services, plugging into the My Business network means your customers and clients can now find you more easily through Search and Maps.
Google My Business doesn’t just serve traditional businesses with a storefront. You can also sign up and instead of listing your business address, add the area you serve or just details of your brand.
We all know the importance of being ranked prominently in the Google search engine. It’s by far the most popular search engine out there today. Depending on who you ask Google has between 70% and 89% of the global search engine market share – something that isn’t predicted to decline anytime soon.
However, when it comes to getting noticed in the search engine results pages (SERPS) there’s more to just working on your search engine optimization and aiming for a top spot in the regular results. As we’ll now see, by signing up with Google My Business, there are more ways to be found and connect with your target audience than ever before.
What Happened to Google Places?
My Business is the replacement service for Google Places for Business. It’s a key part of their attempt to simplify the process of harnessing the power of the Google suite of tools to get more traffic to your business. This means that Google Ads, Insights, Maps and Search are all closely tied into My Business, making it easier to use and more powerful than its predecessor.
Benefits of Being on Google My Business
Right, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of engaging with My Business in order to get a better sense of what this Google service has to offer you.
Better Search Visibility
Ever wondered why some businesses you search for are featured in a high-visibility panel that lists their information, right next to the regular search engine results? This isn’t anything to do with paying Google through their PPC Ads service. Instead, it’s a result of being on My Business.
Once you’ve been included in the service, your most important info will be on display right away, with the rest of your content only a click away from those searching for you. You’ll still be listed in the regular search engine results, but now you’ll also take over the right-hand column, giving you even more exposure.
Put Your Business on the Map
While no longer being the world’s most popular smartphone app, Google Maps is still accessed on over half of all smartphones in the US as of July 2019. Apple is making great strides with its own mapping app, but there’s no doubt about the current popularity of Google Maps.
Therefore, it’s vital that your business – or those of your clients – is listed on the Google Maps platform.
Google My Business gives you an easy way to verify your business and get it added to Google Maps. Now your customers and clients can find their way to you much more easily. They’ll also be able to view information about your business and check out your ratings and reviews.
Display More Useful Information
Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to complete the integration process, useful information about your business will be readily displayed on Search and Maps.
This business information can include a description of your business; hours of operation; directions; busy periods; and the all-important call now button which are displayed for mobile users.
As Google is fully committed to the mobile revolution, your listings will be as easy to access on smartphones and tablets as they are on notebooks and desktops. Your audience will see the same information as they switch devices, delivering a consistent user experience before they even get to your website.
Another Chanel of Communication
By creating a My Business profile, you’ll be opening up another new interactive channel of communication with your target audience and existing clients and customers.
How to Get on Google My Business
Ok, so now that you’re convinced of the need and benefits of being on My Business, let’s look at what you have to do to join the party.
Firstly, you’ll need a Google account. If you’re already using a service like Gmail then you should be good to go, if not sign up here.
Choose Your Listing Type
If your business has physical premises or a storefront, then choosing this listing type this is the best option. But what if you’re an online-only business or operate from a home address? Alternatively, perhaps you serve your local area, but just don’t work from a standard location and instead go and visit your clients and customers. In these cases, you can use the service area or brand options.
Whether you want to create your listing with a storefront location or just a service area, you will need to create a business listing first. Once you’ve added your business you can then choose not to display your physical address if that information doesn’t need to be made public.
If you don’t want to display your business address, you can instead enter the area you serve. To prevent your listings from publically displaying your business address, check the box that states that you deliver goods and services to your customers at their location. Then uncheck the box that states you also serve customers at your business address.
The service area is a flexible feature of Google My Business. It allows you to enter whole cities and zip codes that you serve, or set a custom radius from your business location.
Once you’ve completed those steps you will need to verify your business listing to prove your address. Depending on your business type, this usually takes place by mail verification.
While you are waiting for your postcard from Google, you can get started on setting up your business page. This gives you an opportunity to build out your profile and add your contact information, hours of operation, and upload a selection of photos.
Thanks to the new integration features of My Business, through the dashboard you can start promoting your listings with AdWords Express right away. You can use the pay per click service to ensure you listing shows up in more places than it would otherwise. However, this isn’t essential, as by simply having a listing, you’ve already created a new way for your target audience to find you.
Once your account has been verified, you can find out how often your listing has been viewed through the Insights tool. As a verified account holder, you can also read and respond to reviews left for your business.
Creating a Brand Page
If you don’t have a physical location that you want to publish and you don’t need to enter a specific area that you serve, the best listing type for you is a brand page.
When creating a brand page you can get started by entering your details, before verifying your account. You get a few different options for verifying your account, with the default choice being by SMS or a call to your phone.
Once you’re, in you can create your brand page and start populating your profile with information about your brand and the services you offer.
Managing Your Google My Business Listing
After creating your My Business profile, you have plenty of options for managing your listing. You can do this through the My Business online dashboard, on either your desktop or mobile device. Alternatively, you can download the apps for Android and iOS devices.
These mobile apps make it easy to stay up to date with and respond to customer reviews; update your business details, such as a last-minute change in opening hours; upload photos straight to your listing, and view the Insight visitor analytics data.
If you are on the go and need to respond to customer queries, feedback, and reviews in near real-time, these apps and their notifications can really help you out.
Integration with WordPress
This plugin gives you the ability to display reviews that have been left on your Google My Business listing in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your website. You can also embed these reviews into your posts, pages, and other content by using the included shortcodes.
While the free plugin does get the job done, if you want the ability to filter the reviews that are displayed on your site by their star rating, then you will need to upgrade to the pro version. This commercial version of Google Places Reviews is available from $37.
By using a plugin like Google Places Reviews, you not only get an easy way to add some social proof and credibility in the form of customer reviews, but it also adds an easily accessible link to your Google My Business listing.
Following this link gives your visitors a quick and straightforward way to view your listing and location on Google Maps – if you’ve set one in your profile. To really make your listing stand out amongst the competition, you will need to acquire as many positive reviews as possible. Any method that gives you an easy way to send visitors to your Google profile page is welcome.
Hopefully, you can now see the benefits of engaging with this recently updated service from Google. Getting on board with My Business gives you more opportunities to be found, connect with your audience, and send more targeted traffic to your website or offline premises.
It’s a free service from a market leader and it’s very easy to setup. What more could you ask for?
How to Increase the Loading Speed of Your Website
Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two biggest shopping days of the year.
What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s load time.
By neglecting something so important, you are losing a significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you tackle this problem.
Why Speed Matters
Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient, high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important.
But site speed also matters because people’s attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile-First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.
Site speed has a huge effect on usability and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.
No wonder many companies are focusing on improving site speed nowadays. Pathwwway, a product design and development growth-oriented company, names load time any business’s top priority.
For these reasons, web developers say that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.”
Heres an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.
Evaluate Your Site
First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.
These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that is even better.
Have a Good Foundation
Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS).
Shared hosting will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more power than you need and is too expensive.
You should also consider managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of your site.
Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.
Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add plug-ins to add additional functionality.
You might also consider utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).
The closer a server is to a user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise.
There are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:
- Amazon Cloudfront
- Jetpack (a plugin)
- WOT Cache
Updates and Maintenance
It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements of your site as up to date as possible.
This includes everything from HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins.
Your hosting provider is responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep an eye on them.
The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site will be and the more efficiently it will run.
Clean up your database as it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).
Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time
Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible. With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:
- Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
- Compress your images and your website files
- Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading for images)
- Allow caching, WP Rocket is a great WP Caching plugin.
- Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
- Minify files
- Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
- Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
- Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
- Optimize CSS delivery
- Prioritize above the fold content
Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed
If your current content management system or theme is giving you a bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.
Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”
AMP is open-source software designed to boost loading speeds on mobile devices. Even before AMP, Google took steps to favour mobile-friendly sites. So the better your site’s mobile-friendliness, the better it’s ranking.
Test, Audit, Fix
Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, suddenly social media success, etc.
Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:
- High priority
- Middle priority
It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.
Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed
No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.
Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer visitors and increase your revenue.
7 Reasons Why Its Important to Have a Niche
A niche is a focused, targetable segment of the market. You are a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on the specific needs of an identified client group, which cannot or are not being addressed in such detail by the dominant providers in your industry.
But it is important to understand that there is, in fact, a difference between your identified niche and your target market.
Your target market is a specific identifiable group of people you work with, e.g. women in the city, technology start-ups, creative agency owners, small and medium businesses in a particular revenue range.
Your niche is the service you specialise in offering to your target market.
Here are 7 reasons why it is important to have a niche:
To avoid spreading yourself too thin
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin in saying that ‘everyone’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific grouping of people, and particularly on what their needs and wants are.
You will unlikely to be able to serve everybody, so it is important to focus on what you do best and aim it at a specific group of people who will likely buy what you offer.
It is important to find out what is important to them, what blogs they read, their beliefs and attitudes, who the main influencers in that network are.
Having these insights means that you can develop products or services specifically aimed at this group, based on your thorough knowledge and understanding of what they are interested in.
It’s easier to identify and target potential clients and partners to work with
As the pool of people that exists for a niche is smaller than its mainstream equivalent, it will be easier to identify potential clients and partners to work with, as you can be much more targeted and laser-focused with your marketing efforts.
It’s easier to become an expert and well known in your niche
Niching means it will be much easier for others to understand ‘what you do’ and ‘for whom’, which will make it easier to position you as an expert in your field. As this group is more targeted and of a smaller size, you can rapidly become well known within this group of people.
Your profile and overall visibility will increase within this group. It is a small world after all!
More and better referrals
Since it will be easier for others to understand what you do and for whom, it, in turn, becomes much easier for them to refer more and better quality clients to you that fit the profile of your ideal client, as you have built up trust, credibility, visibility, and it is very clear as to what your specialism is.
The more unique you are, the less competition you will have
There will be less competition, as you will provide the specific services or create the specific products for the specific people you are seeking to help in a specific way that meets their needs. The BIG advantage of becoming more unique is that usually it can’t be easily replicated by your competition!
Marketing becomes much easier
Effective niche marketing should really help with your marketing, positioning and branding as you will attract the ‘right people’ much more easily and quickly. People with similar interests tend to behave and are attracted to similar things. This means that many of your clients will do all the hard work for you as they will refer you more and more because your profile, credibility and influence are readily apparent within your tribe.
More repeat business
As you are able to provide an increasingly better service or product, based on your specific client’s needs, it is likely that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and as an added benefit will often start spending more with you as your relationship grows with them.