How to Cover All Your Bases on Google
At 2015 Summer NAMM, Donovan Bankhead of Springfield Music gave music retailers a guide to Google, aimed at ensuring their businesses get found online.
Bankhead stressed that small businesses need to be easily found when customers search on Google, other search engines, social media and maps—or you may never be discovered at all.
Here are highlights from the video:
Claim your Google business listing. According to Bankhead, creating your business page on Google is a critical first step in getting customers to find you online. It’s free, and Google makes it simple for you by walking you through the business verification process. Your business will come across on all mobile devices, and you can respond to reviews, enhance your listing with photos, and add current and updated information, including hours of operation and location. This makes your phone numbers clickable, too, so mobile customers can instantly call your store. Google also automatically links your business page to Google Maps.
Bankhead added that Google provides small businesses with such opportunities as a visual tour of your store, similar to street view on Google Maps. Google can send a photographer to work with you to produce a walk-through of your store. It’s inexpensive, and new customers find it helpful to see inside your store before they actually visit.
Respond to reviews. Bankhead shared candidly that he always responds to positive reviews and not necessarily to all negative reviews. It’s up to you to decide if you want to respond to every review you receive.
Use Google AdWords. There may be times you want to have an ad through Google. Bankhead recommended starting with Google AdWords Express, as it’s a simple way to advertise your business online. When someone’s searching for keywords, AdWords will help bring them in. A few tips:
• You can target by audience, city, address, geographic radius, product or category. Google will prompt you through selections and will pull up estimated results.
• Set your budget. You can choose to spend as little as $5 per day or as much as you want (maximum dollars per month). You’ll be charged only for clicks that your ad received.
• Bankhead suggested starting out by putting a simple ad together. Be sure to include your phone number and website. Google can restrict formatting and copy—for instance, if you use too many caps.
4 Tips for search engine optimization (SEO). Bankhead remarked that you might want to outsource or hire an expert for your SEO efforts since it can get complicated and time-consuming. Still, he offered some useful tips:
1. Have great content. Original and remarkable content is a must.
2. Choose your content keywords wisely. Make sure they’re keywords your customers are using—and not necessarily the ones you use. Be creative, but know how your customers search on Google.
3. Make sure your website is easy-to-use. According to Bankhead, your website is never finished. As you refine it, remember to keep in mind how people will navigate through it and how it will appear on mobile devices.
4.Social media is the Internet. Choose a couple of social media sites, and be active on them. Bankhead shared that his company has one person per store that serves as the social ambassador. Facebook and Instagram are important platforms for Springfield Music.
Check your Google ranking. Select Private Browsing or Incognito Mode on your browser. Search for your desired keyword to see how you rank. When a customer searches in your area, your organic listings come up.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool. It’s free. You may want to become familiar with Google Analytics or pay someone to do so for your business.