What can marketers do to rank their business listings at the top of search results next year?
In this webinar, Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Platinum Product Expert, joins Binary Fountain to lay out specific ways you can optimize your business listings and put them in the best position for local search in 2021. He covers best practices, key features, and ways to create content-rich listings that outrank your competition and convert customers from search.
Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:
Key Google My Business Attributes for 2021
There are a few baseline best practices you must get right in 2021, according to Fisher. Make sure your business name is in compliance with Google My Business (GMB) standards, your categories are set properly, and you’ve optimized every aspect of GMB that you can – down to “year founded.”
Health & Safety attributes are also worth using and monitoring, as they will likely change as COVID-19 progresses and vaccines begin distribution. Keep an eye on your GMB dashboard to stay on top of these changes as they happen.
Fisher says marketers need to think about the customer experience more than ever. With so many GMB attributes being shown in search, your business listings are becoming a more frequent point of entry for consumers. Zero-click searches are rising in popularity, adding to the trend of customers making decisions on Google – before they find your website.
Google Posts and Q&A are also crucial for your 2021 digital marketing strategy. Upload photos on a regular basis – preferably every week. These should come from near your location, since Google encourages local images and discourages stock photos. Meanwhile, Google Posts are available for enterprises and franchises, offering a low-effort engagement channel with significant potential rewards.
Google Search and 2021 Trends to Watch
Google Search in 2021 comes down to the consumer experience. Local business information already displays for 80% of searches with local intent, so your locations need localized information to offer the best search experience to potential customers.
Meanwhile, the relationship between your website content and Google Search results is very close, Fisher says. As you add content to your website, keywords will start showing up in your keyword queries on GMB. Though your website is important for people who want to spend time there, GMB is becoming even more important for those wanting answers right now.
Google Reviews also play into search results, but are more important for the overall customer experience:
“Think about the customer and the fact that 79% of customers want to see that you’ve responded to reviews in the last two weeks,” Fisher says.
He recommends making a game plan to answer all reviews, positive and negative, within two weeks. It’s a great engagement strategy for existing customers and also for those considering your business.
Competitive Advantages for Google Listings in 2021
Fisher has one central piece of advice for those looking for competitive advantages on business listings: “Do your best to use all the features of GMB… Use it, abuse it. It’s free. Why not?”
For example, if you haven’t selected the Health & Safety attribute for staff wearing masks, consumers may automatically disqualify you from their search. Local-based citations can help too, along with reviews, posts and Q&A – all of which send engagement signals to Google.
One of the biggest new competitive advantages, Fisher says, is the Messaging feature, which is now being rolled out and expanded. Soon, when you create Google Posts, people will be able to message you directly from the Post.
Though changes are coming, Fisher’s key principles remain steady: Tending to GMB, producing high-quality marketing content and providing a good customer experience will lead to listings management success in 2021.
Check out more episodes of our Tips for 21 webinar series: