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In this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, we have Viola Hutchinson, Founder and President of Effortless Marketing, a full-service Digital Marketing, and Web Development agency. Matt and Viola talk about the best practices for optimizing Google My Business presence in order to generate more leads and sales. Watch now.
Your business’s main digital property is the website. It is the one you control the most.
Thank you for having me.
Oh, gee, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was a Systems Analyst before opening this agency. So I was a Systems Analyst at Shell, headquartered here in Calgary, and I like systems. So I understand them. I was at a stage when I wanted to do more and be more in charge of my own life. And I quit Shell, some people called me crazy because it was a very good job, from the point of view of money, vacations and perks and all that. But it was so boring, sorry Shell, but it was. So for the first few months, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was helping my husband with his business, and I wouldn’t say I liked that too much. So a friend of mine asked me to create a website for him because part of my job at Shell was maintaining our department’s internet. I was trained in HTML and software. I never even considered it because it was a small part of my job, and he knew that. So, I said, I never build a website from start to finish. I just maintained it and the changes. But I figured it out, and he owned a commercial cleaning company. He was very happy, and I enjoyed the process. So I started asking people if they wanted a website cheap. And that’s how it started. One more point to that, if I may, I don’t think that would have sustained me just building websites. That’s a constant struggle to get new clients all the time. So what I found out because I guess my systems background, I was looking, how come the websites I build are nowhere to be found? And I had never heard of search engine optimization before them. It was in 2008, 2009, something like that. And because I wasn’t in that sphere. But that’s how I found out about search engine optimization. And that’s how if you have a website, don’t just create it, but you do certain things for them to appear on the first and second page. So that’s what I started to do, and it was a win-win situation for me because it allowed me continuity with my business with the clients and for the clients. After all, they got better rankings.
But first of all, I deal with many small to medium businesses. And Google business profile is a free listing, as we all know, that many businesses don’t even know or don’t fully realize what it is. And if they do, they may verify their business, which is very important. So, number one, verify and claim that listing. But they don’t do anything else. And we optimize. So number two is optimizing your listing, which means filling out everything you can on Google’s business profile and using keywords. So the whole internet is driven by search words and keywords. And if we use them and use them properly, not overdoing it, but just normal, then the search engines will understand what that business is about. Because so, that’s our number two, optimized. Optimize the Google Business thing. And number three is to be consistently active on that listing.
The best way is to post consistently, and that’s another thing business owners don’t know they can do.
I know it’s a stumbling block for sure. There are different types of posts that you can create on Google’s business profile. And one of them is an offer. So that’s one type of post, and businesses do have offers. We just finished with one client in a wellness business, they all have a Wellness Center, and they had an offer for the whole month of July. So in the post, you start a start date and end date, you can put a coupon code in there, showing the whole time. So offers are a good way to use the post. We often use the ‘What’s New’, something new in your business. And this could be a strategy. It doesn’t always have to be some earth-shattering news because we don’t have that every day. So you can use blog posts or some topic you talked about, even if it’s once a year, but you never mentioned it before, a link to that blog post. And in my opinion, all blog posts should have some kind of call to action at the end. So there you go. So always add an image because we’re so visual. So add an image to that post and a couple of lines, just like a teaser, and then link it to your blog post, or you can link it to a web page you have for a service you offer. So it doesn’t have to necessarily be something like, oh, we have a new service or product. So those are good ones, but you don’t have a new product every month.
And it’s so long term, and so it’s sticky, we call it. And it brings you leads for a long time.
What I found that makes a difference is if a business has a keyword in its name. It helps. So, we tested this, and Google specifically says you should use your legal business name. But you could sometimes try it, try it, experiment if you like, with adding something. So, for example, if you say you’re a consultant, what kind of consultant are you?
I understand that Google built bots that crawl anything on the internet are not humans. So they’re not going to understand just consultants or even if you have pictures, especially if they’re not optimized, they are not going to understand any of it, but humans do. So we had, that’s one example. Where it says consultant, then somebody’s name, like, let’s say, John Smith consultancy. Well, that doesn’t mean anything, but if you put business consultant or something like that, it starts to make sense.
To say, John Smith consultant doesn’t mean anything, but that’s your legal name. You can go and change your legal name. It doesn’t cost that much. And have that keyword in your business. So that’s number one, have a keyword in the main business name. And we tested, and it does make a difference.
Because even if you have business cards, and if you go to networking meetings and meet many people. I see John Smith consultant, I don’t know what he does, but if it says small business consultant or something more specific, I know. I know exactly how to get in contact with that person.
Another factor that I think is very important, and we played with this too, is choosing the right category. Sometimes it’s hard because you might not find the exact category, but it has to make sense and be close to what you do.
I wouldn’t. I would just think about your most profitable and go with that as a primary category, and then choose the secondary categories. You have options to choose quite a few.
Yes, they are. But, like anything else, if you have a link, go back to that profile, and if you’re on social media, for example, when you post, there is a little share icon under the posts, and you can share that post on your social media. You can share it on Twitter and Facebook. I can’t remember what else. So share it, it’s easy to share the post, let’s say, on Twitter, and when people click on that post, they see your Google My Business Profile post.
I always say that your business’s main digital property is the website. That’s the one you control the most. And anything else, social media and such, you are at the mercy of that company. So digital, like the website, is your main digital property. For a local business, you should focus more on Google’s business profile than any other social media, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a social media presence. But I know horror stories where somebody just did Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. Well, they did something that Facebook didn’t like, shut them down and lost everything.
Yeah. So for local businesses, especially those with a physical location, a Google business profile is the best way to drive foot traffic and get online traffic.
Well, Google’s business profile has a built-in analytics section called Insight. And you can take a look at that. And then, within that, you can see the keywords people are typing in search words to find your business. And sometimes, it’s surprising what they type in. But if you know, you can build out your content more to either increase a search word or that’s related to your service. So that is maybe not that you’re not being found, or to increase the search words, the traffic to certain search words that you’re looking for. But you want to be at the top.
I think it’s good. We have a few clients, and we do ads for them too. Our main product, so to speak, is SEO. And search engine optimization, but we also do Google ads. And I find that the combination of doing ads and search engine optimization is the ideal one for any business. But it’s expensive and expensive is a relative term, because it’s expensive not to do.
But when first presented, the client might say, Oh, my God, that’s a lot of money. But if you explain and they’re open to listening, they realize I will be getting a lot of business.
The immediate, and that’s it.
Strong link, meaning people know about or the search engines realize that you are on?
Well, the strongest link is used when you create and use the posts. At least once a week, small businesses should be posting on their Google business profile. And the call to action, there are buttons that you can use there, and one of them is called so that you can call the business. So use that call to action, but also make sure you learn more, that button goes to your website. So it could be to your service page or your blog post, that way, they’re always connected. And now, each entity knows about the other.
Yes, it’s a good idea. But I have not used it yet. I know the UTM tags you use in Google to show where the traffic comes from. For sure. That was one.
I guess I need help with that.
So we have a software we deal with, CallFire. So we use CallFire to identify where the calls come from, so that’s a good one.
No, I haven’t.
Please be active on Google’s business profile because that’s where people don’t even realize that they’re on it. That’s the three pack that shows up on your phone, and people use mobile phones, it shows up well on mobile. And you can get traffic that you didn’t know you could have. But you have to be active on it. And consistency, that’s just me. So that’s the mantra of marketing be active and consistent.
The easiest way is to go on my website, which is effortless.marketing. So there is no .com or.ca. I know that it confuses some people, but it’s only effortless.marketing. You can hit the contact page on my profile page, and we can go from there. I offer a 30-minute free consultation. So that’s on the contact page too. I am happy to talk to you, and I am an easy and not pushy person.
LinkedIn? Yes, I might be under my previous name there. Viola Olah and not viola Hutchinson. Okay. Check on that. It’s been a long process changing my name. So my previous name and I still have lots of profiles as Viola Olah, O- L- A- H.
Thank you, Matt.
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