User Behavior Affects Local Rankings. Now What?

First, go check out Darren’s slides.  After you pick up your jaw, come back here.  The two presentations were an unofficial duo that kicked off the Local track at State of Search 2014.

Want to know how to get higher click-through from the Places results, and how to encourage other actions that Google may care about (like getting customers to look up driving directions)?  Enjoy!

 

Huge thanks to Greg, Mike Stewart, and to everyone else who made State of Search great.  You should go in 2015.  You’ll love it – especially if you’re serious about local search.

Questions about my slides?  Leave a comment!

Print Friendly

10 Reasons to Get a Google Business View Photo Shoot

Since 2010 Google has let business owners hire a “Google Trusted Photographer” to come to their store or office, take a bunch of photos, and splice them together into a virtual tour.  That tour is called Google Business View.

The walkthrough tour and photos get uploaded to your Google Places page.  You can also feature them elsewhere, like on your website or Facebook page.

You can’t get a Google Business View photo shoot it if you’re a service-area or home-based business.

It may not be a good idea if you know your place of business just gives off the wrong vibes.

But otherwise, you’d be smart to fork over a few hundred dollars to have a photographer come out.

Here are 10 reasons you should get a Google Business View shoot:

1.  Potential customers, clients, or patients want to know what your place looks like. If it’s a nice environment, it can be a selling point.  But even an dingy little hovel can have a certain charm, and it’s usually wise to let people know what they’re in for.

2.  The photo shoot may encourage more people to click through to your Places page or website. It shows up in your knowledge graph and in the Maps tab.

 

3.  It may be a ranking factor. Trusted photographer Jeff Finkelstein explored that possibility in a nice Moz post last year, and he offered some good insights in my follow-up post.  My guess is that a Google Business View photo shoot by itself is at most a very minor ranking factor, but can help your rankings more indirectly, because it can get more people to click (and Google knows when someone clicks).  Again, just a hunch.

4.  The “See inside” view is front-and-center when you view the Google Places page on a smartphone. (It’s even more prominent than it is on desktop.)

5.  You can embed the photo shoot on your site.

6.  You get 10 professionally-taken still photos.

7.  Someone else is taking the time to take photos. That saves you time – especially if you’re picky about your photos.  To take good photos is rarely quick or easy, because it’s a numbers game.

8.  You can reuse the still shots elsewhere – on your site and on your non-Google business listings. You own the photos for good.  You can do whatever you’d like with them.  And if you don’t have a good cover photo yet, maybe you just found one.

9.  It can be the start of a quid pro quo with your photographer. Google Trusted Photographers often have other online-marketing skills, so especially if you like the photo shoot and them personally you can probably get their help in other areas.  It’s also possible you could get a link and/or a citation from the photographer.

10.  Google seems to have plans for Business View. It’s been around for almost 5 years now – which is about 68 in Google product years.

It’s getting phased in, not phased out.  In the “Google My Business” rebrand / facelift they put a pitch for it right at the top of your dashboard (unless you’re a service-area or home-based business).

Maybe someday they’ll integrate it with product feeds, so that you could “walk” through a store and click on the inventory and actually order it right from within the tour.  Who knows what the Big G will think of next?

Bonus – reason #11.  This one comes from Greg T’Kint of JHBathrooms.com.  You can send potential customers “a link to a specific location within the virtual tour, in order to show a specific product or display within email communications.”  (See Greg’s comment, below.)

Update (11/10/14): David Deering just told me about a Google service called PhotoSphere.  Maybe it’s well-known in some circles, but I hadn’t heard of it.  It’s an app that lets you take and embed your own panoramas.  Those have been around for a while, but this one’s from Google.  Obviously, you wouldn’t get some of the benefits of an”official” Google Business View photo shoot (see points 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10), but in some ways it might be a nice DIY alternative.

What’s been your experience with Google Business View?

Can you think of other reasons to get a photo shoot (or not to)?

Leave a comment!

Print Friendly

Using the Sitelinks Search Box for Your Local Business

I don’t think anyone’s talked about Google’s sitelinks search box in the context of how small-to-medium local businesses can use it. It will probably never be a big part of anyone’s local SEO efforts.  But having a sitelinks search box might help you in a few ways: People might find it easier to find what […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

Local Citation Audit Tip: Use the New Sitelinks Search Box

One benefit of Google’s new sitelinks search box: it can help you save time on finding messy local citations. See what I mean? Just type in the name of the site and search for your listing(s) from within Google’s results.  It’s the equivalent of doing a site:yoursite.com search.  (For more on what exactly you should […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

How Long Can a Google+ Review Stay Filtered? At Least 2 Years

I’m a jerk. Someone wrote a nice Google+ review on my business page in 2012, and I didn’t thank him until today. ‘Course, it would have helped if I knew about the review.  It had been filtered for over 2 years.  It wasn’t there a week ago.  I saw it for the first time only […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

Apple Maps Local Business Category List

Apple has finally given business owners (and SEOs) a self-serve way to add or edit listings on Apple Maps.  You can do it at MapsConnect.Apple.com. For over two years there have only been workarounds that don’t always work.  So the recent news was good news. But you’ll still have to make sure your listing has the right categories […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

Ultimate List of Review Widgets and Badges for Your Local Business Website

What good are your reviews if nobody sees them? Whenever possible, you should show them off on your site by using a review “widget” or badge.  Many review sites offer them for the taking. But review widgets and badges are more than flashy “trust” symbols.  They can also: Encourage any current / past customers who […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

Mining Your Online Reviews: 25 Nuggets You Can Use to Get More Local Customers

A good review means it’s Miller Time and a bad review is just a black eye – right? No.  You’ve got a little more work to do.  The better you understand your reviews, the better you understand your customers and your business.  That’s how you’ll attract more of the types of customers you want. Sounds […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

You Can Incentivize Google Plus Reviews…Just Not in the Way You’d Think

It’s bad form to offer customers hard incentives to write you reviews.  That includes money, products, work, massages, Starbucks cards, Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, or anything else of tangible value. On Google Plus it’s also against the rules.  For once, Google’s review policies are relatively clear: Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]

Who Stretched Google’s Map?

Here’s a question that’s relevant to my post from last week on competitive-intel: Which of your local-search competitors is most worth learning from? One obvious answer would be, “Whoever’s #1, Sherlock.” A lot of times I’d agree that – all other things being equal – you should probably pay more attention to the King of […]

Print Friendly
[Continue reading…]