We’ve covered Relevance and Proximity in previous videos and now we’re going to look at Prominence. But what do we mean by Prominence?
If we look at this article and what they say about Prominence, and the word I want to point out to you is brand. What do I mean by brand when talking about a local business.
Local Business Brand
If you take the major players like Amazon etc. Google recognises these big brands like Amazon, Tesco, Marks & Spencer as they are all big brands in the UK.
So when once of these companies puts up new content on a web page for example, say it’s a few years down the line and Apple come out with the iPhone 12. Amazon would put up a page because someone would be selling the iPhone 12 and that page would go to page one of Google.
That’s not because the people at Amazon are specialists in SEO, they know how to get their stuff to rank or know all the Ninja tricks to get it ranked, it’s simply because it’s a major, major brand. So Google recognises that as they’ve put up a page about the iPhone 12 and it’s a major brand, that’s what people will be searching for and it puts it on page one of Google alongside Apple itself as they are the owners of the brand.
When it comes to local search, Google has the same problem. Google’s algorithm when it’s looking for everything is trying to find out who is the local brand. Go back to the search we’ve done before for Plumber Swansea, which of the plumbers or plumbing companies are the major brands which are in Swansea?
Google has to use its algorithm to find this all out. Remember we mentioned before that you need to get Google to recognise everything you own and we talked about Schema in our video on Relevance; Schema being code you put onto your website which shows Google where your Yell listing is, your Facebook, your Twitter… all the different things you own online i.e. all the things that represent your brand, you can use the Schema code to show Google where they are.
What Size Local Business?
It’s important because Google needs to understand: are you a one man band or are you a major player or a major company?
There’s nothing wrong with being a one man band as people are looking for that as well, as when we’re looking for services like a plumber, we’re looking for someone who is willing do the work quickly, cost effectively and not too worried about guarantees or warranties because they just want a quick, small job done.
On the other hand, you may be wanting to put a whole central heating system in so you’d want to go with a bigger brand because you want warranties and guarantees and all the rest of it. So there’s always different people for different markets and Google is looking for the brands that represent local businesses in the community.
Local Brand Building
How does Google do that?
Firstly it needs to trust you so as mentioned you need to make sure you have all the right things in place like your website and your Google Business listing and that you’re adding content to those two platforms all the time; you have your Facebook business page, you’re listed on Yell and all that.
Let me give you an example.
Why is it important to be listed on Yell?
Google knows that when you’re listed on Yell, someone’s going to phone you (even if you just have the free listing) i.e. someone from Yell will contact you saying that they want to confirm all the details but realistically Yell want to upsell their products and services to you.
So Google knows you’re going to get that phone call which is another confirmation that you’re real, that the phone number is real and that the business is real.
It’s about making sure that you have assets on line that Google can see.
Local Business Reviews (Reputation)
But what else does Google measure?
We’ve put it down before under Relevance, it’s reviews. Think about your own buying habits; I mentioned Amazon before. If you’re buying a product and it’s something you’re unaware of before and you go onto Amazon, what do you start doing?
People generally look to see how many reviews each item has and then they might look at a couple of reviews just to compare.
I did it myself when I was buying a spin bike. I’d never bought a spin bike in my life and I ended up going to a company in Scotland as they showed up on page 1 when I did my Google search. There were three bikes on their website all similar and in the same £400 to £500 price range. What did I do?
I read the reviews to see what other people who had purchased these bikes said about each bike and then I made my decision based on those reviews.
People do that with local businesses. If they don’t know you, if it’s not a member of their family or friends recommending you, then people are going to go online to find out more about you before making that buying decision and whether they are going to use you whether you are providing a service or goods.
So if you’re going to have reviews, you’re going to need a review strategy. I’m not going to talk about it here but we run software for our clients, so we control the reviews, how we get them in etc.
Basically, you need to develop a review strategy so, for example, if you’re a plumber, every time you do a job and Mrs Jones says she likes what you’ve done. The first thing you should be doing is to ask her for a review while she’s happy and delighted, while you’re there; that is the time to get a review.
And you should build that in as part of your everyday strategy when you’re talking to your customers, your clients, your patients whoever they may be.
Also, if you’re not running software like ours which controls the reviews and how they’re published, for example say someone has gone onto your Yell listing and published something, you need to respond to them, good or bad.
So somebody has gone onto Yell or your Facebook page and has left a 2 star review, you need to go on there, find out what the problem is and respond to it. Because then when people actually see that review, and they read it, they can see what you’ve done as a business, that you care about that customer, client or patient and you’ve done something about it.
If it’s a good review, you still comment on it and thank them because you’re out there doing the best job you can and you want to give them positive feedback. So reviews are absolutely critical, they’re what helps people make the buying decision and to make that phone call to make contact with you.
Brand Building And Ranking With Citations
Citations are also important. Remember we talked about NAP (the name, address and phone number), well citations are where you get all these listings i.e. directories like Yell, it can be specialist directories where businesses like accountants and solicitors will have their own specialist platforms; builders and trades have them too.
When your listed on there, they’re called citations and what they are is further evidence to Google that you’re a genuine business, a brand and that you’ve taken the time and the trouble to go out and get yourself listed on all these places, because you’re a genuine business that’s out there looking for new clients and new business.
So citations are very, very important and there are hundreds of directories in the UK that you can get your business listed on. On some of them, a potential customer may find you there and go across to your website that way. It’s certainly not a main driver but one way of getting people to your website. So citations, very important.
Brand Building With Inbound Links
Then we go back to what we said before about inbound links. Inbound links are building your brand. When there’s content going out to other platforms out there and are linking back to your site, these are inbound links, again showing Google that you are a proper brand.
Now your inbound links can be as simple as listing your website from your Facebook page, putting posts up there and linking back to your website, it can be the Google My Business posts and linking those back to your website, these are all links coming in.
Local Business Online Press Releases
Previously, I mentioned that for a real boost we use online press releases which we get onto page 1 of Google and the fact that Google recognises them and can see it’s a local business.
I’m talking about doing this on a regular basis. Not just one press release here and there, but we’re doing it regularly. In fact in one of the previous videos I showed you for the flooring company, you can see that we’ve been putting these out regularly so that you’re constantly saying to Google, look at this company, look at this brand and this is on Google’s own platform, Google news. You can’t get a better link back to your site than putting stuff on here.
I’ll go into more detail in a different video but when you’re doing press releases, you’re getting lots of links coming back to your website from these press sites; and again it’s volume and it’s showing Google that you’re a serious business and you’re active in the market and looking to generate new business.
Google takes all of this into account so if you think about it realistically and what you’re trying to do with your brand, you’re trying to get it out there, trying to get it known.
Google My Business And Website Updates
So you want to be talking about going onto Google My Business, putting up regular posts on there every day, you want to be adding content to your website, and we say this to all our business clients, you need to add content to your website every week and there’s no reason not to.
For example, if you’re this plumber, you should be taking photos before and after all the work they do so they can show they’ve installed a new boiler or did a repair job. Just add these to the website to show a couple of jobs you’ve done this week to show people the type of work that you do.
Two things are then happening here. When you’re adding all of this stuff to your website, you’re adding key words when you’re writing your stuff naturally.
So say the plumber has gone to a job this week and changes a radiator because the old one had seized up, was leaking, cracked, the seals had gone and couldn’t be repaired.
The plumber should take photographs before and after then all you need to say on the content on the web page (you add it to your website as a blog or article) and you say…
‘Recent job done in Swansea, replaced the old radiator which was fitted with half inch fittings to a new 20 ml electric fittings, used a new twin radiator so it would be smaller, more compact and more efficient. Fitted a thermostatic valve for individual control in the room where the radiator was installed‘.
You can put all that information on there and Google sees that content, it’s all about your subject matter, it picks up on terms like thermostats and twin radiators and modern radiators and all those sort of words.
All of that add to the value of your brand and helps you to get ranked.
Remember we talked about long tail key words so when people are searching for specific types of companies, your company starts showing up. And if you’ve had the reviews as already mentioned so your brand looks good when it comes up, you get the click, the phone and the contact. So it’s important to add content on a regular basis so you’re building your brand.
In the old days we had the big thick Yellow Pages, which then shrunk down and now doesn’t even exist. You don’t want your website to be a small, thin website, you need to build it out so it’s that big thick Yellow Pages that you used to have with lots of words, pictures and examples of what you’re doing.
It doesn’t matter what type of business, service or goods, there’s no excuse for not putting up pictures, videos etc.. so Google really understands what your brand is all about.
Think about it. If you put every single job that you ever did on there as a plumber, Google would have a clear picture of who you are.
Remember, Google is just a piece of software that’s crawling over your website and when it’s fully crawled, it will completely understand what your website is all about, what your business is about and what to show you for in the rankings.
So make sure you’re adding content, you have a review strategy in place where you’re out there driving reviews and getting people to comment on what they see.
Remember reviews can work out both ways. Even if you get bad ones, these are an indicator of what you’re doing wrong or why people don’t’ want to deal with you again and what you can do to put it right.
You also need citations and other directories, your press releases online, your Facebook page, your Google My Business posts, all linking back to your website to get the links back there and again show Google what everything is about.
If you put all that together, you start building your local brand.
you’re doing this and your competitors aren’t look how quickly you can build your local brand. So make 2019 the year when you actively go out to make your brand known, whether you’re a one man band or whether you have 20 vans on the road. It doesn’t matter what you are, get your brand out there!