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In 2022, you’re probably using Google search in some capacity each day. Whether it’s checking the weather, looking up a new recipe, or finding help related to a business problem you’re having, Google searches have become second nature to most people. But what if we told you that Google search is also your biggest marketing channel?
Every day, dozens of prospective guests in and around your local area search for businesses like yours. They almost always prefer the ones that appear on top of Google search results.
Not only do most people discover local wellness businesses online, but 82% of Google users regularly conduct local searches, such as "spa and salon near me." Also, 90% of survey respondents said they were likely to click on the first set of results.
So, are you the one that they choose? If yes, congratulations.
If not, read on to learn how to reach the top of Google search results without spending a dime.
Why Your Search Position Matters
You need to know your prospective guests are searching for businesses online. You can do this in one of two ways:
A search on Google
A search on Google Maps directly
In the first instance, Google shows 3-5 recommendations on the first page while the latter shows up to 20 businesses on the left-hand side.
When you type in “salons or spas near me” on Google, do you see your business name pop up on the first page?
Research shows that 97% of people will click on one of the businesses on the first page.
So, if you don’t see your name, you risk missing out on valuable new leads.
You may ask, “how do I get there?” The answer is simple. Create a Google My Business listing.
What is a Google My Business Listing?
Google My Business is a free listing on Google that appears when potential customers search for your business name or services. It is a tool that enables you to manage and optimize your Business Profile on Google, making it valuable online real estate.
The biggest benefit of creating a Business Profile is that you’re more likely to appear in Google Maps and local Google search results. The best part? It’s completely free to create! So, what are you waiting for?
How to Create Your Google My Business Listing
First things first: start by googling your business name.
Do you see your business appear on a right-hand panel? If so, look for an “own this business?” prompt. Click “Claim this business” and then “Manage now.” Select a verification option and follow the on-screen steps.
If you don’t see it, this means someone has claimed it —perhaps someone in your office or an old web provider. Ask around to see if someone has claimed it.
And if you don’t have one at all, then follow the steps below.
Go to Google Business Profile Manager. Click on “Add your Business to Google,” and proceed with the on-screen instructions.
After you complete the steps, Google will ask you to verify your business. In about 12 days, you will receive a postcard to the address you listed during the process. Once it arrives, enter the code mentioned on the same screen to complete the verification process.
Voila! Your wellness brand is registered on the world’s biggest search engine, and it cost you nothing. Now, let’s find out how to get more eyes on your new listing by examining what factors Google considers for ranking.
12 Best Practices to Boost Your Google Search Ranking
Details are everything when setting up your Google My Business account. The slightest adjustments can make a major impact on your search ranking, driving more potential leads for your business.
To secure that top search spot, enter the following details as you proceed through the setup process:
1. Update your NAP – NAP is an acronym that stands for name, address, and phone. Instances of these three indicate to search engines who you are, your location, and how potential guests can contact you. It’s important to have your NAP on your site, but you should also ensure that other instances of it across the web match what’s on your site and your Google My Business listing. Remember: consistency is key when it comes to Google search algorithms. 2. Add your website – If you aren’t adding your website URL, you are losing an opportunity to convert a visitor to a guest. Double-check your website’s load speed. According to a study, people are becoming less patient these days, and 53% of visitors will drop off if your load time is longer than 3 seconds. This causes Google to rank your website lower.
Bonus tip: Integrate a tool like SmartBot, a conversational bot, to your website to convert the queries into bookings. AI-powered tools like these not only free up your staff’s time but also earn you more bookings. It’s a win-win.
3. Fill out your business category and hours – If you include nothing else on your listing, make sure it’s this information. Google allows you to set a primary category and secondary categories, but the primary category carries much more weight. The more specific you are, the better your chances of grabbing that top search spot.
4. Create an SEO optimized business description – SEO stands for search engine optimization. Write a compelling description that pitches you and your services and includes relevant keywords. To find keywords for your business, consider using a tool like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner (if you have a Google Ads account), or Keyword Tool.
5. Incorporate messaging – With 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% for millennials) using their device for local search, this is a fantastic opportunity for guests to connect with you. Select the "Messaging" tab in your Google My Business dashboard to enable messaging. You have the option to install this via Google Play or the Apple App Store. You can also enable real-time conversations on text and WhatsApp using a personalized texting platform like ezConnect to engage with guests on their preferred channel. This creates a more personalized experience for your guests and earns you more business.
6. Post updates regularly – Posting regular updates is a fantastic way to boost your search ranking. It shows Google that your business is active and alerts your audience to your latest news, offers, deals, products, or even the latest blog you’ve published. Posts are created in your Google My Business dashboard and show up on the “Updates” section toward the bottom of your profile. Make sure to include a photo and a link to learn more. This sends signals to Google and keeps your listing fresh since certain post types expire every seven days.
7. Add high-quality imagery – If a picture is worth a thousand words, a high-quality image on Google My Business is worth a million. In fact, 60% of consumers said that local search results with visually appealing images captured their attention. We recommend a few specific images at a minimum:
The outside of your building (so potential guests know what to look for)
The inside of your space
Brownie points for photos of the team serving your customers
8. Include your products and services – Adding products and services is especially helpful if your offerings aren’t immediately clear in your business name. Populating this section also adds content to your profile to help it rank for even more relevant searches. When adding products and services, include the name, description, and price (if applicable). The full description will show up once a searcher clicks to learn more, allowing potential guests to browse your services easily.
9. Pay attention to citations – A citation is an instance of your NAP on the web – most often found in local and industry directories such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Bing and even Facebook. Citations help build credibility and let Google know you’re legitimate – a huge factor in your ranking position. Your wellness brand might be listed on dozens of other websites, such as directories or review platforms like Yelp. But, if the information is inconsistent, it could severely impact your search ranking. Reputation management tools like ezRepute can manage your online reputation and fix the listings on 70+ sites with only a few clicks.
10. Generate and respond to reviews – 62% of customers will write a review if asked. Reviews not only improve your search ranking by showing Google that your business is legitimate but also help build social proof and create trust among potential guests. Make it easy for guests to leave a review with apps like ezRepute’s review generator.
Additionally, 89% of consumers say they read business’ responses to reviews. 54% of guests expect a response to reviews in 7 days and businesses that respond within an hour are 60 times more successful than those that wait 24 hours. With ezRepute, never miss out on a response, as you’ll be alerted about the latest reviews and you can respond automatically!
11. Ask and answer questions – Make a list of the most frequently asked questions your business gets. Then, ask, answer, and upvote your answer on your own profile. This does not go against Google’s terms and conditions. In fact, Google encourages it. Questions and answers that contain keywords can help improve your Business Profile’s ranking for top keywords.
12. Build backlinks – A backlink is a link created when another website links to yours. Backlinks are one of the most critical ranking factors – in both local and non-local searches. If you associate with other reputable and credible organizations in your area, ask them for backlinks – it’s a terrific way to let Google know you are credible as well.
Congratulations! You’ve taken your first steps towards helping your beauty or wellness business secure that top spot in Google’s search results.
Creating your listing is only the beginning. Now that you’ve created your Google My Business profile, you will need to implement a tool to manage your listing and update it on a regular basis.
Manage your online presence effortlessly with software that improves your SEO in minutes. Whenever you make changes, ezRepute automatically updates your business name, address, and phone number for all locations on 50+ sites to improve SEO and brand consistency. That way, you stay top of mind (and top of page!) for your guests, no matter where you go.