The Google My Business Listing is Critical for Businesses

If you do not already know, Google My Business is a free tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

Cooks Woods Google My Business ListingClaiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.” I wrote that in this blog post on September 8. 2017. It is even more true today.

The Google My Business concept is not new. On July 29, 2008 (Yes, over ten years ago.) I wrote a post named Google – Get Local, Get Traffic Quickly about using Google Maps Local Business Center if you want to increase local traffic.

Since 2008, its name has changed several times and Google My Business is much more robust than it was back then. In 2008, there were roughly 173 million websites online. As I write this, there are over 1.9 Billion websites! Obviously, the competition for prominent display space in Google Search results has increased immensely.

Today’s Google My Business (GMB) Listing affords businesses several opportunities to enhance their presence in Google search results and Google Maps. Here is some information directly from Google:

Manage your information:

First it is imperative to “claim” your listing. If you have not, you may do so here: If someone has claimed your Google My Business listing, go to
Request ownership of a business listing.

Be as complete and accurate as possible when entering your business information. Businesses offering the most detailed and accurate information will be easier for Google to serve your listing in searches.

It’s important to enter your business hours, but equally important to update them whenever they change. You may customize hours for holidays and other special events, and it is up to you to ensure they are accurate. Don’t make enemies because of incorrect hours.

As it does with website SEO, Google uses a variety of signals to serve search results, and including relevant keywords and search phrases to your business listing will help considerably, since your business website is listed directly within your GMB listing.

Interact with customers:
Interact with customers via Google My Business
Read and respond to reviews from your customers, and post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

Reviews are now a two-way conversation between you and your customers — be the first to know when you get a new review on your local Business Profile so you can respond right away (this is extremely important).

You will likely be surprised how much adding even a couple photos will help the performance of your business listing. Just do it!

Save time by answering your customers’ questions before they ask. With Q&A, customers can easily ask a question right from your Business Profile on Google. To save time, you can pin frequently asked questions and highlight the top answers.

There is much more we could tell you about Google My Business, but the best thing I can do for you is to repeat this: “Claiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.”

Do it today! 

Your Website Should Be Secure

For all practical purposes, Google is forcing the use of SSL and HTTPS on all websites! Prior to this, there was no need for you to purchase a SSL Certificate for your website and incur the expense of migrating your website from HTTP to the HTTPS protocol.

What is SSL

Chrome Secure treatmentSSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online transfer of data. A SSL Certificate is necessary to create SSL connection. Having a SSL Certificate installed on a web server ensures that all data transmitted between the web server and browser remains encrypted.

Google says, “Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as not secure.”

What Needs To Be Done

You must enable SSL for your website which is done through your hosting provider. The SSL Certificates (annual renewal) and implementation choices and costs vary depending on the hosting company and the plan you have. After the SSL Certificate is enabled, all links on your website needs to be migrated from HTTP to HTTPS protocol.

Please see our page, Google Says Your Website Needs to Be Secure for more details, or contact our office, 608-822-3750 or 800-281-9993 or email

Have a Local Business? Claim or Update Your Google My Business Listing, Now!

Cooks Woods Google My Business ListingIf you have a business, you very likely have a Google My Business Listing. Your listing appears when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Claiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.

“Why,” you ask? Google says, “Manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps, using Google My Business — for free.”

The keyword in the previous paragraph is “manage.” There is little a business can control when it comes to Google. When Google makes it easy to post correct information about your business for free, and that information is displayed in Google Search results and on Google Maps, you should take advantage of it.

With Google My Business, you can:

  • Increase your online visibility
  • Show business hours and if open/closed
  • Your contact details are prominently displayed
  • Display photos of your business
  • Publish Posts just like Facebook or Twitter posts
  • Encourage reviews and interact with reviewers
  • Answer customer questions — List FAQs, or answer live
  • Let customers message you

You also can see insights on how customers searched for your business, and their locations at the time of search. You can also see how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Google Search and Google Maps.

Bottom line: Claim and/or update your Google My Business listing! It is unequivocally the best and least expensive online marketing you can do.

Keyword SEO is Not Enough – 8 Steps to Fixing

SEO, a part of search engine marketing imageThat statement is certainly not a great revelation. However, it is worth repeating. While it has never been a case of “build it and they will come” for websites, many think a Search Engine Optimized website will automatically do well for nearly any search using keywords related to what their website offers. It seems that many people think that “Keywords” = SEO. Obviously, that has always been an overly simplistic view, but keywords do play a big role in getting a given web page displayed in search results. That said, there is much more to SEO, and certainly more to generating traffic to your website.

How people use the Internet and Web has dramatically changed.

Much that happens on the Internet no longer includes viewing a web page. It happens on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, various chat platforms, regular email, newsletters, and other platforms. People are using phones and other mobile devices, not just desktop computers. When internet activity does involve viewing a web page, in many cases the visitor came from a link in content on one of the aforementioned platforms and devices.

How Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines evaluate and rank available content on the web that can be displayed in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) rankings has dramatically changed as well. Reportedly, Google has over 200 Ranking Factors. Only a portion of those have to do with on-page SEO.

On top of that, with Google’s “Universal Search” results displaying many elements in addition to traditional snippets and links to relevant websites. Search results may now include (not all at the same time) the following.

  • Site Links (6 pack)
  • Google Map + Pins
  • Local Carousel – Photos
  • List Carousel – Just that, grouped list of results
  • Knowledge Panel – Top Right, info related to query
  • Google AdWords – Top, Right Column, Bottom
  • Answer Box
  • Image Mega-Block
  • Video Results
  • News Results
  • Social Results
  • In-Depth Articles

Where eight to ten traditional listings were once displayed for a query, now there are often only three or four. The competition for results page real estate is very real.

It is this simple. Traditional on-page, keyword search engine optimization, is not enough by itself to achieve high rankings in search results. What you do online other than on your website, and what others say about your business and your web presence, impacts your website traffic.

Here are 8 steps to fixing your search results rankings.

  •  Have a quick-loading, attractive, relevant, and frequently updated website.
    • Google includes site speed in their 200 ranking “signals”
  • Well-written content that visitors find of value, and worthy of sharing
    • Compelling content that conveys your value proposition for your product or service
  • On-Page Search Engine Optimization done correctly, including headings and internal links
  • Add a blog, or “what’s new” page that has fresh and compelling content
  • Don’t forget any given keyword has to be on a web page to show up in search results
  • Create and use at least one or two Social Media accounts
  • Place Social Media share and follow buttons on your website
  • Send a monthly email newsletter (include links to your website) to clients and prospects

I know. It sounds like more work and time, and it is. That said, in today’s rapidly and constantly changing online world, Keyword SEO is Not Enough. 

Contact us today about a free website audit for your business or organization.

1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750 or