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    What Is Google My Business? Tips for SMBs

    Last updated 19 days ago

    For many small business owners, managing and syncing all their information on Google+ and Google+ Local was becoming redundant and time consuming. Google’s response to this is Google My Business. So, what exactly is Google My Business? It’s a centralized place to manage your business across all of Google.

    This new platform eliminates the need for multiple business profiles, making it easier than ever to create and optimize your presence across Google Search, Maps, and Google+, and to manage it via mobile, too! From this one dashboard, you can edit your business info, share updates, respond to reviews, and view your results, all of which can help you get found by more local consumers, no matter how they use Google to search.

    Here are some best practices to keep in mind when using Google My Business to manage your business’ presence on Google.

    Set Up Your Google My Business Profile

    The good news is that if you already had a Google Places for Business or Google+ Business Page, your account will be automatically transferred to Google My Business. If you don’t already have a Google account, get started by visiting the Google My Business website, selecting “Get On Google,” and searching for your business name and address.

    Why is getting on Google so important for your small business? For one, claiming your business listing gives you even more visibility in local search results when consumers search on Google and Google Maps, even on mobile. In addition, when you have an optimized listing that’s consistent with your other citations across the Web (like your other local listings) and is linked to your website, Google can better determine the relevance of your business when determining search results.

    This tour walks you through how to set up a new Google My Business profile

    Add Compelling Images

    Now that you have a Google My Business profile, it’s important to make it stand out with images that showcase your business. That’s because even with this update, Google continues to focus on images as a way to attract searchers to local businesses. For instance, local carousel results, map results, business listings, and Google+ all prominently feature images, so it’s still important that your strategy focuses on using professional, compelling photos in your Google profile. Having images with keyword-optimized filenames can boost your Google profile in search results and entice both Web and mobile searchers to view it for more information. You’ll also need to upload an optimized profile photo and cover image so that people who find you on Google+ want to learn more and recommend your page to others.

    If you think your business isn't a great candidate for photography, a few types of pictures you should consider taking include: the inside of your store, new products or service offerings, your staff or team, participation in a local event, before-and-after pictures of your work, and satisfied customers. And sharing visual content like memes, infographics, quotes, and videos on Google+ can help you drive more engagement and further your reach with local consumers. 

    Monitor & Manage Reviews

    Like it or not, customer reviews aren’t going away any time soon. But with Google My Business, you can monitor and respond to the reviews you receive, all from the central dashboard. When you’re logged in to the dashboard, Google My Business displays your overall rating, the number of reviews you have on Google, and the number of reviews for your business from other review sites around the Web.

    Using the Web version of Google My business or the mobile app, you can view and respond to reviews and even see stats about your ratings over time so you can identify how they are impacting your reputation. Since reviews can have a huge impact on whether a prospective customer will do business with you, it’s just as important as ever to ask happy customers to leave you reviews and respond to negative reviews, as well as take any necessary action to improve the customer experience.

    To learn more about managing your online reputation, check out our guide to navigating your online reputation.  

    Leverage Consumer Insights

    Google My Business comes with lots of new insights about how your small business is performing in the search results. The Google My Business insights are broken up into three sections: Visibility, Engagement, and Audience, which you can view via the Web or the Google My Business app for Android or iPhone.   


    The visibility tab is probably the most valuable to a small business. The main focus of this section is to help you understand just how often people are discovering your business on Google search, maps, and Google+, including how many times people saw your business information and how often they clicked to your website from a Google search result. Plus, if you have a physical address, you can also see how many requests for driving directions you receive and where people who visit your place of business are coming from. It’s important to review these results to determine how effective your listings are at bringing local consumers to your business and make updates to your profile to help you drive even more traffic from Google’s local search results. 


    The engagement and audience reports show you user activity on your Google+ page. The engagement report shows you how many views, comments, shares, and +1s you receive on each post. 


    The audience insights show you how many followers you have on your page, as well as a demographic breakdown of your audience. As there is some correlation between your activity on Google+ and your visibility in Google search results, this emphasizes the need to cultivate followers and post relevant content on the site. 

    What do you think of the new Google My Business? Will you be using it to help your business get found online?

    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    8 Inspirational Quotes to Celebrate Small Businesses

    Last updated 24 days ago

    Small businesses have multiple ways to define “independence.” Being an entrepreneur and running a small business often comes with its own set of challenges, and overcoming those hurdles takes hard work and dedication. But when the job is done, it’s also something to be proud of. And celebrating the success of small businesses is something we love to do at ReachLocal.

    So, to keep you going this year, here are a few of our favorite inspirational business quotes from successful leaders who know a thing or two about what it takes to make businesses thrive: 

    1. Sara Blakely: American Businesswoman & Founder of Spanx

    2. Thomas Edison: Great American Inventor & Businessman

    3. Jason Fried: Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Basecamp

    4. Henry Ford: American Industrialist & Founder of the Ford Motor Company

    5. Seth Godin: Marketer, Author & Public Speaker 

    6. Steve Jobs: Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Apple, Inc.

    7. Guy Kawasaki: Technology Evangelist, Advisor & Author 

    8. Oprah Winfrey: Media Mogul, Talk Show Host & Philanthropist

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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    SEO in the City: 5 Tips Inspired by the City That Never Sleeps

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Looking around during a recent trip to New York City, I couldn’t help but compare the way local businesses promoted their business’ physical location to the way they promoted themselves online. From the signs, to the window displays, to the messages they used to convince people to choose them, these elements brought to life the different ways businesses attract local consumers who pass by their storefronts. 

    But how many of these best practices are they applying to how they reach local consumers who are searching for them online? And what other typical city experiences relate to how consumers find local businesses? Here are five local SEO tips businesses can use to get found by local consumers – inspired by the Big Apple.

    1. Focus on What You Do Best

    When applying SEO best practices to your website or to any online content, you should always focus on writing about what it is you actually do, and do best. For example, when walking randomly down almost any street in New York City, you’ll see signs hanging off awnings that read exactly what one can expect: such as pizza, sandwiches, camera repair, and discount handbags. 

    This idea should be applied to your website content, too. And despite the ever-changing landscape of SEO, optimizing your website for your main topics and keywords is one thing that will always be valuable to consumers searching for your business. 

    2. Optimize for Your Local Audience

    What if you asked someone for a suggestion of a nearby restaurant and they recommended a place across town instead of down the block? You’d be a little more than annoyed – and probably look elsewhere for a place nearby. This same concept is important for how you market your business online: always have your audience’s real needs in mind and understand what they’re looking for.

    When businesses successfully keep the needs of their ideal customer in mind in their local SEO, they have the upper hand because consumers are more likely to find them whether they are searching via desktop or mobile.

    So, make sure your address is clearly listed on your website and marked up behind the scenes, too. Next, claim your business on top local directories – like Google+ Local, Bing Places for Business, and Yelp – as well as all the industry-specific directories that can help consumers find your local business. For example directories like TripAdvisor or TimeOut might be resources that local consumers visit directly to look up travel rates, offers, and reviews. Plus, these sites may populate in the search results for specific search terms, so it’s important that your business is listed on them, and that your listings contain accurate and up to date information that is consistent across the Web. That way, they are more likely to show up when someone searches for your local products or services.  

    3. Get On the Mobile Local Bandwagon

    Mobile is a trend that’s here to stay (made obviously by how many people look at their phones while waiting to cross the street), especially in local search. In fact, 79% of consumers who own mobile phones have used their phone to do a local search? And, 78% of local searches on mobile devices result in an offline purchase.

    If you haven’t considered the importance of having a mobile website, it’s time you do. Not only are they easier for consumers to browse and contact you from, but Google is also letting searchers know if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, which can send prospects looking in another direction.  But it’s not just a mobile-friendly website that matters – it’s your entire mobile presence. From showing up on mobile-based maps (which are also tied to your local listings) to having positive ratings and reviews that show up in mobile search results, making a great impression with on-the-go consumers can help you stand out against the competition. 

    4. Make Your Business Look Great

    Walk by a number of stores in any city and you’ll see a variety of storefront displays. Some use products in a thought-provoking way; others are just beautiful displays of the product. These displays are meant to pull you into a store and ultimately persuade you to buy.  And the same principal should apply to your images online. And while images on your website that represent your business and look great at the same time is ideal, they are often overlooked when it comes to great SEO. But since they can help your business show up in multiple places on SERPs, it’s important to include your approach to images in your SEO strategy.

    By using keyword and topic-optimized names for your images instead of just uploading them as “photo1.jpg,” you can help search engines recognize them for your target search terms. For example, a photo of a kitchen table might be named “wood-kitchen-table-furniture-cincinnatti.jpg” to help your business show up for consumers in Cincinnati searching for a new kitchen table from a local store. Also adding image alt text, or even captions, to your pictures gives them words that search engines can read and use in image search results.

    5. Build & Maintain a Social Presence

    Many local businesses I visited in New York are close to their local communities. From the décor to menu item names to the patrons they knew by name, they are very much a part of the community around them. There’s a lesson here for SEO, too.

    It’s important to build your brand so that consumers remember you once they are in a place to choose your business. Restaurants are a great example. For example, say you post a coupon for a free pizza on Facebook with a link back to your website to redeem it. If one fan, Sally, shares your coupon with hundreds of her followers, that small action may result in others discovering, liking, and even visiting your business on the Web. And sometimes, those online actions can turn into offline conversions. This is why it’s key to actively post content that engages, entertains, and builds a community with your fans. Not only will it drive interest from the people already on the social site, backlinks to your website from social sharing can provide signals to search engines that the content you posted on your website is relevant to the topic of your local business in your city and drive up the local SEO visibility for your site.

    These are just a few tips for improving local SEO for your business. If you have any to add, we’d love to see them in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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    Video: How Search Advertising Helped This SMB Increase Leads & Get Customers

    Last updated 1 month ago

    At ReachLocal, we’re proud to help small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) around the world with their online marketing needs. Our prospects often ask: “What can ReachLocal services do for my business?” While we offer a variety of online marketing solutions for different businesses, our goal is always the same: to help SMBs be successful and stay competitive in today’s online world.

    Take our client, Peterson Restoration & Construction, for example. They wanted to increase visits to their business website and increase phone calls from consumers needing an insurance restoration contractor. They chose two ReachLocal services, search engine advertising and display advertising, to help them achieve these goals.

    With search engine advertising, they were able to reach consumers on major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and on online directories like and Citysearch, plus hundreds more local and mobile sites and directories. Display advertising helped put their marketing messages in front of consumers on top news, entertainment, lifestyle, and social media sites, driving impressions and site visits.

    In just 30 days, these ReachLocal services delivered real results, including:

    ReachSearch – Search Engine Advertising

    • 7,862 ad impressions
    • 147 website visits
    • 28 phone calls

    ReachDisplay – Display Advertising

    • 9,681 ad impressions
    • 199 website visits

    Erik Peterson, owner of Peterson Restoration and Construction, had this to say about working with ReachLocal: “They show you exactly how many impressions you get per month; how many site visits you get per month. They track the phone calls that come in to your business, and they really just do a wonderful job of letting you know how successful your campaign is.”

    Hear more from Erik and his thoughts about working with ReachLocal.

    Are you using online marketing to drive website traffic and calls to your business? Let us know with a comment!


    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

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    Local Business Poll: Which Online Marketing Mistake Do SMBs Make?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Online marketing mistakes. We’ve all made them, often without realizing it. But sometimes even the ones that seem insignificant at the time can have a major impact on your overall business results. 

    In today’s competitive online landscape, local businesses can’t afford to make some of these big mistakes, such as not having an updated website or taking a less-than-ideal approach to handling a negative customer experience online.  

    So we want to know: when it comes your organic online marketing, what’s the biggest online marketing mistake have you made – or that you have seen other businesses making?

    Vote in our poll now to weigh in. And, once you cast your vote, see what others have to say! 

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