The following article for this week was contributed by a guest writer, Mr. Bob Green. He shares: “With all the complexity surrounding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s nice to be able to find one thing that can make a huge difference for some local businesses. I ran across this trick while creating a website for a friend who owned a furniture and appliance store. He excitedly reported to me two weeks ago that as a result of this one SEO trick, they had the best year they’ve ever had in the fifty years their store has been in business. And yes, this even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic!
I’ve been creating websites full time since 1995 and my frustration has been that no matter how well I build a website, it has become increasingly difficult to pull local traffic to a local business. About two years ago I began studying some of the Google products like Google My Business, Google Maps, Google Search Console and Google Analytics to see if they might provide a way to solve the local traffic problem. After two years I’m still just scratching the surface, but last year I signed my friend up to Google My Business which got his business put on Google Maps. He started getting some sporadic calls from locals or people passing through the area that found him on the map. It got both of us excited. He’s got a nice little furniture and appliance store – very clean, nice people, good selection of products; so, one day I stopped by and took a couple hundred pictures - nothing fancy or professional. Pictures were updated on the website, but when we started putting them into the Google My Business, calls started pouring in. It was crazy because we didn’t put any prices, captions, keywords or anything else – just pictures. This kind of goes along with the old merchant’s adage of “Show It, Sell It, Hide It, Keep It”. But this is being shown to people within the local area at the point they are searching for sellers of the product or service they are searching for. Additionally, if they are searching on their phone a map appears with their location and it will even lead them to the merchant’s location. I can’t fathom how it can get any better than that.
So, back to the nuts and bolts of how it was done, following Google’s specifications on image size and resolution and the number of images that could be added, we began to cycle a new batch of 25 pictures through the Google My Business (GMB) each month. That’s when business really started pouring in. Most smart phones today have a camera sufficient to get really nice shots, but if you have the money, hiring a really good photographer will put your offering in the best light possible. Besides being a tax write-off, consider how many new customers would it take to pay for that photographer’s work.
CAVEAT: Don’t use stock photos if you can avoid it. Stock photos are great for ideas and even temporary place holders on your website but not so much for social media. Google knows that the image is a stock photo and prefers originals. Original shots are good for pictures of your vehicles, store front, employees, happy customers (with their written permission, of course), and even locations where work is being done (once again, with client’s permission).
With regards to the photos, you can take it a step further and do a “Google Street View” with Google’s free app, however it’s really tricky to get just right. All of my attempts so far have proven unacceptable, but you can hire photographers that specialize and for businesses with nice showrooms it would most likely be well worth the cost.”
Bob Green is a semi-retired web designer and was one of the early pioneers starting in 1995. He is a published writer with a degree in Business Management and Marketing and promises to share more articles / blog posts with us in the future. If you would like to join our community and share with others from your own experiences we’re happy to consider all original write-ups. We wish you the best of luck and hope the tips in this blog help you in your endeavors to reach local audiences with your products and services. Should you find you don’t have the time or the skillset to make this work, give us a call and we’ll be happy to pass along professional advice and if necessary do it for you.
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