Schema, Local Relevance and Google My Business
Before diving a little bit more in-depth into talking about Google My Business Creation and Optimization strategies, I’d like to talk about Schema. A schema is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information. Having the right Schema in place helps Google bots understand what each page on your website is all about.
You’ll need a schema that is custom to contractors, and it should have your mobile number, address, GMB link, Social profiles and some other important details in there. This helps tie all your local properties together. Need to know more about Schema Specific to home improvement companies? You can head here to satisfy your curiosity: https://schema.org/HomeAndConstructionBusiness
Schema can get quite confusing to make from scratch, so head on here to Web 20 Rankers Local SEO Schema Tool and fill in all your business details (as it appears on your Google my business listing and Local citations, read on to understand all these terms I’m using here): Local Schema Generator
To use this tool:
- Head on to the link above
- Click the drop down and select local business
- Under select local business type, find your business type (which is the ” GeneralContractor”). Ensure to select the right schema for your business type.
- Next fill in your business name
- In the URL section, enter your website address
- If you’ve setup social profiles (e.g. Facebook, twitter etc), get their URLs and click sameAs and continue to add till you’ve got nothing else to add.
- Add your business logo URL. To do this just right click on your website logo on your website and click copy image address and paste it in there
- For image, just get a good image depicting your business from your website, use the method above to get the image address (URL) too
- Description is where you fill your company description
- The rest is self-explanatory except the longitude and latitude. To find this, just head on to your Google my business listing, it’ll be displayed in the URL bar.
The part highlighted in red is the Latitude and Longitude:
Once you’re done setting it all up, copy the code generated here and go to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool to test if the code is clean and works just fine. Ensure the Name, Address and Phone Number are correct.
To do this:
- Just head onto the URL above
- Once it loads it’ll ask you to paste in a code snippet or Fetch URL,
- Choose code snippet since that’s what you’ve
- Then submit it. It’ll process a bit and spit out a result if you don’t see any error, you’re good to go, if you see any error, you would need to fix it. You can fix it by Googling the error, those who are conversant with Schema can fix those errors without much problems.
- Once complete put this code in your website’s header (or footer) any is fine. I typically put mine in the header since I believe the bot crawls from top to bottom, so it gets to see schema as one of the first items, but the footer also works fine too.
Well, that’s all settled, now let’s proceed into working on the GMB, what you’ve been secretly waiting to get to (or maybe not lol). When it comes to local SEO, which is the service most local companies need, since they service a local community, a Google My Business (GMB) Listing is a must, as it serves as a major corner stone for local businesses.
Here’s what the 3-pack (or snap pack) looks like for the search “roofing contractor near me”:
What on Earth is the snap pack or 3-pack (common among SEOs):
Google Snack Pack is a boxed area that appears on the first results page when a local online search is made through Google’s search engine. The Snack Pack box displays the top 3 local business listings most relevant to the search enquiry. According to one study, 33% of clicks go to the local “snack pack” results, with 40% going to the regular organic results.
Key takeaway: it pays to rank in both, which is where local SEO comes in.
Image Source: Wordstream
So why should you consider getting one for your business?
- These listings typically appear above Organic search results and tend to carry more weight, especially for local SEO.
- You can get reviews on your profile which stands as a strong social proof and trust signal to prospective customers
- You can get a lot more calls by having a GMB listing ranked in the 3-pack (The top 3 listings that are displayed when customers search for your services).
- You can get a free website when you’ve a GMB listing verified and setup
So, what exactly do you do to rank in the 3-pack?
When it comes to ranking GMBs, Google has put a proximity filter in place, which means your GMB visibility is limited to certain area radius, can that be broken, well yes, but not completely and It takes a whole lot of work to accomplish that. The purpose of this filter is to get customers the closest business to them as possible, so the closest business to a searcher typically tends to come up first in the 3-pack before businesses further out from where the searcher is located.
GMB Step by Step Ranking Guide:
I’m not going to be overly detailed here as this guide is already a lengthy one. I’ll try to be concisely broad.
- Complete every section of your Google my business account. Fill up every detail that you can, in summary don’t leave any stone unturned or in this case any field blank. Here’s a great resource to fully optimize your GMB listing.
- Be very accurate with contact information. Try not to change it across any platform if you can. In summary your GMB address and other contact details should be the same on your website, Apple, Bing and Yahoo maps as well as local citations. If you service diff cities or towns and have GMBs there, create separate pages having accurate information on those pages and add those pages as the corresponding website pages in your GMB website URL section. Slightly confusing? Let’s take an example to simplify things:
Joe owns a plumbing website: randomjoeplumbing.com. Joe the plumber serves Jacksonville and Gainesville in Florida, 2 different cities in the same state. Joe would need to create 2 different service pages, one for Jacksonville and the other for Gainesville. When Joe decides to create 2 different GMBs for these 2 locations, he won’t just put randomjoeplumbing.com as his website address for both GMBs rather he would put: randomjoeplumbing.com/Jacksonville-plumbing for the Jacksonville GMB as the website address and randomjoeplumbing.com/Gainesville-plumbing as the website address for the Gainesville GMB. But why? Because these pages would have different information that corresponds to that location and would fit in just fine with Google bots understanding what the service and location of the page is all about and attribute it to the GMBs respectively.
- Select primary and secondary categories. If you search for your keyword e.g. contractors New York, the primary category you should select should be the one your competitors have in place, unless your business is different from that, which I doubt. The phrase underlined in pink is the main category for the businesses listed in that location. For secondary categories, use this tool, it’ll show you categories strongly related to yours: Pleper
Image Source: Ahrefs
- Upload at least 5 pictures for good measure and try to upload new pictures weekly
- Upload videos if available
- Upload your Logo and cover photo
- Setup and Optimize the free google website attached to your GMB account.
- Answer common questions your customers ask you on your GMB, if no one has asked a question, you ask it and then provide an answer.
- Begin posting, once every 2 – 3 days is fine
- Download the GMB App and enable messaging so customers can send you messages directly to your GMB.
- Ask your customers to leave you reviews and ensure to respond to those reviews, even if some of them are negative. By responding to negative reviews, customers can see how you’d treat them if it doesn’t work out, and most would consider if you won’t come at them like a dog running after a bone thief.
Pro Tip: Tell them to mention what service you offered to them in their review if possible, this helps get your keywords into the review section
- Claim your Apple, Bing, MapQuest and yahoo maps listings
- Embed your Google map in your website footer if you’re serving a single location like the whole of Jacksonville for example. If you service multiple cities, do not do that, only embed your GMB map on the respective city location page.
To embed your GMB Map:
- Go to your GMB listing Page
- Once it’s loaded, to the right of the listing, the fifth icon which says share, click on it
- Select the tab that says Embed
- Copy that code and put it on your website based on the info above. Your map should be embedded now.
- Get other local citations done. A local citation is a mention of your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on a directory listing. It’s typically called local citation, because a lot of these directories have a section local to your location where they only display businesses specific to that location. Sample local citations include: Yelp, Manta, Foursquare etc. This helps put some local relevance in the links going to your website.
Pro Tip: Use the Address from your GMB to create the local citations
- Submit your business information to data aggregators. A data aggregator Is a large source of information where other websites can access your contact information and some automatically use that to create profiles for your business online, hence you want the info here to be correct. By submitting to a data aggregator, you know when other websites come to pick up your info it’ll be correct, and if Google comes crawling by (which they would), they see the correct info too. Some Data Aggregators are: Infogroup/InfoUSA, Factual, Acxiom, Thomson local and Neustar Localeze
- Add geo relevance to your website by speaking about your location. For example, talk about the top parks to visit in your location, an international airport in your location (if available), top schools, Zoos, Aquariums, top shopping malls and the sorts. Embed maps of these locations in your articles too. But Daniel! There are too many places to talk about, how do I know the best to pick? Why don’t we let Google tell us what’s best?
Head on to Google and type in “Top 10 things to do in [location]”
You should see a result like the one below:
Click on more sights, then you’ll see what Google consider the top places in [location] according to user review stats. There, you can pick 5 – 10 to talk about!
- Get local websites to link back to you. You can get this from some establishments by becoming a sponsor or contacting local bloggers. More difficult to get than normal links, but definitely worth it.
Well that’s it! I genuinely hope this helps your business grow more, follow this guide and you’ll definitely see some decent improvements in your rankings.
Aziel Digital is an elite digital marketing agency focused on getting customers results with proven, constantly updated SEO and digital marketing strategies to ensure their clients remain on top. Been burned by other SEO agencies before? Or you’re a new business in need of SEO services for your contracting business? Or an established business seeking more growth? Got questions or need help with SEO for your business? Schedule a quick consultation with us today and find out what we’ve in store for you!
In working with a credible Contractor SEO Company, you need to be able to answer these questions before determining if you actually need the services of an SEO company.
- Why do I need to engage the services of an SEO Company?
You need to have clear reasons as to why you need to engage the services of an SEO company in the first place. Are you in need of a proper internet presence and you don’t have a website? Or do you have a website but you are not getting any sort of traffic from it? Or you are getting traffic but not conversions (that is, customers) or you have a website, however it is not optimized for social media, search engines or its users? Or you want to improve your online presence?
- Where can I find a good SEO company?
SEO companies are online based companies and as such do not necessarily have to be in your neighborhood. So, how and where can you find a good and reputable SEO company to work with? Via word of mouth? You can ask friends for recommendations as knowing that a company did good work on someone else’s website is a very positive factor.
You can click on the ads. In searching for terms related to finding a reliable SEO company or service, you would see a number of ads on top of the search results. These displayed ads, the companies secure top positions with a reasonable amount of money and to get a return on investment they have to provide for a good service or they would not be able to survive in the long term.
Companies that appear in the first positions of the SERPs have invested reasonable amount of time and money, which is a sign they take their business seriously. Thus, organic rankings could be a means of getting a reputable SEO company.
- How do I assess the reliability of a SEO company?
It is advisable to assess the reliability of a SEO company before making your final decision by taking a look at the services they offer. Also, make sure that they are not being unrealistic with their promises, they can explain what method(s) of action they would take, and they have a clear fee payment plan.
Another way to assess is to ask them to do an audit of your website. It is inexpensive and a quick mode of assessing the effectiveness of the company. Also, talking to them by asking questions or by interviewing them as your prospective partners.
- What should I know about SEO?
Having at least, a basic knowledge makes it easier to negotiate or challenge a method proposed by your SEO. Being knowledgeable about this field makes it easier for you to understand the procedure to some an extent. For example, going for a long-term plan. The duration of work should be discussed and agreed upon before the signing of any contract. The job of an SEO is to make sure that a website is secure, user friendly, fast and with good ranking positions on major search engines. The main deal is still on the website and how to optimize it for search engines but for ultimate results you need to look for areas outside the boundaries of the website as well.
Everything on the internet is measurable as there are metrics and reports that can help you measure and track the activity of your website with respect to incoming visits, time users spend on your website, websites they visit, amidst others.
Even though it takes a long period of time to get a reasonable result, if after 6 months there are no changes you might need to consider a change in contract. Although, you need to also be mindful of the fact that it might take some time for the website to show results