Local SEO & Google My Business Tips – Webinar AMA Recap & Video

GatherUp hosted some of the best local SEO experts in our “ask me anything” (AMA) webinar. Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky and Darren Shaw of Whitespark joined GatherUp’s Mike Blumenthal and Aaron Weiche for an hour packed of insight, local SEO strategy, COVID-19 adjustments and Google My Business tips.

Local SEO Takeaways and Full Video

Here is the full recording of the webinar video below. Each speaker shared their local SEO tips for right now and we cover those in-depth in the video. The AMA portion of the webinar answered over 20 questions, here are a few of them:

  • Will Google change their rules on physical locations vs. service areas, given that many people will be working remotely for 6-18 months?
  • Our phone call availability and our availability to provide our service differs. Which should be listed on our hours open section?
  • Does answering positive reviews have an impact on ranking?
  • If you were starting in this space TODAY, knowing what you know after all of these years of experience, what would be the top 3 products/services/strategies you would sell?

Each of the speakers shared a few of their top tips for right now before going into the AMA portion of the webinar.

Google My Business Tips

Darren talked about leveraging features in your Google My Business (GMB) listing. His first was to leverage the GMB Products feature to highlight your new service/delivery methods like curbside pick-up and virtual consultations.

The next tip from Darren was to turn on GMB Messaging. This feature works through the Google My Business app so you need to download the app to activate it. Darren pointed out that any business should be looking to make communication and contacting your business easy right now, especially from the search results on your GMB listing.

Google messaging GMB

Joy shared that you can benefit from the Google Posts COVID-19 feature that places this post higher in your GMB profile display. While the post only allows text (no images), it’s location can be very valuable to communicate important updates with your business and the current environment.

Google posts - COVID-19 post

Joy also pointed out that you can remove the COVID-19 hours warning in your listing by adjusting your hours, a helpful move that Krystal Taing wrote about on the LocalU blog a few weeks ago. Businesses can not request this feature/display to not show on their listing. If the business sets their special hours for the short term (not just a day or two), or sets their business to be temporarily closed, then the warning will disappear on the Knowledge Panel.

Adjust Your Digital Strategies Now

Lastly I touched on how to use the current situation to adapt and make adjustments in your reputation and digital marketing strategies. One effort any business can make is to expand their review marketing and I touched on our 5X review strategy to do so.

Now can be a very valuable time to recalibrate and expand your reputation and customer experience strategies. Acquiring reviews might not be as important as listening to your customers, especially if you are now communicating, servicing, or selling in new ways.

local SEO and review tips

Mentions Are Your Best Marketing

I also think social media is one of your best marketing channels right now. Traffic on social sites like Facebook is through the roof and you should be thinking about how to talk about your business and how your customers can talk about your business. Telling your story during COVID-19 can keep you top of mind, win support, and help you engage with your customers as things evolve.

social media posts during covid-19

Making videos of your new service or purchase process, insight into running your business, sharing customer stories supporting you are all content types that can make you relevant right now. For GatherUp customers, using our social media sharing feature is a great way to use your customer’s experiences and reviews to market for you.

Lastly, the name of the game right now is adaptation. Use listening and feedback to know you are make the right changes to your business.

Let’s Do It Again

I really enjoyed the format of our local SEO webinar and found everything that Darren, Joy and Mike shared to be incredibly valuable and helpful. A few tweets and emails from the attendees seemed to agree.

Stay tuned for a future Local SEO AMA hosted by us, or get your reviews and reputation fix even sooner with our GatherUp monthly webinars.

About The Author

Aaron Weiche is the CEO of GatherUp, a customer feedback and online review platform. Aaron is a digital marketing veteran of over 20 years growing digital agencies in executive roles. Aaron helped found MnSearch, is a partner at Local University, speaks internationally on reviews, search marketing, web design and mobile.

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