Getting your massage business found on Google has gotten easier than ever, thanks to Google My Business. With the right attention, this platform can help you connect with the right clients who are searching online.
David Mihm from ThriveHive joins us for this expert interview episode and we walk through an overview of how to set up your Google My Business listing for maximum effectiveness.
(Here’s Allissa’s Google My Business listing that we talk about: https://goo.gl/maps/ZsUBxrMn7yy )
Sponsored by: ThriveHive.
Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Thrive Hive. Thrive Hive is marketing simplified. They offer guided marketing and advertising solutions to help your business get found, stand out, and get chosen online. With their guided marketing sessions, you’ll be empowered working one-on-one with an expert marketing guide to learn how to actively market your business locally on Google. With guided advertising, they’ll help you employ the right mix of channels to drive results to your business specifically. Maybe Google Ad Words, social media advertising, maybe looking at email marketing, or working on your website, they will help you figure it out. You can learn more and get your marketing simplified at massagebusinessblueprint.com/thrivehive.
Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts. Allissa, you sound so, like, not enthusiastic today.
AH Is it?
AH I was just reading some really big words, so I wasn’t on point with —
MR (Laughter) Usually when you’re like, “I am Allissa Haines,” it’s really bright and bold, and today it was just kind of flat, so.
AH Trying to not be so pretentious.
MR Oh, yeah, pretention is my thing.
AH This is a wonderful, energetic opening for our really fancy episode today because we have a guest. Michael, tell us about our guest.
MR We have a guest?
AH We have a guest.
MR Oh, okay. I knew that. Our guest today is David Mihm from Thrive Hive. And this is probably going to be one of our best episodes ever because it is extremely timely, it is extremely relevant, it is extremely useful for helping our massage therapist audience get found on Google search. All kinds of juicy stuff. I cannot wait. So first off, David, welcome to the podcast.
David Mihm Thanks Michael, thanks Allissa. And yeah, thanks for setting expectations at a completely unreasonable level.
AH We flubbed our opening. I was late for the meeting because I was trapped inside my tiny house because of a groundhog. We’re probably going to have dogs barking in the background. So really, lower the bar, David. And welcome.
DM All right. Great.
MR Our audience is not used to a very high bar here, so don’t worry about it.
MR They know exactly what they’re in for. Yeah, so welcome, David. We’re so glad to have you here. Allissa, you want to kind of kick things off with an intro?
AH I do. So David’s the VP of product strategy at Thrive Hive. And we’re going to find out more about Thrive Hive in a little bit. But we kind of met up with them through our partnership with ABMP. And when I talked to some people from Thrive Hive, they said, you guys need to talk to David because he is the Google and the Google My Business expert right now. And that is huge.
We have been planning this episode for a couple of months, and in that couple of months and as recently as two days ago, in our private premium member discussion group, we’ve had premium members popping in with like, hey, I found this great article about Google My Business, and hey, did you know that Thrive Hive has this cool thing that’ll like grade your online presence, and hey, did you know this? And every time they do it, I’m like, you guys need to step back and calm down because we’re covering this in like a week. So it’s so timely, and it’s something we’re really excited about. But I want to stop talking.
And David, I want you to tell us a little bit about how you came to be the Google My Business expert guy and what you’ve done serving very small local businesses.
DM Sure thing. Yeah, so I’ve been in — well, initially, I was just in sort of general search engine optimization back in the mid-2000s. I had a summer job working for a guy, actually, who sold golf balls over the internet and didn’t really know anything about, you know, internet marketing or anything along those lines. And he was sort of interested in having me explore it. So that was kind of my first introduction to the world of SEO, of search engine optimization. And then he introduced me to all of his buddies at the country club who all owned more locally-focused businesses like lawyers, real estate agents, financial planners, those types of folks.
And that introduction or that set of introductions came about at a time when Google released sort of it’s first version of what is now Google My Business, the Google Local Business Center. And so I was sort of pretty taken aback at how much energy and effort and online real estate Google was giving to this new thing that they’d released, this new product they’d released. And just sort of through networking online, really, reading blogs and commenting on people’s blogs and that sort of thing, built a series of friendships with other folks who were working with local businesses at the time, and we sort of pooled our knowledge, and I ran a survey called the Local Search Ranking Factors for, gosh, about eight or nine years, I think, and then handed it off. But through that group, we sort of shared our knowledge with what we saw working for our clients, and we’ve just sort of all stayed in touch and kept our research projects going.
So that’s kind of how — I’ve been in the space, I think, as long as anybody in terms of local SEO and have definitely kept up and been encouraged by a lot of the trends that Google has been pushing as part of Google My Business.
AH Sweet. And what kinds of — so you started out with a guy who was selling golf balls on the internet, which I totally dig. I want to talk a little bit — before we deeply jump into Google My Business specifically, have you found there’s kind of a disconnect between information for people — especially search engine optimization information for business owners who are running online golf ball sales versus very small local businesses just like mine, like a little massage practice in one town, I don’t travel, one location, serving 15 to 20 clients a week, 70-ish clients a month —
AH I’ve always felt there’s been a disconnect between information on websites and web presence and SEO. What have you found that made you want to really dive into Google My Business for small, local businesses?
DM Yeah, for sure. I think you’re absolutely right. Local has been sort of the redheaded stepchild of the broader SEO industry for a really long time. And I think it’s only been within the last couple of years that that’s started to change. But I think most of the articles that you see on SEO online or on Google optimization online really are geared toward, first of all, larger businesses that have more technical resources and wherewithal, or the budget to hire an agency to do those sort of technical things. And the nice thing is that Google has really been going out of its way — I’m not necessarily a Google fanboy on a whole range of topics, but they have really gone out of their way to promote local businesses and give them an alternative channel into the search results.
And so SEO and Google — it’s obviously a massively complex industry. There’s literally thousands, if not tens of thousands of Stanford Ph.Ds. working on the Google algorithm 24/7. But most of the things that a local business should be concerned about through Google My Business and other channels are things that they can — that aren’t technical, they’re not super complicated, they just take a little bit of understanding of kind of how Google is set up and how they’re featuring businesses and certain elements of those businesses.
The first thing to know is that if you are a small, local business that’s just serving customers in, let’s say, a whatever, 10 mile, 20 mile radius, Google is automatically tailoring the search results for any customers that are looking for you to reward you and other locally-focused businesses. So just as an example, right, I’m David Mihm, I live in Portland, Oregon. If I’m looking for a massage and I type in massage therapist into Google, I don’t even need to say that I’m looking for a massage therapist in Portland. Google actually knows where I’m doing that search, certainly on my mobile phone where they’re tracking my location all the time. But even on my desktop or laptop, they know exactly where that search is being performed. And because it’s such a — it’s not something that I can — that can easily be outsourced, right, over — you’re not going to get a virtual massage from somebody in New York City if you live in Portland. So Google is featuring businesses in my specific area at the very top of the search results. And those featured businesses are coming primarily from Google My Business. So it’s a really great opportunity for small businesses to sort of leapfrog the national or the global competition through this vehicle that Google provides for free.
AH Sweet. I’m really excited to dive into the Google My Business stuff, so let’s do our halftime spot, which happily, is sponsored by Thrive Hive.
Sponsor message So let me tell y’all a little bit about Thrive Hive, and then David can expand on that a little bit. Thrive Hive offers guided marketing and advertising solutions to help your business get found, stand out, and get chosen online. With their guided marketing sessions, you’ll be empowered — I love that — by working one-on-one with an expert marketing guide to learn how to actively market your business locally on Google. With guided advertising, they can help you employ the right mix of channels to drive results with your business specifically. You can learn more at massagebusinessblueprint.com/thrivehive.
And because I mentioned it before, I will mention it again, if you are a certified ABMP member — and maybe even the other levels of ABMP membership, I’m not certain — go to your membership portal and you can access Thrive Hive through there and get some special benefits as well. But y’all can learn more at massagebusinessblueprint.com/thrivehive.
AH So I want to vie you a chance, David, to talk a little bit about what Thrive Hive is doing specifically for my kind of business, if you want to take a second.
DM Sure, that’s great. Yeah, so I think that the — first of all, the pitch was exactly right. We’re definitely focused on guided marketing and a sort of “do it with me” kind of model, where our marketing guides will get together with you on a monthly phone call and we’ll sort of talk through hey, what’s happening with your business, what’s interesting this month, what do you want to promote, what do you need help with? And we’re sort of your outsourced marketing companion to help you kind of figure out where to put the most energy.
And our main focus as — which is a great overlap with the topic of this podcast — is really on Google My Business. I mean, we’re just big believers in the power and the reach that the average local business can get specifically from GMB. And so our entry point into our service offerings really comes through our Google My Business grader tool which is at thrivehive.com/grader. And I think you’re right, you can also get there from the — from your ABMP member portal. We have a special version that we’ve done just with ABMP.
But the point of that grader is really to — with no serious input from you, all you have to do is basically share your — share access to your Google My Business profile with us so we can actually analyze all the things that Google provides. And then we then take a look at how will you’re sort of maximizing that GMB profile. So we look at, you know, have you filled out all of the obvious fields like your business name and have you chosen an appropriate category, have you added your hours, have you added photos — all of those basic presence things — which Google largely grades you itself in terms of completeness of your profile. So that’s the first part of grader.
But from there, we get onto a few more — I won’t say they’re more complex, but they’re sort of less obvious things, maybe, that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on first thing when you go and update your GMB listing. So we look at your reputation, so how well you’re doing across — either asking customers for reviews or responding to those reviews, how well you are reaching out to customers through a fairly new feature that’s built into Google My Business called Google Posts, and then how well you’re asking questions that people are asking you or posting your own questions if you have things that folks ask you a lot when they come in and get a massage or before they get a massage. Those are three areas that I think are less obvious as part of the natural GMB experience that can really have a big impact on how visible you are in search results. And so we sort of grade you across all four of those major areas. And then our marketing guides — if you decide to sign up with our service, the grade is totally free. And then if you do decide to sign up with a guide, we sort of build a custom plan for you as we go along and learn more about your business and see where you need the most help. So that’s kind of how our service offerings work.
AH Sweet. Well, we’re in it to win it now, so how about you take it away with your Google My Business ideas, tips, strategy, whatever you have to give us.
DM Sure, sounds good. So Allissa, you had sent me, actually, your Google My business profile to take a look at. So if anybody’s sort of following along — and obviously if you’re listening to this in the car, maybe do it when you get home. But if you’re on the train or just listening at home, if you just search for Haines Massage, you’ll see a very prominent profile either at the top of your screen on mobile or on the righthand side on desktop, and this is coming from Allissa’s Google My Business account.
So she’s done a great job adding photos. Photos are really a big driver of engagement, so Google — you’ll see even in its own product messaging, they will tell you just how important photos are to getting customers’ attention. So Allissa has a nice big photo of her massaging a client right there front and center on her knowledge panel. And so I think that that’s a really nice — it’s just a really nice way to attract people’s attention, and it makes it very clear what Allissa does. And also it’s not a stock photo which I really like. I think with your photography you want to take the time to give people an idea of what the experience of working with you is really like. So I think that’s really great.
Obviously, Allissa’s doing a great job with reviews. You can see there she’s got a perfect 5-star rating. I think one thing that a lot of business owners are rightly fearful of is oh, man, what if I get a bad review? I don’t want my star rating to drop, et cetera, et cetera. The reality is that most of you guys are running great businesses, and most consumers, if you ask them, will be more than happy to leave you a good review. And so just sort of sticking your head in the sand and letting that fear take over isn’t necessarily the best strategy. If somebody’s going to leave you a bad review, they’re going to leave you a bad review. It just is what it is. And what you really need to do is empower your happy customers or the vast majority of your customers to sort of buffer that bad review that you might get. So Allissa, I’m sure at some point you will get a 3- or a 4-star review and your star rating will drop below 5. But if you have 20 or 30 other customers who are leaving great reviews, the impact of that single bad review is kind of mitigated. So I think that that’s one thing I would say: you’re doing a great job so far. But you were saying that you see something like 70 clients a month, and so it’d be great to see a few more steady reviews coming in from your clients.
AH So what’s a good way — can I just ask? Can I just say to some of my clients, hey, I’m working on my Google My Business listing and if you were to leave me a review here, I would dig that and send them a link?
DM Yeah, it would really help. And I think most customers are more than willing to do that. It’s fairly straightforward, and one of the things that our guides can help you with if you do sign up for that service is we can get you a very short custom link where if somebody clicks it, the review form actually pops up directly so they don’t even have to hunt around for where to leave it. And I think — as I said, most customers, I think, are more than willing.
A company called Yodel did a survey — this is about three years ago, but basically close to three out of four customers are more than happy to leave a review of a local business, but only one out of five is asked or has been asked by a local business to leave a review. So there’s just a big gap in terms of — I think — as I said, a lot of business owners are sort of rightly hesitant about asking too much from their customers. But the reality is that most people are eager and willing to do that.
And if you — I don’t know how your back office is set up, but if you’ve got some sort of receipt system or invoicing system in place, a lot of times you can just add a link to that — hey, leave your feedback for us on Google and link to that specific review form, and that’s a great way to sort of make it a seamless process. When somebody’s done with their appointment, they had a great experience, and then they can just go and leave you a review on Google.
AH I do. And I have a follow-up protocol for clients and I used to do that, and it’s time to put that back in.
DM (Laughter) Great. And one thing is it’s not essential to respond, in your case, to every review because they’re all positive, right? So it’s certainly not essential to do that, but it’s a great way to build relationships with your clients. And I notice that you’ve responded to a couple of reviews a few months ago. And that’s a great — just a best practice to say, hey, thanks so much for taking the time to leave this feedback, glad you had such a great experience, those sorts of things.
Review responses are even more important if you were to get a negative review. And when you respond, you want to make sure that you’re responding in an even-handed, very measured way. Really the audience of that review response is probably not the person that left you the bad review, but it’s every other customer who comes and sees your Google My Business profile and sees that you’ve actually taken the time to listen to that feedback and that you’re not — you’re going out of your way to try to make it a good experience for future customers. So those review responses really do play a role in influencing future client’s decisions to decide to book an appointment with you.
AH I — yeah. We even have a podcast episode on how to respond to negative reviews. But yeah, thankfully, I haven’t experience that yet, but I’m sure I will. I’m ready for it.
DM That’s really great. And just kind of moving a little bit further down your profile, you’ve obviously — you’ve got your website hooked up, which is really critical, so that’s great. So Google gives you a place to put in your website URL. And you’ve also got your appointments link there, which is really awesome.
So increasingly — and this is particularly true for clients who might be searching for you on their mobile phone. Increasingly, people are just booking appointments directly from Google search results. So basically completely bypassing your website and just making an appointment directly from Google. So Rand Fishkin, my friend and former boss at Moz a few years ago — so he’s done some research across the entire mobile search ecosystem, and he’s found that three out of five searches on mobile devices don’t result in a click-through to a website. So consumers are just interacting with those mobile search results directly. And that’s not just specific to local, so I’m not saying that 60% of your customers are going to book directly from Google. I can’t make that claim. But a significant percentage certainly are. So it’s great that you’ve got an appointments link called out right there that customers can just book right from Google.
And Google actually has a program called Reserve, which a number of scheduling providers in the massage therapy space participate in. So if you do a search for “Reserve with Google integrations,” you’ll see a whole list of providers. They’re across industries, but again, there’s a lot of them in the massage vertical that integrate directly with Google. And instead of even a link, which is great, which you’ve got, they’ll get a nice, big button that says see schedule or view our open appointments or something like that. And so I think you’re hooked up with Acuity, which isn’t part of that network just yet. But if you’re a massage therapist who’s sort of deciding on a booking system, take a look at that Reserve with Google integrations page. And my advice would be to choose somebody who is hooked up as part of that integration. So you’re doing the best you can with your booking system, but for folks who haven’t chosen one yet, check out Reserve with Google.
DM Great. And then just highlight a couple more things. It looks like in the questions and answers section — so this is a new feature. Well, I say new. There’s tons of new features within Google My Business. It’s hard to keep up. So this is a new feature, as of about maybe a year and a half or two years ago, that any Google searcher can ask a question right on your business profile, and any Google searcher can answer that question.
In your case, it’s sort of luck that nobody’s asked a question yet. But you’ll see there’s a nice big button there that Google’s encouraging people to do so. And you as the business owner can actually get ahead of Q&A by seeding your own questions and answering your own questions. So this is an example. If somebody — a common question might be do you take walk-in appointments?, and you could answer that yes or no. If it’s no, you can say no, I don’t take walk-in appointments, but here’s the page on my website where you can actually book one and see what my availability is, those kinds of things. So whatever the most common questions that you get from your clients about your service offerings, those sorts of things, I would encourage you and we would encourage you at Thrive Hive to actually post those questions on your profile and answer them yourself. That can be an easy way to let customers know that you’re providing a specific service that they’re looking for or just heading off unnecessary phone calls or emails from folks who may have a question before they book with you.
AH Sweet. So I can totally stock my own FAQ section in my Google My Business page?
AH I had no idea on that until now. And I’m psyched because a lot of our listeners have used a bunch of our free content for blog posts and stuff, so I’ve already got ready answers for do you have a cancellation policy? do you accept walk-ins? do I have to take my clothes off to get a massage?, which is the most commonly asked question about massage.
DM For sure.
AH And I had no idea until now there’s a place that I can proactively answer those right in my listing.
AH So this is very exciting.
DM Yeah, and I think — if you think about the various channels that Google is focused on as a company, some of your more advanced listeners may have heard all of the hype around voice search. And we’ve certainly seen Google pouring — it may even be in the billions of dollars into advertising at this point of Google Home and the Google Assistant. And so those of us who have been following the local search space for a while, we think that Google will probably be rewarding businesses that have questions that people are asking through voice through those voice answer results. And so that’s another reason to do this. We don’t have — everything with voice search is pretty new right now, so I don’t have, necessarily, data to back up that hypothesis, but it’s something that’s a common sentiment around folks who have been studying what Google’s been doing in local for a long time. So another reason to sort of get ahead of the Q&A wave is voice search and all of the increase in the number of voice searches that Google’s going to be servicing in the next few years.
AH Sweet. All right.
DM And then just scrolling down to the bottom, you’ve got a nice description there, which is great. Just for what it’s worth, we don’t see that the description influences how well you rank. So no need to overstuff it with keywords or anything like that. Write the description in a manner that you think would attract more clients. I think that’s what — you’ve done that here and I would encourage other listeners to do the same.
And then the last thing is, again, another relatively new feature from Google — which is Google Posts. So you can add photos, calls to action, little snippets about what you’re working on this month or a special you might be running. It’s basically a free ad on your Google My Business profile. And this is something that you’ve done in the past. I noticed that you had several posts from March. There isn’t a current one. So posts typically expire after seven days, so that’s something that would be great to get into a weekly habit of posting what’s going on in your business, new services you might be offering, those sorts of things. And again, that’s something that our marketing guides can help work with you on and kind of keep you on track with a regular posting cadence.
AH So tell me this. Now there’s a ton of posts from March because we ran a little separate project where a whole bunch of our members did a challenge in March to see if they could make at least five posts a week throughout March talking very specifically about their massage office, their massage room, why it’s outfitted the way it is, and the particular kinds of massage they do. So it was a ton of posts in March. But — and I really encouraged people to post to their Google My Business page.
But one of the big issues is that our people, and me too, like to get ahead on these things and be able to schedule our posts. But that’s not a feature ingrained in Google My Business the way it is in Facebook or with third-party apps that you can use for Instagram and Twitter and things like that. So have you come across a solution to the “can’t really schedule ahead” Google My Business posting issue?
DM Right, so I have have come across one personally. I have heard from friends in the industry that they are out there. I’ll say that we are actively working on that solution and hope to have it, I would say, by late summer, 2019.
DM But it’s not — you’re right, it’s not available in the sort of native Google posting interface. So I’m sure that Google has taken that feedback to heart as well and they’re probably working on a native scheduling feature as well. But you’re right that it’s kind of a pain right now that you can’t schedule in advance.
I will give your listeners a great tip that my colleague Phil Rosek from Local Visibility System published a few months ago. So if you set a post type as an event with a date, you know, months and months and months in the future, that post will stay up there until the date of expiration, essentially, until that even “has happened.” So if you’re looking for just a very basic way to maintain a single post for a long time, choose an even with a date well in the future just to have at least something on there that promotes a specific feature of your business.
MR There are a couple of —
DM I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that. They would like to see you posting on a weekly basis, but I think in the — while we’re all waiting for the scheduling feature, that’s a nice workaround.
MR There are a couple of apps out there that do that. Social Pilot is one and there’s also one called OneUp. OneUp is $4 a month and it looks like it lets you schedule Google My Business posts.
DM I’m sure that others have worked this out at this point.
AH Yeah. It’s out there, but I was just curious. And I’m sorry, I know that you said it, but a regular post, how long does it have before it expires?
DM Seven days. Yep.
AH And then it — does it still say in your archive of posts, it just doesn’t pop up in your —
DM That’s right.
AH Okay. So it still remains there and it helps you as like an archive of content that can help you with credibility.
DM For sure. And the other thing that we’re seeing increasingly — there’s been a number of reports just in the last month from folks, again, who sort of look at search results every hour of every day — we’re seeing increasingly that if your business — they don’t necessarily — we can’t say that Posts help with ranking, right? So again, just with the business description, I wouldn’t necessarily stuff your posts with keywords. But if you are ranking already for a specific search phrase, like, let’s say, a longer-tail type of service that you offer, if your post mentions that phrase, it will show up next to your business — next to your Google My Business listing in the local pack.
So if you are posting — and again, this is another reason to post multiple items as opposed to just doing that event in the future workaround. But you want to post multiple items so that you have more of a chance to show — that those snippets about those services show up more frequently when you’re ranking for those terms. So it’s another way to help convert people, who maybe aren’t looking for your business specifically, to become a new client.
AH Excellent. What else you got for us? Anything else?
DM So that’s — yeah, that’s sort of your listing in a nutshell. I don’t know — we don’t run your grade until you authorize us to do so. So I’m not sure if you’ve done that and what grade you would get.
AH I totally did. I ran it. I came up with like a 58%.
DM Okay. I’m sort of surprised. That seems a little harsh.
AH I know.
DM I think you’re — were you to post something on a more current basis and were you to get a few more steady reviews coming in, I think you’d go to 90% pretty quickly.
DM But I think those are the two biggest things that stand out to me. And also add at least one or two questions to your Q&A section. Those are kind of the two or three things that stand out to me.
AH It was really clear because the grader breaks down different sections. So in the presence, I got a 91% because, yeah, I posted like crazy in March because we’ve been doing this project and I’ve done a couple since then. But then it says reputation, outreach, and communication were pretty low just because there were things I hadn’t done. I hadn’t put my services menu up yet. I hadn’t — I think for a long time — I change it, but for a long time I didn’t want my phone number on there. And I’m still kind of on the fence about that. I may still — because I’ve had a couple people call me right from that. But I deeply discourage phone calls. I don’t have — and this is, again, where larger businesses are very different from little micro businesses like mine. I don’t have reception staff.
AH I’m in a massage; I’m not answering my phone. And my voice mail says go to the website to schedule.
AH But I’ve also thought that maybe if I put some of those Q&As in there to really specify you’re never going to get a same-day appointment with me, that might cull the herd a little bit on that.
DM Exactly. And also a post that says the same thing as well. Like, hey, now accepting appointments for some date in the future, we’re booked today or whatever.
AH Yes. Yeah, that’s brilliant. There’s so many usable things in here and I so appreciate it and it seems so — it can seem so technical and arduous, but it’s really not. I set up my own Google My Business listing and I started playing with it, and everybody can get started on their own with very little aggravation.
Michael, anything you want to add?
MR No, we’ve covered the good stuff. I know that, David, you can’t officially say that Google will increase your ranking because of Posts, which, yes, that’s true. I will say I’ve seen cases where it has made a noticeable difference. So I will say the posting on a Google My Business profile does seem to — it can only help. It’s not going to hurt. And in some cases it can, absolutely, help.
AH You know what, straight up, I’ll say that when we did that March project and I was posting almost every day, dramatic influx in new clients.
MR Yeah, we can’t guarantee it, but yeah. (Laughter)
AH Anecdotally, I will tell you that I got five new clients in two weeks.
DM That’s rad, wow.
AH That’s a lot for me. Tis the season. Getting a little busier. But of those new clients, all of them came through Google search. It wasn’t like my mom’s been telling me about you for year.
AH Anecdotally, there you go. I’ll be quiet now. Back to you, Michael.
MR And also to reiterate, Moz, which is one of the — I would say is the largest and most respected entity that tracks Google search engine rankings, results, data, information about search — their most recent report showed that about one-fourth of Google’s weight when it comes to local search goes to Google My Business. So of all the different factors that you use — things like linking and keywords and the structure of your website and all sorts of things — about 25% of Google’s factoring takes into account Google My Business. That’s a huge chunk of all of the criteria that goes around ranking your website. So if you’re going to do nothing else and you want to pick one thing to focus on to get found by Google better, this is it.
DM Couldn’t agree more. And I would say if you’re going to do two things, there’s also another study of rankings out there from a company called Local SEO Guide. And they’ve found, basically, that ranking factors, in local specifically, something like 2 through 15 all have to do with reviews. And so Google is definitely looking not just at what your star rating is, but more importantly, they’re looking at how many review you have, how steadily you’re accumulating reviews, and then what services customers are mentioning in those reviews, right?
So if they say they came in for a certain kind of massage, you’re much more likely to rank for that certain kind of massage — like a Swedish massage or a deep tissue massage or whatever — you’re much more likely to rank for those keywords if customers are talking about them in their reviews. So that’s not something that I would necessarily say that you want to tell people what to write about. But it just speaks to the importance of kind of a steady stream of reviews where customers are naturally going to mention what they came in for and how much they liked it. So you’re right. GMB directly — Google My Business directly makes a big impact on rankings. Reviews also make a really big impact on rankings. And the nice thing is neither one of those is a really technical, keyword-focused, link-focused, code-focused tactic. Those are both things that any business owner can do with just a little bit of a nudge in the right direction.
MR And just to reiterate — I think we may have mentioned this at the beginning, but just to reiterate, but if you aren’t even started yet on Google My Business, go to google.com/business and it’ll walk you through it. Just start there. Google.com/business.
AH And I just want to jump in with reiterating that anyone can do this. But if you are a massage therapist in a saturated market — and I know that a lot of our listeners are. A lot of our listeners are in cities in the Pacific Northwest or in Boston or New York, but really saturated markets where when people google for a massage therapist, there’s just a gajillion options. This is something that a lot of micro businesses aren’t embracing yet. So if you can do it — and you can — this will put you ahead. It will be really, really helpful, especially in saturated markets.
DM Absolutely. I think it’s the best, shortest path to success for businesses without a lot of resources. Obviously if you do have the budget and the staffing or friends who run agencies or whatever and can build you a great website and get you a lot of links and all those sort of more traditional SEO tactics, those are absolutely still working great. But for the average, as you called it, micro business, this is really — Google My Business is the first place that I would start with my SEO campaign.
AH Sweet. Well, you have given us so much of your time, David. Michael, am I leaving anything out or are we good?
MR No, I think we’re good. Awesome, awesome stuff.
DM Well, really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you guys, and again, I think for us — from a Thrive Hive standpoint — I think we’re really hoping that our grader can kind of get businesses started in the right direction. And that’s at thrivehive.com/grader or also within your ABMP member portal. So that’s kind of — my takeaway, I guess, is just start there, and we’ll walk you through the rest of the process if you have any questions about anything that I brought up.
MR Nice, thank you, David. Cool.
AH Thanks so much, David.
MR All right, well, we’ll wrap it up there, then. So thanks, everyone, for joining us today. I’ll go ahead and throw that link out to Thrive Hive one more time: massagebusinessblueprint.com/thrivehive to learn more.
AH And that’ll go right to the grader, everybody.
MR Okay, there you go. Straight to the grader. And also check your ABMP portal as well. So with that, thanks again for joining us. Our website as always is massagebusinessblueprint.com, check us out there. If you have a question or comment to send to us, the email address for that is firstname.lastname@example.org. Speaking of reviews, we love iTunes reviews, so feel free to give us one if you have a few moments — moment or two to spare. And again, thanks again for joining us. Have a great day and we’ll see you next time.