If your boating business doesn’t have a website and Google Business page, the only people who will find you are ones who’ve already done business with you and remember your company name.
You must have a website. The issues of not having a site are devastating for your business. For example…
Without a website, you are unable to up-sell your business, products, and services to prospective customers and clients. A directory listing (such as Yellow Pages) is just that – a listing. A quarter-page ad cannot contain the full details and features that set your business apart from your competitors in the marine industry.
You also don’t show up on searches for products and services that do not hit your directory listings. Your listing may only mention one benefit or service (E.g. boat repairs), yet the majority of your business could be for something that isn’t featured in your ad listing (E.g. boats for sale; discounted yacht club membership).
If potential customers don’t know what your business provides, they’ll go to your competitors who DO have a website. Your competitors will get the business, and you will get absolutely no exposure in the media. You will not be found.
Having a website is also a lot cheaper than paying for expensive advertising in the offline world, which only offers limited exposure to your business.
Small businesses are always searching for inexpensive ways to promote their businesses and attract new customers. That is where a website comes into play.
Google Makes it Easy for You
One advertising avenue that’s open to all businesses is to have a Google My Business page. With a well-optimized Google My Business page, you show up high in the search results when local consumers search for products and services online.
According to Google, one in five searches includes a location. For example, one of your potential customers might search “Boat club near Fort Myers Florida.”
Just as the Yellow Pages once listed services according to their locations, Google compiles lists of local businesses that offer what a consumer searches for online.
Therefore, having a claimed, verified, high-ranking Google My Business listing is now crucial to every small business’ local success.
Google My Business in a Nutshell
Google My Business will connect you directly with customers. It puts your business information on Search, Maps, and Google+, so that customers can find you no matter what device they are using.
Give customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search, or a phone number they can click to call.
Google My Business helps you build a loyal customer base. Customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web.
Get Your Business on Google, Free of Charge
Google usually generates the Google My Business pages automatically, so it is not always necessary to create one from scratch. Claim the page that has already been created for your business. Do this by going to the Google My Business homepage.
The service is completely. If your boat business does not already have Google My Business page, setting one up is as simple as creating a new Google account.
Filling Out Your Listing
If you already have an existing Google account, log in to your account and go to the Google My Business website.
To get real value out of the listing for your business, take it a few steps beyond just creating the page. Your goal is to ensure that you get the highest ranked listing possible in the boating industry.
In order to make your business show up at the top of all the ranked businesses listed in your area, it is necessary to make sure that your listing is fully optimized.
Fill the listing out completely by entering your business address, phone number, email, and website. Be sure to choose the proper categories that fit your business profile. Do not leave any sections blank unless they are inapplicable.
Add your service areas, hours of operations, payment options, and as many videos and photos as you can (preferably add the max of 10 photos and 5 videos). Also use the free coupon section. All of this adds to your listing’s importance in Google’s eyes. So, fill out everything so you can to get the best results.
Claiming and Verifying Your Listing
The final and most vital step in the process of claiming your page is to verify that you are actually the owner of the page.
Google prompts you to do this at the end of the registration process. Verification options include phone and snail mail.
After Google has verified ownership, your page listing will be connected to your websites and business details.
Make sure the verification is completed, and the connection has been done correctly. Go onto Google and do a search for your business!
The Importance of Citations and Customer Reviews
Once you have claimed your Google My Business page, make sure it’s ranked high enough to be shown in search results. Two factors that play a part in this process are citations and customer reviews.
Although similar, these two elements have different sources. You can’t do much to affect the reviews that you get. However, there is quite a bit that can be done to increase the online citations, giving your page a better SEO ranking.
Citations are the references to your business and its products or services that are found on local directories (ShopCity.com, SuperPages.com and Yellowpages.com).
Google lists the basic ones, but you can boost your citations easily. Look at the citation listings of your competitors, then add your business to those sites as well. This will put you closer to your competitors in terms of ranking.
Crawlers visit these sites more regularly than static pages. Thus, it’s best to have a strong list of citations on sites known to have a high trust rank with Google. Wikipedia and the Yahoo directory are good examples. The more citations that appear for your site, the higher the Google ranking for your business is.
The real grunt-work of optimizing your Google My Business listing involves creating a comprehensive list of citations across the internet that point back to your business.
By submitting your business details to as many trusted sources as possible, your rankings are boosted and you’re closer to out-ranking competitors.
This process takes a lot of time, effort, and skills to get the best results. Therefore, most businesses get the help of an experienced digital marketer who is comfortable performing this task. While there will be an investment, this route saves a lot of time and increase exposure more quickly.
In addition to citations, Google considers the number of customer reviews you have when ranking your listing. The more reviews you have, the better.
Awesome customer reviews are great because that’s what consumers want to see when they decide whether or not to do business with you.
However, when ranking your listing page, Google does not rate the “quality” of the reviews. It simply focuses on the “quantity” of reviews.
This means that even having 200 ordinary reviews is going to improve your SEO with Google more than a few really good reviews. There is even evidence to suggest that having a lot of reviews can outweigh the quality and quantity of citations.
Either way, encourage customers to review your business. It can be a good, cost-effective way of building your online exposure with little risk or financial investments.
Having reviews posted on an on-going basis is very important too. Even if you have hundreds of reviews, it won’t help your ranking if they’re all over a year old. The spider bots are always searching for fresh content when updating the Google indexes.
In other words, Google loves “fresh” content and it pushes your page ranking up to have a lot of citations and customer reviews.
Google My Business and Mobile Internet Usage
Another value of Google My Business page is the reach it has for the mobile market. An extremely high percentage of people shop online while using their mobile devices.
Statistics show that searches from mobile devices are growing at a phenomenal rate. This is the perfect opportunity for a business in the marine industry to convert online traffic into foot traffic and sales.
One proven advantage is that mobile users take more immediate action on their searches in the real world than desktop shoppers do.
Current statistics show that Google has dominated the search engine market, maintaining an 86.02 percent market share as of April 2020. Therefore, the most effective way to advertise online is through an optimized Google My Business page.
One enduring challenge is finding a way to be competitive in the boat marketplace. Implementing cost effective strategies to get your company’s message in front of consumers a key to successful promoting.
Contact Boat Marketing Pros for Assistance with a Website and Google My Business Page
If you really want to compete with corporate giants in the marine industry, Google My Business is an avenue you should take advantage of.
Setting one up is not difficult. However, it can be daunting and ineffective if not done properly.
Need help claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing? Contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking to you!