Saskatoon isn’t just the largest city in Saskatchewan; it’s also one of the major business engines that powers commerce and economic growth throughout the province. With a steadily increasing population and a diverse business sector, it’s a city where entrepreneurial ventures and companies of all types and sizes can thrive.
While a thriving business sector is something to celebrate, it also means that businesses in Saskatoon have to work that much harder to stand out from their competitors. Consumers have plenty of options to choose from and, without intentional marketing strategies, a business could be swallowed up by the crowd.
One of the most fundamental elements of successful marketing is making sure that people know your business exists. And for a couple of decades now, that has meant one thing and one thing only: Cultivating a strong online presence.
Gone are the days of phonebooks (what were those?) or other printed business guides. Today, you’ve simply got to show up in search engine results. And, with 92.2% of global search engine queries, Google is the primary frontier to conquer.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing field dedicated entirely to helping businesses rank higher in search engine results. While there are many essential SEO strategies, one of the most impactful ones for local Saskatoon businesses (local SEO) is to create an optimized Google My Business (GMB) profile. It also happens to be relatively simple to do.
How will a Google My Business profile benefit your Saskatoon area business? Let’s take a look:
Increased Visibility in Local Search Results
If your business doesn’t show up on Google, it pretty much doesn’t exist in the public’s mind. Don’t believe us? Consider these recent statistics:
- 97% of consumers learn about local companies online.
- 46% of all Google searches have local intent.
- 56% of actions on Google My Business listings are visits to local websites.
- 64% of consumers use Google My Business to look up contact information for local businesses.
Clearly, creating a strong GMB profile can be a huge boon for local business owners. Done right, your GMB profile can definitely help your business to rank highly in local search results.
Improved Local Search Ranking
If you’re lucky (and savvy), your business will rank in the Local Pack (the three business names that appear right at the top of the results page when you search for local businesses on Google). If this happens, Google users will immediately see your business’s location on Google Maps, contact information, and star rating, even before they scroll down through the organic search results.
Even without other more sophisticated SEO techniques, just breaking into the Local Pack can increase your business’s clicks by a staggering 700%!
How can you improve the quality of your Saskatoon Google My Business listing and increase your odds of obtaining a coveted Local Pack spot? Among other things, use relevant keywords in your profile, include photos and images, and actively build and maintain your positive reviews and ratings.
Improved Customer Engagement and Interaction
Many businesses can create a nice profile, but not every small business can engage customers. One interesting aspect of your Google My Business listing is the fact that it provides an opportunity for customers to both review your business and message you directly.
We’ll look at reviews in a little more detail in the next section of this post, but for now let’s take a minute to talk about Google My Business Messaging. Once you’ve activated the messaging feature on GMB, you can receive and respond to messages from potential clients directly on your desktop or mobile device. The message icon appears right next to the Directions, Call, and Save icons on your GMB profile and provides an amazing opportunity for you to interact with your customers.
Don’t waste this opportunity.
Messaging directly with customers is a way to put a human face on your business, build rapport, and highlight your professionalism (with quick and helpful responses).
Enhanced Credibility and Trust
Building credibility and trust with customers is traditionally an endeavor that takes time and patience. But, with the incredible popularity of online customer reviews, sometimes your already satisfied customers can actually do some of the heavy lifting for you (at least partially). With 93% of consumers reporting that online reviews have impacted their buying decisions, it’s fair to say that the power of online reviews for your business’s success truly cannot be overstated.
People trust online reviews because they’re written by legitimate customers (not by the business itself) and there’s no incentive to be positive. Though reviews are highly subjective, they’re also incredibly influential and strong ones can build your business’s online reputation up in remarkable ways.
GMB is a very important platform for reviews, so be sure you are actively soliciting them from happy customers. Respond actively to all reviews (both positive and negative) in timely and strategic ways.
In addition to adding value to your business in many ways, Google My Business also allows you to access data and insights that can help inform your business decisions and marketing strategies. These include:
- The number of views your business profile, photos, and posts have received.
- The specific search queries people are using to find your business.
- How consumers are interacting with your posts.
- Who your audience is (age, gender, nationality, and more).
- How many clicks on your website link you’ve received via GMB.
To access all of this information and more, simply sign into your GMB profile and click the Insights tool.
Wondering what to do with all that data? That’s where some innovative digital marketing strategies from an experienced agency could really come into play in dynamic ways.
To conclude, Saskatoon offers an exciting but competitive marketplace where your business can either thrive and expand or be obliterated by the competition. Establishing a robust online presence is an absolute necessity, and a high-quality Google My Business profile is a great starting point.
With years of experience in local Canadian marketplaces, First Rank SEO is the perfect agency to help you streamline and strategize your business’s SEO in Saskatoon. To make your Saskatoon business truly stand out from the crowd, contact us today.