We recently attended a seminar about the new Google My Business & Business View features. This feature incorporates Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ and focuses on connecting you directly with customers no matter where they are looking for you, or on what device.

70% of Australians own either a smartphone or tablet device – 32% own both.

Most Australians are highly dependent on their mobile devices, using them to access the web at least 5 times a day.

Google is used for almost 94% of searches in Australia.

Image showing mobile-friendly vs not mobile-friendly website design

Credit: Official Google Australia Blog: Mobilegeddon? We’re going for mobiletopia.

Making sure you can be found in a mobile search makes an awful lot of sense.

What do I need to know about Google My Business?

If you already had a Google+ or Places business page you’re halfway there, as Google My Business is an evolution of Google Places. If you had neither it’s really easy to get your business on Google, and it’s free. Just visit Google My Business and follow the prompts to claim your Google My Business listing.

Up to date, consistent contact information – everywhere

Make sure you enter your business name, address and phone number correctly and consistently. This information should be up to date and exactly the same everywhere that it is mentioned on the web. If you abbreviate part of an address on one directory but not on another, Google cannot verify that it’s the same business. Make your contact info identical on your website header/footer and contact page, Google My Business listing, Facebook Page, Yellow & White Pages listings, and everywhere else. More verification means higher search ranking. You should take the time to dig through all the online directories where your business is listed or mentioned [often called ‘citations’] e.g. TrueLocal, StartLocal, Ebay, Gumtree, etc, etc.

Add photos of your business

Fill out your business description and add some relevant, high quality photos. Post some content. Encourage your customers to leave you reviews [be it on Google or another platform].

Take the time to write content specific for the platform you’re using, as your website content will most likely be different to your Facebook, Google+ or Twitter posts.

Engage your customers with Business View – a quality 360° virtual tour

If you have a customer facing buiness, Business View can enhance your presence across Google with a virtual tour – powered by Google’s Street View technology – inviting your customers inside from the moment they’ve found you. You’ll need to contact a Google certified Trusted Photographer or Trusted Agency to organise a photo shoot. Once processed you can see the results on Google in a few weeks – learn more about Business View here.

Could your content be delivered by video?

Consider that YouTube is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine. You might create a YouTube channel and upload a few videos that are useful to your users – be sure to give them relevant video titles and descriptions. Video breeds familiarity and holds engagement with your customers. Share other related video content with your users, and share your content on your social media pages.

Lots of our clients balk at the thought of managing a presence on each of these various platforms and social media. It does require some time, and for businesses to engage with their customers. Pick the platforms that best suit your business. The way we connect with clients and customers is going to keep evolving.

What is Mobilegeddon – is my website going to drop out of all search results?

Firstly, if your website isn’t mobile friendly it’s not going to completely disappear. April 21 saw a change to the Google algorithm that expanded the use of mobile-friendliness in search ranking, effecting mobile searches with significant impact on search results. There’s a focus not just on mobile-friendliness, but also the responsive web; i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs – this is Google’s recommended configuration. You can test your website’s mobile-friendliness here.

However, mobile-friendliness is just one of 200 signals used to determine the ranking of search results. Google’s Australian blog clears up a few misconceptions about the algorithm update.

What does all of this mean for your website?

Sauce Design offers responsive design which is optimised for viewing mobile, tablet and desktop devices as standard. All new website projects are designed from a ‘mobile first’ [smallest device up] perspective. If your website was created by us in the last 12 months then you already have a mobile-friendly, responsive website. If it’s a little older and built on the WordPress platform [and you have taken up our security and upgrades service] then by now we have added a mobile-friendly plugin to your site.

If that’s not you, perhaps it’s time to think about upgrading to a new responsive website. Just contact us to discuss some options.