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A change to insights on Google Business Profiles

By Rachael Clark  |  February 27, 2023

If your company uses a Google Business Profile, you will have experienced many changes to this platform over the last couple of years. And this month Google retires the distinction between branded, direct and discovery searches. Read on to find out why this is important and what you need to do next. 

Changes to GBP

What’s a Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business listings) are a key tool for organisations. They appear on the right-hand side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and on Google Maps with key business information and CTAs.

This rich set of information makes them an important piece of digital real estate, with the local map often appearing before any other organic listings. 

Listings can be created manually or you may find Google has started one for you; they can be populated with user generated content and are often carefully curated by your digital marketing team or agency. 

What’s changing?

Over the years GBP profiles have become increasingly more engaging with visual features such as photos, videos and product imagery within the listing. Most recently Google has changed how you access and edit key parts of your profile, moving key parts of this functionality within the SERP rather than through the back-end platform. 

In addition to this, Google has changed how it categorises the reporting available from your profiles, most notably how it handles user searches

What were the types of searches?

Up until now Google classified the way users found your business profile into three categories: branded searches, direct searches and discovery searches.  

  • Direct Searches: These were people who found your business profile searching for your business name or address, e.g. “Sharp Ahead Reading.”  
  • Discovery Searches: These were people who find your business profile searching for a category, product, or service that your business offers, e.g. “B2B digital marketing agency.” 
  • Branded Searches: These were people who found your listing searching for a brand related to your business e.g. “Sharp Ahead.” 

These numbers were a way to gauge not only when your profile was being served, but also the level of brand awareness amongst searchers – which was particularly useful when marketing a physical location such as a coffee shop or coworking space – with the all-important discovery searches indicating how many users found your listing who may not have been aware of your brand.  

What will this effect?

If you’ve automated any reporting on these metrics through Google’s API (such as Google’s Looker Studio) you’ll need to get these updated and replaced with new metrics. 

What should I analyse now?

The performance metrics on Google Business Profiles now fall into two categories – how people found your listing and what action they take from it:

  • Views: These are how many people saw your business profile, broken down by the platform and device that they’re on.  
  • Searches: These show the search terms that people used that returned your business profile in the results. This is a useful addition to the platform and can be used as a replacement for the categorised search metrics, allowing you to analyse whether your listing is found through branded or generic searches. 
  • Plus all the interaction metrics you’d expect – calls, messages, direction requests and website clicks.  

What do we think?

The categorised search types were a great way of analysing the performance of your business profile at a glance. However, the loss of these metrics is balanced by the addition of the search breakdown within GBP – giving digital marketers clarity on what exactly is triggering your GBP profile, which can inform your SEO strategy. Top tip: If you find you’re not ranking for generic search terms consider your description, categories, products and services and…  

If you need support with your Google Business Profile or B2B digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free 30 minute consultation 

Sharp Aheads B2B Marketing Training
Sharp Aheads B2B Marketing Training

Sharp Ahead’s B2B Marketing Training

By John Woods  |  February 17, 2023

B2B digital marketing is complex. It’s hard to learn – and stay current with –  the full range of skills that’s needed to be an effective B2B digital marketer. And a lot of the resources that are widely available approach digital channels from a B2C perspective, which is often not the best starting point for B2B best practices.

Sharp Ahead wants to help our clients and others to improve their B2B digital skills. So we’re developing a range of short-form training sessions and workshops around key B2B digital marketing skills. Some examples of recent workshops:

  • SEO Fundamentals for B2B Marketers

A 2 hour workshop to give B2B marketing generalists a grounding in the key aspects of SEO. We cover the fundamentals of SEO content strategy and copywriting, and an overview of technical SEO.

This 2 hour workshop is for both marketing and sales teams. We cover how the different individuals within a B2B commercial  team can best use LinkedIn for sales outreach and to enhance their company’s branding. 

Canva is a great design tool for generalist B2B marketers who need to create tactical marketing materials day to day. Our workshop shows how to work with templates in Canva to create high quality marketing material without the need for an expert designer.

We can deliver both private in-house training sessions for teams and public workshops for a more general audience. All of our courses are bespoke so timing and subject matter can be adjusted for your specific needs.

Interested in any of the above or keen to talk through other B2B digital training requirements? Reach out to us to start a conversation and see how we could work together – we’d love to hear from you! 

Dandelions

Digital Spring Clean - 3 Quick Tips

Spruce up your digital marketing and stay top of mind with your customers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2021

This past weekend marked the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, so we thought we’d give you a few quick tips for your digital spring clean.

1. Tidy up your SERP (search engine results page)

Sharp Ahead Google Search Results

This is a key part of the experience for your prospects, customers and other important stakeholders interacting with your business and if you haven’t Googled your brand name in a while, now is as good a time as any.

Here’s how to check your SERP the right way. 

First, use an incognito window so you’re not biasing what you see based on previous search behaviour. Then check for these signals:

  • Are you in the top position (P1)?
  • Is anyone running an ad on your brand name?
  • Is your Google My Business / Knowledge Panel listing up to date with accurate contact details (phone, website, opening hours etc.)?
  • How are your reviews looking? Are there any that you could respond to? These are people in close contact with your business and they deserve your attention.

What if things are looking a bit dusty?

This is your shop window – if it looks unloved, you’ll be losing out to other businesses. Run a brand ad. It might seem wasteful to bid on your own brand names, but for most B2B companies, those searches are relatively low volume but very high value. Plus, those ads will keep the competitors out of your P1 spot, enable you to curate and quickly update your SERP and align it with your current campaigns and brand messaging.

Pro tip: for most B2B companies, applying a few negative keywords, for example around jobs and careers, can keep costs down and focus the campaigns on your key prospects.

2. Refresh your website (inside and out)

Sharp Ahead Header Contact Info

44% of B2B marketers say the main reason they abandon websites is that there’s no contact info immediately visible*. Unless you are selling something that can be purchased on your website, your prospects will need to speak to someone in your sales team at some point.

Make it easy for visitors to choose you with a quick look at the following:

  • Make your phone number clearly visible – Make it easy for visitors by clearly displaying your phone number or at least an email address in the header of your site. Or go one better and enable live chat on your site like 11 out of the 50 fastest growing B2B companies**!
  • Does your copyright notice still say 2020?? It’s March already and I’m still finding websites without an updated copyright notice footer. With the upheaval of the last year, if your website doesn’t have signs of recent activity, prospects could be forgiven for thinking you might not be around anymore. Update that copyright, refresh your COVID-19 message, and make sure you have a recent blog or news story prominently displayed. These are all important signals to your customers that you’re open for business and ready to help them.
  • Get the LinkedIn insight tag, the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tag and Google Tag Manager (GTM) in place – These tags each have a role to play in best practice digital marketing and if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on key insights, future analytics and easy tag management. These are all ways to learn more about your customers and how to delight them on your next interaction.

3. Welcome new visitors (and then look after them)

We're Open Sign

You’ve done the hard work by getting someone who doesn’t know you to choose your website. Whether the onsite experience is perfect or not, you now have a chance to be remembered and convince your prospects that your business is the right choice for them.

One of the easiest ways to be remembered is with remarketing campaigns: even if you’re not using paid search or social for lead generation, you should run remarketing ads. 

Consideration cycles for high end B2B products and services usually take months, or longer, and remarketing is the most efficient way to keep in touch with those decision makers during that time. Remind them of your brand, tell them something they might not know about your business and show them why you’re the right choice. 

Pro tip: Don’t wait a year to refresh the creative and mix it up with different ad formats.

What next? - The BIG clean!

If you're looking to go a bit deeper, here are three things that are vital to digital marketing success in the coming year.

Say goodbye to Broad Match Modifier

We discussed this in a blog article back in February but if you haven’t had time to sort out your match types, you could be wasting valuable media spend. In short, Google is combining two existing match types, phrase match and broad match modifier. This means that with nuanced search terms that are standard fare for B2B search marketers, it would be very easy to bring in a lot of irrelevant clicks and quickly reduce the ROI on your campaigns. Read our top tips for sorting this out as soon as possible!

Core Web Vitals

This was another new development from Google that we flagged back in 2020 but the deadline is approaching faster than most digital marketers would like. If your site doesn’t meet Google’s criteria, or you don’t have a plan in place to make sure it will, you’ll need to think now about making a reasonable investment in speeding up your site—or risk losing valuable search rankings to better prepared competitors. If this is the first you’ve heard of CWV, read our previous blog article and then get yourself over to Google Tools for measure them!

Mystery Shopping

And last on our list of big cleans, a plea to B2B marketers everywhere. Check that your customer and prospect contact channels work. Does someone answer your phone during business hours? How quickly do you respond to lead enquiries? Is your online chat staffed consistently? I know what you’re thinking, this is ridiculous of course the answer is yes. But when was the last time you checked? Do some mystery shopping and find out for yourself. In the high end B2B market, one missed phone call or a few days’ delay on replying to a form fill, could be the difference between a successful or failed campaign.

We work with intelligent marketing managers to make budgets go further and cut your cost per lead. 

If you have any questions on your own digital spring clean, get in touch for a free 30-minute B2B consult. 

Different google tools logos

Google confirms timing for bringing page experience to Google Search

By Jennifer Esty  |  November 11, 2020

On Tuesday Google confirmed that page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021.

The news follows the May 2020 announcement of a new set of standards for measuring “page experience”. That is, whether a particular web page delivers its content in a way that gives a positive experience for the user.

The new signals will combine Core Web Vitals with existing search signals, including: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

What does this mean for you as a website owner?

If you have started already, you need to ensure that your site, and landing pages, meet the new standards or risk seeing your search engine results penalised for poor performance (and higher performing competitors given a boost).

Fortunately Google has put in place clear guidelines for how they will measure page experience. And they have provided a suite of tools to help site owners identify and fix issues.

Search Console: use the report for Core Web Vitals for an overview of how your site is doing and a details into any issues.

Page Speed Insights: get your CWV score and suggestions on where to make improvements (also helpful for ongoing testing as you make changes to your site)

For the full suite of Google tools, visit Google’s Tools to measure Core Web Vitals.

For more detailed information, check out our previous blog post on the announcement back in May.

If you’d like help understanding the impact of page experience on your B2B digital marketing strategy, or with any other aspect of B2B digital marketing, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

Google analytics logo on a device

Google Analytics 4: what you need to know today

By John Woods  |  November 5, 2020

In October, Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics 4, their first major change to Analytics in almost 10 years. The move formalises the beta version of Google Analytics App plus Web with a new interface and machine learning.

Here’s what you need to know:

The first thing you’ll notice when entering Google Analytics 4 is a sleek and modern interface. The redesign makes it easier to use and more accessible than its predecessor, Universal Analytics.

Behind the design, GA4 introduces a major expansion to the machine learning capabilities in Google’s analytics offering. While it is still too early to fully understand GA4’s potential, it’s an exciting addition.
GA4 also sees a complete re-haul of the data collection architecture.

With more apps, web apps, ecommerce stores, and complex websites circling the Google-sphere, GA4 looks to plug the hole in Google’s offering by collecting data on the complex user journeys in apps and highly interactive websites with minimal set up.

The clunky Goal Tracking in Universal Analytics has been removed to make way for simple-to-set-up Event and Conversion tracking. This allows user behaviour such as logging in or browsing products to be recognised easily.

But there is a catch.

GA4 is so fundamentally different to Universal Analytics that it requires adding a new tag to your website. And with it, a fresh start on Analytics.

Google has made finding the new tag super easy, but when you add it to your website, your GA4 dashboard will be blank. You’ll need to start afresh collecting data from the moment you set up the new tag.

Thankfully, adding the GA4 tag to your website doesn’t stop Universal Analytics from working – the two run in tandem. But with GA4 eventually looking to replace Universal Analytics entirely, and with no clear way to migrate data (yet), we recommend adding the GA4 tag soon so you can build up historic data when the change does come.

We don’t currently know when Google will start decommissioning Universal Analytics, but with historical data being a pivotal factor in how useful analytics is, you’ll need to prepare.

What to do next:

  • Add the GA4 Tag to your website
  • Recreate your remarketing audiences in GA4 so they can start to build up
  • Add event and conversion tracking
  • Set up Google Tag Manager (not required but best practice)

In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for more information on GA4 and the future of Analytics. Please follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter to stay in the know!

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