Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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DON'T FEEL BAD if you were unaware of it; internet giant Google is dismantling its Google Plus social media platform. Most main- stream social media users did not notice either, and therein lies part of the problem. When Google Plus launched, the social media public was already using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as their main social media platforms. The third time was not a charm for the industry giant, as Google Plus stands as their fourth failed attempt to create a social platform. The primary reason that Google Plus will be shut down can be linked to the March 2018 data breach that happened on the platform. Over 500,000 accounts had their personal and private information illegally shared via Google, without consent by a number of app devel- opers. Project Strobe – launched by Google – uncovered that Google had unknowingly shared profile information of users that was not marked as public. The breach was "open and available" for a period of two weeks and analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API. Google was already weary with the lacklus- ter performance of this red-headed stepchild and announced they are pulling the plug for eternity, effective August 31, 2019. Those Google resources can now go to expanding their out-of-home presence on the ever-growing mobile consumer population via Google Maps. I have noticed the growing visibility of map-re- lated rankings. HELLO GOOGLE MAPS We can all agree that mobile devices are becom- ing an extension of the human body. They are with us everywhere: in our hands, our pockets and our purses. Google has created such a robust map engine, I predict it may replace most automobile navigation systems in the near future. Google Maps is critically integrated into your website domain, your business hours, your phone number and your customer reviews. It is all importantly linked to and affects where your company lands in search results. This is a vir- tual gold mine of exposure for kitchen and bath designers trying to target a certain geographic area. By building your Google Maps presence, you will organically show in search results that are geographically framed. You might say, "Thanks a lot, Denise, but I don't know how to do this!" Read on, and I will show you! GOOGLE BUSINESS AND MAPS PRIMER Google Maps is integrated with your Google Business Profile. Claiming and verifying your Google Business Profile will ultimately allow a lot of neat functionality. For example, your clients' ability to book appointments is a feature offered in your Google Business and, of course, your visibility on Google Maps, which will cer- tainly impact your visibility on Uber, "near me" search terms and more! GETTING STARTED Google your business name in the Google Business search browser. Google often has its auto-robots automatically create profiles of businesses. If your business shows as a "Google Business" on the right side of the search page or has a green checkmark as "pub- lished," much of your work has already been done by Google. Your business must be shown as published. If it's not verified, there will be a button to click that states: "Verify this busi- ness." You should proceed to follow the method to verify the business. The most common method the company employs is sending you a postcard via the United States Postal Service with a confirma- tion code to enter. The code expires in a select amount of days so be prompt with entering the code in the verification link. This process con- firms to Google that you are a legitimate brick and mortar store. Below are some of the basic points that business owners should be familiar with regarding Google listings. • A Google Business listing on Google Maps is a free organic listing. • The only costs associated with a Google Business/Maps listing at the verification point are costs you could pay SEO (search engine optimization) experts to enhance the business listing to outrank your competition to show you first on the maps. Just because you might be physically closer to a person, "googling your area" does not guarantee you will show on the first map listing. • If you do not have the ability to receive mail at the address of your store/business, there's an alternate, albeit excruciating process you can follow with Google to verify your busi- ness. It involves sending them pictures and other information. It takes notably more time following this process, but it gets the job done. • Do not permit anyone to set up a new business profile manually for you without first checking to see if Google has already auto-populated a Google Listing for you. I have seen examples in the past where a company has multiple Google Business pro- files because new ones were created prior to verifying the one created by Google. Fixing this can take weeks to accomplish. • If you have a manually created Google Profile and also see Google created a profile for your business that is unverified, you need to remove one. Each website should have only one Google Business Profile. There is one more step before you are done. Check the load speed of your website page to ensure your website is shown preferentially. The speed at which a website loads has a huge impact on the ranking it will be placed in when someone searches for your product or services. Here is a link to the Google approved test site: testmysite. This feature will provide you with a score and suggestions to improve your website speed. Often there are many easy fixes. Google will favor a faster website over a slower loading website. The actual results you see will vary based on your specific demographic and activity of your competitors. A monthly website speed check will ensure you stay on top! ▪ Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and president of the marketing company Perfect Six. " Google Maps is critically integrated into your website domain, your business hours, your phone number and your customer reviews, and is a virtual gold mine of exposure for kitchen and bath designers trying to target a certain geographic area." Google Maps is Where It's At DENISE GROTHOUSE 24 Kitchen & Bath Design News • April 2019 DIGITAL MEDIA STRATEGIES

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