How to start a dog walking business: Step One
Google Business Place Listing for Dog Walkers
View our ten steps to quickly launching your pet business.
Google Business Place Listing for Dog Walkers
- Claim your free Google Business Places listing.
- Understanding the body language of dogs.
- Leashing a dog.
- Choosing the right dog leash.
- Household dangers to dogs.
- Outdoor dangers to dogs.
- Create a business card.
- Dog walking insurance.
- It’s time to walk some dogs.
- Relationship build with dog trainers.
- Relationship with your peers.
- Claim your free SparkyGo listing.
Step #1: Sign-up for a free Google Business Place listing.
Google Business Place Listing for Dog Walkers
Google Business Place listings appear even before organic results these days. Google is making clear how important these are. You can sign-up for your free Business Place listing here. You’ll need to receive a postcard at your home or place of business but you can choose to not have your address show up publicly. Make sure to provide answers for every single area of the profile you can. This includes adding images, videos, a post, services, products, and more. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about the answers as you can change these in the future.
How to Properly Set Up and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Just like any other local business, setting up a Google My Business Page for your dog walking business is important. Because this is a freeway for you to drive more organic traffic to your business, which eventually leads to you gaining more clients.
In this day and age, people just like to sit in the comfort of their homes, pick up their phones or laptops and search for the term: “dog walking service near me.” And with this, if you do not have your Google Business dog walking page listed and optimized, then you are probably missing out on a whole lot of potential clients.
Did you know that 64% of people that in 2019, about 64% of Google users used Google My Business to contact various local businesses? So, this means that regardless of your business, a Google My Business page is a new way of gaining the right traffic and leads to your local business. But the good news is that it is free, making it idle for you– especially if you are just starting.
So, without wasting much time, let’s take a look at how to properly set up and optimize a Google Business Place Listing for dog walkers page to enable get the right customers for your business.
How To Properly Set Up Your Google My Business Listing
Properly setting up your Google My Business Page account for your dog walking business is essential. And if are new to this, do not worry, we will walk you through the whole process.
- Visit Google.com
The first step to getting yourself a free GMB account is to visit Google.com, and in the top right-hand corner, you want to click on the blue sign-in button.
You will be required to sign in to a Google account, so, if you already have a Google account, you want to type it in and then click “sign-in”. However, those of you without a Google account can get yourself one by clicking the “create account” button. After clicking the create account, you want to choose the “To manage my business” option, and then fill out the necessary details.
For the username, I recommend you use the name of your business. After this, the rest should be easy, getting yourself to sign up for a Google business profile is just the same as getting yourself a personal Google account.
Those of you with an already existing personal account that you want to use for your Google My Business page can do this by logging into their Google account and then heading over to Google My Business, and then clicking on the “Manage Now” button to set up their profile.
2. Make Sure Your Business Is Unique
So, the very first step to setting up your business has to do with typing in your business name to ensure that no other business on the Google My Business platform has the same name as yours. In case there is another business with the name you want to use for your business, you want to make sure that you find a unique name for your business.
Using an already existing business name or duplicating an already existing business name can be detrimental to the local SEO rankings.
When choosing a name, you want to make sure that the name of your dog walking business reflects the name of your real-world business name. Also, just type in the name with no additional information such as your business hours, or location. So, if your business’ name is “Conor The Dog Walker” you want to write it as such, you do not want to write it as “Conor The Dog Walker Dallas”. Just write your business’ name, else you will be penalized.
3. Choose The Right Category
Once you are done with confirming your Business’s name, the next step will be to choose the category of your business. So, as someone who provides a dog walking service, the category you want to type should be “dog walker”. And then click on next.
4. Choosing Your Location
The next step will be to choose a location, so, if your dog walking business has a physical location, where people can visit, ensure that you add it too. And with dog walking being a service business, you will need to choose the “NO” option.
After choosing if your business has a physical location, the next option will be to choose areas where you offer your service. While this is presented as being optional I highly recommend you fill it out because even though it doesn’t help with your ranking, it tells visitors how far away or how close you are to them by indicating it on a map. So, you want to select relevant areas where you offer your services.
Once you are done, click Next, and then you will be required to select the country your business is located in.
5. Your Contact Information
After filling out your location, you want to make sure that you fill out the right contact information. You will be required to fill in a contact number and a website. I know your dog walking service probably doesn’t have a website, so, you might want to click on “I do not need a website.” Well, we recommend you click on “Get a free website based on your info” which gives you a free website by Google. Having a website just makes your listing look more professional, so, you want to take advantage of this.
After this, you will be asked if you want to get updates about your business page, well, I recommend you click on “Yes”. And when done, click on “Finish,”
6. Verifying Your Business
After you are done filling out the basic information on your page, the next step will be to verify your business. And with this, Google will mail you a postcard that includes a verification code, with which you will type in to verify your listing. To undergo this process, you will be required to fill in your mailing address, country, postcode, and post town.
Once you have this information filled out, Google should mail out your details within 4 working days. I highly recommend you verify your business as soon as possible because without your Google My Business Page being verified, there is no way you will be able to manage your business’s information.
With these done, you can have your Google My Business page ready to go. However, you need to remember that you aren’t the only dog walking service in your town or city available on Google My Business. There are tons of competitors, and you need to make sure that your listing pops up among the top three listings.
So, how do you do this? Well, we will share some tips on how you can optimize your listing.
How To Optimize Your Google Business Place Listing for Dog Walkers
- Make Sure You Have All Your Infos Completely Filled
Whiles this might sound like a no-brainer, most small business owners tend to skip little details when filling out the various information or forms required. Well, I am sorry to say; the little things do matter, and you need to fill in any info required by Google. This information you fill out makes your store look more credible than others in the eyes of Google and also potential clients.
For example, if you do not have your services or products, or even social links filled out, and another dog walking service fills these little details out, the chances that Google will rank their store higher than yours is very high.
Yes, I know it can get annoying with the various forms you need to fill out, but all I can say is that it is worth it. Here are a couple of things most people tend to forget when filling out their information for their page:
- Social links
- Phone numbers
- The hours they work
- Website address
- A description of your business
- Pictures of the inside and the outside of your business
- Add directions to your office if you have one
2. Utilize tracking numbers
Unlike most other directory listing sites, Google allows you to put multiple numbers in your listing. So, what you want to do is to put your primary number as a local tracking number. What I mean is that you want to set the tracking number to your area code. Then below that, you can put your main business number.
Doing this is important because the tracking number allows you to track the leads you get through your Google My Business listing. But besides that, the tracking number enables you to also filter out any spam calls and calls from any telemarketers.
3. Have A Detailed Business Description
Yes, this is key to getting you to the top of the local search results, you want to make sure that you gave a detailed description of your dog walking service, what makes you stand out from others, and also the services you provide.
Also, when filling out the description for your business, you need to make sure that it is local SEO- and friendly, and make sure that you have keywords relevant to the world of dog walking and relevant to your local area present. This is important because out of all the searches made on Google, 46% of these searches are local. So, you want to make sure that you make your description local-friendly.
What I want you to do in this section is to look at your top competitors, and then take a look at how they described their business and the keywords they used, and then make sure that you write something better and also use similar keywords, and then you will see your business rank higher.
4. Upload High-Quality Images
When it comes to ranking for SEO, whether locally or globally, uploading high-quality images is non-negotiable. Google loves great user experience and one of the ways to ensure that users click or interact with your business is through images.
So, like a dog walking service, you want to make sure that you have high-quality images of yourself walking with dogs, or if you are shy, you can just have an image of the various dogs you walk.
Besides SEO, images tend you communicate with your potential clients emotionally; it shows them that you are a legit business and also when you post happy images of yourself walking dogs, they tend to trust in you more.
Images are also a great way to increase brand awareness, so, if you have an office or a team you work with, make sure that you upload images of them too.
While it is important to upload images, it is more important to make sure that the images you upload are optimized for local search. Even though uploading great images can be beneficial to the growth of your business, not optimizing images can be detrimental to your business, because it will make your site run slow, which in turn affects your ranking. But at the end of the day, the perks you get from uploading and optimizing your website is far better.
So, how do you properly optimize your website? Well, you want to make sure that you do the following:
- Upload images with the required HTML width and height attributes. You want to use images that have a pixel width between 1500 to 2500.
- You want to add an image file name.
- Add an alt text to your image.
- Add an anchor text.
- Add accurate latitude and longitude coordinates to your images.
- Adding of sitemap
- And many more.
Trust me, doing these will help make your business more credible and authoritative.
Also, do not forget to add a logo or even videos to your business page.
5. Post Regularly
Posting regularly is one of the best ways to rank higher for competitive keywords. Why? Well, this is because the more you post, the more chance you get to integrate geo-targeting keywords in your post, which means you get ranked higher for these keywords.
Also, posting regularly tells Google that you are an active business, and through this, Google can help push your business to your clients. You get to build your brand awareness and it is a great way to keep your clients updated on what is going on with your dog walking service.
We recommend you post at least once to three times every week.
6. Make Use Of Insights
Well, the Google My Business insights gives you an overview of how you gained your total traffic and how well your business page is doing. So, what I want you to do is to go to the keyword section, and then take a look at the keywords you’ve used that are getting you the most traffic. You want to pick the top three keywords, and then you make sure that you integrate more of these keywords into your various website’s post or reviews or your description.
7. Reviews Are Just As Important
Reviews have never been out of style, so, what I want you to do is to encourage your clients to write really good reviews about your dog walking service, and also ensure that they give you a 5-star rating. I mean as humans we are geared towards working with people or businesses that have satisfied the needs of people with our problem.
When a person searches for the term “dog walking services near me” one of the factors they will use to click on one company over the reviews.
When you go to purchase a product from two different companies, the chances of you purchasing from the company with a 4.5 to 5-star review is higher than you purchasing the same product from the second company with a 3 star or lower review. So, the more reviews and better ratings you get, the more credible your business becomes.
Well, if you have had bad reviews in the past, you want to use this hack to delete those reviews. But remember that there is always a limit as to how many reviews you can delete.
Also, you want to make sure that the reviews written are well-thoughted out and that they are relevant to the services you provide. Yes, short reviews are okay, but a more descriptive review is better.
Finally, when they type up the reviews, make sure that you respond to them–especially bad reviews. You want to make sure that you address the issues of your customers and apologize if necessary. Also, if there are any questions asked about your business, be sure to answer them.
The good news is; Google allows you to share a review form with your customers, so, they do not have to search for your business on Google to get this done.
8. Make Sure Your Categories Are Niched Down
Well, also, you want to make sure that you pick the right category for your business. So, as a dog walker, the obvious category you will choose will be the “dog walker” category. However, you want to make sure that you add other relevant categories if you offer those services. So, for example, you can add categories such as “dog sitter” or “dog trainer” if you offer those services too.
However, the whole idea is to ensure that your category is as accurate as possible.
9. Your Social Media Links
If you have any other social media pages, make sure that you add links to these social media sites. Doing this is a great way to authenticate your brand and build trust. And the more trustworthy and authentic your site is– the better your ranking.
Also, it is a great way to drive traffic to your other pages.
So, we hope these tips enable you to stand out from the competition and help you drive the traffic you need for your business.