Waste industry: How to build a national presence through local SEO

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How waste companies can use Google My Business to build a national search presence through a framework of local listings.

Waste management companies in the UK have seen a dramatic increase in demand as a result of Covid-19 and lockdowns in the country. With people spending more time at home and the prospect of working from home becoming the new normal, councils around the country have reported large increases in household waste.

This surge in demand provides the opportunity for waste management companies to expand, many of which are going national in response to the pandemic’s first wave.

Take a look at the search data for “waste management” in the UK for the past five years and you’ll see a consistent spike in searches at the start of each new year. Perhaps we all accumulate more rubbish than usual over the holiday season and begin the next year trying to figure out how to get rid of it all.

However, we’re more interested in the unusual spike seen in May 2020, which coincides with the UK’s first lockdown and the findings from studies attributing increased household waste as a result of Covid-19.

Google Trends waste industry searches

Related article: Report: Google insights for waste management companies

National scale starts with local search

Whether you’re a national or local waste management company, local SEO must be a priority if you want to capture people looking in the areas you cover.

Hone in on the search data for 2020 and the specific search query that saw the biggest increase in searches for this year is “waste management near me” with +150% growth. Also, note that the third-highest increase is “Cumbria waste management” and the fourth “waste management open” – all indicating strong local interest.

Waste industry related queries

Whether we’re talking about residents or businesses, people need waste management services in their local area and the needs of someone in Cumbria are wildly different to those in London.

The takeaway here is that national coverage for a waste management company is actually a network of local coverage and this is why it’s so important to maintain and expand your presence on Google My Business.

Building a national presence on Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is designed to help people find companies and services in their local area. For a business with one physical location, managing a GMB account is relatively straightforward but national brands have to work a little bit harder to make each individual location discoverable to people in their area.

Before we get into expanding your GMB presence across multiple locations, you’ll need to ensure your Google My Business account is set up and fully optimised for your primary location.

If you need help with this, you can read our How to show up in Google Maps article or watch our tutorial, How to optimise your Google My Business page, below:

The same principles apply for each business location you want to add to your Google My Business account – so make sure you’ve got a solid grip on them. Now, it’s time to add new locations and build your brand’s local presence across the nation.

Step #1: Create a location group in Google My Business

A location group (formerly business account) allows you to add multiple business locations for the same brand in your Google My Business account. If your entire business operates under the same brand, it’s best to stick to using one location group to include every branch.

On the other hand, if your business operates under multiple brands, you can create separate location groups for each brand.

To create a location group, log in to Google My Business and make sure you’re on the Manage locations tab. Then, click the Create location group button in the top-right corner of the page.

Google My Business - manage locations

Next, you’ll need to create a name for your location group in the text input box that pops up. If you’re only going to create one location group, you can simply use your brand name here but you’ll need to be more descriptive if you plan to create multiple groups.

Once you’ve named your location group, click the Create button and you’re ready to import all of your business locations.

Step #2: Import your business locations

With your location group set up, you can import all of your locations by navigating to your group and clicking the Add location button to the right of the screen.

Google My Business - add locations

Here, you’ll be asked whether you want to add a single new location or import multiple locations. As a waste management brand expanding nationally, you’ve got nothing to gain from adding each location manually so go ahead and select Import locations.

Google My Business - import locations

This will bring up a tab asking you to import a spreadsheet containing the information for each of your locations. If you haven’t created your spreadsheet yet, you can download a template file to fill out, as well as a sample spreadsheet and a file containing all of the attribute values accepted.

Essentially, you want to provide as much relevant information about the following details as possible for every location:

  • Location code
  • Business name
  • Address
  • Locality & Sub-locality
  • Latitude & Longitude
  • Primary phone & Additional phones
  • Website
  • Primary category & Additional categories
  • Opening hours
  • Opening date  (if not already open)
  • Logo photo (URL)
  • Cover photo (URL)
  • Other photos (URLs)
  • Google Ads location extensions phone number
  • Amenities
  • Payment methods
  • Place page URLs & Menu link (url_menu)

You don’t have to fill out every field in the spreadsheet but you will be asked to fill in any empty cells that are missing required information or include invalid data. Once you’re done, hit the Select file in Google My Business and upload your locations.

Step #3: Request bulk verification (if you have more than 10 locations)

If your spreadsheet contains more than 10 different business locations, you can request bulk verification from Google. Once you’re verified, you can manage your locations from within Google My Business and any changes you make to your locations will appear on Google Maps and other relevant Google services.

For example, you can make changes to contact details, add new photos or change business owners and this information is automatically updated in your Google Maps listings.

To request bulk verification, head back to your Google My Business account and select one of your business locations and click Get verified. Next, you’ll be asked to complete the verification form, which requires you to provide the following info:

  • Business Name: If the business is owned and operated by a parent company, include that information here as well as the name of the business you are verifying.
  • Business Countries / Regions: List the countries / regions for the business that you’ll manage in your account. For example, if you manage your business locations in the US and Canada but another user is managing locations in France and Germany, we understand that these two accounts are separate and distinct sets of locations.
  • Contact Name: If multiple people will be actively managing this account, provide all names here.
  • Contact Phone: This is the phone number used to contact you to clarify any information needed to verify your account.
  • Business manager email: The email address of someone at the business who can verify that you’re an authorised representative.
  • Google Account Manager Email: List the name or email address of any Google contact you have been working with. It is important for consistency and continuity across Google products to keep your Account Manager aware of your account standing as this may have an impact on other Google products, including Offers and Google Ads.

Once you’re done, submit your verification request form and wait for Google to respond, Keep in mind, it could take up to a week for your request to be processed and you’ll be contacted by email if there are any problems.

Optimise each location for local audiences

Now that you’ve got a national presence on Google My Business, you need to optimise each location for local audiences. If anything changes at specific locations, ensure that the relevant information is always up-to-date for every branch – especially for locations where the general public visits.

For a more detailed look at how to change the information for individual locations, take a look at our How to update your information in Google My Business article.

Aside from the physical location of your business to user searches, accurate information is the biggest ranking factor in local search – so make sure you keep on top of this. Not to mention that incorrect info could cost you valuable visits and custom.

Also, take advantage of posts in Google My Business. This feature allows you to publish posts as a local business for individual locations and provide relevant information to people in each area. For example, you can post changes to services during periods of lockdown or offer tips on how to manage waste more effectively as restrictions change.

Google My Business - Posts
Google My Business Posts allow you to communicate messages in your Knowledge Panel

The idea is to engage with local audiences and build a working relationship with the people who matter to your brand.

Another great feature for engaging with local audiences is Questions & Answers. This feature allows members of the public to ask questions and you can provide the answers they (and others) need. Be careful, though, because other members of the public can answer questions on your behalf so make sure you get there first and answer FAQs on your own terms.

Need help with Google My Business?

If you’re having problems managing your Google My Business account and aren’t sure how to expand your search presence nationally, you can find out more about our local SEO services or if you’d like to speak to one of our SEO specialists, contact us on 02392 830281 or submit your details here.

George Stone profile picture
George Stone

George's journey to becoming an SEO Specialist started as he became fascinated by trying to understand how people think in a digital capacity. His career in digital marketing started working in-house at various companies, studying different markets and working on all aspects including SEO, social media, PPC and strategy development.

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