Avatar News: June 2018

Written By: Mark Rocket and Joanne Coleman
Published by: Avatar Ltd

Hi All,

It was a brisk Thursday 20 years ago when Avatar was incorporated on June 25th. We were the first New Zealand company focused on search engine optimisation and site marketing (that I’m aware of). Its been a fun and dynamic area to work in and today we’re still all about getting great search engine results.

We started out with a 6-month rent-free deal on a large office space (thanks to the lovely widow of Noel Leeming taking a gamble on us), an old 1970’s formica table with a basic Windows 98 computer (for the geeks… a 486DX4 100MHZ) and a hat full of dreams.

A huge thank you to our awesome clients. It’s been a privilege to help your businesses grow.

Thank you to the Avatar team over the years. Many laughs – from Helen secretly entering me in a radio competition for a pair of signed Dan Carter undies (I won), Jason the web designer and I stumbling around blindly at the top of Mount Hutt during a white out (I suggested he walked a little bit ahead of me), epic table tennis battles at our old 208 Cashel Street building and hilarious socials.

Our friends at Google also started out in 1998, arguably they’ve done a little better on the global impact scale. But we’re still going strong… and our movie “Avatar” was better than their movie “The Internship”.

Thank you to all – it’s been a great ride so far.

Google My Business

Google My Business Setup & Improvement Tips

Google My Business (GMB), in a broad sense, is a tool used to manage a business’s online presence across the Google platform. It allows you to enter, edit and update business information (which will be reflected across Google; including Search, Analytics, Google + and Maps etc.), increase interaction with customers and gain valuable insight on search activity involving your website.

Emerging from its early beginnings as part of Google +, GMB now stands firmly on its own two feet as a crucial tool to ensure you’re fully visible in Google’s local search offering.

What Is A Google My Business Listing?
There are three key areas where Google searchers can see your GMB listing. Firstly, a pin on the Google map and a listing under the map, which users may see when they do a keyword search related to your business. These “Local 3-Pack” listings are typically located immediately after the premium Google ads and will display your review rating stars, address, phone number and opening hours. Secondly, if people search specifically for your business name, then GMB listings can be displayed in a large boxed format to the right of the regular search results. These extended GMB listings contain the usual contact details (phone, address, operating hours, logo etc.), a link to the website, a link to get directions in maps, a brief description, photographs, a star-rating based on user reviews along with other useful information. Thirdly, GMB listings are integrated into the search results for people searching in Google Maps and/or from mobile devices.

Why Add My Business To GMB?
Creating a listing in GMB will significantly increase your profile on Google, particularly for local search queries, which will result in a lot more traffic. Having an up-to-date and complete GMB listing represents an advantage for businesses of any type or size.

More specifically, GMB provides the information that Google needs to display your business in Google Maps where applicable. It also adds to the possibility of being selected for the ‘Local 3-Pack’ featured listings which are commonly displayed during many local search queries.

How To Create a Google My Business Listing
Here is a handy link to the Start up page for Google My Business. Following a series of very straight forward prompts, GMB will require you to enter the following information:

  • Business name
  • Physical address
  • Business Category
  • Website URL
  • Telephone number
  • Business logo
  • Photographs
  • Hours of operation

Tips For Optimising Your GMB Listing
To get the most out of your GMB listing it is important to aim for a 100% complete profile and to fill out all of the available information areas. It may be useful to keep the below points in mind:

  • Analytics. All of the details provided in your GMB listing are used in conjunction with Google Analytics to track how often customers are searching for your business, click through rates and what they did with the information provided (phone call, viewed map etc).
  • Check First. It’s worth checking to see if your business already exists in GMB. If it does, you should be able to claim it and just add further details.
  • Accuracy. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes, no errors in the address or phone numbers and no discrepancies with information provided elsewhere regarding your business when creating your listing.
  • Address. Your business must have an authentic physical address. PO Box addresses are not valid. This address will need to be verified via a “verification letter” which is a Google branded envelope sent to the address with an activation code contained inside.
  • Verification. Although the most common method to verify your business is by verification postcard, you may be able to verify your listing via email, phone, or Search Console. Your business information won’t be visible across Google until it is verified.
  • Already Claimed? If you get a message saying the business has already been claimed by another user you can submit a Request Ownership form in order to transfer the ownership over to you.
  • Photographs. It may seem slightly tedious, but adding photos is an excellent way to represent the business visually. This can be a deciding factor for searchers. Use quality photographs and keep them up-to-date.
  • Category. The GMB Dashboard prompts you when it comes to selecting an appropriate category – this is important so do not skip this step.
  • Virtual Tour. GMB allows you to upload a virtual tour of your business as an added extra. This is a useful idea if you have points of interest around your work space and will give you a stronger profile on your GMB listing.
  • Reviews. Gaining good reviews from your customers is a vital rankings booster and a good way to engage with your customers. There is also the option to reply to reviews which gives you the chance to respond to feedback. Having a 4 to 5 star rating obviously looks a lot better than a 1 or 2 star rating, so it’s very important to encourage happy customers to leave their positive feedback to outweigh any potential unhappy customers.

View more information on Google My Business and how it differs from other Google products or further ideas on link building in New Zealand.


Choosing WordPress For SEO. A useful post that highlights some of the key reasons why WordPress is still great for SEO.

Search Engine Tree Planting. A novel concept where each time you use the Ecosia search engine, it contributes towards trees getting planted.

Meditation and yoga are dangerous. Well, likely more harmful to those around you, since this new psychological study shows that people doing meditation and yoga will get boosted egos.

Asteroid Strike Plan. Humans no longer need to worry about going extinct from an asteroid strike (i.e. where did all the dinosaurs go?). NASA has a plan now. OK, maybe still worry a little bit.

A Titbit About Tidbits. Which word do you prefer? An interesting history if you’re into etymology. The tidbit’ers are on the rise according to Google Trends.

Cartoon Of The Month

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