Local businesses have a tremendous opportunity to rank higher on Google Searches, Google Maps, and Google Shopping. Having an optimized Google Business Profile is an easier way for small business owners to get more visibility online. Google reported that of all searches, 46% of them have local intent, with the main focus being the business’s location.
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is a free marketing tool made available by Google. It is a business listing that gives searchers an in-depth look at your company and allows them to interact with you. A Google Business Profile is a convenient way to share information about your location, services, and products.
Having a Google Business Profile increases your visibility across Google search, Maps, and Google Shopping. Making a Google Business Profile is the most effective way to succeed with your local SEO attempts.
Benefits of Having a Google Business Profile
Appear in Local Searches on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping
Google holds more than 92% of the world’s search engine market share, easily making it the world’s most-visited site and the most effective tool to refer customers to your business. A Google business profile shows searchers where and how to find your business and drastically improves your local SEO.
Control Your Online Business Information
Google Business Profile gives you control over the most viewed information about your website. It will be the first thing potential customers see when they find your business online. However, other users and Google can change your profile; they can change your address or hours, and they can add photos and reviews. This possibility of unwanted changes makes it essential to regularly check your Google Business Profile to ensure all the information is accurate.
Gain Reviews and Build Trust
Reviews are a great way to gain social proof and build trust with potential customers. Statistics show that 84% of people trust reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation. But unfortunately, opening your business up to critique is intimidating to many business owners.
Still, Google found that most searchers are more skeptical of companies that have all positive reviews than those with a healthy mix of good, bad, and in-between customer ratings.
Local Marketing with Google Business Profile
Businesses spend thousands on SEO and trying to rank on the first page of Google Search. Creating a free Google Business Profile gives you more chances to end up on the first page of Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping. So if you want your business to rank high in local searches, you need a Google Business Profile.
How to Setup a Google Business Profile
It is important to note that all the information on your Google Business Profile needs to comply with Google’s guidelines. Otherwise, your profile could get suspended.
Sign in to Google Business Profile
If you already have a Google account logged in on your computer, it should automatically sign you in to your Google Business Profile Manager. If not, sign in to your Google account or create a new one.
Add Your Business
Search for your business name. If it appears in the drop-down menu, select it. If not, click add your business to Google, choose a category, and click Next.
Enter Your Location
Select yes if your business has a physical location that customers can visit, add your business address, and position the pin on the map to mark the location. If you go to your customers and don’t have a physical location, select the areas you service and click next.
Fill in Your Contact Information
Be sure to fill out all fields. However, you don’t have to put a phone number if you don’t want to.
Verify Your Business
On this step, you will be asked to enter your mailing address, not a post office box. Google will not display this address to the public. It will only use your mailing address to verify your business. The next step is a little more complicated.
Physical businesses will receive a postcard in the mail to verify their location, and service-area businesses will be verified through email with a five-digit code. After you follow the steps and receive a confirmations screen showing you’re verified, click next.
Customize Your Profile
This step is where you enter all of your business’ information, such as your business hours, description, photos, messages, and all the other excellent features that can be used to optimize your Google Business Profile.
After you are satisfied with your profile’s optimization level, click continue, and Google will direct you to your Business Profile Manager dashboard. This page is where you can manage your business profile, manage reviews, answer questions, view insights, and create Google ads.
Editing Your Google Business Profile
If you only have one location for your business, you can edit it directly from Google Search or the Google Maps App. There is an edit profile button that you select and then edit from right there.
Businesses with multiple locations should edit their profile from the Google Business Profile Manager. That way, it keeps your information organized and easy to manage.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
There are several ways you can optimize your Google Business Profile to help searchers find you and make your business appear more trustworthy. Google uses three factors when considering search rankings; relevance of your listing to the search performed, distance from the searcher, and prominence of your Google Business Profile. Use the tips below to maximize the effects of your Google Business Profile.
Complete Every Section
Your profile is less likely to rank on Google if it is incomplete. In addition, potential customers are less likely to trust businesses with an incomplete Google Business Profile. Completed listings are 7x more likely to get clicks than those that haven’t been filled out all the way.
Upload High-Quality Photos and Videos
Listings with pictures are two times more likely to appear reputable. In addition, photos and videos allow you to provide searchers with a great first impression before they ever step foot into your business.
Verify Your Location
During the set-up process, Google will ask you to verify your location, it will allow you to skip this step, but we highly recommend completing it.
We advise verifying your business because both Google and searchers rely on the verification process as the first step to showing that they can trust a business.
When creating any profile or post online, it is vital to consider SEO optimization. However, you don’t want to overstuff your profile with too many keywords because you will be penalized for it in the search results.
Keep Information Updated
As mentioned above, other users are free to change your information, so you need to check it regularly for accuracy. Also, Google will notice if your information is outdated, which can also affect your search ranking.
Interact with All Customer Reviews
Searchers rely on reviews to make decisions and recognize when businesses respond to their reviews. Thank all positive reviews and professionally address (not apologize) negative reviews. Statistics have shown that 33% of customers who leave negative reviews and get a response from the business later post a positive review, and 34% of people delete the original negative comment after the talk with the business.
Other ways to optimize your Google Business Profile are to add products, special features, and attributes and to use Google’s free marketing kit. These features can help your business stand out and attract searchers to you over a competitor.
Useful Features on Google Business
This allows you to interact with customers and make announcements about products and services.
Your Business Description
This is where you share your company’s history and what you can offer your customers.
Google created a Q&A forum for searchers to have easy access to ask businesses questions. It is crucial to answer every question.
My Business Insights
Google provided yet another analytics tool; it tells you how many views your profile has received, where the views came from, and what actions searches took after seeing your profile.
It is essential for business owners to know how customers interact with their business. The results shown in My Business Insights are collected from both Google Ads and organic search results.
With the high competition around ranking well on search engines, local businesses have a unique advantage over more prominent nationwide companies who can’t use a Google Business Profile. Not only is it a considerable advantage, but it is free.