A Google Business Profile Guide
A Google Business Profile can significantly benefit your business’ SEO ranking and overall performance. This guide to GBP will help you understand what it is, how you can use it to your advantage and how to set it up.
You’ve probably used Google Business Profile in your daily life. Have you ever gone on vacation and looked through a list of nearby restaurants on Google Maps? Or searched for a specific kind of business near you to see a list with locations, menus and phone numbers? Those were Google listings, optimized to draw customers in.
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a free business listing that allows local businesses to use different features to control their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. Previously known as Google My Business, the tool has developed over the years to become more than a business listing, but a core part of local SEO.
Google describes GBP as a way for customers to find a local business and for the business to tell them their story because of how personal and customizable the listing can be. Ultimately, a GBP allows you to take charge of your first impression.
When you set up a Google Business Profile, you can display your business’ personality through photos, your logo and a cover image to catch a potential customer’s attention. Google says that Google Business Profiles with pictures receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more follow-through to websites than listings without.
Underneath the photos, users can find all your essential information listed clearly and concisely. These details include your phone number, operating hours, health and safety measures and links to your website. The interactive aspect saves potential customers time as they try to find the information they are looking for.
On your business end, you can update your listing to include relevant information like answers to frequently asked questions, offers or upcoming events in their area. When customers leave reviews, you can respond to them, whether by addressing concerns or thanking them for coming by.
You can also create a space for customers to message you directly. This option is ideal if you have limited phone availability, since it allows customers to ask questions that are not urgent.
If you offer a delivery service, you can create quick links so customers can arrange it directly from your listing. They can also view a menu or see a list of products from the listing. If you don’t provide product delivery, you can create a quick link to take customers to request a quote or book your service.
Why Is a Google Business Profile Essential?
Creating a Google Business Profile is one of the best things you can do to improve your local business rankings by claiming and updating your business information. Now that the concept has been around for nearly a decade, it is practically essential for any business owner who wants to get online exposure.
Setting up a business profile brings many benefits.
- Manage information: A Google Business Profile allows you to have full control over how viewers perceive your brand. You can provide them with all the preliminary information they might need before they even have to visit your website. A GBP is practical and easy to manage. You don’t even need a website to set up a GBP, which makes the ability to add quick links even more beneficial.
- Interact with customers: Showing your customers you are willing to take the time to personally interact with them will go a long way for your business. As you update the information on your Google Business Profile, you can send push notifications to people who have signed up for them so they receive an alert.
- Boost your presence: Using the insights from your Google Business Profile, you can learn how to tailor to common searches and locations people are searching from. You can also use your GBP to track the performance of campaigns you launch.
With SEO, having a Google Business Profile can give you a massive boost in rankings all on its own. Google analyzes your business information based on how accurate, complete and engaging it is. Your profile’s rank depends on these three factors.
- Relevance: How well does your business listing match what someone is looking for?
- Distance: How far is your search result from the location term used in the search?
- Prominence: How well-known is your business?
When fleshing out your Google Business Profile, remember all these things to help your business rank even higher in SEO.
In a world where businesses must function amid a pandemic, it is even more essential to have a Google Business Profile. The program lets you constantly update your listing to reflect how your business is responding to ever-changing regulations. You can communicate if you are unexpectedly closed, require masks, function as carryout only or any other challenges that might come up due to COVID-19.
Your Google Business Profile can also improve your credibility with potential customers before they ever interact with you or your website. They can see reviews immediately, and if you’ve set up your listing with a lot of detail, it will send the impression that you are a reliable, trustworthy business. Crowd review sources like Yelp have been on the decline in recent years, making GBPs an even more popular source for reviews.
We live in a fast-paced culture. The ability to provide your customer with a small but critical amount of information that they can see immediately after putting in their search gives your business a much higher chance of getting a viewer to turn into a customer and make a conversion.
And on your end, you will get insights on your customers and how they search that will ultimately help you get even more clicks and conversions coming from your Google Business Profile listing.
Your Google Business Profile Setup
You now know how valuable a Google Business Profile can be for your business’ success. The next step is to set up your GBP.
Verify Your Business
Setting up any Google Business Profile begins by verifying your business profile with Google. After you claim your profile, you can choose to verify by mail, email, phone or other options. This step might take a few weeks.
If your business has been around for a while, you may only need to claim a GBP listing that is already available to you without having to verify the business.
Create Your Profile
Begin by creating a Google account for your business. Doing so will generate an email address, calendar, Drive, Meet and other tools in your business’ name.
Once your business has a Google account, you can go to this page, click “Manage Now” and put in your business name. If you have verified your business through Google, it should come up.
Google will continue to prompt you to put in more information about your business, including your address and your service area if you own a service-based company.
Choosing your business category is a vital part of the process. Take the time to try some different search variations and see what is available. After you’ve found those, choose which one you think fits your business best. Doing so will help Google put you in the correct search result category.
Make sure you fill out all your contact information, as that will be a popular action point for potential customers from your Google Business Profile.
Optimize Your Profile
There are ways you can make your Google Business Profile far more appealing to potential customers and help you rank higher in SEO. Add the following elements:
- Photos and videos.
- A description of your business.
- Your logo.
- Local posts to inform customers of offers, events, products and services.
- Request and manage your reviews.
Publish Your Profile
Once you have made your listing as detailed and accurate as possible, it is time to publish your profile. But before you do, be sure to double-check a few things.
- Make sure you have included keywords in your listing to help boost your SEO ranking. Anywhere you have text, it will be beneficial to include a keyword or two. For example, you might find a way to naturally work in phrases like “professional automotive window tinting.”
- Set periodic reminders to check and update your listing. It will do you no good if your information becomes out of date, as that will quickly cause your customers to lose trust in you.
- Look through all the other features Google offers, and ensure you have optimized as many as possible for your business.
Keep Track of Your Insights
Google provides unique insights for owners of Google Business Profiles that go beyond helping improve your listing.
- How customers find your listing: This insight breaks down customer searches into total, direct and discovery searches. Direct searches are searches for your business’ name or address, while discovery searches are for a category, product or service that led to your business.
- Where customers find you: Here, you can see a breakdown of whether customers found your business via Google Search or Google Maps. It will even show you the same down for each product you allow it to track.
- Customer actions: It doesn’t matter how many customers see your listing unless they take action. This insight specifically breaks down how customers used your website, showing how many people visited, requested directions, called you, viewed photos and more.
Your Google Business Profile in the Long Run
You should regularly revisit your listing, constantly optimizing it to show the most up-to-date information. If something unexpected happens regarding your store hours, make sure to update it on your listing as soon as possible. This way, if a customer enters your location into their Google Maps, it can notify them that you are closed.
Make sure you are also always adding content to your listing. Local posts are an excellent way to do this.
On your Google Business Profile, you can publish posts that show customers offers, events, products or services. They will give viewers more opportunities for engagement and give you more chances to boost your SEO ranking.
Here are some tips for maximizing your local posts.
- Include high-quality, valuable and relevant information.
- Be respectful.
- Add visuals and links. Make sure all links are trustworthy and don’t lead to harmful sites.
Photos are essential for success with your listing. From your profile picture to your cover photos, each will enhance a viewer’s experience. A listing with photos is two times more likely to be reputable and could get 35% more clicks than one that does not have pictures.
Reviews are a circular battle that ultimately comes back to how well you perform. If a customer enjoys your product or service, they will leave a glowing review, and if another potential customer sees your testimonial, they will be more likely to do business with you. However, you enhance the cycle when you step in and interact with those reviews — good or bad. It builds trust with your customers and gives potential clients a unique insight into your business.
Practices to Avoid
We’ve told you all the do’s of a Google Business Profile. However, be aware of these don’ts.
- Know what content Google prohibits and avoid posting it on your site.
- Make sure all content regarding your business is accurate and not misleading.
- Understand Google’s policies and comply with them.
- If you are running any promotion or contest, be specific about the terms, guidelines and qualifications, and follow through on any promises.
Note: Businesses that involve renting properties, lead generation or ongoing services you do not have authority over are not eligible for a Google Business Profile.
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At Madico, we hope this MadicoU resource was helpful for you as you look to build a Google Business Profile. Want to learn more? MadicoU has many resources for all facets of your business needs as you learn and grow. We hope to be an asset for you with articles covering everything from product training to sales and marketing to business growth.