If you run a small business, you know that the best way to get more eyes on your brand is through search engine optimization (SEO). In this blog, we’ll show you how to optimize your Google Business Profile so that it gets the most exposure possible.
Here is the step-by-step guide to guarantee that your business will be seen by potential customers who are looking for something similar–which means more sales!
You can go through the entire article or if you’ve already set up you google business profile, then you can directly jump to particular section of your choice!
What IS a Google Business Profile and WHY is it so important to set one up?
A Google Business Profile (earlier Google My Business) is a free Google feature that helps you manage your company’s contact information, location, its online presence and reputation.
Why is it so important to set up a GBP account? Well, the answer is simple- your business is more likely to appear on top searches, and helps in familiarizing your potential customers to your products and services without them having to dig into different websites, social media platforms, etc.
Here are some latest stats to help you get a quick look on why having a Google Business Profile (or a Google My Business) is ESSENTIAL:
- 97% of online users search for local businesses on the internet.
- 94% of businesses with a GMB account are more likely to be viewed as reputable.
- 77% of users use Google Maps to find nearby businesses.
- 64% of these users use GMB to find the contact information and location of a local business.
- 59% of shoppers research an in-store or online purchase by going through a GMB profile.
- 56% of customer actions on GBP listings are website visits, doubling organic traffic on the Google My Business marketing site.
- 16% of local businesses get more than 100 calls per month through their GMB profile.
Google Business Profile – Getting started
You’ve got a lot of work to do, so let’s get you started with creating a Google My Business profile! Here’s how to do it correctly:
- Sign in to your Google Account, or if you create a new Google Account, sign up with your business email domain.
- Go to create a profile and enter the name of your business. You may also be able to select your business from the list of suggested businesses as you type.
- If you get a message that someone else has already verified the business, request for ownership of the Business Profile.
- Search for your business category. Click Next.
- Choose whether you have a location customers can visit.
- For businesses with a storefront staffed during business hours: Click Yes. You may be asked to enter your business address or position a marker on a map for the location of your businesses. Make sure you give the accurate location and address. When finished, click Next.
- For businesses that don’t have a storefront staffed during business hours: Click No.
- Enter the service area of your business.
- You can set your service area based on the cities, postal codes, or other areas that you serve. You can add up to 20 service areas not more than 2 hours away from the given location. Although this is an exception for some businesses, which may have a larger service area.
- Enter the correct phone number and website URL. Click Next.
- You also have the option to create a website based on your information. Click Finish.
When you’re done setting up your profile, select a verification option.
Pro tip: We recommend reviewing your information before you request verification.
The verification step is CRUCIAL because:
- It gives you complete control over your company information on Google Search and Google Maps.
- You and your representatives can respond to customer reviews.
- It is important from an SEO standpoint to improve the chances of a higher ranking and these listings are also what shows up for all searches on Google Maps.
- It will boost brand reputation and prevent any misrepresentations
If you’re not authorized to manage the Business Profile for the chain: Find the person in your organization who’s authorized and continue the process.
Optimize Your Business Information
If you already have your GBP profile set up, here are a few tips on how to OPTIMIZE it the right way:
- Update the title and keep it short and to the point. Make sure it is relevant and up to date.
- Keep the description brief, but make sure your products or services are well-defined.
- Be sure to add the location of your business (if applicable), hours of operation (if applicable), and the contact information for questions related to services or products provided by your company/organization (e-mail address or phone number).
- Use keyword relevant to your business for improved ranking.
- It’s also important that you include social media links along with any other relevant content that helps people find out more about what you do.
- The most common mistake people make when creating their Google Business Profile is not including any images or videos. Images and videos can help people understand your business, which in turn helps them decide if they want to work with you.
Managing Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are one of the most powerful tools for ranking local search results. Don’t let them go to waste!
When you think about it, customer reviews are like free advertising—they can help your business get more customers and improve its reputation. But many businesses don’t do enough to encourage positive reviews or respond when they receive negative ones.
Here are a few tips to encouraging POSITIVE customer reviews:
- Provide excellent service by making sure your customers have a great experience.
- Politely ask satisfied customers to leave a review on Google. You can do this in person, through email, or on your website.
- Provide clear instructions on how to leave a review, with direct links to your Google Business Profile.
- Consider offering incentives like discounts or small freebies to customers who leave reviews but be mindful of Google’s policies.
- Send a follow-up email after a purchase or visit to remind customers to leave a review.
- Engage with existing reviews, both positive and negative, to show potential reviewers that you care about feedback.
Now, each customer/client is entitled to leave ANY kind of review based on the quality of your products and services. Be sure to tackle BOTH positive and negative reviews like a true boss that you already are!
Remember to personalize your responses and express gratitude for the positive feedback and mention their specific comments. Reinforce the positive aspects mentioned in the review, such as good service or product quality, and invite the reviewer to return or try other products/services.
When you are faced with negative reviews, that’s okay because that’s where you’re likely to find the best ways to improve your business anyway.
Here are a few tips on how to handle negative online reviews:
- Maintain a calm and professional tone, even if the review is harsh.
- Properly acknowledge the problem or concern raised in the review and propose solutions or offer to resolve the issue offline to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Demonstrate understanding and empathy toward the reviewer’s perspective and express genuine apologies for any negative experience, even if it wasn’t directly your fault.
- Avoid lengthy responses; a concise and polite reply is usually more effective.
- When resolving the issue, provide contact information or request that they contact you directly to discuss further.
Remember that your responses to reviews can shape public perception, so it’s crucial to maintain professionalism and show a commitment to customer satisfaction, whether the feedback is positive or negative.
Utilize Additional Google Business profile Features
There are several features on Google My Business services that can help you accentuate your profile to make it more attractive, informative, and complete.
Customers are more likely to consider a business reputable, 70% more likely to visit your website, and 50% more likely to consider buying your products and services if they find a complete Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.
You can add your logo to familiarize them with your brand, and an appropriate cover photo at the top of your profile to highlight key features of your business.
Exploring additional features such as posts, Q&A and messaging is a great way to engage with customers, but only if you know how to use them effectively.
- Don’t just post random updates; make sure they’re relevant and informative!
- Consider using Google My Business’ Messenger tool (which allows you to send messages directly from the GMB page) if you want more personal interaction with your customers because it’s easy for them to chat back and forth without having any problems at all.
If someone has an issue or question about their order or experience with your business, then it’s important that they speak directly with someone who can help them out quickly so don’t hesitate!
Monitor Your Business Performance
You’ve invested time, energy and money into your online presence. Now it’s time to measure how successful it is in order to make decisions about how to improve your business.
The first step is tracking metrics. Here are some common KPIs:
- Visibility & Reach: Check the number of times your business appears in local search results (impressions) & the number of times users click on your business listing.
- Engagement: Monitor CTR (Click-Through Rate) – The percentage of users who click on your listing after seeing it. The number of clicks that lead to your website.
- Direction Requests: The number of users asking for directions to your business during a certain time period.
- Phone Calls: The number of phone calls initiated directly from the Google Business profile listing.
- Messages: The number of users who click to message your business directly from the panel.
- Reviews & Rating: The total number of reviews your business has received. The average rating of your business based on customer reviews.
- Photo Views: The number of times images associated with your listing are viewed.
- Profile Completeness: Please ensure that all relevant information is filled out & your business profile is complete & up to date.
- Local Pack Rankings: Where your business appears in the local search pack results.
- Trackable Actions: Set up and monitor specific actions, like form submissions or appointment bookings.
By monitoring your business performance, you will be able to indicate the different areas of improvement, and this will in turn help you understand the key performance indicators that tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
With a little effort, you can make sure that your business is visible at the top of Google’s local search results.
We hope this guide helps to you in getting your business listed on Google Business. The more people find out about your business, the more likely they are to visit and discover what it can do for them. If you have any questions or comments about our guide, please feel free to reach out to us!
Image source: Google Business