Optimizing your Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) not only helps consumers choose your business over your competitors but also increases the effectiveness of your local marketing efforts. Google’s algorithm for ranking business profiles considers both relevance and proximity; in addition to, the quality of information and activity associated with the profile. Starting the process of optimizing your Google Business Profile is simple and can make a huge difference in your local exposure.
1. Create and Verify Your Google Business Profile
In order to have the most effective optimizations, you must create and verify your Google Business Profile account. Once verified, you will want to ensure that you are completing all eligible fields including your business name, address, phone, hours, products and services, and more. Outside of providing a resource to consumers looking for your business information, Google Business Profile also includes review and reputation management, consumer-generated questions, expanded branding opportunities through Google posts, and more.
Tip 1: When entering your business’s information, it is extremely important to be meticulous by making sure everything you enter matches your website and other listings across the web. For example, if you chose to use abbreviations such as Ave., Blvd., or St., in one place, it should be carried throughout all business citations.
Tip 2: Google Business Profile is a great tool to use to reflect any changes to your normal business hours or to highlight special hours such as holiday closures.
2. Upload Photos of Your Business
According to research conducted by Hootsuite, businesses that upload photos to their listing receive 35% more clicks through to their websites. Pictures show different characteristics of your brand and company that your written content cannot. You should have at least three to six photos for optimal performance. People may go to your photos to see if your business is professional, if your office space is inviting, or even what to expect working with your team or employees.
Tip: When adding images to your business profile and account, ensure that they are all high-quality and reflect your brand’s professionalism, your brand’s personality, and show your office space. These photos can be of a team bonding experience, brand event, or a company-wide training session for example.
3. Generate Reviews For Your Business
How often do you check out a business’s reviews online before going there or inquiring about their service? Probably pretty frequently! A study by BrightLocal reports that 89% of consumers are likely to use a business that responds to its reviews. Reviews not only help people understand what it is like to work with you, but it also helps your Google Business Profile page rankings which in return increases your business’s visibility in local searches. According to Twenty Over Ten, Google is more likely to show your page in the mapped listings if you have 20 or more reviews ranking you more competitively against your competitors. Ranking higher in search engine results will help increase your business’s ability to generate traffic and leads.
Tip 1: To begin optimizing your profile with reviews, start with your loyal, long-time customers. Asking customers to leave reviews is a simple and effective way to generate them, and you can ask in a variety of ways such as through email marketing and SMS text.
Tip 2: Responding to google reviews helps your business build trust with your customer base and gives you an opportunity to humanize your brand and demonstrate professionalism. When you take the time to leave a response to someone’s review, it shows that you value their opinion and care about how they feel about your business.
4. Utilize Google Posts
Similarly to how a business uses social media to increase engagement, you can also use Google Posts. There are four different post types that you can use associated with your Google Business Profile: Event, What’s New, Product, and Offer. Through the use of the posts, as a business you are able to connect with existing and potential customers by sharing announcements, promotional offers, items in stock, and event details. This is a great way to communicate with your local audience and promote any sales, events, news or offers before they even visit your website.
Tip: The images that you use in your post should be eye-catching and at least 1200 x 900 pixels. Before posting, make sure that your image is not being cropped in a way that cuts off any important information or details.
5. Maintain Your Business Profile
A Google Business Profile is not a one-and-done kind of marketing tool. It is something that requires ongoing action if you want to increase your online footprint and maximize the benefits. Maintenance of your profile may include: updating information, uploading photos each week, posting frequently, having a steady flow of reviews that you monitor and respond to, and researching any new features that Google may be coming out with. You should focus on using your Google Business Profile as a way to provide customers with more access to your business information and updates enabling them to make informed decisions as they browse.