Google Business Profile: A guide to showing up when it matters
Google Business Profile also known as Google My Business is a tool that allows your brand to create and control a business listing viewable on Google Search and Maps. Creating a Google Business Profile listing (GBP) or, as of December 2 2021, a Google Business Profile is a crucial tactic in optimising your local SEO campaign. This tool helps potential customers find and interact with what you offer in the least possible clicks. Your GBP listing includes contact information, website, and appointment links and even allows customers to ask questions directly on your listing. Think of a good GBP listing as the first shelf of snacks you see when you go grocery shopping hungry – your customers want their pain points fulfilled right now, and if your business is the first thing they see that fills that need, they’re going to grab it!
If you choose our team to manage your GBP listing through our local SEO services, we’ll keep your relevant information updated frequently, so you’ll always show up within the first options in a Google search. Even if you’re not quite ready to reach out to us yet, we’ll keep this guide updated, so you can keep coming back to access accurate information.
Why do businesses need to get a Google Business Profile?
In short, Google Business Profile is a service that allows you to control the information that appears when people look up your business or services directly associated with it. If you have registered on Google as a business, you have a listing on Google Maps and appear in the local search listings of anyone in your area. Anyone can create a “business” on Google. All Google needs to do this is a business name, location, and category. Even if YOU didn’t create the Google listing for your business, it will appear in local searches, and people can leave reviews, add photos and ask questions, which you may not be able to moderate or answer. Google Business Profile gives you the ability to claim your business in Google searches, add relevant info, and respond to customer queries.
What are the benefits of having a Google Business Profile?
- It’s free
- It can grow your business awareness
- It could increase revenue
With GBP, you get to show off the info that YOU want to portray as a business, right at the top of searches. A significant advantage of having a Google Business Profile listing is how high up it appears in search results. A well-optimised GBP profile will appear in Google Maps results and the Local “3-pack” region. Since you don’t pay to appear in the Local 3-pack, your Google Business Profile is affordable compared to paid ads that appear at the top of the search results. You’re unlocking immediate walk-in possibilities. If your GBP profile appears in the Local 3-Pack for search words that are important to your company, you may be able to tap into potential revenue. Your listing will allow you to present accurate information about your business.
A detailed listing allows potential customers to get your:
- Hours of operation,
- Phone number,
- Website address,
- And directions.
Thanks to Google Maps and photo data, customers may get an inside look at your business by viewing your free GBP profile, which includes information about your busiest hours as well as review ratings.
How to set up your Google Business Profile:
Setting up your GBP listing is a critical part of SEO. This means that people are more likely to see your offerings and, therefore, more likely to spend money on them. Here’s how to get it right:
- Set up a Google account for your business
First, go here. When you’re asked to “Choose a Google Account type”, click on “To manage a business”. Follow the prompts, and make sure you set up two-step verification to ensure you’ll always have control over your account.
- Go over to google.com/business
On this screen, you’re going to click on the “Manage Business” option.
- Name (and claim) your business
Here, you can enter your brand’s name. If your brand’s name appears to have already been claimed, you have recourse! If you receive an email saying that you’ve been denied ownership, then the best thing to do is to raise a question with the GBP community.
- Enter your address
Service-area-specific businesses will need to go through specifying their location, but these prompts are easy to follow.
- Choose your category, contact numbers & website URL
The category you choose will heavily influence which searches you show up in. We recommend carefully looking at this spreadsheet to see which one you pick. You can change this later, but it will take re-verification. Though the other details are not necessary to complete your listing, a website and point of contact will make your business appear much more trustworthy.
Why optimise your GBP listing?
Keeping your GBP listing optimised is similar to keeping your website optimised. If your website creates a “home” for your business, your GBP listing is the inviting front door. Your listing should be tailored for search and maintained in a way that helps attract the right audience to the home of your business.
Best practises for your Google Business Profile:
- Your business information should be up to date and provide the most accurate information. This includes your telephone number, operating hours, products, and/or offerings.
- Your logo should be up to date. Make sure this same logo is extended across all of your platforms.
- Include important keywords in the text elements. This isn’t the place for flowery, descriptive copy.
- Include helpful details. Stand out with what makes your business different.
- Share your own images. Reviewers can share their low-quality photos of your business that will appear on your Google listing, so you want your curated pictures to appear first.
- Respond to customer reviews (more on this in the section below.)
- Update your listing posts around specials and events.
- Provide relevant COVID-19 updates (including restrictions and safety guidelines).
- Always keep your product catalogue updated.
Reviews on Google Business Profile
Nearly nine out of ten customers look at reviews before spending their money [source]. Reviews are an engagement factor that we shouldn’t underestimate. They can give businesses a big credibility boost without paying a cent.
When it comes to your Google Business Profile, we can sum up the benefits of reviews into three key points:
You can use reviews to help you understand your customers, their expectations and essentially improve what your business is doing. Those elements of your offerings they’re praising? Foreground them. Those they’re not enjoying? Improve.
Reviews are essentially user-generated content that you can use across your marketing efforts. If you get a good review, screenshot that text and place it over a product image. Now, you have instant customer trust AND easy content.
To increase your business performance on search engines, you need to gain and manage reviews. Google will notice if you’re rated highly amongst your competitors, which will increase the likelihood of your listing being visible when people search for your offerings.
How to remove reviews from your Google Business Profile:
If you’ve received reviews that are fake and are compromising your reputation, you can report these to Google. Use the manage reviews tool to report reviews for removal and check the status of reviews you’ve already escalated.
Remember that only reviews that violate Google’s review policies can be removed.
This includes reviews that are
- Spam or fake
- Sexually explicit
- Dangerous and derogatory
Photos on your Google Business Profile
The images you add to your GBP profile will be directly linked to how recognisable your business is and how naturally your conversions will happen. This is what we recommend:
Logo: Your business logo, on an easily legible background. It’s going to show up small, so avoid too much detail. Try to make sure it shows up well on a square crop.
Cover photo: This should be a photo that best represents your business, similar to a Facebook cover image. If you’re a venue, show off your premises. If you’re a service, show off the people involved. If you’re selling products, show off your best-performing items.
Business photos: Add different images to highlight features of your business to attract and inform customers. This can include pictures of your store interior or exterior, your team at work or events you’ve facilitated.
When you optimise your Google Business Profile listing, you’re pinning your hard work right to the top of the internet’s most widely-used directory. You are taking control of how your business is portrayed and putting your best foot forward with SEO. You could start your Google Business Profile optimisation using this guide, or you could trust the team’s experience at The SEO Agency to create and maintain your listing.
If you’re interested in finding out how our local SEO services, and countless others we offer, could get your business seen, schedule a consultation call with one of our SEO experts today.