Google Business Profile is one of the myriads of useful and convenient free tools from Google. The Google Business Profile tool helps business owners keep an eye on their online presence within Google’s endless collection of utilities. This includes providing help with Google Maps.
A Google Business Profile also offers an amazing impact for any brand that wants to increase its local exposure. With Google’s new Local Search, a proper Google Business Profile is a must for new and established businesses alike who want to stay ahead of the curve.
What is a Google Business Profile?
Simply put, a Google Business Profile helps you display information about your business to your customers. If you’ve searched for a nearby business lately, you’ll be familiar with the info that comes up: business addresses, business categories, opening hours, and Google customer reviews.
How do I make a Google Business Profile?
Before you make a Google Business Profile, you should check that you don’t actually have one already. Ever see the “Claim this business” button when you look at other businesses? Try Googling your business – you may have this too. Of course, you could also look for your business within Google Business Profile.
Once you claim or set up your business (hopefully no one else has), go ahead and type in your official business name. Then, add your main business category and all the other important information. Take some time to look for the category that suits your business best.
Google will then ask if you want to add a location your customers can physically visit.
Since some businesses are service-area businesses that don’t allow customers at their brick-and-mortar locations, it’s important to clarify this information. This way, the business still shows up in search results for its service area, just not its location.
If your business operates in a specific service area, but you don’t want its brick-and-mortar location revealed in Maps, select the areas that pertain to your business.
You can now add information like your website and phone number.
How can I optimise my Google Business Profile?
When your business profile is up and running and fully verified, you might think that this is all you have to do. But wait! Taking the time to optimise your profile can mean more customers see your business! So, what are some basic ways to optimise your Google Business Profile?
Fill out all the data for your profile
You might think you’ve filled out all the information you need for your profile. After all, it wouldn’t get published if it wasn’t complete, right? But you really can’t leave anything for Google to guess at. Local search results give preference to the most relevant search results. This means a business that offers the most accurate and fleshed-out information is easier to serve in search. So, ensure your Google Business Profile fully explains your business, what it does, where it is, and how a customer can access your goods or services. Don’t leave anything out!
Though you may do this to optimise everything else, it’s easy to forget to use keywords in your business profile. And yet, relevant keywords and search phrases are just as important of a search signal as any other, even in Google My Business. Your business website is listed in your Google Business Profile, after all.
So, include your keywords in your Google Business description, and Local Posts, just as you would when optimising the rest of your online presence.
Insert an image or two
Photos always make an impact, no matter the scenario. But when it comes to your business, images make more of an impact than you might think. It turns out that businesses receive 42% more requests for Google Maps driving directions if they have photos on their business profiles and 35% more click-throughs to their website.
Make sure your business opening hours are accurate
You might assume that Google could automatically pull your operating hours from your website or deduce them from your business category. But you wouldn’t believe how many websites show hours with pm instead of am, or that show they are open on days they aren’t. Inaccurate opening hours are one of the most common customer complaints. So keep Karen happy – set your opening hours, remember to type in any additional hours, and update your hours if they change. The last thing you want is a bad review from a customer who came all that way only to find you were closed.
Keep an eye on your reviews
Speaking of reviews, how often do you look at them? You know yourself, writing an essay about every business you visited after a shopping trip is the last thing on your mind, even if you had a great time everywhere. But as a business owner, reviews are quite important for your business’ visibility.
If you want to build up a positive review score, try making a link that encourages customers to leave a review. If you really need reviews, you could always offer customers a deal for doing so.
On top of this, interacting with customer reviews can show your customers that you value them and their feedback. Whether positive or negative, replying to your reviews makes an impact.
Allow customers to message you
We get it – you don’t want your phone pinging day and night. But allowing your customers to message your Google Business Profile means that Google can get a sense of your responsiveness. Thus, if you reply to customers promptly, Google will make your business more visible.
Don’t worry – no customer or search engine expects you to reply to queries in the middle of the night. But within 24 hours is a good rule of thumb.
To let customers ping you, go into the Google Business Profile app. Go to Customers, then Messages, and Turn on. Setting a customised automated response can help with your perceived responsiveness.