We’ll cover everything about Google My Business Profile in this post and show you how you can optimize it to reap substantial local SEO gains.
Did You Know “Google My Business (GMB) Profile” Can Maximize Your Local SEO?
First, it increases your business’ visibility. When people search for a product or service, they search for – “restaurant near me”.
So, if you’re a restaurateur and have properly created a GMB profile – then your profile will increase “visibility” even during voice searches that account for a minimum of 21% of mobile searches these days.
Here is an example screenshot for a local search: “A restaurant near me in Tampa, Florida”:
Businesses with the most relevant and engaging “Google My Business profiles” make it into Google’s coveted 3-Pack listing (See the above example image -“leaving the first listing which is an Ad”, there are top 3 recommendations – this is known as 3-pack listing).
Local SEO Gives You A Specific Audience To Target For
If you’re a local business and want to boost your sales and profits, then local SEO is a must, as it gets your business right in front of people who want to buy your product or services.
- Around 71% of customers who made a local search visited a shop within 3 to 5 miles of them.
- Besides, 27% of searches for services or products nearby transformed in a purchase.
Remember, you can enjoy these opportunities only if you have a Google My Business profile in the first place, and have optimized it for relevant local searches.
Curious and want to know how you can do it! Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the entire process and show you how you can optimize your business for local search effectively.
If You Already Don’t Have A “google My Business Profile” – You’ll Have To Create One First.
Step 1: Log in to Google using your email. If you don’t have a Google account already, you can create a free account here.
Step 2: Go to “www.google.com/business” and choose “Start Now”.
Step 3: Here, you’ll have to key in your information that includes:
- Your Business name
- Your Business location
- Whether you facilitate delivery
- Whether you want to hide or display your address (Hint: You want to display it)
- Select the most appropriate category for your business
- Enter your business’ phone number
- Enter in your website (URL address)
Step 4: In this step, you need to verify that you’re an official representative for this business and for the listing you have just created.
To complete the process, there are different verification options available from which you can select; however, the most common is to get a postcard mailed to your business address with a confirmation code on it.
These steps are very important for the success of your online marketing and sales.
What If I Operate Multi-Location Businesses?
Well, if you’re fortunate enough to run a business having multiple locations, your linking strategy will be different.
First, you’ll have to create an individual GMB (Google My Business) profile page for each business location.
That’s because businesses located at different locations need a unique GMB listing for that particular local area, as you can’t optimize multiple business locations from one common listing. Google needs to know about all those businesses that are functioning in different locations.
- Then after, you need to create different individual web pages on your website for each of your business that’s operating in different locations.
- Make sure you optimize each of your web pages for natural (i.e. organic) local SEO as well.
- Finally, within each Google My Business Profile, link back to the matching location-based business’s web page.
How Can I Get My Local Listing To The Top Of Search Results Page?
Well, you can do it and we’ll show you how to accomplish it. While entering a description about what you do or what products or services you offer, make sure to include “popular keywords or phrases” that best describes what service you provide or what products you sell.
Top Tip: Use a free tool like Google Trends (It will help you to know what people are searching for). For example, if you’re running a hotel, you can include extra facilities that you offer that could include:
- Breakfast is complimentary for deluxe packages and up
- Free Wi-Fi for all guests
- Free Parking for all guests
- Should your plans change and you have to cancel your booking – in that case, we’ll refund you money provided you apply for cancellation before 72 hours – no questions asked.
When you add extra facilities that you are offering, searchers can easily differentiate between your services and what your competition is offering. If you beat your competition for all the extras that you’re giving away, you’ll get an upper hand.
Optimize Your GMB Profile For Accuracy
Ensure your contact information (i.e. business name, address and phone numbers) are correct. Besides, update your business hours without fail during holidays, as required. This will increase the chances of your profile to come up in the search results.
For instance, people searching for places that are “Open Now” will find your listing promptly. This is very helpful during voice searches and when people are searching for your business through mobile apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, etc.
As per local citations trust report 2018 conducted by Bright Local, “Almost 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses when they see inaccurate or inconsistent contact details or business names online”.
Today, over 90% of buyers say, they make their buying decision based on online reviews.
Two Things Are Extremely Important For Online Reviews
- It has become critical to get quality reviews involving 4 or 5-star ratings that will earn you a higher average rating.
- Next, you need to garner reviews with information concerning the customer’s experience with your product or company.
So, you’ll be thinking about earning good reviews on Google. Well, you can simply text your customers with a Google Review Link.
Consistency Is The Key Across Your Online Listings
To give a better experience for both people and the search bots, ensure your listing is consistent across your website’s contact us and other pages where you have displayed your contact information, as well as, Google My Business profile and other online profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook etc. This will go a long way in building trust for your business/brand.
Connect With Your Reviewers
When you have a Google My Business Profile, it helps you to easily engage with your customers. You can reply to the reviews that your customers have given:
- It can be a simple “Thank You” note, for leaving their reviews, taking out their valuable time.
- Start working on a possible solution for any issues that might have surfaced.
- Or, ask what more you can do to make their experience even better.
Don’t just discard those who have given a negative review. Well, your entire business can take advantage of those negative reviews by finding out and trying to mend whatever was substandard. And thank them for bringing this to your attention, which will help you to improve your product or service quality.
Importance of creating custom replies – Use the customer’s first name to address them and sign off with a personal signature in place of a generic company/brand name.
By this, reviewers will know that a real person is taking his time to give a custom reply. This will help your business over the long run.
Use Photos for It Can Build Trust
You can upload a good number of quality photos to your GMB profile to build credibility. For instance, if you’re a restaurateur, you can upload good quality photos of your restaurant’s interiors, exteriors, food and so on (see example photos above). Photos help to create trust in searchers that you’re a good choice.
Moreover, people looking for a nice place to eat out will get a clear idea about what they can expect from your restaurant just by looking at these photos. Besides, these images will be indexed by the Google bots and will be considered for ranking in the search results.
Make Use Of Posts On Your Google My Business Page
You know very well how to promote your brand by posting content on social media platforms. Well, you must post the same type of content on your “Google My Business” page as well. You’ll reason why? That’s because it gets displayed in the Knowledge Panel.
So, when people search for your business, they’ll also see your wonderful content as part of the overall summary of your company. Well, this post can include a link to your website, an image and even a CTA (call-to-action).
Ideas that you can use for your posts include:
- You can showcase a new service or product.
- During a holiday season, you can wish your customers.
- If you have an upcoming webinar event, then you can advertise it.
- Describe the wonderful content that you have recently published on your website’s blog section and include a link to it.
- You can promote an upcoming sale that you run just before Christmas.
- To grab people’s attention, you can add different emojis to your posts!
Finally, You Can Use Your Data To Notify Changes
Google My Business profile gives you additional insights about your listing’s overall performance in the local search. It will provide you with key information that includes:
- Total clicks and views
- Performance (overtime)
- Plus, you get recommendations to improve your listing and results
The information and the recommendations it provides are quite useful, and you should use them appropriately, looking into ways how you can enhance user experience.
Local SEO is an ongoing process; however, if you stick to these basics correctly and monitor the performance, making suggestions as and when required, you can expect to get good returns over time.
Should I Create A “Google My Business” Profile? And Is It Worth My Time & Efforts?
100% Yes! Your business’s Google profile aids you to reach out to more of the local searchers and engage with your customers on another level. If you fail to do it, your competitors will easily have an upper hand in pulling new customers in.
Furthermore, the only investment it needs is your time and your effort to create and maintain your “Google My Business” profile, which is insignificant compared to the benefits it brings for your business’s growth.
Surely, using Google My Business profile as a tool can greatly benefit your business’s success, taking it to the next level.