Increase your Local Rankings with a Google Business Profile
Understanding how to optimize your Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) is the key to finding more customers online. In this article, we will guide you through nine effective strategies that will help you optimize your profile and reach potential customers online.
First things first, let’s check if your business already has a profile on Google. If not, don’t worry – claiming or creating one is easy! Verification is crucial for better visibility and performance. Google needs to know that your business is real to rank it.
Once your profile is set up and verified, it’s time to publish complete and accurate information about your business.
We will show you how to best use the features on your Google Business Profile to stand out from your competitors and rank higher on search.
P.S. If you run a plumbing business, we created a guide to help you improve your overall local SEO including strategies to optimize your GBP.
- Conduct a Google search to check if your business already has a profile, if it doesn’t, create one and verify it
- Optimize your Google Business Profile by filling out as much accurate information about your business as possible
- Utilize the insights feature of Google Business Profile to find ways to improve your listing
- Frequently review and update your listing with accurate and relevant information
- Why you Need to Optimize your Google Business Profile
- Setting up your Google Business Profile
- 9 Strategies to optimize your Google Business Profile
- Update your description
- Select the best category for your business
- Upload new high-quality images
- Showcase your products and services
- Address customer questions using the Q&A feature
- Link to your social media profiles
- Leverage customer reviews
- Keep NAP Consistent with other listings
- Enable the messaging feature
- Listing Your Business on Other Local Citations
- Keep your Google Business Profile Updated
Why you Need to Optimize your Google Business Profile
How often do you find your self looking up local businesses in your area?
Let’s say you need to find the nearest jewelry store because you want to purchase a bracelet for your wife.
Her birthday is coming up and you waited until the last minute to look for a bracelet, so now your only choice is to purchase it from a store.
Chances are, you are going to go to Google and search for “jewelry store near me”, and BOOM, a bunch of suggestions for nearby jewelry stores appear on your screen.
With all of these options, you can now choose the best one (because you love your wife). More likely than not, you will choose the jewelry store with the best reviews and contains images and descriptions for their products.
This is the benefit of having an optimized Google Business Profile (GBP). That jewelry store just gained a new customer, simply because their GBP listing was better optimized than the rest.
That is the benefit of optimizing your GBP.
Bonus: There is a high chance that the jewelry store with the most optimized GBP was in the top 3 suggested options. Make it easy for your customers to find you.
Setting up your Google Business Profile
To start optimizing your Google Business Profile, begin by setting up your profile with accurate business information. Include your address, category, phone number, and website URL. This is crucial for providing potential customers with the correct details about your business.
If a listing for your business already exists, you may need to claim it.
Once your listing is set up, you will also need to verify it so Google knows that it is a real business.
Make sure to update your profile information regularly. This will help reflect any changes in contact information or operating hours. Optimizing your business hours is also important. It helps users know when you are available for their needs.
Additionally, utilize Google Posts (also called “updates”) to engage with your audience and keep your profile fresh with relevant content.
Lastly, leverage special attributes to stand out in search results and connect with a wider audience. For example, you can highlight if your business is Black-owned or women-led. This can help you make a stronger connection with potential customers.
Bonus: If you work from home, offer virtual services, or don’t have a physical location, you can open a P.O. box to use as an address if you do not feel comfortable with putting your home address online.
9 Strategies to optimize your Google Business Profile
To optimize your Google Business Profile, there are several strategies you can implement. We have outlined 9 strategies that we think move the needle the most when it comes to your GBP.
1. Update your description
When updating your Google Business Profile, it is important to pay attention to your description.
Craft a compelling and concise description that highlights what makes your business unique and why potential customers should choose you over competitors.
Use keywords that people would use to search for your business to improve your visibility.
Remember, the first 250 characters are crucial, so include key information and relevant keywords upfront. Avoid repeating information that is already present in other sections of your profile and refrain from including links.
Keep in mind that your description is one of the few things you have the most control over in your listing. Use it wisely.
2. Select the best category for your business
To ensure maximum visibility and access to category-specific features on your Google Business Profile, it is important to choose the category that best represents your business.
Start by choosing the most general category that accurately describes your business. If you belong in multiple categories, add them as additional ones. However, make sure to set the most relevant one as your primary category.
By doing so, you can unlock additional features like reservation buttons or specific attributes related to your industry.
3. Upload new high-quality images
High-quality images are a game changer when it comes to optimizing your Google Business Profile.
These images should showcase the interior, exterior, products, and services of your business. This will allow potential customers to visually engage with and trust in your brand.
Adding captions to your photos can provide additional context and information. It helps viewers understand the purpose or significance of each image.
Utilizing alt text for each image is crucial. It improves accessibility for users who rely on screen readers. Alt text also helps search engines understand the content of the image, improving your search engine visibility.
Additionally, showcasing before and after images can effectively demonstrate the transformation your business provides. It can be a powerful way to showcase your skills or the impact of your services.
4. Showcase your products and services
To showcase your products and services effectively, there are a few key strategies you can employ.
Firstly, utilize the ‘products and services’ section on your Google Business Profile.
This section allows you to highlight the unique offerings of your business, including any promotions or special deals. Providing a brief description of each product or service, along with its price, can help potential customers understand what you have to offer.
Another way to showcase your products and services is through Google My Business posts. Regularly sharing updates about new arrivals, special offers, or any other relevant information can keep customers informed and engaged.
5. Address customer questions using the Q&A feature
You can preemptively answer customer questions and provide valuable information through the Q&A section of your Google Business Profile.
This will ensure that potential customers have all the details they need to make informed decisions about your business. Here are 2 important areas to address in this section:
- Address customer concerns: Proactively answer common questions in the Q&A section. This will help address potential concerns and build trust with customers.
- Optimize for local search: If your customers need to go to a physical location, include details about parking, directions, etc.
Remember, if someone else asks a question, prompt and accurate responses are essential for a positive user experience.
Lastly, optimize your answers for mobile users by keeping them concise and easy to read on smaller screens.
6. Link to your social media profiles
Now that you’ve addressed customer questions with the Q&A section of your Google Business Profile, it’s time to take your profile optimization a step further.
One effective strategy is to link to your social media profiles. By integrating your social media platforms with your Google Business Profile, you can increase engagement and maximize visibility across different platforms.
This cross-platform promotion allows potential customers to easily access and follow your social media accounts directly from your profile.
It also gives you the opportunity to showcase more about your business, share updates, promotions, and interact with customers in a more dynamic way.
7. Leverage customer reviews
A Google study shows that 70% of customers look at reviews before making a final purchase decision and 63% of them are more likely to purchase if the business, product, or service are highly rated.
Responding to reviews and managing customer feedback is crucial for improving your online reputation and increasing customer engagement.
When it comes to customer reviews, it’s important to actively monitor them and respond promptly. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.
Positive reviews have a positive effect on potential customers, while addressing negative reviews demonstrates your dedication to resolving issues.
You can access a link provided to you by Google to send out to customers when you ask them to leave a review. This increases the chances that they will leave a review. Always make it easy for your customers to provide feedback.
Keep NAP Consistent with other listings
Maintaining consistent NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) across all your business listings is crucial for high rankings.
By keeping your NAP consistent, you optimize your business information and improve search visibility. Here’s why it’s important:
- Increasing your visibility: Consistent NAP ensures that customers can easily find and contact your business on various platforms like Yelp and Apple Maps.
- Ranking factor: Google scans other listing platforms to verify the accuracy of your information before displaying your business. Consistency across all platforms increases the chances of being shown to potential customers.
To keep your NAP consistent:
- Update all existing listings with accurate information.
- Regularly monitor and correct any inconsistencies or outdated data.
Taking these steps will not only ensure that customers can find you easily but also rank higher on Google for local searches.
Enable the messaging feature
Enabling the messaging feature on your Google Business Profile enhances customer communication and streamlines contact with your business.
It allows potential customers to easily reach out via text without the need for a personal phone number.
This convenient feature offers several benefits for your business.
Firstly, it improves customer engagement by providing a direct and efficient channel of communication.
Secondly, it can significantly increase customer conversions as it eliminates any barriers or extra steps in contacting your business.
It’s important to note that maintaining a fast messaging response time is crucial to capitalize on these opportunities.
Additionally, you have the option to customize automated responses to welcome customers and provide quick information.
Listing Your Business on Other Local Citations
Now that you have learned how to optimize your Google Business Profile, let’s talk about listing your business on other citation platforms.
Expand your reach by listing your business on various local directories and platforms.
This ensures that potential customers can easily find you across different websites.
Consider listing your business on popular platforms that are appropriate for your industry. Platforms like Yelp, Apple Maps, Better Business Bureau, and others can show that your business is trustworthy not only to Google, but also to your customers.
Listing your business on various local citations is an effective strategy for optimizing your Google Business Profile and expanding your online presence.
Keep your Google Business Profile Updated
Make sure you’re regularly updating and maintaining your Google Business Profile.
One important maintenance step is checking the accuracy of your information on a monthly basis, especially if you have different hours depending on the time of year. You should also do this on the other platforms your business is listed to keep your NAP consistent.
Additionally, publishing posts, updates, and photos bi-weekly to monthly helps keep your profile active and improves your ranking in search results.
It’s also important to monitor and respond promptly to customer reviews and questions as they come in.
Finally, don’t forget to utilize attributes like health and safety measures or online care options if applicable.