Did you know 56% of local businesses haven’t or don’t know how to claim or create Google Business profiles? That’s about 29 million small businesses missing out on free, valuable digital marketing, SEO, and advertising to their customers! Google My Business, now known as Google Business Profile or GBP, is one of the best marketing tools to attract more local and national customers—and give your professional business a massive advantage with online search results.
Are you ready to rank higher in search results?
Need to attract and get more customers?
Want to grow your potential business?
This is your kick-start guide to add and optimize Google Business Profiles — and how to stand out from your local competition through this digital marketing and SEO strategy.
Who Needs a Google Business Listing?
“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost, Main Street ROI
When Google first introduced this tool, it was only open to businesses with a physical bricks-and-mortar location. Now, any viable business can use Google Business Profiles. Even if you operate your business from your home, Google allows you to hide your personal address. So, not having a physical store front is no longer a barrier to create a Google Business Profile and sell your product or service.
Google Business Profiles are great for companies marketing products and services. And it’s essential for all types of businesses needing a local SEO boost to reach their potential customers:
- Small business
- Mid-size businesses
- Local businesses
- Regional businesses
- National businesses
- Public companies
- Private companies
- Companies that sell products
- Companies that sell services
- And more!
4 Reasons Why You Should Open a Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free local SEO and marketing tool that helps you control and optimize your professional business information across Google, including in search results and maps. Consider it an additional mini social media profile. From listing your hours and locations to sharing pictures of products, it’s a robust platform rich with analytics and features. Here’s an overview of the top three reasons why you should get, create, optimize, and use Google Business Profiles.
If you don’t create a GBP, you’ll miss out on free local SEO and visibility.
With a professional business listing on Google, you can connect with local customers that search for your business or service nearby. A local Google listing is one of the best ways to help customers find your business on Google Maps, and the SEO results speak for themselves. According to IPSOS digital research about Google media, a company with a Google Business Profile receives a high return on investment:
- Get 7x more clicks
- 70% more likely to attract location visits
- 50% more likely to receive a purchase from that visit
Use Google to boost your company’s local SEO rank.
If you have a Google profile, it will appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant searches and may also appear in local Google maps location results for searchers in your area. In fact, having a professional Google profile with up-to-date information is one of the top 10 best ranking factors for SEO and Google Local Search information.
Collect business reviews.
Everyone knows that a business only posts good reviews on their own website and LinkedIn reviews must be accepted by the individual in order to post them. That’s why most people often look at the unbiased reviews on Google before picking up the phone to call businesses. That’s why it’s the best way to get reviews and tell people how awesome you and your company are. Once your Google profile listing is set up, remember to make it easy to collect reviews and share your direct Google review link.
Your GMB Profile is free and easy to use!
That’s right. Creating a Google Business profile listing is 100% free! Unlike paid media ads, PPC, Google ads, and search options, Google Business Profile brings free, organic SEO traffic to your business. Setting up a professional profile is easy, and next, we’ll provide step-by-step help and guidance.
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How to Set Up Your Profile for Best Optimization
Source: Google Business Profile
Ready to learn how to set up and use Google Business Profiles for local SEO and online searches? It’s intuitive and user friendly! Take these four easy steps to claim and set up your GBP.
- Create a Google account. Sign in to your Google account. Then, click the “My Business” link in the menu at the top right of your screen. Select “Get Started” under “Add or Manage a Business.” Next, Enter your business name, address information, and website URL. Click “Next.”
- Verify your business. Verifying Google Business is a two-step process. Once you add or claim your profile, Google will need to verify your business. Google’s preferred method of verification is usually sending a postcard with a code to the designated business address. You should receive the postcard within five business days. Once the postcard is received, you can enter your verification code to make your profile live. Google may also provide the option to verify your account through phone, text, email, or video. In some cases, depending on your category or location, more than one method may be required. If you verify via text or email, you will receive a code. If Google needs to review your verification for security reasons, the process can take up to seven business days. Once you’re verified, you’ll receive an email notification. While you are waiting for your verification code, you may continue to set up your account; however, your profile won’t be visible until you enter the Google code.
- Complete your Google profile. According to Google and sources like Search Engine Journal (SEJ), business and retail customers are 7 times more likely to consider your business, services, and products reputable if you have a complete, optimized Google Business Profile. So, fill in as many fields as possible, and carefully review your information before you publish. More on that later!
- Optimize Google! Your Google digital profile is not a one-and-done activity. To take full advantage, optimize your content. From your pictures to your information and descriptions, every word and image counts! So, what’s the best way to strengthen your profile? Next, we’ll provide advice to help you stand out from the local competition.
- Assign managers. If needed, you can assign a manager (or more than one) to your Google Business Profile account. You may need to assign an employee, digital manager, or marketing agency director.
How to Optimize Google Business Listings to Attract Customers: Quick Tips for Success
As a Google guide, Precise Creative has managed and optimized Google profiles for many clients since the platform’s launch in 2014. Along the way, we’ve learned plenty about search engines. So, here’s an overview to help set up your Google Business Profile feature listing for SEO, attract more potential customers, get more calls, and close more business.
Tip #1: Thoroughly Complete Each Field
Don’t rush through this step. The more information you provide in each field on your Google listing, the better your SEO marketing will be. Keep these things in mind as you work through the Info section and field of your Google profile:
- Confirm your business profile categories. You can choose up to three, if they are applicable.
- Do you offer delivery or home services?
- List your local service areas (cities, towns, states, countries, etc.).
- State your hours of operation.
- Specify any special hours, such as holiday closures.
- List your phone number and website address.
- Add your appointment/contact link (perhaps the link to your website contact page or your appointment scheduler).
- Complete your product and services sections as thoroughly as you can. Be sure to list all possible variations of your product and/or service names. And include relevant pictures if possible.
- Complete the section regarding your business classification (e.g., veteran owned, black owned, woman owned).
- Add your crowd, planning, and service attributes.
- Take advantage of the total character count limit in your company’s business description. In this case, more is more.
- Include the date you opened your business (at least the month and year).
Tip #2: Upload Photos for All Categories
Your Google Business Profile listing allows you to upload pictures and video for every marketing category in your business. Use this important feature to showcase your products or services and demonstrate your brand personality.
- Identity: Logo/Brand photos
- At Work: Interior photos
- At Work: Exterior photos
- Team: Individual and Team photos
- Products photos
- Services photos
If you want to be taken seriously as a business, don’t skip this important SEO marketing step. Simply click Photos on your left-facing menu. Then choose the category from the top navigation. Click the blue circle with the plus sign at the top right to add your pictures to each page.
Tip #3: Double Check Your Company’s Contact Information
This is important for your SEO! Make sure your NAP data (your name, address, and phone number) is entered as you’d like it to appear everywhere online. Keep important things like consistent punctuation and abbreviation in mind before you press publish this information.
Tip #4: Post Regular Content Updates
Your Google Business Profile is like any other social media account — it needs to be updated regularly with new information and posts. The more you post content to Google, the more customers will see your business—and the more SEO juice you’ll get. You don’t need to post content here every day, but once a week is sufficient. Your posts can link to your latest blog posts, e-newsletters, pictures of products, or even your Shopify store.
You can use online tools to schedule regular Google Business Profile updates and to appear at a specific day and time. For example, if you want to promote your daily specials, you can schedule Google posts for the same time every day and ensure they’re only visible to customers within a certain radius of your location. You can also share new blog content or press releases too.
In addition, some social media schedulers like Sprout Social and Hootsuite now allow you to post and schedule directly to your Google Business Profile. So, start posting here regularly for better results.
Tip #5: Respond to All Reviews (Yes, Even the Negative Ones)
“A customer talking about their experience with you is worth ten times what you write or say about yourself.” ― David J. Greer
Google Business Profile allows you to collect and respond to Google reviews in real time. It’s an important and great way to show your customers that you appreciate them taking time out of their day to leave feedback. Not sure how to respond to Google reviews? Here are some quick tips, along with an example.
- Personalize your response by using their name or business name.
- Check your reviews regularly and respond to customers quickly.
- Thank customers for their feedback. If they had constructive criticism, let them know that you are working hard to improve your service, product, store, etc.
- When appropriate, ask them if there is anything else they would like you to improve.
Answers to Common Google Business FAQS
Now you know why it’s important to use Google Business Profiles (GBP) as an SEO and digital marketing tool and how to get started. Ready to dive right in and start your Google Business Profile? If so, great!
Still feel overwhelmed? No worries. Precise Creative is your guide to help you manage every step. In fact, we’ve already helped many small businesses like yours grow their customer base through Google and local search results. Here are some of our clients’ top questions about Google Business Profiles.
I don’t know how to edit my Google Business Profile. Any tips?
If you need to make edits, no problem! We suggest you keep your Google profile up to date regularly. So, set a reminder to review and edit your Google page once per quarter. Simply access your GBP profile through your Gmail login. Select your business profile and use the left-hand navigation menu to select the areas to update. Click Save, and you’re done!
How can I reach Google Business support?
You can turn to the Google community support forum for answers if you have questions about your profile. If you prefer to speak directly to someone from Google, submit this contact form. You can also sign up for an easy online class through Google to learn more about setting up profiles.
What if I need to change my GBP management?
If you need to change management or add a business profile manager to your Google business account, follow these steps.
- Go to your Google Business Profile.
- Select “Users” in the left-hand menu.
- At the top right, select “Add Users.”
- Enter a name or email address.
- Under “Choose a Role,” select Owner or Manager. (A manager will be able to post to, update, and manage your profile, but not have the authority to delete it.)
- Select Invite.
One note: Only the primary owner can transfer primary ownership, so consider this when you set up your profile. When moving ownership, the new owner will have to wait seven days before they’re allowed to make any updates or posts to the Google Business Profile.
Can I appoint more than one Google business manager?
Yes. You can have multiple managers per account but only one primary owner.
Is GBP sign-up really free? What’s the catch?
Yes! Google Business Profile 100% free. Pretty nifty, right? The only investment you have to make is your time. Short on time? As your guide, Precise Creative can take this task to set up Google off of your plate!
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Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You
Whether you’re a small business or retail store looking to reach new customers or want to make sure your current customers can find you, SEO and Google local search are essential strategies for your brand. An optimized Google Business Profile listing is one of the best ways to build and manage your local presence and get more website traffic. And you can customize and add to this media based on what’s most relevant to you and your customer.
So, give it a try today to discover exactly how valuable this Google digital platform can be for you and your business! Want help or need to ask a question? Trust our team of experts. We’re happy to help you and answer all of your questions.