Are you a small business owner looking for an effective way to boost your website’s rankings in search results? Look no further than online marketing’s best-kept secret: Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business).
I know — having yet another account to set up and manage is probably not at the top of your list of favorite things. However, these 7 Google Business Profile hacks will help your small business show up faster in local search results than using search engine optimization (SEO) alone.
What is a Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile, which many people still call Google My Business, is a platform that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google Search results and in Google Maps. This platform is only available to businesses with a physical location or service-based businesses that meet with their clients face-to-face.
The completely free, easy-to-use profile helps your business listing make a stellar first impression with potential customers when you appear in relevant searches. Verifying and updating your business information ensures that people can easily find important details about your business online. Posting updates, adding photos, responding to customer reviews, and even communicating with potential clients through direct messaging within the platform show off your pristine customer service and dedication to your clients.
How can Google Business Profile help your SEO?
Google is the source of 92% of search engine traffic. They want businesses to claim and optimize their profiles so that they can provide the most accurate information to their users.
When a user searches “[business type] near me” they will get a box full of local businesses in their search results. Google puts businesses with an active, up-to-date profile at the top of those local search results because they know the information they are sharing is correct.
44% of people click on those business listings Google provides, leading to 500% higher conversions than with paid ads or organic traffic.
That means, keeping your business listings updated is good for Google and good for your business. If you want to show up in local search results, you need to take advantage of the tool that the search engine created for you.
7 Effective Google Business Profile Hacks
So my friend, whether you enjoy creating online profiles or not, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and put these 7 Google Business Profile hacks to use. They will help you befriend the Google algorithm and get more customers through your door.
Complete Your Profile
This first business hack may seem a little obvious but if you want to improve your local search ranking, you first have to claim, verify, and complete your Google Business Profile.
To claim and verify your business, start by creating a Google Business Profile account. Then, search for and select your business name from the dropdown menu. If your business does not appear, click “add your business,” and fill in all the required information.
As you are filling out your information, be sure you place your business in the correct primary and secondary categories. This is one of the most important ranking factors and ensures you show up in relevant search results.
After verifying your information, you will then need to verify your business location. There are several options, from waiting for snail mail to answering a phone call, or even recording a video to verify that your information is correct.
Once you’ve confirmed that your business is legit, it is time to fill out the rest of your full profile. This is your chance to personalize your account.
Start with a compelling business description that clearly outlines the problem you solve for customers and what sets you apart from the competition. (If you’ve worked with us, this would be your clear company messaging.)
Then, add in all the important details like opening hours and contact information. Don’t forget to include attributes like wheelchair-accessible entrance, multilingual staff, or free Wi-Fi to show what makes your business unique.
Last but not least, fill out the FAQ section with all the questions you get asked over and over again. This prevents your potential clients from needing to reach out for answers and saves you time in the process.
Use Relevant Keywords on Your Profile
If you want to take things up a notch, using relevant keywords in your Google Business Profile is a strategic move that can boost your visibility in search results even more.
Make a list of terms that your potential client would search for to find a business like yours and include as many of them as you logically and naturally can within your profile.
Keeping it natural is the key. Google will penalize your profile if it is overflowing with keywords jammed into nonsensical places.
Add Real Photos of Your Business
Including real photos and videos of your company will help customers know what to expect. It will give them a better idea of what you have to offer. It is also reassuring to walk into a building that matches what they saw in the search results.
The key is to use real images. You don’t want to misrepresent your business in any way. You don’t need to use grainy cell phone pictures but misleading stock photos are also not your friend. If necessary, hire a professional photographer for a few hours so that you can get great photos that show what your company is really like.
Be Easy to Contact
Good customer service begins long before your customer walks through your front door. Make it easy for your customers to reach out to you and get their questions answered quickly and efficiently.
Your contact information, like your business phone number, email address, business hours, and physical address, should always be up to date.
If you can manage and respond to customer messages within a reasonable amount of time, enable direct messaging on your Google Business Profile to make yourself even more readily available to prospective clients.
Keep Your Profile Updated
Now that you have your profile set up, keep your business listing updated. Put a reminder on your calendar to look over your profile every few months and make any necessary changes. If you have seasonal changes to your hours or even an unexpected closure, update them on your profile as well.
Regular updates boost your credibility and show you are serious about customer service. They also signal to Google’s algorithm that your business is active, which can boost your visibility in search results even more.
Ask for Google Reviews
Customer reviews are the key to building your business’s online reputation. According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 98% of consumers read online reviews when searching for a local business. The more reviews you have the more trustworthy your business seems.
So, ask your current clients to leave positive reviews on your profile. Then, take the time to respond to each one.
Use Google Posts
Google Posts is another valuable element of the platform that can enhance visibility and engagement. Similar to how you would post regularly on social media, you can also share updates to your Google Business Profile.
These posts will entice interested clients to visit your website, leading them a bit further down your sales funnel. Seeing the valuable information you share builds trust and encourages them to take the next step toward working with your business.
Help Your Business Listing Rank Higher
Now that you have a few tips to boost your local search results ranking, it’s time to set up your business profile.
If that idea still makes you cringe, it could be because you don’t know what to write.
How you explain what your business does matters just as much as how you run your business. The more clearly you can articulate what you do, the more likely you are to attract your ideal client. Happy customers lead to positive reviews which boost your credibility and your rankings.
If you are struggling to explain your business in a way that resonates with your ideal client, schedule a call with Guide MKTG today. We will help you clarify your business messaging so you never have to wonder what to say again. You’ll walk away with a document that you can copy and paste from the next time you have to set up a profile like this one. Plus, we will create a strategic marketing plan so you know exactly where to focus your marketing efforts and never waste good money on bad marketing again.