In our last blog, we discussed some free ways to increase your presence on search engine results pages, including creating a Google My Business profile. This blog explores in more detail how a Google My Business profile can help your business grow and how to make the most of this opportunity.
What is a Google My Business Profile?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their presence across Google’s various platforms. A profile allows you to manage how your business displays locally on the Google search engine results pages.
It allows you to control your business information, post updates, list your products and services, and much more.
What are the Benefits of Having a Google My Business Profile?
- Appear in Local Search Results – Google My Business is free and easy to use, so there are really no drawbacks to having a profile. By creating one you’ll be included in the local maps listings when someone searches for a product or service that you offer. Google Maps listings (also known as the Google local pack) take up a very prominent position on page one of Google search results, and it’s one of the first things users will see when they search locally. So if you’re not listed then you’ll be missing out against your competition.
- Gain Customers – According to Search Engine Watch, 50% of people who use their mobile to make a local search end up visiting a store, so the potential opportunities to gain new customers are significant. In fact, millions of people across the globe are making local searches every day.
- Acquire Reviews – Having a Google My Business profile also allows you to capture reviews, which helps your local SEO and increase sales. People love to read reviews and they’re a great way for potential customers to find out more about a business and establish which brands to trust.
- Insights into Your Target Audience – A Google My Business profile provides insights into your customers and what they’re searching for, and a way to measure engagement.
What Should I Include in a Google My Business Profile?
Whilst there’s no guarantee you’ll reach the top of the maps listings, there are some ways you can increase your profile’s visibility to Google.
Write a Good Business Description
Your business description should help readers determine whether you’re going to provide the right solution for their problems or pain points and whether it’s worth them paying you a visit. Include a background on how you started, a bit about why you set up the company or your vision and how your product or service meets their needs. Keep it short and simple but be sure to cover key points that are likely to pique the interest of readers.
Verify Your Locations
Your edits won’t appear on Google until you verify your business. The Google My Business verification process ensures that only authentic businesses (and authorised representatives of those businesses) can create and manage listings.
Use a Local Phone Number
Shop local has become a big deal, especially since the pandemic. If people are looking for a local business, they’ll want to see a local number to make sure you’re not part of a larger corporate or chain.
Keep Your Hours Accurate
There’s nothing more frustrating than researching the opening hours for a business, but when you get there, it’s closed. Regularly updating your hours, including any seasonal changes will help Google view you as a real and trustworthy business, and ensure customers know when to visit.
Update Your Categories
Selecting relevant categories allows people to find your business for the keywords they’re searching.
Ensure you set up business categories on Google My Business Profile because this is one of the most important local search ranking factors. Choose one primary category that describes your core product or service, then additional categories to support.
Businesses that add photos to their Google My Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses that don’t. Ensure images are sized properly and are of good quality.
Adding products to your profile allows customers to see what’s available and what to expect and convince them that they want to visit you.
To make your profile even more useful, Google lets you show your product inventory directly on your profile, which can be set up automatically or you can manually add products.
Use it Like Social Media
Think of your Google profile as another social media account and ensure to regularly update it with fresh content and information. Posting is a good opportunity to showcase other aspects of your business that aren’t covered by the standard fields in Google My Business Profile.
Generate and Respond to Reviews
Google reviews show prospective clients that you have an established customer base and have proven your customer service. Reviews build confidence and trust in your brand.
Studies have shown that reviews can influence your Google AdWords conversion rates. If you’re running paid ads, then reviews can help increase your click-through rate. Display your Google reviews in ads via Google’s seller ratings ad extension. To do this you need 100 or more reviews within the past 12 months in the same country, with an average of 3.5 stars or better.
Making sure you reply to each and every review, both good and bad, provides an opportunity to show customers that you care about what they have to say. It’s a chance to thank them for leaving a good review and address any negative feedback, which will show that you’re transparent in your approach and not afraid to interact and resolve issues.
Embed a process whereby you ask all new and repeat customers to leave a review, and ensure you make time to respond.
What Insights Does Google My Business Provide?
Google My Business provides quite a lot of interesting data on who’s visiting your profile locally. It can show you how many people have visited and for which terms. This can help with your organic search too as you can tailor your content and website towards these types of searches.
You can also find insights on the number of calls received, website clicks, messages, bookings, food orders, menus, and product views.
In summary, a Google My Business profile is a really worthwhile investment if it’s managed well. Given that it’s a free tool the benefits to your business could be significant.