Customers are using Google Search more frequently to find nearby businesses. The key to getting in front of clients before the competition is to have a Google Business Profile that is well-optimized.
Historically, businesses seeking new customers relied on local word-of-mouth and conventional marketing strategies. Customers' attention has shifted from flashy storefronts and old-school mailers, which once enticed them to purchase products and services, to your company's digital presence and online reputation.
When your customers want to do business with local entrepreneurs, they turn to search engines first, and Google accounts for nearly 90 percent of all search engine traffic. Google's algorithms scan the web every day in search of the most relevant businesses to display at the top of their results page. Earning a top spot on the first page of Google's search results almost guarantees a swarm of new business, given that 60 percent of clicks go to the top three results of a Google search. As the primary starting point for millions of customers worldwide, it is more important than ever for business owners to cooperate with the omnipotent search engine.
But how does a company ensure that Google positions its listing in this lucrative real estate? One of the most important factors is the Google Business Profile tool. When someone in your area searches for a local service, such as "burger in New York," Google weighs all the information it knows about those search terms, and voilà! The customer sees a curated list of businesses that meet their criteria.
Customers can quickly view photos, business hours, star ratings, and reviews before deciding whether or not to order burger there on a Sunday night. Google Business Profiles are an effective way to increase your search engine visibility and connect with new customers searching for businesses like yours.
A well-optimized Google Business Profile also improves your company's reputation by leveraging the influence of online reviews. Quantity and quality of customer reviews are nearly as important as a comfortable spot in Google's top three search results. More than 80 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, a listing loaded with 5-star ratings and positive feedback is one of the pillars of an effective search engine optimization strategy.
What is the takeaway? An optimized web presence on popular platforms such as Google Business Profile is analogous to a well-dressed storefront, enticing customers to enter and learn more about your products. Similarly, a business without a search engine strategy is analogous to a dark, seemingly boarded-up storefront, which discourages business and deters new customers.
This guide explains everything you need to know about Google Business Profile and how to leverage its unmatched power to increase website traffic, enhance your reputation, and launch a new day of explosive business growth.
If your company does not have a Google business listing, you can easily create one at google.com/business.
1. Start by logging into or creating the Google account associated with your business choose "Start now"
2. Now enter the basics of your business. Google will ask a few straightforward questions, such as your company's name and location. If your business does not have a physical storefront (such as a landscaper or masseuse) or if you only offer delivery, select "I deliver goods and services to my customers."
3. Next step prompts you to choose a service area. For instance, restaurants that deliver food to customers' homes or local cleaning service will want to use this section to inform potential customers whether they are within their delivery or service area.
a. Service areas can be as large or small as desired. You can add cities, counties, states, provinces, and even entire nations where your services are offered.You can add cities, counties, states, provinces, and even entire nations where your services are offered.
b. Ensure that your service area is as specific as possible, as Google will use this to determine your search relevance. If you primarily provide accounting services to local businesses in New Port, California, for instance, use the city as your specific service area. Thus, you will be more likely to appear in searches for "Accounting professionals in New Port" than if your service area included the entire state of California.
4. Now select a business category. You desire for your business category to be as precisely defined as your service area. The more ambiguous your business category, the less likely you are to appear for searches that are most relevant to your company.
Claiming your business listing is the initial step towards improving how local customers discover your company. Google already has a vast database of listed businesses, so it is likely that one for yours already exists. Here's how to exert complete control over your listing.
1. Start by conducting a Google search for your company.
2. Google will display the information it currently has about your business. You may find your address, telephone number, and a brief description of your services on your website. Select "Own this business?" under this primary information.
3. You are prompted to access your Gmail account. If you do not have one, no problem. You will have the chance to create one.
4. After logging in, click "Manage Now."
5. There are several helpful ways to verify that you are a verified representative of this company. Google may send you a verification code via phone, email, or postal mail.
Next, you’ll need to choose a business category. You want your business category to be as clearly defined as your service area. The vaguer the business category, the less likely you will appear for the searches most relevant to your business. From “diesel engine repair service” to “miniature golf course,” Google provides hundreds of potential business categories, so you can easily find one that best pinpoints your service offering.
Some businesses will be able to verify via telephone number. Google will contact this number with an automated message; therefore, you should be available to answer the call. Enter the five-digit verification code and then click the "Submit" button.
Some businesses may have the option of email verification. Google will send a five-digit verification code to your registered email address. Enter the code that was sent to your inbox, then click "Submit."
The default method of verification relies on postal mail. Google will mail a postcard to your commercial address. Consider that it may take up to five days to receive the postcard. Sign back into your Google Business Profile account once it has been delivered to your inbox. Enter the code that appears on your postcard. Click "Submit."
The dashboard of your Google Business Profile is your primary command centre. It enables you to manage how Google displays your business information across the Internet. It is important to learn the ins and outs of the dashboard so that you can always keep your listing up-to-date and full of engaging content that attracts new customers.
This is the central hub for all Google Business Profile-related information. It's how you can keep your information up-to-date, publish posts to your listing, view analytics, and manage your account's administrative functions.
Image, video, and text posts are the most effective means of directly communicating timely news and promotions to local customers. You can choose from a variety of post types, including basic updates, events, and special offers, to demonstrate to visitors that your business is active and thriving. By providing an inside look at your company, posts are an excellent way to increase credibility and trust.
Looking to update your business's information? You can edit key information such as your address, business hours, phone number, website address, and business description on the Info tab. There are also a few helpful tools on the Info and Settings tabs to ensure that your Google Business Profile experience is optimal.
Labels are a simple way to organize multiple locations into groups internally. You can assign a unique identifier to each location, which can be used to group locations regionally or by any other tag deemed necessary by your business. Thus, you can quickly monitor the activity of specific business segments.
The Insights section of your Google Business Profile dashboard provides background information on how customers discover your company. Insights not only provides information on how customers discover your listing, but also provides a wealth of analytics on how customers interact with your listing.
Determine how clients locate your business listing: Your dashboard displays a graph illustrating precisely how browsers discovered your company. Here are listed a few key analytic metrics.Customers who searched for your company using its exact name or address.Discovery inquiries: This number indicates the number of customers who discovered your business by searching for a related business category, product, or service.Branded searches: A summary of the number of customers who discovered your business by searching your brand or a related brand.What search terms do individuals employ? You can also view the search terms people use to locate your business. Are they looking for "Indian meal" or "ice cream"? This section will define the most popular search terms among visitors to your listing.What did individuals do after visiting your listing? This is likely one of the most valuable reports in your Analytics cache. It summarises the actions customers took after discovering your listing. They visited your website, right? Did they select "Call" on their mobile device? Did they request directions for driving or public transportation? Finding your business on Google is one thing, but generating foot traffic or online orders is what drives your business forward.
This section of your dashboard displays the customer reviews that have been left for your business. While reading your positive reviews can be a great confidence booster, it is equally important to read your negative reviews thoroughly and respond to them. A negative review can be detrimental to a company's reputation, but an unanswered negative review is even worse.
Click "Reviews" on the listing you wish to manage after opening it. Click "Reply" to start composing your reply. Thank those who have provided positive feedback and follow up with those who have provided negative feedback. Be approachable and friendly without taking anything personally. Negative reviews are an excellent opportunity to identify problems in your business and address them before they snowball into a crisis. Apologize for the negative experience and, if necessary, extend an invitation to return with a discount or special offer.
Google takes user-generated reviews extremely seriously, so they will rarely remove a review solely due to its negative tone. However, you may flag a review for removal if you believe it to be false or inaccurate. It is possible for a competitor to hire fake reviewers to harm your company's reputation. If you suspect this is occurring, you should notify Google immediately.
In the past, foot traffic and phone calls may have been the primary drivers of new business, but text messaging has emerged as a potent customer communication tool. People are, after all, using their mobile devices to search for your business during noisy train commutes and work hours. Finding a quiet moment to call a business can be a nuisance at times. Customers are flocking to companies that provide text messaging as a mode of communication.
Fortunately, Google Business Profile provides robust messaging tools to help your company capitalise on this trend. You can allow customers to text you questions, which you will receive via the Google Business Profile application. Use the Messages tab of the Google Business Profile app to manage these options, review incoming questions, and respond. Promote customer confidence with prompt responses; nothing kills customer interest faster than unanswered customer service inquiries. In addition, it is essential to respond to messages within 24 hours, or Google may disable the feature on your account.
Create a thriving ecosystem of images within your Google Business Profile by using the Photos section. Publish photographs of your staff, mouth-watering menu items, the interior of your business, and various approach angles so that customers know what to expect when driving or walking to your establishment. You will be able to view the total number of views for each photo you upload, allowing you to determine which types perform best with your audience.
Keep in mind that user-generated images may be added to your Knowledge Panel, so you should use the Photo tab to monitor any newly posted images. You cannot remove these images, but you can flag them for review if you believe they are inaccurate or inappropriate.
Google provides certain businesses with the ability to manage bookings from their Google Business Profile dashboard. Google integrates with numerous popular reservation systems, making it simple to connect your existing system to your Google Business Profile. The Bookings tab allows you to manage your integrations.
There is a powerful feature for service-based businesses on the Info tab, appropriately titled Services. This tool allows you to add a brief summary of your offerings, making it ideal for businesses such as law firms, music schools, and pest control companies. You can create a service category, such as "Guitar Lessons," and add multiple products or tiers, such as "30-Minute Instructional Session" and "1-Hour Instructional Session." You can provide pricing and a 1,000-character description for each service.
Flashy websites require a significant time and financial investment, which discourages many small business owners from launching. Google Business Profile includes a free tool for designing mobile-optimized websites in minutes, so as to equip small businesses with the tools needed to evolve their digital presence. To begin, select Website from the menu on the left-hand side of your Google Business Profile dashboard. You can choose from pre-designed templates and colour palettes and add text and images with ease. You can create a vibrant, user-friendly website for your business with just a few clicks.
You can invite coworkers to become administrators of your listing via the User tab. Owner, Manager, and Site Manager are the three administrative positions available. An Owner has complete authority, including the ability to delete business profiles and manage the permissions of other users. Site Manager, on the other hand, is a smaller role that primarily entails publishing posts and editing primary information. Before assigning new roles, you should become acquainted with each of their corresponding functionalities.
Make it simple for agencies and organisations that manage multiple listings to view all of the accounts and listings they administer. For example, you can create a group of all Midwest store locations to share with a regional manager, but you do not want them to have access to Southeast stores. By selecting the Manage Locations tab, it is possible to create easily manageable groups and distribute permissions to the appropriate individuals.
Bidding strategically on frequently searched-for keywords by your customer base is another potent method for boosting your search engine visibility. By clicking "Create an Ad," you can quickly launch advertising campaigns. Simply connect your Google Ads account to your new Google Business Profile, and you're ready to go.
Relevance, distance, and prominence have a significant impact on the visibility of local businesses on search engines.
Relevance indicates the degree to which your business's offering corresponds with a user's actual search query. If your business offers manicures and pedicures, for instance, the term "nail salon" is much more appropriate than "salon" or "spa." Clarity outweighs the advantages of casting a wide net.
Proximity is also a significant factor in local SEO success. As previously stated, it is essential to define your service area as precisely as possible. Customers who conduct a search for "car repair shop LA" want to locate a business located in or near LA. Repair shops in more distant regions of the state will have a difficult time ranking for this location, but those that emphasize their nearby services will appear higher on the list.
Prominence is the third most influential factor in local SEO. This indicates how significant or intriguing your company appears to be. How do search engines measure the level of interest? A listing that is a bustling hub of new posts, recent promotions, and upcoming events signals to search engines that it is significant.
Similarly, an abundance of glowing 5-star reviews indicates to Google that the business is thriving and offers exceptional service to local customers.
Requesting reviews individually can be a drain on your current resources. By partnering with a platform like Podium, you can automate the process of sending out post-purchase review requests by sending requests immediately. Even better, Podium offers a variety of drag-and-drop templates and pre-written text so that you can effortlessly accumulate reviews. Get in touch with our team for more information.
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