Your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a public overview of your business within local Google Search results. Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows you to manage your businesses’ presence across all Google platforms – including Maps. With over four billion Google users worldwide, Google has become the most popular search engine in the world. Your business needs to be on it.
It is likely that your competitors have Google Business Profiles. So how do you make yours stand out and rank above the others? Take a look at your populated content and optimize it to be as accurate and effective as it can be. Let’s cover how you can optimize your Google Business Profile.
UNDERSTANDING GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE
Think of your Google Business Profile as a first impression for your customers. Profiles appear below paid ads and above organic search results. As an example, let’s check out Vervocity’s Business Profile.
In this instance, we searched “SEO Quincy, IL.” Our Google Business Profile appears and shows that we provide Search Engine Optimization as a service. It also shows our location on a map for customers needing directions or curious about where we’re located. Before even scrolling to organic search results, customers are presented with a brief overview of our business and what we offer. This is why it’s important to make sure your listing is optimized and appearing within the top three Business Profile results.
OPTIMIZING YOUR PROFILE
When creating a Google Business Profile, you’ll need to make sure that your company’s information is presented accurately. The company name on the profile should be an exact match to your company’s legal name. You should not try to include additional keywords or information. The phone number should also be the phone number that is displayed on your website, and your website needs to be included in the listing. Finally, you’ll need to have a physical address or service area that aligns with the area you do business. Consistent company basic information not only helps establish trust with your customers, it also helps increase your search engine optimization efforts.
Category & Bio
Select categories for your business based on what it is, not what it does or what it sells. The primary category should be the main industry category your business falls under. Your selected categories will affect what types of fields are seen by your prospective audience. For example, when looking at the photo above for Vervocity, our primary category (provided as an option from Google) is Internet Marketing Service.
When filling in your Introduction/Bio, clearly explain who you are and what you do. Don’t stuff keywords into this section. Think about the words and phrases a customer would type in a Google search to reach your website while accurately summarizing your company’s mission.
Logos, Photos, and Videos
One of the most important photos you should add to your Google Business Profile is your logo. Customers will come to easily recognize your logo and trust your listing. Photos and videos of products and services your company offers should also be added to your listing. Avoid using stock photos, and stick to actual, high resolution photos from your business whenever possible. This will add a “human” element for your brand, making it easier for customers to see who you actually are and what you have to offer.
Products & Services
Along with adding photos and videos to your listing, you also have the option to add a list of products and services. Doing so provides Google with details about what your business offers, thus allowing it to populate relevant search inquiries. Listing your products and services provides customers with an overview of what you can offer them. Be precise when choosing your services. Google will offer suggestions, but you can also choose to add your own. Try to avoid vague services. For example, use ‘computer programming’ instead of simply ‘programming.’ Add products and services your target audience uses to find you.
When filling out your profile, it is important to complete as many sections as you can. Information, like business hours and handicap accessibility, is valuable to customers wanting to access your store or business. Do you accept credit cards, or do you run a cash-only system? Inform your customers of important information before they visit your store to avoid inconveniences.
Business Profile can be utilized for running parts of your business, too. The Bookings feature allows customers to book appointments right through the listing. Direct messaging can be enabled for customers wanting to send messages as soon as they find you. These features don’t have to be enabled as long as customers still have a way to contact you directly.
It’s inevitable – customers will look at your reviews. In fact, many customers rely on reviews as a tool to determine whether or not to do business with a company. Pay attention to who is leaving reviews on your profile and what they’re saying. Thank your customers when they leave a positive review. Try to respond to every review that gets posted on your profile, even the negative ones.
When negative reviews do occur, respond to the customer in a professional manner. Use that review to evaluate your business processes or customer interactions if necessary. Sometimes, negative reviews can be fake or unwarranted, but still do not bash the customer or respond in a way that will negatively impact your reputation. Instead, report the review to Google. Responding to both positive and negative reviews will give customers an insight into how you interact with others.
Successfully optimizing your profile will take time. Changes don’t always show up right away, and your profile will need to be verified by Google before going public. If you are having issues with your Business Profile not moving higher in search results, reach out to us! We’ll work together to access your listing and optimize it for you. Give us a call at (217) 222-1451 or send us a message through our website to learn more.