Google My Business has been a popular platform for businesses to establish a credible first impression for customers. In 2022, 91% of people read Google My Business reviews prior to contacting a local business, and 66% of Google users contacted a business based on its Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile, or perhaps more commonly known as Google My Business, is a free business listing by Google which allows you to share information about your business. This includes photos of your business, telephone numbers, business hours, location, reviews and the services you offer. With Google Business Profile, Google enables your business to further its reach through Google Search, Google Maps and Google Shopping, all at no cost.
If you are confused about why some sites are terming it as Google Business Profile and in others, Google My Business, not to worry – they’re both referring to the same feature. In 2021, Google announced that they would be renaming ‘Google My Business’ to be known as ‘Google Business Profile’. However, the platform remains equally important in establishing business authority and trustworthiness among potential customers.
In this blog, we will be talking about the importance of Google My Business (or Google Business Profile), how to setup your Google My Business account, and introduce 7 ways you can optimize your Google My Business content for local SEO to get more customers.
While this platform isn’t quite like other pay-to-play platforms, consider this your Google My Business tutorial, as we guide you through how to create a google page for your business to obtain maximum results.
Why is Google My Business Important
To begin, we need to understand how Google My Business can impact your business.
Manage Your Business Information
First impressions matter. With Google My Business, you are in control of the information about your business on the web. With just a few clicks (which we will guide you through later in this article), you can edit your business hours, location, telephone numbers, and any changes to your business information.
This enables you to constantly update your business details and provide up-to-date information, be it about your temporary closures, adjusted operating hours, or new outlets. We all know what it’s like to do a Google search for a business, only to be unable to find information you seek about it. With Google My Business, you can ensure that your customers stay informed, and have them find out what it is you want them to know about your business.
From looking for “Restaurants in Town” to “Grocery Stores Near Me”, Google is our go-to search engine for information. Google My Business enables web users to find your business, when they are performing a relevant search. With a good business profile, you increase the likelihood of having your business listed at the top of relevant searches, or that it gets included in the Google Local 3-Pack.
The Google Local 3-Pack refers to how Google displays top results for a local business search. You might have seen it before, where Google displays three Google Business Profile listings with a map that pins the locations of these business profiles.
With greater visibility, web users are more likely to click onto your business profile and discover your business.
Engage With Your Customers
Google My Business facilitates a 2-way communication between your business and your customers. With the platform, customers can leave reviews, questions, and even message your business. You can then respond to them, or publish posts on your business profile.
This way, your customers feel heard and valued by your business. Other explorers on the web can also access these pages, and find out more about your business.
Setting Up Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business account is quite simple.
Step 1: Visit https://www.google.com/business/ and select “Manage Now” to get started.
Sign up with your business email domain.
Step 2: Enter the name of your business
There may be a list of suggested businesses in the drop down options for your selection. If your business is listed, you may select it. Alternatively, you can create a new business with this name.
If someone has already verified your business, you may request for ownership of the Business Profile by selecting the “Request Access” button. Submit the relevant information, and the existing profile owner will receive a prompt to contact you.
Step 3: Choose your business type
Select the appropriate business type description for your business – online retail, local store and service business. You may select all applicable options for your business.
Step 4: Select a business category that best describes your business
Suggested business category options will be listed as you type. If you are unable to find an exact business category for your business, select a similar one.
Step 5: Enter your business address
Step 6: Fill in your contact information
Step 7: Verify your business
Finally, verify your business and you’ll be good to go! Only upon verification will your business profile be displayed across all of Google, increasing reach to web users.
Optimising your Google My Business Content for Local SEO
Now that you have successfully set up an account for Google My Business, what remains is ensuring that your business profile is optimised for local search engine searches.
While we are unaware of exact search ranking factor weightage, Google has indicated that it ranks local search listings based on factors of – Relevance, Distance and Prominence.
Relevance refers to how much your local Business Profile matches what a user is searching for. With complete and accurate information about your business, Google can use the information to better understand what it is your business does. Subsequently, its algorithms can better match your business profile to relevant searches.
Distance refers to how far your business is from the location marker used in a search. If no location is specified in the search, Google calculates distance based on what it knows about the searcher’s location.
Prominence refers to how “well known” the business is. Established and landmark brands are likely to be considered more “prominent” than obscure ones. To increase prominence, it is important to ensure that you populate your business profile with updated information.
Google uses information it has about a business across the web (including links, articles, and directories) in its consideration of search rankings. With more reviews and ratings, its algorithms are likely to consider your business to be more established, increasing prominence scores.
To optimise your business content for local SEO:
Complete your profile
Completing your profile is a simple, but effective method to optimize your content. There are several benefits to fill in all sections of your Google Business Profile.
First, a complete Google Business Profile helps to establish greater credibility, increasing web users’ trust for your business. According to Google, customers are 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. Customers are also 70% more likely to visit, and 50% more likely to consider buying from businesses with a complete Business Profile.
Furthermore, a complete profile can help your business rank better on Google’s search result page. Google has ascertained that businesses with “complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches”. With every section of your profile filled, you are more likely to fulfill what users are looking for when conducting your search. The additional information increases the relevance scores of your business profile, enabling Google’s algorithm to better match your profile with relevant searches.
Update your profile
Ensure that your business profile content is constantly reviewed and updated. This includes updated operating hours, changes in location, or new services you offer. We can all imagine how much customers detest heading down to a store, only to find out it’s closed for the weekend or that its operating hours have been revised. This might warrant them leaving your business a negative review, affecting the credibility and reputation of your business.
To edit the content of your business profile, simply sign in to your Google Business Profile account, and edit your information through your dashboard.
Respond to reviews
Reviews are an important part of Google Business Profile, and can make or break a business’s credibility. They are shown on all Google Business Profiles, and contribute to the impression that customers have about your business. In 2021, 81% of consumers said they read Google reviews, which is a significant increase from 2020, where just 63% of consumers read Google reviews.
Evidently, reviews contribute to a customer’s trust in your business, as they are often perceived to be authentic and unfiltered comments about your business. Web users are drawn to businesses with higher review scores, and positive reviews can contribute to increasing the visibility of your business profile. This could help in increasing your prominence scores, improving your business rankings on Google’s search result page.
Apart from positive reviews, it is crucial to manage your Google reviews effectively.
With Google Business Profile, you can easily reply to reviews left by customers. Google has recommended that businesses respond to the reviews – both positive and negative ones, to show that you value their feedback. This helps in establishing rapport with customers, and improves the reputation of your business. Customers might give your business another chance, or leave a better review in future.
Tip: To increase reviews on your page, you can add a CTA to your website or post-purchase pages to provide your customers with a clickable link to leave a Google review.
Upload images of your business for your profile logo, cover photo and business photos to your profile. With accurate images, web users have a clearer idea of what your business offers. Appealing images also help to draw customers to your business, generating greater interest.
Having photos is also listed as one of Google’s recommendations to improve local rankings on Google. You might want to note that upon uploading a photo or video, Google reviews them to ensure that they comply with Google’s policies. Once the status of your uploaded media changes from “Pending” to “Live”, they will be visible on Google Search and Maps for web users.
You may find updated policies of Google photos here.
Select Relevant Attributes
When setting up your Google Business Profile, Google will provide a list of attributes for your business to select. Select all applicable attributes, to provide web users with a comprehensive insight into your business.
Google’s attribute options are highly specific, covering scope across accessibility, services offered, amenities, crowd characteristics, accepted payment methods, and more. Some examples of attributes include “wheelchair accessible”, “wi-fi (free/paid)”, “restrooms”, “women-led”, or “outdoor seating”.
Business attributes can answer some frequently asked questions that web users may have, such as whether your cafe offers free wi-fi, or if it is pet-friendly. While attributes may not directly improve your business search engine rankings, they provide customers with more information about your business. Local searches tend to target specific questions about businesses. Hence, leveraging on applicable attributes for your business is likely to increase relevance of your business profile for specific searches.
Posts are a good platform for your business to connect with your customers. You can create a post to announce business updates, offers, or event details. This enables you to better communicate your latest business happenings with web users who are searching for related information.
Web users who search for your business are likely to see your posts before they access your website. Hence, share bite-sized and informative content that could attract potential customers to your business.
Within your posts, you can share information that include your location information, as well as keywords that are relevant to your business, to increase the relevance of your content. Ensure, however, that your content remains helpful for your potential customers.
Add your own questions and answers
The question and answer section appears directly under the core details of your business (such as name, phone number, website and address). Web users can leave questions and answer them. While Google allows any Google user to answer questions, it is important that you review the questions posed and provide accurate responses that are true to your business.
Not just that, you can be in the driver’s seat by asking your own questions. Post questions that you think other web users might have, and provide comprehensive answers. By posting your own questions, you can provide key information about your business that you think would be valuable to web users. It might be useful to note that questions typically appear in order of likes. Hence, you may want to upvote questions that you think would be extra valuable for your potential customers.
To further optimize your content, try to add keywords into your own questions and answers as well. Since June 2021, Google has incorporated a “Related to your search” section to Google Business Profile for businesses. Hence, adding keywords to your questions could help to increase the prominence of your response, increasing visibility of the key information about your business that you want web users to know.
Metrics You Can Look At
Google provides some analytics as part of its Google Business Profile feature. Your account would provide you with insights about searches – number of unique visitors to your profile, direction requests, calls from the profile clickthrough, website clicks, messages, bookings, summary of total interactions and number of product views.
These metrics might be helpful for you to better understand your Google My Business (GMB) listings, and track how popular your business is with existing searches.
Benefits of Google Business Profile
Having an optimized Google Business Profile is important in creating a good first impression for your business. We all know that we don’t often scour through long lists – we tend to look through the first few listed ones that have high ratings, before we come to a decision.
Now that you are aware of how to use Google My Business and optimize it, you can now work towards topping local listings on Google for relevant searches. A properly optimized GMB listing can help in increasing visibility and build greater credibility, so start creating a google business page today! Chat with our team to find out more.