Google Business Profile Optimization is crucial for achieving targeted visibility on Google. While most businesses are aware of the importance of optimizing their website and Google Ads, they often overlook the power of their Google Business Listing. This dynamic snapshot of your business highlights your best attributes and helps potential customers find you quickly from the search engine results page (SERP). And the best part? It’s completely free to use.
Despite the fact that there are approximately 167 billion Google searches each month, a recent BrightLocal survey revealed that the average Business Profile only receives 1,260 views per month. This means that the Business Profile gets viewed in only 0.00000075% of Google searches. To make matters worse, out of these 1,260 views, only 59 actions are taken. That’s less than 5%! It’s clear that there is a significant opportunity for businesses to improve their Google Business Profile optimization to increase visibility and drive more engagement from potential customers.
Optimizing Your Google Business Profile Is Important
Optimizing your Google Business Profile helps customers choose your business over other businesses. However, there are many other benefits to optimizing your Business Profile for effective, local marketing.
Improving the optimization of your Google Business Profile can also lead to increased engagement with potential customers. This is because many consumers use Google as their go-to search engine and often prefer to find all the information they need without having to visit multiple websites. By providing accurate and relevant information on your Business Profile, you can capture their attention and potentially turn them into customers.
Boost Your Local Ranking
Google’s algorithm to rank Business Profiles is not based on proximity or relevance, but on activity and quality information. These signals are sent to Google by optimizing your Google Business Profile to make you rank higher in Local Results. A higher rank means greater visibility and engagement for your business, as you already know.
More Customers Can Be Converted
An ordinary Google Business Profile doesn’t provide much to acquire customers. If they can search for your business name (creative ideas here), they will be able to find you and your reviews. With an optimized Business Profile via your Google My Business account, customers can find you through keyword searches, call or visit you, view/contribute to FAQs, request a quote or make a booking, and much more. You can track clicks on your website, appointment, menu link, and more using UTMs, and Google Analytics.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile
You now know that optimizing your Google Business Profile will make you stand out in local searches and help you win customers online. These are 13 ways to turn your Google Business Profile into a 24/7 marketing and leads generation tool for your local company.
1. Register for a Google My Business Account
It is important to remember that a Google Business Profile can be used as an independent entity from a Google My Business Account. This is to optimize and gain access to the former. To be able to do the optimizations described in this guide, it is necessary to create a Google My Business Account and tell Google to link it to your Google Business Profile. Go to Google.com/business to create an account. Sign in using the Google/Gmail account that you use for business purposes (not your personal Gmail), and then go to Google.com/business.
2. Each Section Must Be Completed
Google will rank your Google Business Profile higher in local searches. It also helps customers take more action when they see your profile. You have a lot to offer, so these are some guidelines to help you prioritize.
These are the most important aspects of your profile and should be done immediately:
These sections require more thought and time.
- Category and attributes
- Services and products
- From the business
- Questions and answers (Owner-generated queries)
These sections are being updated:
- Questions and answers (Consumer-generated).
3. Make Sure You Are Precise With Your Contact Information
These are the steps to optimize your contact information on your Google Business Profile.
- Make sure that your business name matches the one on the store signage. Google may penalize you for adding location names (unless it is in your brand name) and keywords.
- Your business name and address should match all other listings on the internet. This means that you should use “st” instead of “street” or even “co” instead of “company”. These inconsistencies are taken into consideration by Google’s algorithm when it assesses your credibility.
- Indicate your holiday and regular hours. This helps customers visit your store and avoids negative reviews from people who have been disappointed by the experience.
4. Complete “From the Business” Description
First, you should note that the short description located just below your business name on your Business Profile is not under your control. Google creates this editorial summary to ensure consistency across its platform. It’s a bummer, I know. Google does a great job of coming up with descriptions.
You have some control over the description in the Google My Business dashboard. This section is often located below the reviews section in your profile.
To optimize your Google Business Profile’s “from the business” section:
- Use all 750 characters. Key information should be in the first 250 characters.
- Use content from your mission statement or “About Us” page to repurpose.
- To find similar businesses to yours, use keywords that your audience uses.
- Do not repeat information that is already available in other sections of the profile. This space is for you to discuss what makes your business stand out from the rest and what customers love about it.
- Do not include HTML or links.
5. Choose a Category
Optimizing your Google Business Profile is only possible if you choose a category. Here’s why:
- Find your business in search engines. An astounding 84% number of Business Profile views on Google come from discovery searches. This means that the consumer searched for a product or service and the profile of the business was displayed. Only 16% comes from direct searches (where the consumer entered the business name or the address). This is especially true for businesses that don’t have a service name.
- Highlight specific features. Google gives you the option to add category-specific features to your profile once you have chosen a category. This will make it more appealing and effective. Restaurants can have a reservation or menu button, hotel profiles can pull in star ratings, and hair salons can verify that they have experience working with curly or thin hair. These details will help customers choose you over your competitors.
The top section of your Google Business Profile shows the category you selected
Google has a limited number of categories. It is important to select the right ones. This is how you can optimize your Google Business Profile with categories
- Be specific.
- Select secondary categories. Many companies fall under multiple categories. You can set your primary category as your main offering, for example, “Grocery Store”, and then select additional categories such as “Grocery Delivery Services” or “Gourmet Grocery Store”.
- Be careful not to overdo it. Google wants you to connect with people who need your service. So choose categories that best describe your offerings. If you are an appliance repair company, you should select “Appliance Repair Only” and not “Appliance Parts Supplier”. Technically, you can supply service parts but it is not an independent offering. Pro tip: Do not confuse categories with attributes or products. They are two different sections.
Google may ask you for verification if you add or edit a category. This is to verify accuracy across the platform.
6. Select the Appropriate Attributes
We just mentioned that Google will provide a list with attributes to help you describe your business once you have chosen a category. Attributes are the special features that potential customers seek out.
These attributes are not limited to Google My Business, but review sites such as Yelp also have them. Google attributes are more specific, such as “good for laptop use” and “popular for travelers”.
Reasons why it is important to upload photos to your Business Profile via your Google My Business account dashboard:
- Quality is guaranteed. Anybody can upload photos to your Business Profile. This means that you will get a variety of quality. You can make sure your profile looks great by adding your best photos.
- Be active. Google will notice if you add photos to your profile regularly. This signals that your profile is active and up-to-date. This positively affects your ranking.
- Get images in results. Google is making image recognition more efficient and including photos in local search results.
- Increase engagement. Google says that customers are 42% more likely than others to request driving directions from a business whose Business Profile includes photos. 35% more people will click through to the website if it has these photos. A BrightLocal study found that businesses with more photos receive 520% more calls, 2,717% higher direction requests, and 1,065% more website visits than the average business. Whoah.
8. Google Reviews
What business would you choose if you found a list of similar businesses in search results to the one below? Which one has four yellow stars? Or one of the two with no reviews?
Google recognizes that reviews are the #1 factor in consumer buying decisions, and this is why it has made this an important ranking factor. The impact of reviews on rankings can be seen for yourself. Google’s “Local 3-Pack” is a list of the top three local results. These are the ones that have received multiple reviews and have solid star ratings.
Google will encourage keywords in your reviews to further validate relevancy.
These tips will help you stand out among your competitors by optimizing your Google Business Profile with Reviews
- To get the momentum started, start with long-standing loyal customers.
- Customers will find it easy to create a review link or use Whitespark’s shortcut linking generator (both are completely free).
- 62% of customers will leave a review if requested. You can do this via email, text, or in-person conversations.
- Customers should remember that reviews don’t serve only your benefit. They help others who are experiencing the same problems as you to find a solution, and make informed decisions.
- Create a page called “Reviews” on your website that allows users to leave reviews.
- React to customer reviews. This helps to motivate customers to leave reviews. It also reveals a lot to prospects about your business and improves local SEO.
However, it is not permitted to reward reviews with cash, discounts, gifts, or other incentives.
9. Post to Your Google Business Profile
You can also post information about announcements and events to your Google Business Profile, just like with social networking platforms. Your Google My Business dashboard creates posts and they appear in the “Updates” section at the bottom of the Business Profile. They may be more prominent depending on the search query.
How posts can help you optimize your Google Business Profile:
- Consumers who discover your profile will take more action if you have posted them.
- Regular posting sends positive rankings signals to Google the same way as adding photos.
- Search engines have higher intent than other platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram where they are casually scrolling), so consumers are more likely to engage in your Google posts.
- Consumers can follow your Business Profile to be notified about new posts and updates.
Posts to Google My Business will appear on Maps – it’s free marketing for your local business.
These are some tips to optimize your Google Business Profile and posts.
- Post frequently. Not only to send signals to Google but also because certain types of posts expire every seven days.
- Marketing campaigns with a timeline should use events and offer postings. You can select a time period and the posts will remain live for that duration.
- In every post, include CTAs and links.
10. Ask Questions and Get Answers
Did you know that Amazon has a section where customers can ask questions? Google Business Profiles offers the same feature.
These questions could be what entices customers to choose your business. This section is crucial to optimize, as anyone can ask questions on a business’s Google page. Anyone can also answer. This could lead to incorrect information in your profile or worse, something like this Q&A page for a pizza restaurant.
You cannot disable the Q&A section of your Business Profile. However, there are many ways to optimize it.
- Create alerts to stay up-to-date with all questions and answers that are posted to your profile.
- Start your own Q&A section. Create a list of frequently asked questions for your business. Ask, answer, then upvote the answer on your profile. It is not against Google’s terms. In fact, Google encourages it.
- Keywords are important. Answers and questions that include keywords can improve your Business Profile’s rank for that keyword. When seeding your Q&A section keep in mind your keyword strategy. However, you should use them organically and not keyword stuff.
Monitoring and seeding your Q&A section will ensure that accurate information is provided, highlight your best qualities, and lower entry barriers.
11. Add Products or Services
If your products or services are not clearly stated in your business name, adding products and/or services can be very helpful. This section can also be used to add content to your profile, which can make it rank higher for more relevant searches.
Add the name, description, and price of products or services when adding them. Once a searcher clicks on the product, the full description will be displayed. Google may also link to your products in your category section.
12. Set Up Messaging
Searchers can send a message to your phone via your Google Business Profile. This is an excellent opportunity for customers to contact you, with 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% of millennials) using their phones for local searches.
You can enable messaging by selecting the “Messaging” tab from your Google My Business dashboard. Then, you can choose to install it via Google Play or Apple App Store.
Two words about Google My Business messaging:
- It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to display your personal number. You can use an alternative number through Google’s Allo app.
- Set up notifications for messages in Google My Business. Go to Settings and select “Customer messages”.
13. Maintain Your Business Profile Using a Solid Google My Business Strategy
A Google Business Profile isn’t a one-and-done marketing task. It is a local marketing tool that requires continuous action to improve your online presence and maximize your benefits. This includes:
- Update information, even minor changes in suite numbers.
- Each week, publish posts and upload images.
- Keep a steady flow of reviews coming in.
- Monitor and respond to reviews.
- Keep abreast of all new features to ensure that your profile is being used to its maximum potential.
Google My Business strategies should be similar to any other Google SEO strategies. You need to provide as much information as possible about your business in your Business Profile and in the Google sources used for populating it. This includes your website, review site profiles, and social media accounts. Although we don’t know all ranking factors, we can identify the ultimate goal of each one: to help searchers find the right business for them through trusted, detailed information. Focus on how your Google My Business dashboard can help you to build your Business Profile. Then, make sure you maintain it.
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With our Google Business Profile Optimization Tips, you’ll learn how to optimize your Google Business Profile to improve your search engine rankings, attract more customers, and generate more leads. Our tips are easy to follow and can help you achieve your business goals in no time.
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