Love it or hate it, almost everyone uses Google at some point during their day. In fact, Google handles nearly 5.6 Billion searches every day! It's safe to believe that a great number of those searches are potential clients and customers searching for products and services online.
So, business owners would be wise to ask themselves: is my online business profile set up in a way that not only attracts those customers and clients, but also set up to be favored by Google when it chooses which businesses to display in search results?
Your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) can make or break your organic traffic efforts. This makes it a crucial element of your business’s online presence.
Here’s what you need to know:
Google Business Profile is an online listing dedicated solely to your business. It shares information such as location, hours, services, products, business images, reviews, and more!
The Google Business Profile is the information block that appears in search and maps results when searches are made for local goods and services. They are easy to spot since all the information mentioned above is listed conveniently next to the results listings.
The best part about Google Business Profile is that it’s totally free. All you need to do is log in, claim the business and manage your information.
This free service is only available to businesses that serve customers and clients in person, whether this be customers coming to your location, or you serve in what’s known as a Service Area (a distance radius from your business location.)
Online businesses do not meet the requirements for a Google Business Profile and must use other methods such as paid advertising.
Getting your Google Business Profile setup is a pretty straightforward process.
First, you’ll need to log into the Google Business Profile Manager and add your business. This will include your business name, applicable category, location and contact info. As a side note, it’s a good idea to set up Multi-Factor Authentication for your Google account, to prevent unauthorized access to your Google Business Profile and other Google services.
Next, start the verification process for your business by entering your physical address (P.O Boxes are not allowed.)
Google will then mail a postcard to you for your physical business, which contains a code that you will need to enter into the verification field once it arrives. For those businesses that are service-area based, an email verification option will be available.
Next comes the most important step: Customizing and Optimizing your profile.
When you arrive at your profile page, you will see a number of options in the left menu. It’s important to click each of these options and enter as much information as is applicable to your business.
The more information, the better! A complete, accurate profile is highly attractive to Google, and it will tend to show businesses with one more often in search results.
Adding real images of your business can play a huge part in building trust with the public and your potential customers. You want at least five images related to your business uploaded.
On the photos page of your business profile account, you’ll see several options for different types of images you can add: Interior, Exterior, At work, Team, and Identity.
Add as many images here as you can. Google loves a full profile, so the more you can add the better.
Everyone knows how important reviews are to a business or brand. When the reviews start pouring in, take time to answer each and every review.
Offer statements of gratitude to the good reviews. These individuals have taken the time to talk about their good experiences with you and your business.
A quick remark of thanks not only encourages others to leave more stellar reviews, but shows that, as a business owner, you’re attentive to your customer base.
Similarly, always respond to the negative reviews as well. Offer your thanks, and follow that with respectful, positive comments on how you can improve their experience. Your replies to negative comments can prove far more important than those to positive reviews.
This is a great way to show off and promote your products. Remember to keep your product images sharp and appealing to better attract visitors to your website, and ultimately convert them into a paying customer.
Be sure to have an active SSL certificate on your website so your visitors know that they’re safe to shop and/or browse your site.
This underutilized feature is a powerful tool that can help you gain favor with Google. It works much like a social media platform in that you can add images, text and links, and they display as posts in your GMB listing.
These posts in your listing gives visitors quick insight into your business without having to go to a third-party page to see your social posts. There are also several categories of posts you can create as well: Offers, Events, What’s New, and Product updates.
It’s recommended to add a new post at least once a week, though once a day returns optimal results.
Attributes are available to businesses that fall within certain categories, and those that have them available should definitely utilize the feature.
Attributes will display important information about your business in your profile listing, such as restaurant menus and food photos, hotel ratings and check-in times, business services, and more!
Some businesses also have access to buttons that can allow reservations, bookings, ordering and pickup.
If you need help with your Google Business Profile, contact the experts at Crossroad IT for a free consultation.
We offer Google Business Profile audits and can offer recommendations to help you maximize the return you get from your business profile, and increase traffic to your business.
We also provide many other business IT services, taking the hassle out of IT so you can focus on running your business.