If you want your business to succeed in 2023, you need a strong digital presence, and an optimized Google My Business Profile is perfect for that. Google is one of the most widely used websites and it has over 92% of the search engine market share.
That means a professional profile on the site can help you find and attract new customers and increase your sales.
What is a Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile allows companies with a physical location to publish a free business listing with their address, product and service details as well as photos on their site. It helps businesses increase their reach as their information may not just show up in Google Search, but also on Google Maps and Google Shopping.
While online businesses cannot publish a Google My Business Profile, they can, instead, use Google Analytics and Google Ads. However, if you’re a restaurant, retail store, hotel, or service business, here are a few things a Google My Business account can help you with:
- Get discovered in Google (and Google Maps) – No other search engine is used as much as Google. A Google My Business Profile will not only help customers find you and increase your web and foot traffic, but it will also improve your local SEO.
- Control your online business information – Whatever changes your business (e.g. expanded opening hours, new phone number, etc.) is going through, you can conveniently update them for all customers to see on our Google My Business Profile.
- Build trust through reviews – Online reviews can make or break a business. People tend to trust and choose businesses with lots of positive reviews, as they appear more credible.
How to Set up a Google My Business Profile
A Google Business Profile allows you to view insights, manage messages and reviews, create ads, and more. Before optimizing your Google My Business Profile, you need to set one up. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Log into Google Business Profile manager
Step 2: Enter your business name
Step 3: Enter your location
Step 4: Fill in your contact information
Step 5: Verify your business. Google will send you a postcard to verify your physical location.
Step 6: Customize your profile with your business description, hours, messaging preferences, and photos.
How to Optimize Google My Business
It’s not easy to set yourself apart from the competition, but by following our tips and tricks, you can make sure your profile ranks higher so that more people can find you.
Once you’ve set up a Google My Business Profile with your business name, address, opening hours, photos and contact information, and verified it, it’s time to optimize it.
Google ranks local businesses based on their distance to the searcher, their relevance and prominence (determined by SEO, review score, number of reviews and links), so you should take these factors into account.
Here’s how to go about your Google My Business optimization:
1. Complete All Elements of Your Profile
A complete business profile appears more professional and reputable, which will help boost the number of people visiting and buying from you. In addition, complete profiles help Google match you more accurately with searches which will help your relevance score.
The most important information in your profile is what type of product or service you offer, your address and your opening hours. Any time you make a change, e.g. to your opening hours, make sure to update your profile to keep it as accurate as possible.
2. Verify Your Location(s)
As with social profiles, an official verification adds credibility and trust. What’s more, it improves your distance score and increases the likelihood that your business shows up in local search results. So, if you haven’t yet verified your location, make sure to do so at https://business.google.com.
3. Add Real Images and Videos of Your Business
You’ve probably heard that pictures are worth a thousand words, and Google agrees: business profiles with images get more clicks and requests for directions. That’s why images of your store or restaurant interiors, meals, menus, team members, and location are crucial to your business success.
In addition, always upload professional photos and videos to your Google My Business website. You should use the same images for your logo and cover photo as on your social media profiles to boost brand recognition.
If you don’t know how to add or edit photos to your Google My Business Profile, here’s a quick guide:
- Go to the Photos tab on the left-hand menu in your dashboard.
- Next, upload a photo from your albums or one you are tagged in.
- In the top menu bar, choose “At Work” or “Team” if you want to add photos.
- To add videos to your profile, choose the” Video” tab.
4. Include Keywords in Your Profile
SEO keywords allow customers to find you and boost your relevance score at the same time. Instead of guessing what your customers are searching for, use tools like SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner to figure out which words or terms people use when looking for your business.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, insert them into your description in a natural way.
5. Encourage and Answer Google My Business Reviews and Questions
As previously mentioned, reviews are crucial to any business’s success. Not only do they improve your Google ranking, but good reviews can also help attract more customers because people trust the opinion and feedback of others.
So, after providing a high-quality experience to a customer, make sure to encourage them to leave an online review. You can do that by simply sending them a review request link copied from the “Share Review” form on the bottom of the dashboard.
Once you get a review, respond to it publicly. You can do so in the “Reviews” tab on the left-hand menu of your profile. If you come across a negative review, remain professional and offer the reviewer a better experience the next time around.
However, If you come across an inappropriate review, you can flag it. Remember that your responses are public so others will see how you conduct yourself.
Responding to reviews can be helpful to your growth as businesses that do so are considered more trustworthy than those that don’t.
6. Keep Business Information up to Date
Whenever you make changes to your business hours, contact information or other details, make sure to immediately update them in the dashboard of your Google My Business Profile. You can also create posts about news, promotions, events, or other updates.
Here’s how to create and publish Google My Business posts:
- Choose “Posts” in the left-hand menu of the dashboard.
- Select “Create Post.”
- Now, choose whether you want to create a post about an offer, update, product, or event, and insert the necessary information.
7. Add Special Features and Attributes
Depending on your type of business, you may be able to add special features to your Google My Business Profile. If you can’t find the option to add these features, you may need to double-check whether you chose the correct category.
Here’s an overview of special features different types of businesses can add:
- Restaurants and Bars – Can display photos of dishes and menus.
- Hotels – May upload check-in and check-out times, amenities, highlights, class ratings, and sustainability practices.
- Service-Oriented Businesses – May add services.
- Healthcare Providers in the US – May display health insurance information.
On top of special features, you can also add certain attributes like free Wi-Fi, wheelchair accessibility or outdoor seating in restaurants.
Here’s, how to add attributes to your business profile:
- Select “Info” from the dashboard.
- Go to “From the Business” and select “Add Attributes.”
- Next, select the attributes and click “Apply.”
8. Add Your Products (if applicable)
Keep an inventory of your products in your business profile updated at all times as it helps customers know whether you offer what they’re looking for while also increasing your chances of appearing in Google Shopping.
Add products by going to the “Products” option in the left-hand menu of the dashboard and clicking “Get Started.” Retail businesses in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the UK, or Ireland that have manufacturer barcodes on their products may use “Pointy” to automatically upload their products to their profile.
No matter what industry you’re in, if you have a business with a physical location, you must have a Google My Business page.
Not only will it help customers find you in Google Search and on Google Maps, but it also allows them to read reviews, see photos of your products or store interiors and make a more informed decision about whether they want to visit and buy from you.
Once you’ve set up your profile, make sure to optimize it and always keep all your information up to date. It’s the best way to start providing people with a great experience, which may turn prospects into customers and ultimately help your business grow.