Your Google Business Profile is a brief synopsis of your business that is displayed on Google search results pages. But don’t let its concise format fool you — the Google Business Profile is a mini listing that can deliver a mighty boost to any local SEO marketing strategy.
Its power lies in its convenience for the consumer. The potential customer enters a search for your business and all the pertinent information about your business pops up in the browser window. They don’t need to search further or scan through mountains of text to get the basics on your business — and they can even engage with this listing to get answers to questions they may have.
Since these potential customers are already thinking about your business or may actually be on their way to your physical store and need an address, for example, these are customers who are further along in the sales funnel — meaning customers who are closer to buying your products or engaging your services. In fact, 80% of local searches result in conversions, according to WebFX.
An optimized Google Business Profile helps your local SEO in other ways too. Google’s algorithm already prioritizes local searches, and an optimized Google Business Profile can help position your business at the top of Google Maps or Search Results.
So it makes sense, if you are targeting local traffic, to 1) have a Google Business Profile (it is free) and 2) make sure your Google Business Profile is optimized to be useful to customers.
Google has set up this service to support local business. Accordingly, only those businesses that provide person-to-person local services, whether customers come to you or you go to them, can register for a Google Business Profile. You don’t need to have a storefront or office.
How to Register for a Google Business Profile
The Google business profile seen in search results used to be called Google My Business because it was managed through the Google My Business app. The nomenclature and division of labor have changed slightly. Now, in 2022, what you see displayed on the web is called the Google Business Profile, the app has gone and your Google business account is what allows you to manage the business profile, whether through signing into your account or directly, in Search or Google Maps.
To reiterate: to manage your Business Profile on Google, you must have a Google account that is associated with your business. Manage is the operative word; a business profile for your business, created by Google, may already exist, especially if your business is well established, but you can’t manage it without a Google Business account and without claiming your profile.
You can claim your profile within your Google Business account by going to the Google Business Profile Manager. When you start typing your business name into the “Find and Manage Your Business” field, your business listing may appear in a dropdown, allowing you to claim it. Otherwise, follow the steps on the screen to step up a new business profile.
How to Optimize your Google Business Profile
As a general rule, complete all the sections that are relevant to your business and be scrupulous about the accuracy of the information you provide, updating any changes promptly. A complete and accurate profile will help your business rank higher in local search results as well as being more useful to customers. At the very basic, make sure you clearly state what your business does, its location and how customers can reach you and buy your products or engage your services.
Read on for more details on the most important tips to really make your business profile work for you.
Name and Contact Information
Make sure your business name and location is consistent across all your digital assets as well as your physical store. Google will consider even tiny inconsistencies such as using the st abbreviation instead of the word ‘street’, as an indication that your business is not credible.
For your customers’ benefit, post your hours and update promptly for holidays.
You can also set up messaging, which makes it very easy for potential customers to get in touch with you.
“From the Business” Description
While the description that appears below your business name is provided by Google, you do have control over the description in the “from the business” section that appears below reviews. To optimize this section, use the maximum number of characters allowed (750), making sure that key information appears in the first 250 characters. Use keywords that are important to your business, and take the opportunity to tell potential customers what sets you apart from the competition.
Choosing a category is essential to unlock some of your Google Business Profile’s features. For example, the category “restaurant” will be able to add a menu or a reserve button.
Eighty-four percent of profile views are the result of discovery searches, meaning the consumer searched for a product or service and not the business name. Categories allow Google to display your business in response to these types of searches.
When choosing your category:
- Choose a primary category that is as specific to your core offerings as possible: for example, “Italian Restaurant” instead of “Restaurant”. There are over Add Photos and videos
High quality photos are essential for customer engagement and conversions. Customers are more likely to take actions such as asking for driving directions or visiting your website, if you include photos. And the more the better — this 2019 Brightlocal study found that “businesses with more than 100 images on Google Business Profile get 520% more calls, 2717% more direction requests, and 1,065% more website clicks than the average business.” Still, we suggest quality over quantity. To get the most out of your photos, follow these tips:
- Include your logo as the thumbnail image
- Use only hi-quality photos that follow Google’s specifications Add photos regularly — every week and remove the ones that are no longer relevant
- Add a variety of photos that are upbeat, showing the interior and exterior of your location, your team etc.
- Geotag your photos
- Use video
Encourage Reviews and Respond
Google will display profiles with many positive reviews higher in search results. Reviews also hold an enormous sway over potential customers. According to these stats from Brightlocal:
- 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses (2022)
- 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.
Reviews are so important, that it is a good idea to ask your customers to consider leaving a review for you — and remember to respond to them!
Engage your customers through posts, product catalog and Q&A
One way to keep your profile useful and current is by posting your announcements, events, promotions and by using the product catalog. Posting regularly sends quality signals to Google and increases engagement since you can include links and Calls-To-Action in your posts.
Small to medium businesses can take advantage of the product catalog feature to showcase products. Make sure you use quality photos and provide information such as pricing and other details.
The Q&A can’t be turned off, so it is important to keep on top of it. Here’s how:
- Use alerts to keep informed on when questions and answers are posted (anybody can post or answer)
- Add your own questions and answers, and include keywords to make them impactful
You’ve optimized your Google Business Profile, how do you know if it is working?
Google provides a number of analytics so you can monitor how people are interacting with your profile including:
- How customers find your profile:, for instance if they come directly via a brand search or indirectly via a discovery search (for a product or service you offer)
- Where customers find you on Google, whether through search or Google Maps
- Customer actions such as website visits, requesting directions, looking at photos, calling you
Your Google Business Profile is an under-utilized Google gem that is just waiting for you, as a local business, to tap into… and it is free! Does it get any better?