Any kind of business, in today’s technological times, requires targeted visibility on Google. Mostly, all sorts of businesses do know that this requires optimizing their Google Ads and websites, but what they do not know is that there is a third party entity that also needs to be optimized and that is; their Google Business listing. This is officially known as your business profile.
Google business listing helps to optimize and it is a dynamic snapshot of your business. It showcases the best of the features and enables potential and active customers to quickly find, learn, and engage with you. This is all done via SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages).
Do you know what is the best part of Google Business listing?
Is that, it is absolutely free!
A study shows that on average, 167 billion searches are performed on Google each month. And yet, the typical business profile only averages 1,260 views during that same period (that will be around 0.00000075%). And only 59 actions have been taken from those 1,260 views (that is less than 5%).
Here, the Google My Business platform is not the problem, in fact, it is the solution. It’s just that businesses are not that much aware of them and they do not take full advantage of its astonishing features.
Don’t worry! Here, we are sharing this article with the 13 most appropriate optimization strategies. Let’s get started!
2. Complete every section of your Google My Business account
3. Be meticulous with contact information
4. Select primary and secondary categories
5. Mark off applicable attributes
6. Write a complete “from the business” description
7. Publish Google posts weekly
8. Upload new photos weekly
9. Answer questions
10. Collect and respond to reviews
11. Include products and services
12. Build up messaging
13. Preserve your Business Profile with a solid Google My Business strategy
With these optimization strategies, you can convert your Business Profile into the finest free customer acquisition tool that you had wished for. Without wasting any time, let’s move on further.
Note: The term “Google Business Listing” is also known as “Google as your Business Profile”.
But before we get onto strategies first let us make ourselves clear with what an optimized Business Profile looks like and why you need one. So let’s study these points now.
What Does an Optimized Google Business Profile Look Like?
With a better understanding of the images, here is the perfect representation of both the images that is; let’s look at the mockup of how the Business Profile looks when it is unoptimized versus how it will start looking after the optimization.
Why Do You Need to Optimize Your Google Business Profile?
1) It Improves Engagement
2) Helps in Boosting Your Local Ranking
Google’s algorithm to get your business in rankings, does not just analyze relevance and proximity but also seeks activities and quality of information. The optimization of your Google Business Profile sends the signals to Googe to rank you high in local results.
And higher the rankings, the higher will be the visibility and engagement with your business.
3) Convert More Customers
A regular business profile cannot offer a business to acquire more customers. They can only find and locate your business and get to read your reviews, only if they know about your business name.
While on the other hand, with the help of your optimized Business Profile through your Google My Business Account, consumers can easily locate you in keyword searches, visit your website, research your products and services, call you, view or invest their time in FAQs, make a reservation, book an appointment, request a quote, ask for new schemes, and many more.
In addition to this, you can easily track your appointments, bookings, reservations, website, or menu links using Google Analytics.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Now that it is clear as crystal why it is essential to optimize your Business Profile. And moreover, it is the only way to found in local search, standing out among competitors, and winning customers.
Now let’s discuss the 13 techniques that you can switch your Google Business Profile into a 24/7 marketing tool and lead generation for your local business.
1. Create a Google My Business Account
Firstly the important note here is that; Google Business Profile is a separate system from a Google My Business account.
The optimizations that you laid out, need to have a Google My Business account and then ask Google to connect it with your Google Business Profile.
To create an account for Google My Business, read out the following steps:
● First, head to Google.com/business.
● Then sign in with your regular Google or Gmail account (that you have used for your business).
Pro Tip: Use the account with your business domain name.
● Finally, you will be able to use it.
2. Fill Out Every Section of Your Profile
It is very necessary to complete every part of your Google Business Profile. The thoroughness of your Google Business Profile will not only help Google to rank you higher in local search results but also escalate the number of actions users do when they find and visit your profile.
There are plenty of details to provide, so here are some instructions that you should prioritize.
These are the visible features of your profile that should be completed right away:
● Contact Number
● Opening Hours
And, these are some segments that could take a little more time and thoughts:
● Categories and Attributes
● Products and Services
● Information from the business
● Questions and Answers (Queries generated by the owner)
And here, these segments are an ongoing procedure:
● Questions and Answers (User-generated or Customer-generated)
3. Contact Information Should be Meticulous and Precise
Below are some points for how you can optimize the contact details in your Google Business Profile:
1. Always make sure that your business name is alike to the one you use on your store signposting:
When you add the location name or keywords for your business is considered to be spam by Google and you could be penalized (unless it’s in your brand name).
2. Your business name and address have to be matched with your other listings across the web:
Things always should be done according to the Google Algorithm. This denotes using “co” vs “company” or “st” vs “street” frequently. With its algorithm, Google takes these types of inconsistencies into account at the time of evaluating your credibility.
3. Mark both your working or regular and holiday hours:
If you don’t have specified about your store timings and holidays and in that time a customer visits you and finds it closed. It will leave a negative mark on them about your working standards.
On the other hand, if you have already specified the working hours, it encourages the customers to visit your store and also avoids the probability of negative reviews and impressions.
4. Write Your “from the business” Description
This description is not your authority. Google writes it!
But let me tell you, Google really does a great job at writing descriptions for your business.
Follow the steps, to optimize the “from the business” section of your Google Business Profile:
● You can use all 750 characters, but make sure to use key and main information in the first 250 characters.
● Reuse the content from your “About Us” page or mission statement.
● Use the relevant keywords that your audience uses to find businesses like yours.
● Ensure not to repeat any of the pieces of information that already appear on the other sections of your profile. Use space to talk about what makes you different from your competitors and what customers enjoy about your business.
● Don’t include HTML tags or links.
5. Pick a Category
Selecting a category is a must step to follow for optimizing your Google Business Profile. Because of these reasons:
● Get your business noticed through discovery searches
According to a study, nearly 84% of Business Profile views on Google originate from striking or discovery searches (hence meaning, the customer and audiences searched for a service, product, or categorical term and that particular business’s profile appeared). Whereas, only about 16% comes from direct searches (hence meaning, where customer puts business name or its address and business profile appears).
This is true for businesses whose name doesn’t signify their service and products.
● Highlight category-specific features
Once you select the category, Google will provide you with some category-specific features that make your profile more engaging and compelling.
For instance, hotels can pull in some star ratings, restaurants could include a reservation button or menu card, hair salons can provide their expertise information with thin or curly hair. These details will help customers in understanding your business virtually, and eventually, they choose you over competitors.
Your selected category will occur in the top portion of your Google Business Profile.
Google provides a selected number of categories, so it is essential to select the appropriate ones. Here’s are the points of how you can optimize your Google Business Profile using categories:
● Be Explicit:
It is appropriate if you will be more precise about your business. Such as, if you are a hair cutting salon, choose “Hair Salon” and not just “Salon.” if you own a restaurant, say “Indian Restaurant” then specify “Indian Restaurant” and not just “Restaurant.”
As soon as you start typing in the category section, a drop-down list will appear, then you can select accordingly.
You can also see Google My Business categories here, with the help of My Business.
● Select Secondary Categories:
To be more specific about your business, you should always choose the second category. Many businesses fall under multiple categories.
● Here your primary or main category should be your chief offering, for example; “Grocery Store.”
● Then select an additional category after the main category, such as “Grocery Delivery Service.”
● Do Not Exaggerate It (meaning do not put false information):
When you choose a business and create Google Business Profile, the main motive is to engage maximum traffic. So the details have to be authentic and powerful. For this choose the category that matches your services and offerings.
Let’s clear this with an example; If you have a cafe where customers and foodies can visit and have food, then select “Food Cafe or Cafe” only, not use “Food Home Delivery.” Technically you provide takeaways but not delivery via the delivery boys as it is not the standalone option for your business.
Note: Products or attributes are separate sections, don’t confuse them with categories.
6. Choose Appropriate Attributes
As just mentioned above, Google will provide you with a list of attributes after you select a category. Later, you can check off the boxes to further explain your business.
Attributes are the special features that potential customers look out for, like “free wi-fi” or “food delivery.”
Attributes are not just specific for the Google My Business platform, but review sites also have attributes options too. But Google’s have really inferior attributes, such as, “popular for wanderers” or “best for working on laptops”.
My Business also has attributes! Check out!
7. Add Photos
Of course, it is clear that a profile with images is more attractive and drives engagement than a profile without images.
With the help of the Google My Business account dashboard, uploading photos to your Business Profile is beneficial for these three reasons:
● Ensures Quality: Any of your users can add pictures to your Business Profile, which concludes that you will get a gamut of quality. By adding your own experienced and professional photos, you can make sure your profile looks terrific.
● Be Active: Adding photos to your profile frequently gives a signal to Google that you are an active user. And you are keeping your profile up to date with regular updates and pictures, which impacts your rankings in a positive way.
● Get Images in Results: Google is becoming very vigilant with its algorithm and therefore; it is advancing in image recognition and starting to involve images in local results.
● Increase Engagement: According to Google, if a business profile has its photos that around 42% of customers are more likely to request driving directions to a business. Whereas, 35% of customers are more likely to click through its website.
Adding to this, a study also shows that the businesses profile with more than 100 photos get a number of conversions like:
1. Around 520% more calls
2. Nearly 2,717% more driving direction requests
3. And, 1065% more website clicks (as compared to the average business).
Woah! These figures are really something!
Make sure to not go crazy and start adding 100 images at once. First, follow these points to add photos carefully and how to use photos to optimize your Google Business Profile:
1. You can add at least one new photo every seven days (approx).
2. Upload your business logo (for your thumbnail photo).
3. In the case of your cover picture use something that is relevant and represents your brand. Make sure that you do not create any fuss regarding this as Google will show different feature photos depending on the search query.
4. For other general images, you can use Google’s photo guidelines for specifications. But be very sure to include interior and exterior ambiance, happy and frequent customers, and staff and team photos.
5. Do not include stock photos, images with special effects, or branding. Google is always look out for authentic and real information, thus it represents your business as it appears in the real world.
6. Always focus on quality images that have unobstructed portrayal (to align with image embellished results).
Google will choose a specific image from your Business Profile and show it directly in local results. In case it matches with the searched keyword.
1. You can add videos too!
2. Geotag your photos to further give an indication to Google about your prominence in your area.
3. Also, you can use Google’s Street View application to add a 360° image to your profile.
8. Take Google Reviews
Let’s talk here with an image. If you were have given to choose businesses from the list in search results like the one below, which would be the one you most likely to select?
The one with the attractive yellow stars or the other one below which has no stars and reviews?
There is no need to say, but everyone will choose the first business with yellow stars.
Google knows that the review is one of the preeminent influences on the customer to get them into buying. Hence, this is the key ranking factor in their algorithm. You can analyze for yourself the impact of reviews on your business in terms of ranking.
For multiple and uncountable searches performed on Google, the top first three results that appear (it is what is known as the Local 3 Pack) are the ones with solid start ratings and multiple reviews.
Google will also reassure keywords in your reviews to further validate authenticity and relevancy.
To stand out among the competitors, follow these steps how you can optimize your Google Business Profile with reviews:
● Start with your trustworthy, long-term, and loyal customers to get the momentum going.
● With a free shortcut link generator, you can make it easy for your customers by creating a review shortcut link.
● If you want reviews you have to ask! A study also shows that 62% of customers will write a review only if they had been asked to write. Therefore, do this via email, social media, text, and face-to-face conversations.
● Always remind customers that the reviews are not just for your advantage. By writing reviews, they are giving satisfaction to other customers also, and by this, they will sooner find the solution and make informed decisions.
● Try to have CTA (Call to Action) to leave one with a “Reviews” page on your website.
● Always and always respond to reviews! Reverting to the review be it bad or good is always creates a great impression and others will also leave reviews on your page. By giving polite and honest replies reveals a lot about your business to prospects and eventually improves your local SEO.
Be very careful not to encourage reviews with coupons, discounts, gifts, cash back, or other souvenir stuff. It is restricted from doing!
9. Post to Your Google Business Profile
Exactly like your social media platforms, you can post to your Google Business Profile about the offers, big announcements, events, products, and services.
You can create a post in your Google My Business dashboard and it will display on the “Updates” section towards the bottom of your Business Profile. However, they might become more eye-catchy based on the search query.
Under are some points on how posts actually help you optimize your Google Business Profile:
● Posts expand the number of actions when a customer finds your profile and does something.
● As adding photos send Google signals about being active similarly posting frequently also sends positive ranking signals to Google.
● Customers and users have high intention on search results as they would likely to engage with your Google posts. Whereas on social media or other posting platforms such as; Instagram and Facebook, users torpidly scroll there, thus, resulting in less engagement.
● By following your Business Profile, customers will get notifications of new posts and updates regarding your business.
Do you know, your Google Business posts will appear on Maps also, it is free marketing for your local business!
Here are points for you to optimize Google Business Profile with the help of your posts:
● Have you been posting rigorously? Just erase this thing from the mind that posting regularly will send Google signals. But also, you have to post frequently because certain types of posts get expired within seven days.
● Use offers and events posts for the marketing campaigns for naturally a long time. For this, you can set a date range and time till when you have to keep that particular post. The posts will stay for the duration of that timeline.
● Try to include CTAs (Call to Action) button and links in every post.
● In these unpredictable and tough times like COVID-19, be very sure to communicate effectively with your audience at the time of the pandemic.
10. Ask and Answer Questions
Answering these questions may be a stimulus procedure for a customer in deciding to choose your business. Whatsoever, this segment of questions and answers is particularly an essential part to optimize. Obviously, because not only can anyone ask a question but also anyone can answer too on a business’s Google Business Profile.
This can also lead to inappropriate details on your profile, or even worse than this, that something like the Q&A on this below image’s profile:
● Begin your own Question and Answer column: Create a record of the most generally asked questions your business gets. Then ask > answer > upvote your answer on your own profile.
Note: This does not go against Google’s algorithms and terms and conditions. Instead of this, Google actually encourages this type of activity.
● Always keep keywords in mind: Questions and answers that include keywords actually help in improving your Business Profile’s ranking for that particular keyword. So always make sure to keep your keyword strategy in mind while seeding your Question and Answer section. But also use them organically and carefully and do not keyword stuff.
By monitoring and beginning your Question and Answer section you can ensure of following things:
1. You can ensure authentic and meticulous information.
2. It reduces common barriers to entry.
3. It showcases your best of the features.
Important Note: As of the ongoing Covid-19 situations around the globe, Google has temporarily repressed the Q&A section for most of the Business Profiles. So in this scenario, you might also not see this option for your own profile for a while.
11. Include Products and Services
If your offerings are not made precise with your business name, then adding products and services is especially helpful in this scenario. Computing this segment also adds content to your profile that will help you in ranking in for even more relevant searches.
When including the products and services, also include the name, description, and price (if applicable). The full description on your profile will display once the searcher clicks on the product. In addition, Google also may link to your products from your category section.
12. Build up Messaging
The setting up messaging feature gives searchers the privilege to send a text message to your mobile phone directly from your Google Business Profile. Having an estimated 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% for millennials) use their device for local search. This seems quite an opportunity for customers to get in touch with you and your business.
To enable the messaging option, read the following steps:
● From your Google My Business dashboard, select the Messaging tab.
● After this, you will have the option to install this through Google Play or Apple App Store.
Two important notes on Google My Business messaging:
● You do not have to feel drowsy about displaying your personal mobile number, as you will going to use a different phone number via Google’s Allo app.
● In your Google My Business dashboard, make sure to set up alerts for messages so that you get notified. Head to settings and mark off Customers Messages.
13. Preserve Your Business Profile With a Solid Google My Business Strategy
As you can very well get aware, a Google Business Profile is not a one-and-doneGeotag marketing accord. It is a local marketing tool that demands ongoing action in order to escalate your online existence and augment your advantages. This comprises of:
● Update even a piece of tiny information as a change in suite number.
● Uploading photos and publishing posts each week.
● Maintain a reliable stream of reviews that comes in.
● Monitoring and reverting to reviews.
● Stick around on the peak of new features so you can make sure that you are using your profile to its fullest potential.
Your Google My Business strategy should be providing as much quality information about your business as much as possible, similar to the Google SEO strategy. Not only in the case of your Business Profile but also in the sources that Google uses to colonize it. This includes, such as:
● Review site profiles.
● Your website.
● And even your social media platform accounts.
It is impossible to know each and every specific ranking factor, but we do know their ultimate goal, that is; to connect users and searchers to find the best business according to their needs through detailed, trusted, and accurate information.
So, what are you waiting for? Start using your Google My Business dashboard to get your Business Profile to illustrate your business as authentically and meticulously as possible. After this, make sure to continue to sustain this, and later you will derive its benefits.