It is more important than ever to utilize all the functionality available for free on your Google Business Profile. As Google still owns 97% of the mobile search market, your search result that natively comes up when someone searches your business name matters. Some customers may skip going to your website when they can instantly get the information they are searching for from search.
Let’s explore ways we can set your business up for more conversions from your Google Business Profile listing in this blog.
Google has made it easy for the owner of a business to “Claim” their listing on Google. There are several ways to do it, you can either open Google Maps or search for your business name on Google Chrome. For our example, we are going to use the company “Little Mind Books.”
When we searched for the company “Little Mind Books” we found the Google Business Profile listing on the right-hand side of the search results page. The page has already been claimed, but if the owner ever lost access to the page for any reason, they could re-claim the listing by following these steps:
In the listing below the “hours”, you will see two hyperlinks one will say “Suggest an Edit” and the other says “Own this business?” (HINT: if you already claimed your listing it will not give you this option it will say “Edit your business information.”)
If your listing is not claimed, you will have to go through a verification process. Typically, your listing is sent by a postcard from Google to your location, or you can often verify your listing with a phone call from Google. Both options works to claim your listing.
Sometimes your Google Business Profile is set up by a third-party marketing company. You may have chosen to work with this company in the past, or a previous employee used a personal Gmail account to create your business listing.
Google defines this as a “third party” (3P) agency. Google has a third-party agency policy for anyone that manages business information on a Business Profile that they don’t own. These policies apply to any third party (person or organization) that manages a profile. These people could include digital marketing agencies, individual employees, or other people who were given access to your account at some point in time.
If someone else has ownership of your listing, you can request administrative access. Once granted, you can delete anyone that no longer needs to have access to your account.
Once you have gained access to your profile on Google the next important step is to make sure your business information is correct.
The next step is to edit your profile. When you search for your name on Google Business and you are logged into your google account, you will see the editing tools for your business listing right on the search results page.
Review the business name and business category from the first tab of the “Business Information” window that pops up. Once you click “Edit Profile” from the homepage. Make sure your category represents your business. In the Little Mind Books example, we selected “publisher” as the primary category and the “additional category” as “Childrens bookstore.” Google has categories that you should stay within the parameters of so that your business can be properly classified. You can make changes to this at any time.
Pro Tip: look at how your competitors are classifying themselves. Open a second browser and type in your primary category with “near me” after it and see who comes up. If your competition is not on the list, you may not be picking the right category.
In the next tab, open “Contact” and review your information to make sure it is correct. In this case, we wanted to add the “www” to the Little Mind Books website listing, so we corrected that information and sent it off to Google to review. The changes will show once Google Verifies that the link works.
Another important thing to review in the tab is the location information. It is a misconception that you must have a business address to have a Google Business Profile. You do not need to list an address. In this case, Little Mind Books are available on the website and at multiple retail locations, but there is no specific storefront for them. So, this is blank. If there were a storefront location, you would add that information in this section. Little Mind Books has a service area of the entire United States. They do not have a location-based business.
Your business hours and holiday hours should reflect your current service offerings. These should be changed every time your business hours change.
In your Google Business Profile, you have the option to add the products and services that you offer along with links that take users to your product or service pages on your website. Using this feature is a great way to have organic backlinks to your website. Pages with lots of backlinks often rank higher on Google Search if they are obtained through relevant sources. Google is a relevant source for your business sending people to another relevant source for your business. This type of backlink is encouraged by Google as a best practice.
In the example for Little Mind Books, you can see there are several buying options for the book “The Night of the Lights” as well as digital versions of the books on Kindle. The links are listed in the products section with a description and links to where the items may be purchased directly.
Google Business Profiles can feature as many or as few products and services as you want.
Did you know that the 2022 Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that 89% of consumers would be ‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to use a business that responds to all reviews—regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative?
We are often asked how to find the link for getting Google Reviews. The answer is on the review page itself. There is a blue button on the top of your review page that says, “Get more reviews.” When you click the blue box, it will open a code that you can copy to paste into an email, or post on your website. You can also text the link to customers when you know they have had a good experience with you. The more reviews you have the better.
We are also asked what you can do with a bad review. We wrote a blog on this topic, and you can read it here.
Many people do not realize that they can post the same type of content they would typically post on Facebook or LinkedIn directly to a Google Business Profile. The advantages to this are endless and the latest posts show on your listing in the Google search results under your Google Business Profile.
Here is another example from Little Mind Books. You can see there are posts for book signings and events, and there are also links to blogs and other content from the website.
Updating these regularly is a great idea and the best part is that if you are using a content scheduling tool like HubSpot, Hootsuite, SocialPilot or another tool you can include scheduling to your Google Business Profile. Work smarter not harder right?
Not every business needs the same kind of functionality. For instance, if you own an ice cream parlor you probably don’t need a link to book an appointment to buy an ice cream cone. But if you are a lawyer and want to be able to book clients directly from your Google Business Profile you have an integration through Google to do so.
You can also get messages on Google Business Profile. This function works like messaging on Facebook or LinkedIn. It allows users to contact you in real-time and text questions. The key to adding a feature like this is that you must be prepared to answer those messages.
There is also a Q&A feature that is helpful if you have frequently asked questions about your products and services. If you have that on your website, you may want to direct users to that page rather than duplicate the questions and answers on your Google Business Profile.
At the end of the day, it is important to evaluate the important functions that a Google Business Profile can serve your business. If it doesn’t make sense for your business footprint, you don’t have to use all the features.
Today, even the smallest business can benefit from utilizing a Google Business Profile. It is really one of the best free tools you can use as a small business. Not only is it free, but it harnesses the power of Google search which 97% of people use on their mobile devices to find what they need every single day. Ask yourself, where do people go to search for something? Do they pull out the yellow pages? Absolutely not. They pull out their cell phones and Google rules the search.
Do you need help optimizing your Google Business Listing? Contact us to get started.