If you are running a local business in 2023, you probably know the importance of having an accurate and up to date Google Business Profile.
Formerly known as Google My Business, creating your free Google Business Profile is an absolute must if you want to rank on the local map pack when nearby customers search for the services you offer.
It’s one thing to have your Google Business Profile up to date and with accurate information – it’s another to have it fully optimized for Google’s algorithm and AI. It takes a lot more than simply putting up your phone number, address and getting some good Google reviews to really stand out in today’s market – especially if you recently opened.
The great news is here at Dynamic SEO, we have the ultimate step-by-step instructions to get the most out of your GBP.
In this article we will cover ways for your company to get the most out of your Google Business Profile. We look at business profile optimization through the following framework:
- Creating and setting up your business profile
- The importance of keyword research
- Correctly filling out all business details
- Posts, FAQs, and other customer engagement
By the time you finish reading, you’ll be ready to set up and optimize your Google Business Profile.
1. Create a Google Business Profile
One of the first things you are probably wondering is how to create a Google profile for business purposes. There are a number of steps to the process. To create a Google Business Profile you will need to a Google account.
The steps to set it up properly can be a bit confusing, so you may want to hire a professional to make sure your business is properly represented and optimized for Google’s search engine algorithm.
If you want to have a go at it on your own, follow the steps and prompts given to you and your business will now appear in a search if someone is looking for your business name.
2. Perform Local Keyword Research
Once you’ve created your business profile, the next step is keyword research. The goal of keyword research is to generate a list of the various ways customers search for the types of service your business offers, including how many monthly searches a given term gets.
Your keyword list forms the basis of much of your optimization – put it simply, you need your posts, service descriptions, and other information filled out with the higher volume keyword variations. You certainly do not want to waste any valuable “keyword real estate” on your Google Business Profile with keyword variations no one is actually searching for.
Rudimentary keyword research can be performed by typing in words related to your business and Google will automatically show you related search terms in the drop down as you type.
Keep in mind that Google will have already targeted keywords for you based on your search history – so this method is a bit flawed. To get the proper keywords for Google Business search engine optimization you will need to purchase tools designed specifically to understand Google’s algorithm.
There are many tools out there you can purchase that will give you a massive keyword list to sort through, but true keyword research is a full time job. Most of the tools that are inexpensive will return sub-par results and are often cumbersome to use.
There are tools that will deliver excellent lists of keywords that you can target, however the best tools typically cost at minimum $250 a month and take a long time to master – so finding an agency that performs professional keyword research is the best way to go if you don’t plan to do SEO professionally.
2. Fill Out Important Basic Information on Your Google Business Profile
In order to best utilize your Google Business Profile there are several things to keep in mind when setting it up.
Edit Google Business Profile Address
You always want to have the proper address on your Google Business Profile and it’s common for people to accidentally get the address wrong when they set it up themselves.
Also, your business may change its address. Maybe it’s because you have outgrown your old building or just needed to move – in any case you will need to “edit Google Business Address” in the backend.
Your address is extremely important, even if you are an online business, people want to know that your business really exists somewhere on planet earth. There are several services that offer to host your physical business for a fee.
Regardless, be sure to triple check your address details when creating your business profile.
To verify your business address, Google will send a postcard to the listed address with a code you’ll need to enter in order to confirm you actually occupy your listed place of business.
As such, you really don’t want to mess up the address and get the postcard sent to a mailbox you don’t have access to.
Trust us, dealing with Google customer service is a massive pain in the neck when it comes to getting stuff corrected, so avoiding errors from the get-go is by far the best route.
Categories are very important to your business being found on Google. You want to make sure that you are listed correctly so that people find you when they look within your niche.
For instance, If you are an accounting agency but are only listed as a financial agency, then you are not going to get many conversions because people aren’t searching for the service you provide.
Be sure to list all the services your business provides to ensure customers are fully aware of your offerings. That said, do not list services you don’t actually offer in an attempt to rope in customers looking for them – that’s a surefire way to get stiff penalty from Google.
Hours of Operation
It’s not a fun experience when you find a restaurant that you want to eat at for dinner because they have great reviews – only to find them closed after you have already taken the drive or even an Uber to their location.
It’s important to stay on top of your opening hours in your Google maps business profile. You don’t want to lose customers because you changed your hours and didn’t update your listing.
3. Manage Google Business Reviews
This is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to your Google Business Profile. When people write reviews, they want to be heard, they want to be seen.
So it’s up to you and your team to respond to every review, good or bad. Always keep a friendly tone and acknowledge what they have written and you will get results.
4. Upload Great Photos and Videos
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a picture is the way to get to a thousand new customers.
People want to know what they are getting into when they look at your business. This is especially true with restaurants. You want to post great pictures and videos on your Google Business Profile. But it doesn’t stop there, encourage your customers to take pictures and videos and add them in a review.
This creates excellent engagement in the eyes of Google.
5. Post Frequently on Relevant Topics
Many people don’t know that you can create posts on their Google Business Profile. They are a useful way to keep your clients up to date on what is happening with your business.
Regular posting helps boost your GBP to the top of the local search. Additionally, Google Business posts are a great way to show customers that your business is thriving and active. It’s also a way to make public announcements about promotions, holidays, and other events or news.
6. Fill Out the Q & A Feature
This is a relatively new feature that allows people to ask questions about the business and have others answer. You can also answer your patrons questions and guide the conversation.
Questions can range from basic operating hour inquiries to general questions about the services you offer. All of this information is incredibly helpful to future customers and also shows Google you are doing everything you can to be as useful to your prospects’ search intent, boosting your GBP higher on the search results.
During your keyword research, you should be coming across keywords that are phrased as questions which are commonly asked by prospective customers. These are excellent material to beef up your Q & A feature. Be sure to include all relevant, high volume keywords in both the question and answer.
Also, be sure to immediately answer any questions posted by customers. While these may not have keywords, it’s vital that all questions are answered based on your current business setup/
7. Enter All Products and Services
This section gives you the opportunity to showcase your business’ services and products to people that find your listing. A great way to boost sales to eager potential customers.
Too often, business owners neglect to fully enter all products and services. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage when trying to rank on the Map Pack for your company’s terms.
8. Optimize for Conversion
If you are a plumbing company, then you probably want to have the ‘click to call’ button as opposed to the ‘click to book’ button. That would be the inverse if you are a hotel or event production company.
That wraps up our guide to Google Business Profile optimization. Make sure all of your info is correct, that you answer all reviews and questions that clients have and you will be on your way to higher conversion rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Google My Business Different from a Google Business Profile?
No. They are the same service, Google My Business has recently been changed to Google Business Profile. This is only a rebranding of the original service as Google continues to tweak their brand.
Why should I have a Google My Business profile?
In short, you want to own your Google Business Profile so that you can speak as and for your own brand. You need control of your business hours, address, contact info and the ability to answer reviews.
Do I need a website for Google Business Profile?
Technically no, you do not need a website to claim your Google Business Profile. That being said, you should have a website for your business anyway in today’s world. It will only help your business to have a proper website built by a professional.