Google Business Profile Optimization: Boost Your Online Presence

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With today’s world of endless choices, having a strong online presence is crucial for your business to stand out among the crowd. To grow, it’s no longer enough to just be good at what you do. You need to make sure people can find and learn about your great business. The best way to achieve this is by optimizing your Google Business Profile. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of Google Business Profile Optimization and how it can significantly impact your online visibility and success.

Is Google My Business Now Called Google Business Profile?

First things first, you might be wondering whether Google My Business is now known as Google Business Profile. The short answer is yes. 

While many people still know it as Google My Business, Google rebranded it in 2021 to align with their broader vision of helping businesses manage their online presence more comprehensively. Throughout this guide, we’ll use the terms interchangeably since they’re both widely used still.

What Is Google Business Profile Optimization?

We’ll start with the foundation of Google Business Profile Optimization – your business profile. More and more people are searching for local businesses and services online. In fact, 98% of consumers used the internet to search for information on local businesses in 2022. 87% of those people used Google to do that research. 

Knowing this, Google offers people the ability to create and manage a free online business listing that will appear in relevant Google searches and on Google Maps. 

With your Google Business Profile, you can provide people information on your business, such as your address, phone number, website URL, operating hours and more. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to share details about your products and services, provide relevant Q&A, showcase photos and social profiles. It also includes Google reviews you’ve received. 

Google Business Profile optimization is the process of fine-tuning your online listing to make it more appealing to both potential customers and Google. While claiming your free profile is the first step, the real key lies in the optimization efforts. 

Is a Google My Business Profile Worth It?

We know it takes considerable time and effort to successfully run a business, and the thought of another online tool and process may feel like a lot to take on. However, the value of setting up and optimizing your Google Business Profile cannot be understated. It’s a tool that can have a significant impact on your business’s success.

9 out of every 10 searches happen on Google. That’s right, Google owns more than 90% of the search market. You want your business to be front and center where people are most often, and today, that’s Google.

An optimized profile makes it easier for potential customers to find you when looking for your business’s services or products in their local area. Additionally, according to the stats, people are nearly 3 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete business profile on Google. By providing accurate and up-to-date information, your business appears higher in these search results. 

This optimization can help you stand out from the competition and attract more customers. It will also enhance your online visibility, attract more customers, and even improve your search rankings. 

Does Having a Google Business Profile Help with SEO?

Speaking of search rankings, an optimized Google Business Profile can be an extremely effective SEO tool. SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is the process of getting free, organic traffic to your business and/or website. This is accomplished by appearing high in results when potential customers search terms or businesses that relate to what you do.

Google’s ranking algorithm considers a variety of signals, which can make it hard to know where to focus your efforts. But several recent studies, and Google’s own information, show that a Google Business Profile significantly impacts SEO results. Google states on their site, “To improve your business’s local ranking, use Google Business Profile to claim and update your business information.”

Additionally, a recent study from Whitespark noted that Google Business Profile signals are the top contributing ranking factors, with 32% of the pie, for showing up in the Local Pack. In addition, Google also considers the words and descriptions within online customer reviews when applying its search algorithms. Just like keywords are important on your website and Google Business Profile, they’re also valuable within reviews.

This boost in SEO can help your business land in the local map pack at the top of the search results page, a coveted spot!

As you can see, a thorough profile is an important part of the formula that helps you appear higher in search rankings. While it’s not the only factor, it’s a critical step in making your way to the top of the list.  

Google wants to ensure its customers are receiving the best experience and information. It’s a business that hinges on customers trusting the information they receive.

If Google doesn’t trust your business information, you will not rank high in their search results. An accurate and thorough profile goes a long way in building that trust.

How Do I Optimize My Google Business Profile?

Now that you understand why an optimized Google Business Profile is important and how it positively impacts your business, you’re ready to know how to optimize your profile. 

There are 10 essential features needed to successfully optimize your profile and grow your business.

1. Correctly Establish Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)

The first step is ensuring your name, address and phone number are correct. It’s important to make sure your name matches how it appears in the real-world (i.e., business cards, building, website, etc.). Google has strict guidelines around naming. You will be penalized if you use keywords or other ‘spam’ techniques.

You also want to make sure your business name and address exactly match all other listings across the internet. This includes whether you abbreviate 123 St or spell out 123 Street. Google will flag inconsistencies to assess your credibility. As we mentioned earlier, if Google doesn’t trust your information, you won’t appear high in search rankings.

2. Complete Every Section of Your Google Business Profile

You want to take the time to fill out every part of your Google Business Profile. The more details you include, the better Google can match you to local search queries. This also helps ensure potential customers can learn about you from your listing.

3. Select the Appropriate Categories

Picking the right category can make the difference in outranking your competition in search results. Categories help searchers find specific results for the services and/or businesses they’re interested in. When thinking about your category, your selection should complete this sentence, “This business is a …”

The best practice is to choose the most relevant category as your primary, and then include 2 to 3 additional categories that describe your business. For example, are you a Realtor? You can select ‘Real Estate Agency’ as your primary category and choose ‘Real Estate Agents’ and ‘Real Estate Consultant’ as subcategories.

4. Write a Detailed Business Description

You have 750 characters to describe your business, so make them count. Make it very clear what you do and emphasize what makes you stand out amongst the crowd. According to Google’s policy, make sure your description does not include sales pitches, hyperlinks or website URLs.

5. Use A LOT of Photos on Your Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile is a great way to highlight eye-catching photos. Photo and video content can cover a variety of subjects, from team photos to behind-the-scenes content to educational videos.

Also make sure to choose your cover photo wisely. For example, if you’re in an industry where you represent the brand personally, then your cover photo should be a headshot.

You also want to use as many photos as possible. The benefits of having a lot of photos in your Google Business Profile can’t be understated. Google reports that businesses with photos receive 34% more click throughs to their websites. One study found that profiles with more than 100 images get 520% more calls!

6. Monitor and Respond to Reviews

Customer reviews are critical to a strong online presence — not just how many you have and what they say, but also how consistently you receive them. Online reviews play a key role in people’s decision-making process. 98% of people reported they take the time to read online reviews when searching for local businesses. 

On average, people read at least 10 reviews before they trust a business. 79% of people said they “trust reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.”

It’s also very important you respond to every review, whether positive or negative. One study found that 89% of people are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all its reviews. Even more important, 57% of people are ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews.

Google reviews also positively impact your SEO results. Whitespark’s recent local search study stated that reviews account for 17% of the formula for how Google ranks a local business. But it doesn’t end there. When people perform sentiment searches such as “best Realtor in the area” or “trustworthy local plumber,” Google will scan all the reviews for businesses in that industry and promote those companies that have reviews with those sentiments in the language. 

7. Fill Out Your Products and Services   

The products section is currently one of the more visible pieces of a Google Business Profile. Even if you only provide services, and don’t sell products, you want to fill these out.

It’s important to have a few evergreen products that are always or regularly available. For instance, if you’re a Real Estate Agent, we recommend including products like “Home Value Analysis” versus a property listing.

8. Publish Posts to Your Google Business Profile Regularly

Like social media, you can post to your Google Business Profile. We recommend you post at least once a week. Posting is a great opportunity to engage with customers. It also improves your search rankings. Because regular posting increases your engagement with your profile, Google will take you more seriously.

9. Build and Optimize Your Q&A

The Q&A feature of your profile is very helpful. Google enables you to create a storehouse of questions and answers within your profile. The best place to start is by adding and answering the most frequently asked questions your business receives.

This section of your Google Business Profile cannot be turned off. Also, anyone can provide answers to questions. So, creating your own Q&A helps ensure the answers people see are correct. You will want to turn on alerts so you’re notified when someone asks or answers a question.

10. Add an Appointment Link to Your Google Business Profile

Adding an appointment link to your profile makes it easy for someone to set up time to speak with you. If you use a tool like Calendly, or any appt booking software, have your Google Business Profile directly link out to it. If you don’t use a booking tool, link to the contact page on your website.

How to Use Google My Business to Get More Customers in 2024

It’s essential to understand how to leverage your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) to attract more customers to your business. A fully optimized profile will help you: 

  • Reach new customers through organic traffic 
  • Increase your conversion rates of referrals 
  • Recapture past clients

Let’s dive into how your Google Business Profile helps with each of these. 

Reaching New Clients and Customers Through Organic Traffic

One of the biggest advantages of having a fully-optimized profile is that it helps you organically stay front and center where people are most often: Google. Organically just means when people see and are driven to your business through their search results, not paid ads. 

There’s no way around the fact that Google is how people most often find and select the businesses and products they use. It is the most visited website in the world. But even more compelling is that people are using Google to make purchasing decisions. As we mentioned earlier, 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses last year. 

Now you may be asking yourself, what about Yelp, Bing and other similar platforms. Yes, it is important to have a presence on multiple sites like these. An accurate listing on these sites actually helps your Google Business Profile perform better. However, Google is by far the most important business listing tool today and where you should prioritize your time and efforts. 

Increasing Conversion Rates of Referrals and Prior Clients 

Referrals are a key component of any business and marketing strategy. 92% of people trust referrals from people they know. However, you can’t count on word-of-mouth referrals alone because even they will Google you before reaching out. That’s where your optimized Google Business Profile will showcase your positive reputation. 

An optimized profile and its associated Google reviews are powerful tools for managing your company’s reputation. Online customer reviews demonstrate your expertise and authority, while providing a transparent, unbiased look at your company. According to Review Trackers, 73% of people use Google, versus just 6% of people using Yelp, to read customer reviews.

Additionally, referrals will often research your competition online and compare you. You need to ensure that when you’re compared you stand out as the clear choice so that your referrals end up connecting with you. They will want to see professional, trustworthy and accurate information online. 

This is where a complete and optimized Google Business Profile will showcase all of these attributes for you. High-quality images, a detailed business description and relevant products and categories will highlight the professional nature of your business. Your reviews and timely responses, along with useful Q&As, will demonstrate your trustworthiness. Correct and up-to-date business details will validate accuracy. Together, these show referrals that you are the go-to resource they should be contacting.

Recapturing Prior Clients 

While customer acquisition is critical, retaining or recapturing previous clients is also a key element of growing your business. Stats show that “the probability of selling a service or product to an existing customer is between 60 and 70%.” 

This customer segment can’t be overlooked, and an optimized Google Business Profile will be impactful for reaching them. When someone has used you in the past and is considering reaching back out, they will do a quick Google search, even if it’s just to grab a phone number. Did you know that 64% of customers will use Google Business Profiles to look up contact information? When they pull up your profile, they need to see up-to-date and correct business information, as well as recent posts and reviews to confirm you’re still in business.

Did You Know? 64% of people will use Google Business Profiles to look up contact information.

Just as important as current business details, your optimized profile can help them maintain confidence in your business. Similar to how it helps convert referrals, customer reviews will help let people know that you remain a reputable and trustworthy business. Your business profile will be pivotal during a prior or current client’s revalidation process.

As you can see, a fully optimized Google Business Profile is foundational to winning new and retaining current business. It will be one of the most valuable tools you have in your toolbelt as you head into the new year.

Is Google My Business for Online Businesses?

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a valuable tool for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses. Even if you don’t have a physical location, you can create a Google Business Profile to showcase your products or services and reach a broader online audience. 

Every profile requires an address, but if you don’t have a physical location that people can walk into, you can use your home address. However, it’s important to know that you must list your profile as a service area business and suppress your address. This is both a Google policy and ensures strangers don’t show up at your home. 

An optimized profile will help businesses with and without a physical address rank higher on Google Maps. This is extremely valuable when you consider that more and more people use Google Maps to find businesses and shops. “Where to buy” and “Near Me” searches have grown over 200% in the last couple years. Through these searches, Google is showing people how and where to visit your business.

What Is Google My Business Optimization Service?

If you’re looking to save time and get the most out of your Google Business Profile, a Google Business Profile Optimization Service can be very helpful. At Optimize5, our services can help you fine-tune your profile, post to your profile regularly, ensure your information is correct and consistent across the internet and more. Together, this type of service takes away the guesswork and helps ensure that your online presence is in top shape. 

How Much is Google My Business Optimization?

There are many businesses out there that offer a number of services to optimize your profile with varying price points. When you work with us at Optimize5, we charge a flat rate for creating and fully optimizing your profile, which includes:

  • Correctly establishing your name, address and phone number (NAP)
  • Creating a comprehensive Google services list
  • Designing evergreen, industry-specific products, including image, title, description and CTA
  • Configuring appropriate product categories with backlinks
  • Building and optimizing an industry-specific Q&A
  • Leveraging a detailed job description
  • Adding 100+ client-provided photos, while setting the cover image and logo
  • Adding an appointment link to the appropriate calendar tool or contact page
  • Setting up your business listing across 60+ listing websites (ask us about business listings management and its importance)

One your profile is set up and optimized, we also offer monthly maintenance packages that include a variety of services, such as:

  • A dedicated Account Manager and support staff to work with Google
  • Regular Google Business Profile maintenance, management and enhancements as new features become available
  • Once a week Google posts
  • Managing and updating your business listings across the 60+ sites 
  • Deploying changes to all syndicated web directories as needed
  • Ensuring consistency online by locking created online web directories through an established AP
  • Completing regular monthly updates to each listing profile

The return on investment in terms of increased visibility and customer engagement is often well worth the expense. Additionally, by leveraging a monthly service, you can rest assured that your profile remains up-to-date and is leveraging any new features Google rolls out. 

If you’re interested in learning about what we do and our pricing, feel free to reach out anytime.

Conclusion

Google Business Profile Optimization is a powerful tool for boosting your online presence and attracting more customers. With the right strategy and a well-optimized profile, your business can stand out in local search results and on Google Maps. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in enhancing your online presence and growing your business, start by scheduling a free 30-minute online brand review to find out exactly what’s needed to make your business shine online. With the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business goals.

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