Google Business Profile: The Secret Weapon of Local Businesses

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The digital landscape is a bustling marketplace, and local businesses need every edge they can get to stand out. That’s where Google Business Profile Optimization — a cornerstone of online visibility — comes in. A Google Business Profile can transform your digital presence into a powerful magnet for new customers. 

What Is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (GBP) is a powerful, free tool for businesses seeking to connect with their audience. Your business profile serves as a virtual storefront, providing essential information to potential customers. It’s not just a simple listing; it’s a dynamic hub showcasing your business to potential customers in your area. 

Think of it as a 24/7 digital concierge, greeting searchers with essential information. Through your Google Business Profile, you can manage and control how your business shows up across all Google products, like Maps, Reviews and Search. You can also use it to chat with your customers, share what’s new with your business, and keep an eye on how people are connecting with your business on Google.

Before we dig into all the ins and outs of a GBP, we’ll answer a common question we are asked often…

What’s the Difference Between Google My Business and Google Business Profile?

While Google My Business may be a familiar term, this powerful tool officially transitioned to Google Business Profile in June 2022. This name change might leave some wondering what changed. Worry not, the core functionality remains the same! 

Think of it as a fresh coat of paint, with a new name reflecting Google’s unified local business offerings. All the tips and tricks you learned about Google My Business still apply seamlessly to your Google Business Profile, ensuring a smooth transition and continued local SEO success.

Now that we have that part out of the way (we’ll use both names interchangeably throughout our posts), let’s dive into the basics and benefits of claiming and optimizing a Google Business Profile.

Is it Worth Having a Google Business Profile?

In a word, absolutely! A Google Business Profile unlocks a treasure trove of benefits for your local business. A fully optimized profile will help your business:

  1. Dominate Local Search. When someone searches for your service or product near them, a well-optimized GBP listing can put you higher on the results page. Statistics show that the average local business will receive 1,260 views monthly with a business profile. This prime real estate means more eyes on your business, translating to more foot traffic and sales.
  1. Attract More Business. Your Google Business Profile goes beyond online visibility. Optimized listings show up on Google Maps, putting you directly in front of potential customers actively searching for what you offer. Additionally, studies show that businesses with optimized Google Business Profiles receive 7x more clicks than businesses without.
  1. Gain Trust, Credibility and Authority. Positive reviews and a verified profile act as golden stamps of approval, building trust and confidence in your brand, influencing customers to choose you over competitors. In fact, studies show that people are nearly 3 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete business profile on Google.
  1. Generate Buzz with Reviews. Reviews are the social currency of the internet, and a Google Business Profile gives you a platform to collect and display them. Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, shows you care about customer experience and builds even more trust.
  1. Engage With Current and Potential Clients. Through your profile, you can respond to reviews, answer questions, and post updates to connect directly with your local audience. This creates a valuable two-way dialogue and fosters customer loyalty. 
  1. Make Data-Driven Decisions. Your Google Business Profile provides valuable insights into how customers find you, enables you to analyze engagement metrics, and helps you understand clients’ online behavior. This data goldmine empowers you to refine your marketing strategies and tailor your offerings to resonate with your local audience.

Who Qualifies for a Google Business Profile?

The good news is most businesses with a service area or physical location can have and will benefit from a Google Business Profile! From brick-and-mortar establishments to mobile service providers, here are just a few examples of who can leverage this powerful tool:

  • Restaurants and cafes: Tempting food photos and inviting atmospheres attract hungry customers.
  • Retail stores and service providers: Showcase your products and services, making it easy for people to find what they need.
  • Healthcare professionals and dentists: Attract new patients and communicate appointment information.
  • Plumbers, electricians, and other local service providers: Reach customers with immediate needs in their area.
  • Home-based businesses that serve clients in person: Make your virtual door easy to find for local appointments.

These are just a few examples, and the possibilities are vast! As long as you serve customers in your local area, a Google Business Profile can be your key to unlocking more business success.

How Do I Get My Google Business Profile?

You’ve read this far and recognize that your business needs a Google Business Profile. The next step is learning how to set yours up. The good news is that creating your Google Business Profile is easy and only requires a few simple steps. 

  1. Claim your business. Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in with an existing Google account. If you don’t have one already, you can create a free account with any email address. 
  1. Enter your business name. Google states that your name should “reflect your business’s real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers.”
  1. Add your business address. Your business does not have to have a physical address that customers can visit. For example, if you work from home, you can choose “no location.” 
  1. Add your business information, such as your phone number, website and hours. You want to make sure this information exactly matches all other listings across the internet. Google will flag inconsistencies to assess your credibility.
  1. Verify your business. You can verify by phone, text, email or video. You’ll want to follow Google’s verification requirements closely. Your profile won’t be visible until you’ve completed this process.

Once you’ve created your Google Business Profile, you can start managing it right away. As we’ve mentioned before, simply setting up a business profile won’t be enough. The key to online dominance is fully optimizing your GBP.

What Does a Business Profile Show?

An optimized Google Business Profile will showcase numerous important aspects of your business, helping you gain new customers. A GBP displays your:

  1. NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). It’s important to make sure your name matches how it appears in the real-world (i.e., business cards, website, etc.). Google has strict guidelines around naming. You will be penalized if you use keywords or other ‘spam’ techniques.
  1. Business Categories. Picking the right category can make the difference in outranking your competition in search results. 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 Agent’ as your primary category and choose ‘Real Estate Agency’ and ‘Real Estate Consultant’ as subcategories.
  1. 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 or hyperlinks. 
  1. Photos and Videos. Your Google Business Profile is a great way to highlight eye-catching photos and videos. Photo and video content can cover a variety of subjects, from team photos to behind-the-scenes content to educational videos. You want to use as many photos as possible. In fact, data shows that profiles with more than 100 images get 520% more calls!
  1. Customer 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 surveyed reported they take the time to read online reviews when searching for local businesses. 
  1. 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 example, if you’re a Real Estate Agent, we recommend including products like “Home Value Analysis” versus a property listing.
  1. Social Posts. Similar to social media platforms, 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. 
  1. Questions & Answers. The Q&A feature 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 and anyone can provide answers to questions. Creating your own Q&A helps ensure the answers people see are correct. We recommend you turn on alerts so that you’re notified when someone asks or answers a question.
  1. Appointment Link. An appointment link in your profile makes it easy for someone to set up time to speak with you. If you use a tool like Calendly, or any appointment booking software, your Google Business Profile can directly link out to it. If you don’t use a booking tool, link to the contact page on your website.

Why Can’t I Find My Business Profile on Google?

There are several reasons why your business profile may not be showing up:

  • Incorrectly categorized business: Ensure your category accurately reflects your offerings.
  • Incomplete information: Verify all your details are filled in and accurate.
  • Unverified profile: Complete the verification process to make your profile visible.
  • Suspension or violation: Google suspends profiles for policy violations. Review Google’s guidelines to ensure compliance.

What’s the Difference Between Google My Business and Google Maps?

Your Google Business Profile (aka Google My Business) is the panel for your business that shows up on the right side of the screen in search. It dominates the page, which makes it an extremely powerful tool for reaching people. At the same time, it is a control panel for your Google Maps profile, where you manage your information and engage with customers. Google Maps is the platform where customers discover your business on a map and access your profile details. 

While they are two separate things, they work together seamlessly to deliver an exceptional local search experience. Your business won’t show up on Google Maps unless you’ve claimed and set up your Google Business Profile. And appearing on Google Maps is more important than ever. The most recent numbers show that 93% of people use Google Maps when searching for a business!

Together, your optimized Google My Business listing seamlessly integrated into Google Maps helps your business pop up in relevant searches and guides customers to your doorstep. Here’s how Google Maps amplifies your GMB efforts:

  • Location, Location, Location. Google Maps makes it easy for customers to find your physical location, whether they’re searching by address, category, or proximity. This eliminates the “where are you?” confusion and turns online searches into in-store visits.
  • Route Optimization. Maps provides users with turn-by-turn directions, reducing frustration and ensuring a smooth journey to your business. This positive experience leaves a lasting impression and encourages repeat visits.
  • Visual Storytelling. With Google Maps, you can showcase your unique atmosphere and offerings through high-quality photos and virtual tours. This gives potential customers a sneak peek and entices them to step inside.

Together this winning combination can mean more leads, more customers, and more growth for your business.

Conclusion

A Google Business Profile isn’t just a listing; it’s a powerful tool for local businesses to thrive in the digital landscape. By optimizing your profile and engaging with your audience, you’ll attract more customers, build trust, and watch your local business flourish. If you want to learn more about how to optimize and get the most of your Google Business Profile, 30-Minute Brand Review – Optimize5https://optimize5.com/meet/.

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