Google My Business Complete Listing Optimization Training: Dominate Local Search in 2024

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In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is crucial for any business, especially for those with a local customer base. In fact, the most recent stats show that 98% of consumers used the internet to find information about local businesses, and 86% used Google specifically to evaluate a business. That’s where Google My Business Optimization comes in; it is a game-changer in developing a robust digital presence.

Before we go any further, we wanted to call out that Google renamed their tool to Google Business Profile. Both names are still commonly used, so we’ll use them interchangeably throughout.

Now that we have that out of the way, are you ready to get started? Keep reading through this Google Business Profile Optimization complete listing training to learn why it’s important and how to effectively optimize your profile.

Why Is a Google Business Profile Important in 2024? 

Imagine a potential customer searching for your type of business on Google. With a well-optimized GBP, your business can appear higher in the search results page, complete with your contact information, address, customer reviews, and eye-catching photos. 

This is prime real estate in the digital world. Recent research found that 64% of consumers find contact details on Google My Business. Even more compelling, businesses with a GBP are 94% more likely to be viewed as reputable (Gitnux). 

Did You Know? Businesses with a Google Business Profile are 94% more likely to be viewed as reputable.

Google Business Profile Optimization is the key to unlocking this potential. Additionally, a fully optimized profile will:

  • Increase Your Visibility in Local Searches: When a user searches for a business like yours locally, Google Business Profiles appear prominently in the search results page, often accompanied by a map. A well-optimized profile increases your chances of getting noticed by potential customers.
  • Enhanced Credibility and Trust: A complete and up-to-date GBP showcases your legitimacy as a business. Positive customer reviews and high ratings further boost your credibility and trustworthiness, influencing customer decisions.
  • Marketing and Lead Generation: By claiming and optimizing your profile, you’re essentially creating a mini-website for your business that appears directly in Google searches. This can generate valuable leads and convert them into paying customers.
  • Direct Communication with Customers: Your business profile allows you to connect directly with potential and existing customers. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, enable and communicate via the Chat feature, and even post updates about your business, fostering stronger customer relationships.

In short, Google Business Profile Optimization is an investment in your local digital presence. It’s a strategic way to attract more customers, build trust, and ultimately grow your business.

Now that we’ve established the importance of having an optimized profile, let’s dive into the latest changes Google has planned this year.

What Are the Changes in Google My Business in 2024? 

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and Google My Business is no exception. Here’s a rundown of the key changes you need to be aware of in 2024:

  • Increased Focus on User-Generated Content: Google is placing more emphasis on user-generated content, such as reviews, photos and Q&A sections. This means encouraging your customers to leave reviews and responding to them promptly is more important than ever. High-quality photos that showcase your business, products and services can also significantly improve your profile’s engagement.
  • Enhanced Messaging Functionality: This year, Google will roll out its messaging feature within the desktop dashboard, allowing customers to connect with you directly through chat. When this feature is enabled, people will see a ‘chat’ button that they can use to message you. This is a valuable tool for providing real-time customer support and answering questions quickly and efficiently.
  • Focus on Special Attributes: Google has expanded the “Special Attributes” section within a GBP. These attributes allow you to highlight unique features and offerings of your business, such as wheelchair accessibility, online scheduling or pet-friendliness. Using relevant special attributes can help you stand out from competitors in search results.
  • Evolving Category System: Google is constantly refining its business category system. Make sure to choose the most relevant and specific category that accurately reflects your business offerings. Staying updated on any category changes can ensure your profile reaches the right target audience.

By understanding these latest changes, you can adapt your optimization strategy to stay ahead of the curve and maximize your visibility in local search results.

We’ve covered the importance of a Google Business Profile in 2024 and the latest updates. Now, let’s move on to the nitty-gritty: How do you claim and optimize your profile?

How Do I Get a Google Listing for My Business?

The first step to GBP Optimization is claiming your business listing. If your business hasn’t been claimed yet, you can easily do it by going to https://www.google.com/business/

Once you’ve claimed your listing, you’ll need to verify ownership through a postcard or phone call. This process ensures the legitimacy of your business and helps Google maintain accurate search results. Once you’ve claimed and verified your GBP, it’s time to optimize it.

How Do I Fully Optimize My Business on Google?

Achieving full optimization on Google involves a strategic approach covering various elements, from ensuring accurate business information to captivating visuals. Here are 9 essential steps to optimizing your Google Business Profile.

  1. Correctly Add Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). The first step is adding your name, address and phone number to your profile. It’s important that your name matches how it appears in the real world (i.e., business cards, website, etc.). You’ll also want to ensure the business name and address exactly match all other listings across the internet. 
  1. Complete Every Section. It’s critical that you fill out every part of your Google Business Profile. The more details you include, the better Google can match you to local search queries. 
  1. Select the Correct Categories. Picking the right category can make the difference in outranking your competition in search results. When picking your category, it should complete this sentence, “This business is a …”
  1. Write a Detailed Business Description. In this section, make it obvious what you do and emphasize what makes you stand out. According to Google’s policy, do not include sales pitches, hyperlinks or website URLs in your description.
  1. Add High-Quality Photos. Tak the time to add eye-catching photos to your profile. Content can cover things from team photos to behind-the-scenes content to educational videos. Google recommends you include “category-specific photos that spotlight features of your business.” (For more photo tips, see Google’s article, Tips for Business-Specific Photos on Your Business Profile.)
  1. Monitor and Respond to Reviews. Customer reviews are foundational to a strong online presence. They play an important role in people’s decision-making process. In one study, 79% of people said they “trust reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.” Additionally, Google reviews also positively impact your SEO results. 
  1. Add 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.
  1. Regularly Post to Your Google Business Profile. The best practice is to post to your profile at least once a week. This is a great opportunity to engage with customers, while also improving your search rankings.
  1. Build Your Q&A. Google enables you to create a storehouse of questions and answers in your GBP. The best place to start is by adding and answering the most frequently asked questions you get. As a side note, because anyone can answer posted questions, adding your own Q&A helps ensure accurate answers. 

Can We Do SEO for Google My Business?

Absolutely! While GBP Optimization isn’t exactly traditional SEO, there are strategies you can employ to improve your local search ranking. Incorporating relevant keywords into your profile can enhance searchability. 

You’ll want to identify relevant keywords to your business type and then weave them strategically into your Google Business Profile, website content and social media posts. It’s important to aim for natural incorporation that enhances content while also appealing to search engines.

It’s also a good idea to leverage local SEO by incorporating location-specific terms like your city, town or neighborhood in your descriptions and keywords. Naturally include these keywords within your description, posts and category selections, but make sure to avoid keyword stuffing.

How Do I Use Google My Business Effectively?

As you can tell from what we’ve shared so far, Google My Business is a powerful business tool. With a fully optimized profile, you can connect and convert potential clients searching for businesses and services like yours. 

Once optimized, here are a few things you should do on a consistent basis to make the most of your Google My Business listing:

  • Highlight your winning reputation. Positive reviews can significantly boost your credibility and attract new customers. Once you’ve set up your GBP, you’ll want to implement a comprehensive review strategy that includes both asking for and responding to reviews. When it comes to reviews, it’s extremely important you respond to ALL reviews, even the negative ones. A short, but thoughtful response can enhance the client relationship, create a lifelong customer and convert potential clients. According to a 2022 survey, 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.  
  • Communicate business information regularly. In general, think of your GBP posts as mini blog posts; they provide important information and updates about your business. Regularly posting increases customer engagement and improves local SEO.  
  • Update your business listings on the web monthly. Your business details appear on numerous websites across the web, such as local business directories, Apple Maps, Bing, Yelp, Facebook and more. An effective online presence strategy should include ensuring your details are accurate and up to date on these. Your business listings cannot be “set it and forget it,” rather you’ll want to make updates monthly at a minimum. Google notes that regular updates help you rank higher in results. Leveraging a monthly service to automate this can help make it easy. 

Tip! Business listings cannot be “set it and forget it.” The best practice is to make updates monthly, at a minimum.

  • Continually Add Photos. Regularly adding photos shows Google you’re active with your profile, which positively impacts your rankings. Google notes that businesses with photos receive 34% more click throughs to their websites. One study also found that GBPs with more than 100 images get 520% more calls!  
  • Actively Post on Business-Specific Social Media Channels. You can (and should) link out to your business social media accounts from your Google Business Profile. Posting regularly on these accounts will provide signals to Google that you’re an active, relevant business they should include in search results. When putting together a social media plan, the best practice is to post to business-specific platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook Business, Instagram Professional, etc.) 3 to 7 times a week. 

A common thread among each of these is consistency. The key to maintaining a strong online presence is actively interacting with and maintaining your profile. It’s really easy for these things to slip, but they’re critical for your online presence. 

If you’re an Optimize5 client, we’ve got these things covered because regular updates are part of our subscription service. If you’re not a client, you’ll want to use software or a company to manage this. This is a great segue to what we’ll discuss next. 

How Much Does GMB Optimization Cost?

There are many businesses out there that offer optimization services at a variety of prices. At Optimize5 we charge a flat rate for setting up and optimizing your Google Business Profile. This 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

One your profile is optimized, we offer a monthly maintenance package that includes:

  • A dedicated Account Manager and support staff to work with Google
  • Regular profile maintenance, management and enhancements 
  • 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
  • Completing regular monthly updates to each listing profile

So, Is GMB Worth It?

Without a doubt, having an optimized Google Business Profile is worth it! Hopefully as you’ve read through this, you’ll agree that the benefits of claiming and optimizing your profile are undeniable.

Conclusion

By following the steps outlined in this guide to Google My Business Complete Listing Optimization Training, you can create a business profile that attracts new customers and helps your business thrive. Remember, Google Business Profile Optimization is an ongoing process. By regularly updating your profile and engaging with your customers, you can ensure your listing ranks high in local search results.

If you’d like to get started with creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile, but don’t know how, schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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