Google Business Profiles: 10 Must-Have Features

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Recently we shared why an optimized Google Business Profile is incredibly important. Hopefully, if you weren’t already on the Google bandwagon, you are now.

But knowing it’s important is only the beginning. You also need to know HOW to effectively optimize your Google Business Profile. More than 97% of people learn about local businesses online. You want to make sure they’re discovering you when doing their research.

Read through to learn the 10 essential features needed to successfully optimize your Google Business 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 in a previous post, 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 – 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 your SEO results — not just how many you have and what they say, but also how consistently you receive them. It’s extremely important you respond to every review, whether positive or negative.

Getting and responding to reviews builds trust with potential clients. 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.”

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. Posting feeds important keywords and phrases to the Google algorithm so it can more easily connect your business to your product and/or service.

Additionally, 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.

Tip: Turn on alerts so you’re notified when someone asks or answers a question.

10. Add an Appointment Link to Your Google Business Profile

Last, but not least, add an appointment link to your profile. Doing so 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.

Once you’ve successfully optimized your Google Business Profile, you’ll want this information to be available in as many places online as possible. This is where business citation syndication comes in handy. If you’d like to learn more about it, set up a free 30-minute session with Optimize5.

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