For a local company, an optimized Google My Business Profile offers a valuable platform for promoting and updating customers on all aspects of an enterprise. Local businesses can add a variety of elements to their profile, including location, opening times, images, and contact details, which then appear on search and map results for relevant terms. Customers can add reviews to the profile, so potential clients can make informed buying decisions, while business owners can view detailed analytics. With the opportunity to control your own profile from one dashboard, creating an optimized Google My Business Profile is essential for anyone looking to gain online visibility.
However, many people do not use the service, or they add minimal content. The following tips can help you optimize your Google My Business profile to generate more business, improve your search position, and assist customers.
MAINTAIN CONSISTENT DETAILS WITH YOUR COMPANY’S WEBSITE
Inconsistencies in contact information will provide issues with search engine optimization, reducing the chances of gaining prominence in the search results. Google is an just an algorithm, so you cannot rely on the search engine to avoid creating duplicate profiles that weaken the authority of your profile. Name, address, and phone numbers should follow the same format across your profile, web directories, and your main website, avoiding small changes that sometimes occur with business names and addresses.
ADD AUTHENTIC, EYE-CATCHING PHOTOS & IMAGES
Marketers understand the benefits of adding eye-catching images to their advertisements; the same principle applies to your Google My Business account. Searchers can see an image next to your listing, encouraging or discouraging them from clicking the link. If they do decide to look further into your profile, the addition of extra images can serve to promote you even more. Ideally, you should use professional images that offer the best view of your place of business.
ENCOURAGE CLIENT REVIEWS
Positive reviews give a better impression of your business, while also helping your profile stand out. Online consumers are becoming more savvy, so you can expect them to read a number of reviews before making a purchasing decision. Google also include a star rating in their listings, allowing you to improve the click-through rate when you have a high score. To get the ball rolling, speak to clients you can rely on to provide a good review. Subsequently, get into the habit of politely asking for reviews from new clients, making the process easier by providing a direct URL.
Citations are mentions of your website that occur across directories, listings sites, and various blogs. Typically, a citation will feature your business name, address, and phone number, but it can also simply be a mention of your business that features in a blog post. Gaining a large number of quality citations increases your chances of featuring prominently for a relevant search term, performing a similar role as a regular backlink. Tools like BrightLocal and Whitespark can be used to uncover the best sites available in your industry and locality.
SELECT RELEVANT KEYWORDS AND CATEGORIES
Keywords and categories help to identify the industry you operate in, allowing you to appear for a variety of search terms. Keywords can be added to images before you upload them, making them easier to identify. Categories should be specific and small in number. Google can suspend pages if they feel you are trying to bend the rules, so try to use keywords and categories for the benefit of consumers.
INCLUDE AN INDOOR STREET VIEW
An advanced technique you can use, although not essential when first setting up your profile, is to add an indoor view of your building on Street View. Google offer a badge to trusted photographers and agencies that contribute 360 photos. You can search through these trusted professionals in your local area, hire them to perform a shoot, and publish on Street View, offering a more immersive experience for potential customers. For example, if you run a bar, restaurant, hotel, or cafe, offering a virtual experience should reduce concern about trying a new business.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A OPTIMIZED GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PROFILE
Overall, Google My Business is a valuable service for businesses and consumers. Businesses get to list their details for free, offering visibility across multiple Google services. Consumers can find information in one place, checking out the reviews before making a decision. While most people spend little time on their profile, business owners who take the time to develop the page, adding media content and encouraging reviews, can benefit from greater prominence in the search engine. Ultimately, an optimized Google My Business Profile is a service that takes little time to get right, so it is worth adding to your list of promotional activities.