Today, every business needs targeted visibility on Google and the majority of businesses know that they need to optimize their website and Google Ads for this. However, very few businesses know that there is a third element that also needs optimization: Google Business Listings.
It is officially known as a Business Profile. It is a dynamic snapshot of your business that shows the best features of your business and makes it easy for potential customers to find, learn about, and engage with you, all from the search engine results page (SERP). More importantly, it is completely free.
Still, only 1,260 Business Profiles get views from the 167 billion searches performed on Google every month, according to a BrightLocal study. This is 0.00000075% of all the searches and what’s worse is that out of the 1,260 views, only 59 actions are taken, which is less than 5 percent.
This is not a problem with the Google My Business (GMB) platform, the problem with that majority of businesses are not taking advantage of this impressive feature. For this very reason, we’ve created a guide on Google My Business optimization strategies. There are 13 to be exact and let’s get to them without wasting any more time.
1. Establish your Business Profile
2. Don’t leave any section of your Google Business Profile
3. Don’t forget the contact information
4. Choose both primary and secondary categories
5. Check all applicable attributes
6. Complete the “from the business” explanation
7. Upload a new photo every week
8. Respond to reviews (both good and bad)
9. Mention your product or services
10. Setup Messaging
Why Do You Need GMB Optimization
Local business optimization is a great way to get leads and helps customers choose your products or services over competitors. Here’s how Google Business Profile optimization might help you:
- A lot of potential customers are getting a lot of information on the search results page without going to any website, leading to “zero-click searches.” So, with a lot of potential customers interacting with just your Google Business Profile, you should optimize it for quality engagement and conversions.
- Along with proximity and relevance, Google’s algorithm also considers activity and quality of information for local rankings. So, if you optimize Google My Business, it tells Google to increase your rankings in local results. As a result, you get more visibility and engagement and ultimately more business.
- Customers can view your reviews and if you respond to all of them, a potential customer see this as positive customer support. This increases the chance of them converting into paying customers.
How to Optimize Google My Business?
Now that we’ve seen that optimizing your Business Profile can make you stand out from the competition, get your local rankings up, and win customers online, let’s look at how you can optimize your Business Profile:
1. Establish your Business Profile
First of all, it is important to understand that a Google Business Profile is different from a GMB account. A GMB account is used to gain access to the Google Business Profiles, which means that to optimize your Business Profile, first, you need a GMB account and then connect it to your Profile.
Visit Google.com/business to create your account. Log in using your business Gmail account and don’t use your personal email.
2. Don’t Leave Any Part of Your Google Business Profile
The more information you put on your Business Profile, the better Google will rank you in local search results. Moreover, potential customers take more action when they find your business. These are the aspects you should complete:
- Hours of operation
These aspects take a bit more thought and time:
- Category and Attributes
- Products or services
- Questions and answers generated by the owner
- From the business
These are the continuous sections
- Questions and answers generated by the consumers
3. Don’t Forget the Contact Information
Mentioning your contact information for Google Business Profile optimization is the best way to get queries directly from customers. Here’s how you do it:
- Ensure that your business name is exactly the same as your store sign.
- Ensure that your business name and address match other listings you might have done across the web. Avoid inconsistencies such as ‘st’ Vs. ‘street.’ Google takes these inconsistencies seriously while evaluating your credibility.
- Mention your operating hours and off hours. With this information, customers know exactly when to visit your office or store.
4. Choose Both Primary and Secondary Categories
Choosing a category is important for local business optimization. Here’s why:
- Get spotted in discovery searches: Around 84 percent of Business Profile views are from discovery searches. This means that the consumer searched for a service, product, or categorical term. Only 16 percent come via direct searches.
- Prioritize category-specific features: When you choose a category, Google unravels category-specific features for your profile to be attractive and effective. For instance, hotel profiles will have a star rating system, or restaurants can include a menu button.
Note: You can see your categories on the top section of your Google Business Profile
There are a lot of categories to choose from, so it’s important that you choose the correct one. This is how you optimize your categories:
- Be precise: If you own a Chinese restaurant then choose “Chinese Restaurant” instead of just “Restaurant.” If you own a nail salon, don’t just choose “Salon.” Choose “Nail Saloon.” Once you start typing in, you’ll see a drop-spin list of categories. However, you can also view a full list of GMB categories to make sure that you choose the most specific category for your business.
- Select secondary categories: There are several businesses that fall into more than one category. Choose a primary category and then a secondary one. For instance, if the primary category is “Grocery Store,” the second category might be “Gourmet Grocery Store.”
- Don’t go overboard: Only choose the category that matches what you do. For instance, don’t choose ‘appliance parts supplier’ if you repair appliances.
Pro Tip: If you change your categories later, Google might prompt you to verify your business.
5. Check All Applicable Attributes
Once you’ve picked a category, Google shows an index of attributes you have to tick off to better summarize your business. You can think of attributes as special features such as “gift shop on-site. ”
Yelp has attributes too, but the Google My Business platform gets very granular with them. You get attributes such as “popular for travelers” or “good place to work on a laptop.” So, check off the right attribute.
6. Complete the “From the Business” Description
The brief description under your business name in your Business Profile is not in your control. It is written by Google to make sure there’s consistency throughout the platform. However, Google gives you control over the “from the business” description. You can access this description in your GMB account dashboard. Here’s how you optimize it:
- You get 750 characters and make sure you use all of them the first 250 chargers are imperative for key information.
- Use the content from the mission statement or the “About Us” page, but repurpose it.
- Use keywords that your audience might use.
- Don’t repeat information. Mention how you are different from your competitors
- Don’t include any links.
7. Upload a New Photo Every Week
You should upload a new photo or photos to your Google Business Profile for three important reasons:
- When you upload great photos on your Google Business Profile, you make sure that your profile looks remarkable.
- Adding photos on a regular basis tells Google that your Business Profile is active and updated, impacting your rankings positively.
- Google is working toward image recognition and including images in local results. Uploading new photos can get your images in results.
However, this doesn’t imply that you upload hundreds of photos at once. Here’s how you do it best:
- A minimum of one photo in a week
- Use an image that represents your brand the best
- Refer to Google’s image guidelines
- Don’t use stock photos
- Upload quality images
- Geotag your pictures
- Add videos if possible
8. Respond to Reviews (Both Good and Bad)
How to optimize Google My Business without doing anything extravagant? Answer the reviews you get on your profile. When you deploy all of the above steps correctly, you might get paying customers. Based on your product or services, you are going to get reviews.
According to Google, reviews influence a consumer's buying behavior and it is an important factor for ranking in their algorithm. Users usually choose businesses with four attractive yellow stars rather than one or two with no reviews whatsoever.
Use these tips to optimize the reviews part of your Business Profile:
- Start with loyal and long-time customers.
- Ask your customers to write a review via text, email, or social media.
- Tell customers that reviews will help you improve your product or services, which in turn helps them.
- Create a separate reviews page on your business’s official website
- Finally, respond to reviews, both good and bad. Thank your customers if the review is good and apologize to your customers if they weren’t satisfied after doing business with you. It builds credibility.
9. Mention Your Products or Services
Sometimes your brand name doesn’t specify what you offer. In such cases, add your products or services to your Business Profile. Adding information to s=this section adds content to your profile and helps in GMB optimization.
For proper Google My Business optimization, including the name, price, and description of the product or service. Once a potential customer clicks on the product, the full description shows up. Moreover, Google might take your offerings and add them to a category.
10. Set Up Messaging
This is a great feature to connect with your customers. With this Google My Business optimization strategy, potential or existing customers will be able to send you a text message directly to your phone from your Business Profile.
To enable messaging, go to your GMB dashboard and select “Messaging.” Next, you can install it via Apple App Store or Google Play. Two pointers on this:
- You don’t have to worry about your personal number being on display. You’ll get a separate number with Google’s Allo app.
- Set up alerts when you receive messages in your GMB dashboard. Go to settings and check the “Customer messages” tab.
Well, there you go. Your Google My Business optimization is done. After all this, all you have to do is maintain your Business Profile. How do you do that? Update information on your profile no matter how small it is. Upload photos and publish posts every week. Ask for your reviews and respond to them even if they are bad. Lastly, stay on top of the latest features to make sure your profile is always optimized.
Your Google My Business optimization strategy should revolve around providing quality information regarding your business. So, use your GMB dashboard to keep it updated.