Have you Googled yourself – or your business – lately? If not, why not? If a potential customer’s first impression of you is your Google Business Profile, what is it saying about you?
Did you know that …
-92% of all internet searches start with Google.
-97% of all online searches are from people trying to find a local business
-88% of people searching for a local business will call or visit that business within 24 hours
As a business owner, you can’t afford to have a non-existent, outdated, or incomplete Google Business Profile (GBP).
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business, is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google. A business profile with Google is pretty simple but it can be a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy.
GBP is similar to a directory listing in that it includes basic contact information – phone number, address, and website. However, a complete profile can also include images, videos, ratings, reviews, hours, essential details and other important updates.
Profiles are available to businesses that have direct contact with customers at their physical location like retailers, salons, doctors, and restaurants. These profiles also apply to anyone who provides a service at another location such as plumbers, consultants, electricians, landscapers, contractors, etc.
Why do I need one?
Believe it or not, Google actually wants to drive traffic to your website and when you have a current, complete profile, it can do just that. Your profile will improve your local SEO by helping your business show up in relevant Google searches, on Google Maps, and on Google Shopping when a customer is looking for your product or service in their area.
Local SEO is a location-based marketing strategy that optimizes your website for a specific area, making it more visible in geo-specific search results. Any business with a physical location or specific service area can benefit from local SEO because it is designed to show customers your business on maps and in “near me” search results.
Other benefits of a Google Business Profile
A GBP is proven to help boost sales. When potential customers find a business through a Google search, they are 50% more likely to make a purchase.
Also, because of Google’s verification process, a GBP can help build trust with consumers. Customers are nearly 3 times more likely to consider a brand reputable when it has a GBP.
With a GBP, customers can review your business and those reviews and ratings will appear within your profile. Don’t worry about sharing negative reviews, studies have shown that it is best to have a combination of negative and positive reviews. Plus, through Google, you can respond directly to any negative reviews to resolve any issues and help improve your business’s overall rating.
Finally, you can also view insights within your Google Business Profile dashboard to learn more about your audience and gauge how your business is performing.
How to claim your Google Business Profile
To claim or add a Google Business Profile, visit Google Business Profile Manager. Click the “Manage Now” button and type your business name into the search bar. If a profile exists, it will show up in the search and you can claim it. If not, click ‘Add your business to Google” and follow the prompts.
Adding or claiming a business is not immediate. Google requires a verification process that typically is done by mail which can take a few days to complete. Be patient, the benefits are worth the wait.
According to Google, “businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.” Here are a few tips to help optimize your profile and be there when your customers need you most.
-Use actual photos and videos of your business, avoid stock photography.
-At the very least, change photos seasonally
-Keep your business hours up-to-date.
-Add any special health and safety protocols
-Include relevant keywords in your profile
-Add special features, attributes, products, and services
-Encourage reviews and follow up on negative comments or feedback
-Answer questions in a timely manner
Google Business Profile is free and easy to use. But, if you have questions or would like to incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy, complete the form below and we’ll connect you with one of our talented Marketing and Advertising Consultants.