Google Business Profile is a comprehensive suite of tools that provide an array of features such as dashboards, in-SERP editing, and local business profiles – which are all backed up by a volunteer support forum sporting the same branding. For eligible local businesses, it’s Google’s way to make sure you get noticed on their free search marketing platform through Google Maps. With this remarkable tool now at your disposal, ensure your business stands out!
Jumpstart your local business digital asset with this simple yet enlightening article, and pass it along to new clients and employees. Today is the perfect day for foundational learning!
Introduction to the fundamentals of Google Business Profiles
Let’s start by understanding what Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business) are and how to gain access.
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (GBP) is a multifaceted platform that allows you to showcase your local business by submitting data, managing customer reviews and questions, and publishing media such as photos, posts, and videos. GBP provides an interactive way for potential customers to get to know your brand – increasing the visibility of the services or products you provide.
What is Google Business Profile (GBP) eligibility?
Before you list your business on Google Business Profile, make sure to take a look at the Guidelines for representing your business on Google. This is an ever-evolving document that regularly gets updated with new rules and regulations so it’s important to stay informed of any changes in order to avoid potential penalties or removal from listings!
To kick-start your journey, a Google account is essential
If you don’t have a Google account yet, it’s easy to create one here. It is strongly recommended that each local business has its own company profile rather than marketing agencies using their accounts for managing clients’ profiles. Having your very own company profile makes sure that your business gets the full benefits of Google products!
When the business you’re marketing has a sizeable internal communications team or works with external firms, Google Business Profile can grant multiple users specific permissions to effectively manage listings by adding and removing listing owners and managers.
How to craft and claim/verify a Google Business Profile
If your business has a Google account and is eligible for Google Business Profile inclusion, you can easily create one local business profile with the help of their step-by-step wizard. Simply click here to get started!
Take the opportunity to fill out as many profile fields as you can. This guide will help you master how best to complete a variety of fields and make use of numerous features. Once every possible field is filled in, you’ll have access to options that verify your listing so that it remains under your control for future editing purposes.
Rather than manually inputting 10+ business locations, you can quickly perform a bulk upload via spreadsheet and immediately request verification. This way, your task is completed in no time!
Google Business Profile information can display almost everywhere
Once you’ve successfully added your data to the Google Business Profile (GBP) system, it will start appearing in different formats of Google’s local search displays – both on mobile and desktop devices.
Google Business Profiles
When you conduct a search using your brand name and the city where it is located (e.g., “Mazatlan Grill”), Google Business Profile (GBP) will usually appear as one of the top results. In certain instances, when competition for a term is low or if Google incorrectly believes that people are looking specifically for a specific brand rather than various results, GBPs can also show up with non-branded searches like “seafood restaurant near me”.
Google Business Profiles are quite comprehensive, however, a shortened version appears alongside the organic search engine results on the right side, like so:
Google Local Packs
When searching for local businesses, Google will display the most relevant results in a Local Pack. Whether you’re looking to satisfy your cravings with a “seafood restaurant near me” or explore unique flavors of onion rings downtown, all it takes is one simple search query and Google can infer that you intend to find those nearby. With no need for explicit geographic terms in their phrase, users have easy access to countless local stores at their fingertips!
Nowadays, you will usually find local packs with up to three business listings. There is also the option of clicking on a map or pressing the “view all” or “more place” button, which expands the list even further. In some cases, there are fewer than three businesses listed in this pack and Google might include different information for each one.
On desktop searches, local pack results usually appear above organic search results and look something like this:
Google Local Finders
When a user clicks on the “view all,” “more places” link, or map within local pack results, they will be taken to what is known as Local Finder. Here, different listings can appear in groups of 10 and users are able to zoom in/out while seeing their options change dynamically.
Google.com/search is the starting point for this type of result. Although some businesses such as those in the hospitality industry have customized displays, most local business categories will show up with a familiar format: A ranked list of results on one side and maps on the other that makes it easier to pinpoint locations.
If you’re an Android user, never worry about getting lost again as Google Maps is the standard display on mobile phones. But desktop users can also rely on this same interface instead of searching via Google’s general search! Just look out for a link at the top of your screen that reads “maps”, like so:
What you find when searching Google Maps looks almost identical to the local search results, but there are still distinctions. Eventually, though, it’s very likely that Google will merge these two experiences and have people use the maps instead of a separate tool for local searches.
On desktop, Google’s search engine ranks the Maps display in a unique fashion beginning with google.com/maps rather than google.com/search- this is what it looks like:
Are you curious to find out more about the advantages and how to optimize your Google Business Profile? Don’t stress! Our blog has all of the answers.
When things go south with Google Business Profile
While running a GBP marketing campaign, you’re sure to come across daunting predicaments and an abundance of questions. Fortunately, Google provides its users with the Google Business Profile Help Community Forum where you can post inquiries in hopes of receiving feedback from either member of the public or experienced Gold Product Experts!
Learn how to leverage Google’s local features and bolster your business growth in the community.
In order to capitalize on the various advantages of Google Business Profiles and Maps, local businesses must take a personalized approach; however, these seven essential steps should propel growth potential regardless:
1) Unsure of your business model? Consider brick-and-mortar, service area businesses, home-based companies, or a hybrid.
2) Assessing your business model, find out if you’re eligible for a Google Business Profile and adhere to the regulations outlined in the Guidelines for representing your company on Google.
3) Before creating GBP profiles, ensure that you are working from a trusted source of data. Make sure to validate and confirm the name, address, phone number, hours of operation, business categories, and other details about the company you are listing; accuracy is key! Double-check all pertinent information before publishing any relevant content online.
4) It’s essential to craft and register a profile for each of the places you’re promoting. Depending on your company model, there might be extra entries available for specialists at the business or various departments within one space. Some models like car dealerships even qualify for multiple listings depending on the type of cars they offer – make sure to follow guidelines! When constructing your profiles, you should always strive to add as much accurate information as possible that is both high quality and comprehensive.
5) Now that your listings are online, it’s time to maintain and monitor them on a regular basis. This includes the following:
- Constant evaluation of your chosen categories and recognition of new ones that arise in the industry will ensure you possess the best, most impactful selection.
- Showcase your business to its fullest potential by uploading vivid, vibrant images that illustrate your inventory, services, premises, seasonal features, and more.
- Making it your top priority to acquire and respond promptly to all customer reviews should be a central part of your customer service policy.
- Establishing a Google Posts agenda and publishing posts regularly will boost awareness of your products, services, events, and news related to the locations you are attempting to market. This micro-blogging content can be an effective tool for broadening your reach!
- Answering the same questions over and over again? Make it easier for your team by pre-populating Google Questions & Answers with company FAQs, then stay up to date on responding to any incoming queries from customers.
- Capitalize on your listing’s features by creating an attention-grabbing, budget-friendly video. See how the GBP listing produces a captivating and costless visual for potential customers!
- Staying on top of any modifications to your contact details, hours, holiday or other special event times is critical for the success of your business. Ensure that you are always providing up-to-date information to keep customers informed!
- Examine and make use of extra features that could be advantageous to the model you’re selling, like menus for merchandise or services, product catalogs, appointment booking abilities, and so much more!
- To gain insight into the performance of your listings, review Google Business Profile Insights in your dashboard and take advantage of UTM tagging to observe how people are interacting with them.
6) Staying educated on the ever-evolving Google landscape is critical to maintaining a successful local SEO presence. By following key industry leaders and subscribing to newsletters, you can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to alterations in ranking factors and new features being rolled out. Additionally, keeping tabs on professional surveys as well as street-level reports will help you assess what strategies are leading toward maximum visibility growth for your business.
7) To truly excel in the local business market, you must master viewing your profiles from a competitive standpoint. You will have competitors for each search phrase that can potentially harm your visibility and customers may see different pack results depending on their location at the time of searching. Rather than striving to be #1, focus on conducting basic audit reports so as to comprehend how competition is managing to gain an upper hand.
In conclusion, the key to success is providing Google with accurate data right off the bat and continuously managing all GBP features. Additionally, by making a commitment to continue educating yourself on local SEO best practices you can create an engine of growth that will be beneficial for your local clientele.
How to optimize Google Business Profile (GMB) listings
Trying to understand SEO forum FAQs can be overwhelming, especially when most resources fail to provide adequate context for GBP optimization. Let’s tackle this challenge together and uncover the full picture!
Google utilizes complex equations known as “algorithms” to ascertain the ranking of businesses that appear in searches. As such, local SEOs and business owners are constantly striving to understand Google’s secret ranking factors so their locations can acquire maximum visibility on packs, finders, and maps.
Although a few experts believe that there are limited fields in the Google Business Profile which may influence ranking, such as the business name, primary category, and linked website URL, most of us have been exposed to countless dubious pieces of advice regarding “optimizing” service radii and descriptions without any proof of their impact on rank. Nevertheless, it is clear that reviews play an important role in local SEO rankings.
In my opinion, discussing GBP optimization is important, but I would rather have a broader view of the components that are working together to drive visibility, conversions, and expansion than focus too much on how one particular feature may or may not affect ranking.
For a business to succeed, every detail counts. From responding to an FAQ query that may spark a direct lead, crafting content along the buyer’s journey and choosing new primary categories for improved visibility on searches, or even connecting with disgruntled customers by expressing empathy in reviews – it all matters when aiming for growth.
Google Business Profiles are essential to any successful local search marketing strategy, here’s why.
As of November 2021 to 2022, Google’s expansive search engine market share was reported as a staggering 91.97%, leaving other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo with minuscule shares in comparison. Although it remains uncertain if the rumored development of an Apple search engine may affect this status quo, for now, Google has essentially secured a monopoly on searches worldwide.
In 2018, a Google spokesperson proclaimed that 46% of searches had a regional purpose. And if we consider that Google processes 5.8 billion everyday inquiries worldwide, this would imply 2.7 billion queries occur daily from people searching for products and services in their area! To top it off, according to Google’s statistics, interest in backing local businesses escalated by an incredible 20,000% last year!
If local businesses genuinely want to grab their appropriate share of inquiries that expands their presence in the area, they must comprehend how to combine Google Business Profile marketing into their local SEO strategies.
Local Search Engine Optimization (Local SEO) Explained
Mastering the art of local SEO is a must for every business today if they are to be found easily in localized organic search engine results. As small and local businesses comprise the premier sector of U.S. companies, using Local SEO as an advantage has become increasingly vital for outstanding customer service and modernizing operations – making it now more important than ever!
Local SEO and Google Business Profile marketing are two distinct activities, but understanding how to use GBP as an asset is essential for amplifying local business success due to the prevalence of Google in our lives.
A successful local SEO campaign is multifaceted, covering not only the management of Google Business Profiles and listings on other location data platforms but also social media posts with images or videos, organic website optimization for localized searches as well as offline marketing endeavors. By incorporating all these efforts into your strategy you are sure to maximize visibility in your area.
When attempting to establish what’s most important, consider that the website should be regarded as the top digital asset for your brand. After that would come GBP marketing. Moreover, within any local search advertising framework, it is vital to always keep customer satisfaction at the front and center of on-and-offline activities.
Concentrate on GBP but expand beyond Google
When it comes to marketing a brand, there are always advantages, disadvantages, and potential risks. Google Business Profile is no exception. To get the most accurate picture of this situation, let’s break it down into four parts.
1) The positive
As owners and marketers, the most rewarding aspect of GBP is that it meets our criteria of assisting local businesses to be discovered and chosen. Above all else, this is the ultimate goal for marketing strategies – therefore leveraging Google’s expansive market share undeniably provides an unparalleled opportunity to capture customers’ attention and selection.
Google Business Pages (GBP) is a remarkable technological achievement that allows businesses to become digitized and ever-present in communities. GBPs provide the means for companies to communicate with customers, generate loyalty, manage inventory and maintain quality control. Ultimately it helps brands construct an online reputation that will be recognized by households even away from the digital realm. With just minimal effort on your part, you can experience all these advantages of Google Business Pages!
2) The negative
The downside of Google’s expansive dominance is that it has allowed them to overlook problems such as listing and review spam-which can have a detrimental effect on local businesses. Without another search engine providing competition, there isn’t much incentive for Google to take action against these issues. It’s clear that the lack of an alternative has caused them to disregard their responsibility in resolving these matters with real-world consequences for brands and communities alike.
As we take an objective look at Google’s local strategy, it becomes apparent that they are attempting to generate more profit. For example, while GBP profiles are still free of charge at the moment, Local Service Ads and other similar programs point to a future where paying for SEO services will no longer be optional in order for small businesses on limited budgets to do well locally.
In the end, local marketers and brands (not to mention Google’s own staffers) are being continuously challenged with ethical issues in relation to Google which have caused numerous company walkouts, public demonstrations, groundbreaking legal action, and government probes. If you’re using your professional life toward creating unique communities that respect human rights on a local level, it’s possible you’ll sometimes experience some kind of contradiction between what you want to accomplish and what Google is aiming for.
3) The risk
It definitely takes time to manage your Google-based assets, but don’t get sucked into spending too much time on it. With so many local business owners with busy schedules and the dominance of Google, it’s easy to think that GBP is your only option. Fortunately, there are other alternatives available for you to explore!
The importance of diversifying your resources becomes evident each time Google presents an unanticipated bug, monetizes a formerly free market, or opens its doors to competitors and advertisers which you may perceive as taking over the space. At times, their vision for local does not align with true-life situations in need of options that are lacking or features needing development before being able to completely convey your business’s services.
Despite the expansive heights of Google’s walls, many people mistakenly assume that their limits and limitations are all there is to local search marketing. However, this is not necessarily true; with a bit of creative thinking and outside-the-box strategies, you can still make an impact on your target audience in ways beyond what traditional platforms may offer.
4) The road to success
Although the Greater Business Platform (GBP) is important, there are plenty of other ways to generate visibility for your business. Expand your reach by getting listed on multiple platforms and actively engaging with customer reviews across them.
Additionally, you can provide valuable content to local sites like Nextdoor or old-school forums that only locals use. Form B2B partnerships and become an advocate for small businesses in your community while also sponsoring events in the area. Participate in “Help a Reporter Out” initiatives so that reporters may learn more about what you offer as well as consider image, video, or podcasting media outlets which could help increase brand awareness locally. Seize the chance to join in on the home delivery revival, provide a hunger for old-fashioned quality and knowledge, or take your website to another level by entering into digital sales. Numerous possibilities await you that are sure to match every local brand’s needs – so don’t miss out!
The most important takeaway? Rather than getting stuck in the Google universe, create your own world with customers from a space of openness to potential.
Taking a peek at what lies ahead of Google Business Profile
Is it worthwhile to allocate your resources and time to optimizing GBP assets for local businesses? Will these efforts pay off in the long run or is this a temporary trend? And where exactly does Google stand with its vision of the future of local search marketing? It’s important to consider all these elements before committing wholly.
Google Business Profile has the potential to remain for many years, even if it reaches a different name due to Google’s history of renaming local features. In light of this, here are eight trends I anticipate we will see during the following five years:
1. Now is the perfect time for you to become familiar with Google Maps, as many of its features are distinct from those of other search engines. Moreover, by default local packs to Maps instead of the local finder, Google could create a much more organized network than ever before!
2. With each passing day, pay-to-play visibility will become increasingly ubiquitous in packs, organic, and Maps listings. This includes lead generation features as well as trust badges that are designed to build consumer confidence.
3. Should Apple Maps prove to be a threat to Google, the search engine giant may choose to invest in more robust spam blockers for listings and reviews as an effective way of maintaining the integrity of their index.
4. Invest in photographing your inventory for maximum growth, as location-based image filters and search features continue to expand.
5. Google is making large strides towards creating a local commerce platform, where they will potentially gain commissions from the sales of real-time inventory. Brands that you market need to consider carefully: Will they sell via Google or keep their sales solely on their own company website? Or maybe both!
6. Now is the perfect time for Google to launch a feature that illustrates local delivery radii of physical stores, as home deliveries have become an inevitable part of our lives. If this idea fits any brands you’re marketing, it’s time to consider making the most out of it!
7. With just five years to make a significant impact, it’s important for marketers and brands to ask themselves whether they should bring Google Messaging into their customer connections. After all, this is the main window of opportunity for Google; if effective marketing strategies are employed now, we may very well be looking at a successful brand-to-consumer communication platform in the near future!
8. It’s time to take Google Posts interactivity up a notch by introducing public commenting! Nextdoor has already launched this transformative feature and it would be a strategic move for Google to follow suit. Public comments on Google posts could drastically enhance their utility, providing brands with an even greater incentive to use the platform more often.
It is evident that Google’s vision of local search as an open-source, DIY free-for-all will not be changing anytime soon. Unfortunately, this also means the minimal effort to provide more personalized support for small business owners whose data helps make up the company’s successful and profitable local index. Although there has been a noticeable boost in automated correspondence sent to GBS listing owners from the giant corporation, it still falls short when compared with genuine one-to-one guidance and assistance needed by these people.
As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to stay aware of both the excellent and inferior elements of Google’s Business Profile. Take control of how customers interact with your brand on this platform in order to get maximum returns from investing in it. It may be a challenging task but with ongoing learning, helpful tools, and centering around customer service – you can reap immense gratification!