Why Should You Set Up A Google My Business (GMB) Profile?
Google has become synonymous with search. In fact, we don’t even say “Go search online” anymore – we say, “Go Google it!”
According to Net Market Share, more than 70% of all searches happen on Google, and most buyers use Google to compare brands and read reviews before making a purchase.
A recent study by BrightLocal found that a typical business receives 59 actions from their GMB profile each month. An action is considered a call, a website visit or a request for directions. The most common action was a website visit at 56%.
A GMB profile prompts the user to take action by calling, seeking directions, saving the listing or visiting the website. It also showcases reviews front and center. It’s important to claim your GMB profile right away and optimize it for best results.
Simply put, not claiming your GMB profile can hurt your business.
Here’s Why Not Claiming Your GMB Profile Is a Bad Idea:
- You have no control over the listing
- Loss of credibility
- Missed opportunities to gain new traffic and win the sale
- No response to reviews
- No SEO boost
Perhaps the greatest loss would be not taking advantage of the bump in local SEO ranking.
According to WordStream, Google’s algorithm for ranking businesses does not just consider proximity and relevance but also activity and quality of information.
Optimizing your GMB profile lets Google know that you have quality/accurate business information (store hours, description, products, etc.) as well as business activity (weekly posting, reviews, etc.)
A boost in SEO can mean a higher Google ranking, which in turn can increase visits to your website, calls and in-store visits.
Using the right strategies, your GMB profile can become an effective free customer-acquisition tool.
To help you visualize what you’re striving for, take a look at this mockup from WordStream of an incomplete GMB profile versus an optimized one. You can see that the optimized version is not only more aesthetically pleasing, but it also contains a ton of valuable information.
Here’s a helpful checklist for optimizing your profile:
- Claim your Business Profile
To do this, go to Google My Business Help for step-by-step instructions on claiming your profile on an Android, Computer or iPhone.
- Complete Name, Address, Phone, Website and Hours Sections
Make sure your business name is consistent across all online platforms and matches your brick-and-mortar store sign. The hours section should be completed and updated regularly if your hours vary.Note: Your business may need to be “verified” for certain sections of the profile to be completed. To do this, Google will snail mail you a physical postcard with a verification code. You simply enter the code to complete the verification process and finish setting up your profile.
- Utilize categories
According to Moz, “categories” impact the attributes that will be associated with your business, the menus you can use, whether booking buttons are available to you, and whether you have primary or secondary hours of operation displayed. In short, Moz explains, your choice of your primary and secondary categories contributes a lot to Google’s understanding and handling of your business.
Your category appears in the top portion of your Google Business Profile. In the example above, the category is “Gourmet grocery store”. The word “gourmet” is notable as it sets this establishment apart from a traditional grocery store. It’s important to be specific with the category you choose.
- Make note of attributes
In another example from Zabar’s, you can see they offer in-store pickup and delivery.
According to Website360º, when you add attributes like this to your GMB profile, you increase the chance that your business will show up in more specific searches.
In one example they give, when searching for “bars near me”, you will also notice some additional categories, such as “Outdoor drinks for cheap” or “Bars with live music”. This information is gathered via Google’s attributes feature.
- Write a complete “from the business” description
The “from the business” description is located under the “review” portion of the profile, and it looks like this:
The “from the business” description is not the blurb at the very top of the profile (unfortunately Google writes that, so it’s out of your control).
To optimize the “from the business” section of your Google Business Profile:
- Use as many of the allowed 750 characters as possible – the message should mimic the About Us copy on your website
- Use keywords your audience uses to find businesses like yours
(From the example above, keyword examples include website, custom website, responsive website, budget-friendly website)
- Don’t repeat any information already visible in the other sections of your profile
- Don’t include links or HTML
- Publish Google posts (weekly)
Just like with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, you can post to your GMB Profile about announcements, sales, events, and new products. Posts are created in your GMB profile dashboard and show up on the “Updates” section toward the bottom of your GMB profile.
- Add photos (and video!)
Add your logo at this size: 250 x 250 pixels (minimum 120 x 120; maximum 5200 x 5300).Add your cover image at this size: 1080 x 608 pixels (minimum 480 x 270; maximum 2120 x 1192) Both should be in PNG or JPG format.Once you’ve added these crucial images, make it part of your marketing routine to post additional new photos weekly. Video is great too!Adding photos regularly signals to Google that you are active with your profile and that the profile is up-to-date, which can positively impact your ranking.A BrightLocal study showed that businesses with more than 100 photos (added over time, not all at once) get 520% more calls, 2,717% more direction requests, and 1,065% more website clicks than the average business.
- Don’t Ignore the Q&A Section
You’ll notice a Q&A section on the GMB profile where potential customers can ask a question about your products, services or the business itself.It’s imperative that you answer these questions in a timely manner and as completely as possible. Here is an example:
You can even ask and answer your own questions. Make a list of the most frequently asked questions your business gets, then ask and answer them on your own GMB profile.
- Respond to reviews (in a timely manner, good or bad)
As mentioned earlier, people not only search on Google, but they also consult Google reviews when deciding what to purchase.Google knows that reviews are highly influential, so this is a key ranking factor in their algorithm.
Once you’ve gotten a review, you’ll get an alert from Google that someone has left a comment. It’s important that you follow up with a response regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, so that Google knows your profile is active and that you are responsive to customers.
- Add products and services
Adding products and services is especially helpful if your offerings are not made clear in your business name.For example, Sally’s Hair Salon also offers massage, waxing and facial services, but you’d never know it from the name.Populating this section also adds content to your profile that can help it to rank for even more relevant searches.
Now you have the power to make the most of Google’s awesome free tool for small businesses.
Check out the article sources below for more information on each of the sections outlined in this post.