Today, businesses of all sizes need visibility on Google. While almost every company knows that optimizing their website and Google Ads will get them there, only a few are aware that there’s another entity that requires optimization: Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), otherwise known as your Business Profile.
If you don’t have a Google Business Profile profile yet, it’s time to set up one. Why?
Well, it pretty much serves as a powerful tool to help you generate more leads and turn them into customers. It helps people find your business online and offline, particularly those who are looking for the products or services you offer.
Let’s say you run a furniture store. Anyone who types in “stores selling living room chairs” or “furniture stores near me” will see your Google Business Profile listing as soon as they press enter. That is, if it’s well-optimized, of course.
It’s already common knowledge that Google is a top source of potential leads. Holding a 73% majority share in the search engine market and hosting 58% of all online reviews, it makes perfect sense as to why companies are focused on keeping their Google Business Profile listings as optimized as possible.
In this post, we’ll be sharing tried-and-true strategies that fuel lead generation with Google Business Profile. Before we get into them, however, let’s talk about the other whys of optimizing your account.
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Why Optimize Your Google Business Profile?
Aside from the fact that an optimized Google Business Profile profile gets you more qualified leads, it also provides the following benefits:
Puts You in Map Searches
Showing up in Google Map searches is crucial, especially for businesses whose location is a major factor in generating sales. People who are searching for your product or service online are interested to make a purchase. When they see that you’re nearby, they’ll most likely pay you a visit. The closer you are to them, the greater your odds are of turning them into customers.
Boosts Your Local Ranking
Google ranks Business Profiles not only based on relevance and proximity, but also in terms of activity and the quality of information. When you optimize your profile, you’re sending these signals to Google to give you a higher ranking in local results, improving your visibility and exposure.
Highlights Customer Reviews
Would you believe that 93% of customers read online reviews first before deciding to buy something online? This goes to show that customer feedback plays an integral role in making sales. Not surprisingly, Google knows that already, with Google Business Profile Reviews as evidence, displaying those little gold stars on your page can go a long way in getting the attention, as well as initial trust, of your target customers.
Keep in mind, however, that collecting reviews is a double-edged sword. Although there’s nothing better than receiving great feedback, you just can’t avoid negative ones. That said, encourage your most loyal and satisfied customers to share their experiences with you.
Confirms Your Legitimacy
Just like having a professional business card or a company website, a well-optimized Google Business Profile listing lets your audience know that you’re 100% legit, and not another phony.
There’s no quicker way to lose a potential customer than by failing to put your contact info, complete address, or operating hours on your Business Profile. Why even bother to set up an account if you’re not revealing much about your company?
Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing to Get More Leads Using These Tactics
Now that you’re aware of how big of a deal it really is to have a fully-optimized Google Business Profile profile, you’re probably excited to learn the hows. And so, let’s get to it!
Create a Google Business Profile Account
Feel free to skip this part if you already have one. Otherwise, stick around to learn how.
In case you didn’t know, a Google Business Profile and a Google Business Profile account are actually two separate entities. You need the latter in order to access and optimize the former.
In other words, all the optimization strategies provided in this guide won’t work unless you have a Google Business Profile account and connect it with your Google Business Profile. Creating an account is incredibly simple. Just head to Google.com/business and sign in using the Google or Gmail account you use for your business, not your personal one.
Be Meticulous in Filling Out Every Section of Your Profile
First, see to it that you complete all fields.
Besides helping you rank higher in local search results, completing your profile increases the number of actions your visitors take when they land on your page. With so many details to provide, be sure to prioritize the most important ones before anything else: Your business name, address, phone, website, and hours.
Here are three tricks to optimize them:
TRICK #1 – Your business name and address should match your listings in other online directories. If you’re using “co” on your GMB listing, then you must also use that on the rest. If Google catches “company” in one of your listings, there’s a huge chance you’ll get in trouble. Inconsistency is a factor when determining your credibility.
TRICK #2 – Your business name should be identical to the one you use on your store signage. It needs to appear in Google exactly as it appears in the real world. Apparently, Google considers any location name (unless it’s part of your brand name) or keywords as spam, which could get you penalized.
TRICK #3 – Always include both your regular and holiday hours so your customers will know when to visit you. Plus, you don’t want to receive a negative review from someone who made their way to your store just to see it was closed.
Don’t forget to double-check the profile to see if there are any errors to fix.
In terms of Categories and Attributes, use the right keywords to talk about your business so it can fit into the right category. For instance, if you own a Japanese restaurant that specializes in Kyoto cuisine, your best option is to pick “Kyoto Style Japanese Restaurant” as the primary choice.
Specificity is essential when it comes to optimizing your GMB listing. With that point, it’s also important to include your price range, menu items, amenities, and hours so interested customers have all the details they should know about your business.
You might also want to choose secondary categories if your business falls into multiple categories. If your primary category is “Grocery Store” for example, select additional categories that apply, such as “Gourmet Grocery Store” or “Grocery Delivery Service.”
As for attributes, Google will provide a list after you pick a category. Attributes, which are special features that potential customers seek out, allow you to further describe what your business is all about. Some examples are “free WiFi,” “popular for travelers,” and “in-room massages.”
Write Your “From the Business” Description
Below your business name, you’ll see that the brief description isn’t actually in your control. That’s because it’s the editorial summary that Google writes to make sure there’s consistency across the platform. Not to worry, though, as Google bots are very adept at writing business descriptions. You’ll be impressed.
The description you can control is the “From the Business” section in your dashboard. You will find it on the lower part of your profile, just below the Reviews section.
Below are tips on how you can optimize your “From the Business” for lead generation:
- Use keywords people use to look for businesses like yours
- Get some ideas from your “About Us” page or mission statement
- Explain why you stand out among your competitors and tell your audience what your customers love most about your business
- Use all 750 characters if you can, with the first 250 characters focusing on key information
- Avoid adding links or HTML
Uploading photos to your Business Profile through your Google Business Profile account dashboard is a big must.
Customers are 42% more likely to request driving directions to a business whose Business Profile has photos, and 35% are more likely to visit its website – and that’s according to Google itself.
To give you another reason, a study by BrightLocal found that businesses with over 100 photos receive 520% more calls, 1,065% more website clicks, and 2,717% more direction requests than the average business. Now that’s amazing! Also, make sure that you’re adding photos regularly, as doing so signals to Google that you keep your profile up-to-date. Google rewards active accounts by ranking them higher.
Follow these best practices to optimize your Business Profile with photos:
- Add at least one new photo every seven days.
- Use your logo as your thumbnail image.
- For your cover photo, upload something that best represents your brand.
- Be sure to include photos of satisfied customers, exterior and interior views of your building, and team photos.
- Stay away from stock photos, as well as those with branding or special effects.
- Focus on quality images with clear depictions.
- Display a 360º photo by using Google’s Street View app.
- Geo-tag your photos to further show Google your prominence in your area.
- Refer to Google’s photo guidelines for specifications.
Manage Online Reviews
Say you’re new in town and you’re looking for a gym. You head over to Google, type in “gyms near me,” and you’re given a list of fitness centers. What will catch your attention first, the one with a five-star rating or the one with a single yellow star?
Obviously, as with everyone else, you’ll want to go for choice A.
Reviews are the #1 influence on consumer buying, which is why they’re a key ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. 89% of consumers read reviews before buying, and 63.6% are likely to check Google reviews prior to visiting the business’ physical store.
So, how can you manage customer reviews in a way that they can optimize your Google Business Profile listing? Here’s how:
- Prioritize reviews from long-time, loyal customers.
- Create a review shortcut link to make it easy for customers to leave their feedback. Send it to them via email, text, or social media. Or, you can personally ask them to write you a review after they make an in-store purchase.
- Include a “Reviews” page on your business website with a CTA.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
Add Products & Services
Displaying your products and services is extremely helpful if your offerings are a bit unclear in your business name. It also adds content to your profile, helping it rank for more relevant searches.
Make sure to include the name, description, and price of your offerings. Google users will see the full description once they click on your product or service.
Post to Your Business Profile Regularly
As with social media channels, your Google Business Profile serves as a platform for posting offers, events, and announcements. You might be wondering, how can these posts of yours optimize your listing?
As with uploading photos, posting consistently sends positive ranking signals to Google. They also increase the number of actions taken by consumers who find your profile.
Plus, the fact that consumers on search engines have higher intent than those who are leisurely scrolling on other social posting platforms means they’ll more likely engage with your posts. Post on a regular basis. Include links and CTAs in every post. Use offer and event posts for marketing campaigns that require a timeline.
Ask & Answer Questions
Interested prospects can turn into leads quickly, or perhaps even make a purchase immediately if you’re able to respond to their questions or concerns in a timely manner. Because of this, Google has made it much more convenient for businesses and customers alike to communicate with each other directly by adding the Q&A feature.
One thing to point out is that anyone has the freedom not just to ask questions, but also to answer them. On your part, this can lead to inaccurate and misleading information, eventually impacting your business. While you can’t turn off the Q&A feature, you can certainly optimize it using these strategies:
- Set up alerts to stay on top of questions and answers posted to your profile.
- Make a list of the most common questions people ask about your business. Ask, answer, and upvote them on your own profile. Don’t worry, Google won’t punish you for seeding your own Q&A section – they actually encourage it.
- Sneak in your target keywords as much as you can.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing and Start Getting More Leads
Before we can let you go, here’s a reminder: It might take a while to see the results you’re expecting from your optimized Google Business Profile, but the payoff will be worth the wait. As long as you keep on optimizing your Google Business Profile, along with the usage of Google Analytics and Insights, you’ll find yourself generating more leads, driving more customers to your store, and bringing in a steady flow of revenue.
- How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile To Get More Leads - February 24, 2022