The first step in any business SEO strategy is to claim and verify your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing. Using Google My Business can increase your businesses chances of showing up in Google's Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings. Qualifying local businesses can claim their free listing on Google and include information about their company, like their address, phone number, business hours, website URL, and Q&A's.
To claim your Google Business Profile listing, make sure you have a Google Business Account for your business. Make sure it is not a personal-use account. Once you have your business account, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Many local financial institutions claim their GBP listing and forget about them. Most businesses don't realize that there are a variety of other features Google gives you that you can use to optimize your Google Business Profile listing. To help you set up your GBP Listing, the Digital Reputation Group has created, in addition to this blog, a Google Business Profile set up checklist to help you.
There are various information Google wants you to fill out to complete your Google Business Profile. When done, your listing will have valuable basic data that will make it easier for potential customers to find more information about your local branch.
According to a recent study choosing the correct GBP category is one of the most crucial ranking factors. With almost 4000 categories to choose from, it's essential to select the primary category closest to your business. One trick to determine g the correct category for your business is to audit your competitions GMB and see what category they selected. Once you choose your primary category, you can select several secondary categories (3-4) that apply.
Add your business name. It is the first element of what is known as NAP's Name, Address, Phone. The deal with NAP's is consistency. There are hundreds of listing on the web, and you want to make sure each one has identical NAP information. Accurate NAPs used to be the main ranking factor for GBP. In the last few years, it has become less so, but consistency is still important.
Businesses with a storefront listing (visible address) should only set service areas if they travel widely to conduct business. If customers come to the business, avoid service areas. If you adjust your service area, you will shift the areas that your business is relevant to rank for.
Adding an accurate business address and hours is next. The business address you add must be 100% consistent everywhere. After all, how will your potential customers find you if your address is wrong? There are hundreds of listings sites on the internet, everything from Angie's to Yelp. Making sure your information is constant is a business necessity.
GBP offers sections for both product and service information. One of the factors Google looks at for ranking is the completeness of the information. Best practices are taking advantage of the space.
Just like products and services, business description is a section that must be completed.
Adding pictures to your Google Business Profile listing is a great way to humanize your businesses brand and let customers look at what you are all about. The current suggestion is to have at least eight photos in your GBP listing. It's important to remember that your photos do not have to be taken by a professional photographer; a smartphone is usually sufficient for GBP.
Customer reviews play two roles. One as a ranking factor, they count for 15-16% of your local ranking. And two, reviews are a powerful marketing tool for your business. Recent studies have shown that almost 90% of consumers look at reviews before making a service or product purchase. Unlike Yelp, Google encourages businesses to ask their customers for online reviews ethically. Online reviews appear in your local Google listing and Google Maps.
Once you get a review, it's important to comment and thank your reviewer. By thanking your reviewer, you demonstrate to Google and potential customers that you care about what the public says about your business. Research has shown that business owners that comment about reviews are seen as more trustworthy by potential customers.
Google Business Profile Questions and Answers are crowdsourced Q&A's. These questions are asked and answered through the Google knowledge panel. With GBP Q&A's, the business can go in and pre-populate the Q&A with frequently asked questions and answers. This means the business can essentially create an FAQ section on your Google Business Profile listing. If you add these commonly asked questions and answers, they will also head off potential questions customers have, so you'll be ahead of the curve instead of behind. The best practice is keeping an eye on your GBP and correctly answering any questions that are asked.
Google Business Profile Posts are like "social media posts" or "mini-ads" that appear in your Google Business Profile listing and on Google Maps. They are FREE! GBP Posts enable you to create offers, updates, events, and products. Currently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google also allows you to add COVID updates. Google posts are active for seven days. Hence it is essential to create a posting strategy and calendar to keep your GBP content fresh. Google Posts can be linked to your website and tracked using UMT tags.
One of the important things to remember about Google Business Profiles is to rank locally; you need to work on your GBP continuously. That means thanking customers for reviews, weekly postings, new pictures, and questions answered. A GBP listing is a powerful marketing tool; don't let it get stale.