Google My Business Optimizations for a Higher Ranking


Google My Business Optimizations for a Higher Ranking

Targeted visibility on Google is essential for any business. While most businesses are aware that optimizing their website and Google Ads is essential, many don’t realize that optimizing their Google Business Listing is also necessary. This powerful listing, also known as your Business profile, is a dynamic snapshot about your business that highlights your best attributes and allows potential customers to find you quickly from the SERP. The best thing? The best part? It’s totally free. It’s an essential part of local SEO.

Yet, despite the 167 billion Google searches each month, a BrightLocal survey showed that the average Business Profile gets 1,260 views per month (that’s 0.00000075 %!).). Worse, only 59 actions can be taken from these 1,260 views. This is less than 5%.

It’s not Google My Business that is the problem; rather, it’s the insufficient use of its many features by businesses. This is why we created this guide. We’ll be sharing GMB optimization strategies with you.

These optimizations can make your Business Profile the most powerful customer acquisition tool that you don’t even know you have. Let’s dive in.

Notice: Google’s more common term “Google Business Listing” is now known as your Business Profile. We will use “Business Profile” throughout the post.

google my business

What is an optimized Google Business Profile?

Before we dive into the strategies let’s ensure we are on the same page about the benefits of an optimized Business Profile and why it is important. Let’s look at an example of a Google Business Profile that is incomplete compared to one that is optimized. This will help you see what you are trying to achieve and why.

This is Carl’s Google Business Profile. Ernie’s Business Profile will show more if you scroll. Although this diagram does not include all the features of an optimized Google Business Profile profile, it gives you an idea of how engaging and attractive an optimized profile can be.

Optimizing your Google Business Profile is important

This comparison shows that optimizing your Google Business Profile helps customers choose your business over other businesses. However, there are many other benefits to optimising your Business Profile for effective local advertising.

Improve engagement

Consumers are more likely to use Google to enter and leave the site without visiting any other websites. Why? Why?

Boost your local ranking

Google’s algorithm to rank Business Profiles is not based on proximity or relevance, but activity and quality information. These signals are sent to Google by optimizing your Google Business Profile to make you rank higher in Local Results. Higher rank means greater visibility and engagement for your business, as you already know.

Optimizing your business profile can improve your ranking on Google Maps, and the first Google Search results page.

More customers can be converted

An ordinary Google Business Profile doesn’t provide much in the way of acquiring customers. If they can search for your business name, they can locate you and view your reviews. With an optimized Business Profile via your Google My Business account, customers can find you through keyword searches, visit your site, request a quote or book an appointment. You can track clicks on your website, appointment, menu link, and more using UTMs, Google Analytics , and Google Analytics .

How to optimize your Google Business Profile

You now know that optimizing your Google Business Profile will make you stand out in local searches and help you win customers online. These are 13 ways to turn your Google Business Profile in to a 24/7 marketing and leads generation tool for your local company.

1. Register for a Google My Business Account

It is important to remember that a Google Business Profile can be used as an independent entity from a Google My Business Account. This is to optimize and gain access to the former. To be able to do the optimizations described in this guide, it is necessary to create a Google My Business Account and tell Google to link it to your Google Business Profile. Go to Google.com/business to create an account. Sign in using the Google/Gmail account that you use for business purposes (not your personal Gmail account if you have one).

2. Each section must be completed

Google will rank your Google Business Profile higher in local searches. It also helps customers take more actions when they see your profile. You have a lot to offer, so these are some guidelines to help you prioritize.

These are the most important aspects of your profile and should be done immediately:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telefon
  • Website
  • Hours

These sections require more thought and time.

  • Category and Attributes
  • Services and products
  • From the business
  • Questions and answers (Owner-generated questions)

These sections are being updated:

  • Posts
  • Review
  • Questions and answers (Consumer-generated).

3. Make sure you are precise with your contact information

These are the steps to optimize your contact information on your Google Business Profile.

  1. Make sure that your business name matches the one on the store signage. Google may penalize you for adding location name (except if it’s in the brand name) or keyword.
  2. Make sure your business name and address match all other listings on the internet. This means that you should use “st” instead of “street” or even “co” instead of “company”. These inconsistencies are taken into consideration by Google’s algorithm when it assesses your credibility.
  3. Indicate your holiday and regular hours. This helps customers visit your store and avoids negative reviews from people who have been disappointed by the experience.

4. Your “from the business” description

First, you should note that the short description located just below your business name on your Business Profile is not under your control. Google creates this editorial summary to ensure consistency across its platform.

This description may not be in your control.

It’s a bummer, I know. Google does a great job of coming up with descriptions.

You have some control over the description in the Google My Business dashboard. This section is often located below the reviews section in your profile.

To optimize your Google Business Profile’s “from the business” section:

  • Use all 750 characters. Key information should be in the first 250 characters.
  • Use content from your mission statement or “About Us” page to repurpose.
  • To find similar businesses to yours, use keywords that your audience uses.
  • Do not repeat information that is already available in other sections of the profile. This space is for you to discuss what makes your business stand out from the rest and what customers love about it.
  • Do not include HTML or links.

5. Choose a category

Optimizing your Google Business Profile is only possible if you choose a category. Here are the reasons:

  • Find your business in search engines. An astounding 84% number of Business Profile views on Google come from discovery searches. This means that the consumer searched for a product or service and the profile of the business was displayed. Only 16% comes from direct searches (the customer typed the business name or the address). This is especially true for businesses that don’t have a service name (e.g. Fresh Express or Amelia’s Catering).
  • Highlight specific features. Google gives you the option to add category-specific features to your profile once you have chosen a category. This will make it more appealing and effective. Restaurants can have a reservation or menu button, hotel profiles can pull in star ratings, and hair salons can verify that they have experience working with curly or thin hair. These details will help customers choose you over your competitors.

The top section of your Google Business Profile shows the category you selected.

Google has a limited number of categories. It is important to select the right ones. This is how you can optimize your Google Business Profile with categories

  • Be specific.
  • Select secondary categories. Many companies fall under multiple categories. You can set your primary category as your main offering, for example, Grocery Store. Then, you can choose additional categories such as “Grocery delivery service” or “Gourmet Grocery Store”.
  • Be careful not to overdo it. Google wants you to connect with people who need your service. So choose categories that best describe your offerings. If you are an appliance repair company, you should select “Appliance Repair Only” and not “Appliance Parts supplier”. Technically, you can supply service parts but it is not a separate offering from your business. (Pro tip: Do not confuse categories with attributes or products. They are two different sections.

Google may ask you for verification if you add or edit a category. This is to verify accuracy across the platform.

6. Select the appropriate attributes

We just mentioned that Google will provide a list with attributes to help you describe your business once you have chosen a category. Attributes are the special features that potential customers seek out.

These attributes are not limited to Google My Business, but review sites such as Yelp also have them. Google attributes are more specific, such as “good for laptop use” and “popular for travelers”. To see my point, check out this attribute list.

7. Photos

Three reasons are why it is important to upload photos to your Business Profile via your Google My Business account dashboard:

  • Quality is guaranteed. Anybody can upload photos to your Business Profile. This means that you will get a variety of quality. You can make sure your profile looks great by adding your best photos.
  • Keep active. Google will notice if you add photos to your profile regularly. This signals that your profile is active and up-to-date. This positively affects your ranking.
  • Images in search results. Google is making image recognition more efficient and including photos in local results.
  • Increase engagement. Google says that customers are 42% more likely than others to request driving directions from a business if the Business Profile contains photos. 35% more people will click through to the website if it has photos. A BrightLocal study found that businesses with more photos receive 520% more calls, 2,717% higher direction requests and 1,065% more website visits than the average business. Wow.

You don’t have to add 100 images to your profile in one go. These tips will help you optimize your Google Business Profile with photos:

  • Every seven days, add at least one more photo.
  • Upload your logo to your thumbnail photo.
  • Use the best cover photo for your brand. But don’t worry about it because Google may display different feature photos depending upon your search query.
  • Other general photos can be found in Google’s Photo Guidelines. For specifications, please include happy customers, interior or exterior views, as well as team photos.
  • There are no stock photos and there are no photos that have special effects or branding. Google wants to show your business in the world as it is.
  • To align with image-enriched images, focus on high quality images that show clear depictions.

Google will pull specific photos from a Business Profile to display in local results, if they match the keyword searched.

  • To further show Google your prominence in your local area, geo-tag your photos.
  • You can also add videos!
  • Google Street View allows you to upload a 360o image to create your profile.

8. Google reviews

What business would you choose if you found a list of similar businesses in search results to the one below? Which one has four yellow stars? Or one of the two with no reviews?

Google recognizes that reviews are the #1 factor that influences consumer buying decisions, and this is why they have made it a ranking factor. The impact of reviews on rankings can be seen for yourself. Google’s “Local 3-Pack” is a list of the top three local results. These are the ones that have received multiple reviews and have solid star ratings.

Google may also show a Business Profile in search results for keywords that have received reviews.

Google will encourage keywords in your reviews to further validate relevancy.

These tips will help you stand out among your competitors by optimizing your Google Business Profile with Reviews

  • To get momentum started, start with long-standing loyal customers.
  • Customers will find it easy to create a review link, or use Whitespark’s shortcut linking generator (both are completely free).
  • Ask! 62% customers will leave a review if they are asked . You can do this via email, text, or in-person conversations.
  • Customers should remember that reviews don’t serve only your benefit. They help others who are experiencing the same problems as you to find a solution, and make informed decisions.
  • Create a page called “Reviews” on your website that allows users to leave reviews.
  • React to customer reviews. This helps to motivate customers to leave reviews. It also reveals a lot to prospects about your business and improves local SEO.

This post on how you can get more Google reviews provides a deeper look into this optimization strategy.

However, it is not permitted to reward reviews with cash, discounts, or gifts.

9. Post to your Google Business Profile

You can also post information about announcements and events to your Google Business Profile, just like on social media platforms. Your Google My Business dashboard creates posts and they appear in the “Updates” section at the bottom of the Business Profile. They may be more prominent depending on the search query.

How posts can help you optimize your Google Business Profile

  • Consumers who discover your profile will take more actions if you have posted them.
  • Regular posting sends positive rankings signals to Google the same way as adding photos.
  • Search engines have higher intent than other platforms (i.e. Facebook and Instagram where they are casually scrolling), so consumers are more likely to engage in your Google posts.
  • Consumers can follow your Business Profile to be notified about new posts and updates.

Posts to Google My Business will appear on Maps – it’s free marketing for your local business.

These are some tips to optimize your Google Business Profile and posts.

  • Post frequently. Not only to send signals to Google but also because certain types of posts expire every seven day.
  • Marketing campaigns with a timeline should use event and offer postings. You can select a time period and the posts will remain live for that duration.
  • In every post, include CTAs and links.
  • At the time of writing this article, there was a COVID-19 type post that you can use to communicate effectively with your audience during the pandemic.

10. Ask questions and get answers

Did you know that Amazon has a section where customers can ask questions? Google Business Profiles offers the same feature.

Image courtesy searchengineland.com

These questions could be what a customer uses to decide to work with your company. This section is crucial to optimize, as anyone can ask questions on a business’s Google page. Anyone can also answer. This could lead to incorrect information in your profile or worse, something like this Q&A page for a pizza restaurant.

You cannot disable the Q&A section of your Business Profile . However, there are many ways to optimize it.

  • Create alerts to stay up-to-date with all questions and answers that are posted to your profile.
  • Start your own Q&A section. Create a list of frequently asked questions for your business. Ask, answer, then upvote the answer on your profile. It is not against Google’s terms. In fact, Google encourages it.
  • Keywords are important. Answers and questions that include keywords can improve your Business Profile’s rank for that keyword. When seeding your Q&A section keep in mind your keyword strategy. However, you should use them organically and not keyword stuff.

Monitoring and seeding your Q&A section will ensure that accurate information is provided, highlight your best qualities, and lower entry barriers.

Note Google temporarily removed the Q&A section from most Business Profiles as a response to COVID-19. This may mean that you might not be able to see the option for yours until then. dbaPlatform has great tips for Google My Business and COVID-19.

11. Add products or services

If your products or services are not clearly stated in your business name, adding products and/or services can be very helpful. This section can also be used to add content to your profile, which can make it rank higher for more relevant searches.

Add the name, description and price of products or services when adding them. Once a searcher clicks the product, the full description will be displayed. Google may also link to your products in your category section.

12. Set up messaging

Searchers can send a message to your phone via your Google Business Profile. This is an excellent opportunity for customers to contact you, with 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% in millennials) using their phone for local searches.

You can enable messaging by selecting the “Messaging” tab from your Google My Business dashboard. Then, you can choose to install it via Google Play or Apple App Store.

Two words about Google My Business messaging

  • It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to display your personal number. You can use an alternative number through Google’s Allo app.
  • Set up notifications for messages in Google My Business. Go to Settings and select “Customer messages”.

13. A solid Google My Business strategy will help you maintain your Business Profile

A Google Business Profile isn’t a one-and done marketing task. It is a local marketing tool which requires continuous action to improve your online presence, and maximize your benefits. This includes:

  • Update information, even minor changes in suite numbers.
  • Each week, publishing posts and uploading photographs.
  • Keep a steady flow of reviews coming in.
  • Monitor and respond to reviews.
  • Keep abreast of all new features to ensure that your profile is being used to its maximum potential.

Google My Business strategies should be similar to any other Google SEO strategies. You need to provide as much information as possible about your business in your Business Profile and in the Google sources used for populating it. This includes your website, review sites profiles, and social media accounts. Although we don’t know all ranking factors, we can identify the ultimate goal of each one: to help searchers find the right business for them through trusted, detailed information. Focus on your Google My Business dashboard and ensuring that your Business Profile represents your business accurately and fully. Then, you’ll reap the benefits.

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