With Google being the world’s top search engine, every local business should be trying to get the prime real estate on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). This is done through a Google Business profile. And the best part is that it’s free. It simply takes a bit of time and effort to get going, but once you’re moving, there’s no looking back. The perks of appearing in local search results cannot be understated. They bring in foot traffic to your store, drive more sales for local businesses and ultimately improve not only your search engine optimization efforts but your overall online visibility. If all this sounds pretty good to you and you’re wondering how to improve your Google Business profile, keep reading below.
How to improve your Google Business profile
Formerly known as “Google My Business”, your Google Business profile – once created – should appear among the top results in Google’s local or map packs. These are the first three results on the SERP for a local search and they help give prospective customers more information about your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a store, a restaurant, coffee shop, service provider or something else. As long as you’re a local business with a physical presence, your Google Business profile will work wonders for you. Here’s what you need to know.
- Ensure your NAP details are accurate
NAP stands for name, address and phone number. It may seem completely obvious that these details need to be as accurate as possible but many businesses fail to update their NAP details. This results in customers visiting a store during hours when the shop is closed, visiting the wrong address and other small business faux pas which can result in lost customers and a loss in revenue. Because businesses may, from time to time, change their addresses and telephone numbers, ensuring this information is as up-to-date as possible is crucial.
- Choose the right category and subcategory for your business
Secondly, once you’ve made sure your NAP details are as accurate as possible, you need to choose the right category and subcategory for your business. This is a way of highlighting crucial information to your clients who may be looking for one thing only to see another. This also adds to the relevance of the business and its offerings. An accurate category and subcategory means the listing will be optimised. The opposite is also true.
- Prepare a compelling business description
Google allows you a maximum of 750 characters for your business description. And you need to utilise this retail space to its maximum potential. Use as much of this character limit as possible to showcase what you stand for and what you offer. In addition to this, be sure to incorporate keywords and key search phrases that many customers use to find businesses like yours but avoid keyword stuffing because this will not only sound spammy but it will also get you penalised by Google.
- Add photos to your listing
Research proves that we humans are driven by the visual element. Pictures and images can capture our interest and attention in the blink of an eye. This is much faster than reading textual information. As a result, your listing should be optimised with photos (and even gifs and videos, if you’ve got these available). For your images, don’t hesitate to display your business’ logo. Then, provide interior and exterior shots of your business. Action shots of work in progress such as a waiter serving a couple or a plumber carrying out work, or anything else for that matter, will help your customers better visualise your offering and pick you over your competitors.
- Manage reviews
Think of reviews as the digital form of word-of-mouth advertising. Today, with so many things taking place online, customer reviews and comments regarding their experience with your business is just another avenue for them to express themselves. Your business can and probably will get both positive and negative reviews. And the trick here is to respond to ALL of them. Reviews may relate to your customer service, amenities, the experience with your brand, your products or services and more. However, it’s crucial not to leave any review unanswered. Positive reviews can get a simple “thank you”. Meanwhile, negative reviews can offer a discount, a promise to deal with or improve the situation in the future or something else that’s suited to your business.
- Complete your products or services
Another way of optimising your Google Business profile is to add your products or services. This is like giving your customers an online menu from which they can pick and choose from your offering and decide on what they want. Completing your full range of products or services means more information is provided on your listing and it will be more fully optimised, giving customers even more information to enable them to choose you over other competing businesses in your area.
- Engage with your profile by posting regularly
Much like search engine optimisation (SEO) works with optimising your site and building your online presence to be authoritative in your field, local search results need to do the same. Although you don’t necessarily need to write 2,000-word blog posts each week and publish these, there is other information you can post about on your local listing on a regular basis. These include special offers, a product or service showcase, Covid-19 updates, company news and more. But perhaps the best part is that you’ll also be able to add calls-to-action buttons to your post. These will enable your customers to perform immediate actions ranging from buying a product, booking a service, booking online, signing up for something you’re offering, calling your business, etc.
- Optimise your Q&A section
Finally, there’s the Q&A section of your local listing. Here, you can anticipate questions that your customers may have about your business and preempt these questions with readily prepared answers. Alternatively, you can respond to real customer queries quickly and timeously to ensure that other prospective customers can benefit from these Q&As and make a more informed decision.
Optimising your Google Business profile may seem like a lot of work but it actually isn’t once you get into the process. In addition, its benefits cannot be overstated and all this can help boost foot traffic, increase sales, drive web traffic, get you more calls and bookings and so much more. To ensure your Google Business profile is optimised, be sure that you follow the tips mentioned above and you’ll be well on your way to reaping the rewards for your business.
If you need some assistance with your overall social media and digital presence, let us know and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help.