Why do I need a Google My Business profile?

We’ve all heard of Google, right? It may not be the only search engine in existence, but it still has the majority (over 90%) of the market share. It’s so popular that “Googling” has become slang for looking something up on the internet.

With all that clout, what business wouldn’t want to be in on the action? Certainly not you. Enter Google My Business.

Google My Business is a tool that enables you to register your local business on Google and manage how your business shows up across Google products, like Maps and Search. 

Not only will it help you gain more visibility on Google, but it can boost your SEO efforts and generate some new leads (which is fancy marketing speak for getting more customers)!

Another awesome aspect of a Google My Business profile is that customers can leave public reviews on your profile. Verified public reviews are a meaningful way to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

If you are a little afraid to think about reviews coming in on such a public platform, especially since you can’t pick and choose which Google My Business reviews to share. (Although you can respond to all reviews.) Don’t worry. Google’s research has actually found that a mix of positive and negative reviews is more trustworthy than tons of glowing recommendations.

With all these benefits, the real question is why wouldn’t you want a Google My Business profile? Follow Google’s My Business instructions to get started. 

Time to optimize! (Your Google My Business profile.)

Look at you! You’re listed on Google, feeling all professional. You’re good, right? Well, not so fast. There are a few things your Fangirls recommend to make that profile shine. 

First, you should now how your profile will show up in a search. Google determines local search ranking based on three factors:

  • Relevance: How well your Google My Business listing matches a search
  • Distance: How far your location is from the search or searcher
  • Prominence: How well-known your business is (based on factors like links, number of reviews, review score, and SEO)

To maximize your score for all three factors, follow our advice below. Don’t worry this won’t hurt. 

Complete your profile.

Sounds easy, but a lot of people skip this step. To their detriment. That’s because customers are 2.7 times more likely to consider your business reputable if you have a complete Google Business Profile. They’re also 70% more likely to actually visit your location.

Google states that “businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.” This improves your score for relevance. Let people know who you are, what you do, and how they can find you.

P.S. If you have business with hours change around holidays or seasons, be sure to keep them updated.

Get verified.

Google says, “verified business locations are more likely to show in local search results across Google products, like Maps and Search.” It also happens to improve your score for their distance ranking factor.

You may have skipped this step when you first created your account. But don’t worry you can still request your verification postcard now at https://business.google.com/.

Get real with images and videos of your business.

When you create a profile, Google will ask for a logo and cover photo. Be sure to use images consistent with the branding on your website and social profiles. This helps customers recognize your brand. But don’t stop there. Add images and videos to showcase your location, work environment, and team.

If you run a restaurant, post pictures of your meals, menus, and dining room. Make sure they look appetizing, professional, and aren’t low res. According to Google, businesses with photos receive more requests for directions and more clicks through to their websites.

Include keywords in your profile.

We spoke about keywords in our SEO blog. And they serve the same purpose here. Using the right keywords will prove your relevance in a search result. Not sure where to start? Try Google Trends or Keyword Planner.

Remember! Don’t “spam” those keywords (AKA stuff keywords everywhere or use irrelevant ones – this can actually hurt your search ranking.) Find a natural way to fit them into your business description. 

Encourage and answer reviews and questions.

You can’t turn off reviews for your Google My Business page. And you shouldn’t. Reviews show customers that you’re a legit (and experienced) business. People trust other people more than they trust you. It’s just a fact. A good review can be the deciding factor that will tip a customer in your favor. Reviews also improve your Google ranking.

The best time to ask for a review is after providing a great experience. To make it easier, Google provides a direct link to ask customers to review your business.

 Worried about negative reviews? Don’t be. You can (and should!) respond to reviews, both positive and negative. According to Google, businesses that respond to reviews are considered 1.7 times more trustworthy than those that don’t.  Remember to respond professionally in your brand voice. If responding to a negative review, be honest and offer an apology, if warranted.

One thing you can do, is flag and report inappropriate reviews.

Keep your business information up to date.

Ever show up to a business you expected to be open, and… they aren’t? It’s pretty annoying. Make sure to edit your business profile if you change your hours of operation, contact information, etc. Don’t be that business. If you have special hours for holidays or even as a one-off, be sure to add those in your Google Business Profile.

P.S. You can also create Google My Business posts to share updates, product news, offers, and events.