There’s no disputing that Google is by far the global leader in search. If you want people to find you online, you need to display prominently on Google search engine result pages (SERPs) when someone searches for information.
One of the key tools Google offers business owners is Google Business Profile (GBP), previously known as Google My Business (GMB). With the way buyers go through the buyer’s journey today, GBP isn’t just something you should consider utilizing, it’s something you MUST utilize regularly.
If you don’t consider yourself knowledgeable about Google Business Profile or use it frequently, this article is for you!
In it, we’ll share everything you need to know to become familiar and comfortable with GBP. You’ll get answers to the important questions and learn the processes that are essential to building and maintaining a high-quality and effective profile.
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is the account used to manage your presence on Google, including Search, Maps, Reviews and Posts. It’s free to use and helps tell the story of your business.
Information featured on GBP includes:
- Business address & Google Maps listing
- Business hours
- Phone number
- Questions & answers
Here’s an example of how a Google Business Profile listing appears on the Google search result page:
Why is Google Business Profile Important?
When it comes to digital marketing, Google Business Profile is a tool that is as important as they come. It ranks right at the top along with your website, and some marketers even believe GBP is even more important than your website.
This belief stems from the fact that Google now displays GBP listings, Maps listings, business ratings, Wikipedia listings and other “snippets” of information above even the top-ranking organic search listings. This means that even if you have a top-ranking website, the user may need to scroll down to find the listing, especially if they searched using a mobile device.
Google has moved organic listings down the page because it prefers that companies either pay for ads or utilize Google properties in order to be found. And this approach is producing its desired results.
In 2020, nearly 65% of Google searches were “zero-click searches,” which are searches that yield the information the searcher was seeking without requiring them to click to another web property. This was up from 50% in 2019. What this means is that Google is getting better at displaying relevant information and/or that people don’t have the attention span to hunt around for information.
Simply put, Google Business Profile is essential to be discovered by buyers.
For more insight, read our article The Importance of Google Business Profile for Local Businesses. And for a look at how GBP plays a part in the bigger search engine optimization (SEO) picture, read our article How to Get Found & Beat Your Competition in Local Search.
How Do I Get Started with GBP?
To start using Google Business Profile, you must first add or claim your business, which is the process that verifies that you are the actual owner of the business. For instructions on how to do this, click here.
Once Google has approved your claim request, you will gain control of the GBP account and be able to edit your profile and post content.
Here are some tips for managing your profile:
- Fill out every field as completely as possible
- Update information as necessary to keep everything accurate
- Frequently upload high-quality photos of subjects such as your:
- Respond to reviews (more on this below)
- Create GBP Posts (more on this below)
How Do I Manage Reviews?
Reviews are very important to companies because they’re important to the people who are considering doing business with them. According to Testimonial Engine, 72% of customers won’t take action before they read some reviews. And according to BrightLocal, more than half of consumers won’t use a business if it has less than a 4-star rating.
Positive reviews offer these benefits:
- Increased local search visibility
- Differentiation from competitors with few and/or negative reviews
- Free marketing & increased referrals
There are a few ways to get positive reviews from customers. The first is to provide quality products and customer service that buyers will want to recognize and share with others. It’s also completely acceptable to ask for reviews. You can do this by requesting them:
- In person when someone buys in your store
- With a request on a receipt
- With a callout on your print or digital newsletter
- Using a social media or ad post
- Via text message
Using a review link generator like Grade.us or Whitespark makes it more convenient for customers to get right to your review section to provide their feedback.
Finally, the work isn’t done once the reviews start coming in. It’s also important to respond to them regardless of if they’re positive or negative, but especially if they’re negative. Doing so shows not just the reviewer but also others who see the review that you value feedback and are serious about resolving any issues. Keep your responses professional under all circumstances to maintain a positive online reputation.
What are Posts?
Google Business Profile Posts is a section of the profile where content (text and photos) can be shared. Various post types can be created to promote your business, share the latest company and industry news and provide helpful information.
Benefits of creating content for GBP Posts include:
- Grabbing the searcher’s attention and calling them to action
- Giving your SEO a boost
- Differentiating your business from your competitors
As with any content marketing strategy, it’s important to post updates regularly. Doing so helps you better take advantage of the benefits listed above and also shows potential leads and customers that you are remaining active and engaged. Posting once a week is outstanding. If that’s not possible, aim for at least once or twice a month.
We have an entire article dedicated to GBP Posts to help you learn more. Read If You Aren’t Taking Advantage of This Free Google Business Profile Feature, You Should Be!
What if I’m Working with a Marketing Agency?
Many companies work with a marketing agency. Either they don’t have a full-time marketing manager/team and need to offload that work or they do have a marketing manager/team and just want additional support to enhance their capabilities. Either way, it’s not uncommon for a marketing agency to manage some or all aspects of a company’s Google Business Profile.
If this is the case for you, the first thing you need to do is provide your agency with access to your account. To learn how to do this, read our article.
Once your agency can get into your account, you can collaborate with them to start getting your GBP completed and optimized.
How Can I Learn More?
If you have other questions about Google Business Profile or want to learn even more, call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.