Google Business Profiles are small businesses’ best friends. If you haven’t claimed and verified your profile, then you should do so at your first opportunity.
And while having a business profile on Google is important, it is equally important that you manage your Google Business Profile. Optimizing your profile can do wonders for setting you above the competition.
Ideally, you should devote time each week to checking and updating your profile. Typically this involves making sure all information is correct. It also involves updating or adding photos and posting helpful information, links, and offers.
Here are the keys to optimizing your Google Business Profile and making it work for you around the clock.
Consistency Is Essential
The information in your profile should match the information on your business website and on all of your business’s social media properties. Consistency is crucial.
For example, if the address on your website is 123 Enterprise Rd., then the address on your Google Business Profile should be exactly the same. This means that “123 Enterprise Road” isn’t good enough. Even abbreviations should be consistent.
Only when all contact information including addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses are identical across all your business web properties does your profile work optimally.
Likewise, if you change one piece of information, you should change every instance of that information. A changed phone number on your website should immediately prompt you to change it on your Google Business Profile as well as your social media pages.
Using SEO in Your Profile
Search engine optimization (SEO) works in Google Business Profiles similarly to how it works on your website. It starts with keywords.
What keywords do you optimize your website for? You should use these keywords in your Google Business Profile too.
Additionally, you should take full advantage of the SEO-enhancing effect of having images on your Google Business Profile and tagging them appropriately.
Photos on Google Business Profiles
Your cover photo and your profile photo are the basics. Think of your cover photo as a highway billboard, only on Google. Business profile photos often feature a logo, signage, or a signature product.
Other photos you should use (and update when necessary) include:
- An interior photo
- An exterior photo in the daytime
- An exterior photo at night
- Product photos
- Service photos (such as before and after photos)
- Team photos
- Photos of employees in action
These not only make your profile more attractive, but they also let your audience know you are serious about what you do.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
It would be hard to overstate the importance of Google Reviews on your Google Business Profile. There are several reasons for this.
The more reviews you have, typically the higher your overall rating. One so-so review can sink a rating based on only a handful of reviews, but it has far less of an impact if it is one of dozens of reviews.
Make it a habit to ask for reviews. Ask in person, by text, by email, or even on your paper receipts.
People not only look for reviews with high ratings, but they also look for larger numbers of reviews. A business with a single 5-star rating is not as appealing as a business with 80 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. The number of reviews adds gravitas.
How you respond to reviews matters tremendously too. The more frequently you respond, the better your reputation. If you can’t check for reviews regularly, you can use automated tools to notify you when new reviews arrive. That way, you can respond promptly.
Regular Posting Helps Tremendously
Did you know you can post on Google Business Profiles just like you can post on social media? You can, and when you do, you boost your visibility.
Ideally, you should post to your profile at least once per week. If you’re unsure what to post, a new photo is always a good bet. Here are some more topic ideas for your posts:
- Upcoming events
- Fun facts about your business
- New product introductions
- Links to your social media channels
If you post regularly to your profile, the information that comes up along with your Google Business Profile is always up-to-date and informative to readers.
Attributes and Google Business Profiles
Attributes are facts about your business that can be important to customers choosing a business in your industry. To add or edit them, start by logging into your profile.
Click the “info” tab to the left. Then you should see “From the business – Add Attributes.”
Attributes fall into several categories, and you don’t have to use all of them. Categories have to do with accessibility, business ownership, health and safety, and payment types you accept.
Accessibility attributes are among the most important. You can choose attributes such as whether your business has a wheelchair-accessible elevator, entrance, parking lot, restroom, or seating.
As for ownership, you can choose attributes such as veteran-owned, Black-owned, woman-owned, and LGBTQ-friendly. Attributes also exist for COVID safety measures and for the payment types your business accepts.
Messaging in Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile can also serve as a messaging platform between your customers and your business. You have to enable this feature because it isn’t automatic.
To do this, log into your profile and select Customers > Messages. Click on the three vertical dots and choose Message Settings. From there you can turn chat on or off.
Naturally, if you choose to have messages on, you should be committed to answering them or you risk frustrating potential customers.
Automated Messaging in Google Business Profiles
If this doesn’t appeal, you also have the option of automated messaging through your Google Business Profile FAQs. With this option, you list common questions people ask and add automated responses.
To use this feature, go to your profile and choose Customers > Messages. Click on the three vertical dots and choose Message Settings. From here, you choose Manage FAQs.
You can create up to 10 common questions of up to 40 characters long. You then enter automatic answers that can be up to 500 characters long. You can also include links in these answers, like links to your website’s FAQ page.
Don’t Let Your Profile Just Sit There
Google Business Profiles are free and they can make a real difference in your online visibility. Claiming yours, filling it out completely, and keeping it updated really make it stand out.
If you do only one thing to optimize your profile (beyond ensuring all information is correct), you should commit to getting as many reviews as possible. And if managing reviews sounds daunting, don’t worry. There are tools that can help you manage them.
When we build websites, we not only provide SEO-enriched content from the start, but we also complete our clients’ Google Business Profiles.
We understand that you want to focus on your core business practices, and managing yet another online property may not fit in well with that. Maybe you should schedule a call with our team to talk about how we can help.
We not only want you to have a website you’re proud of. More importantly, we want you to enjoy the countless benefits that come from a great website and a strong web presence.