Implement these Google Business Profile Best Practices & Watch Your Rankings Rise
A Google Business Profile (GBP) profile appears at the top of Google search results for local business services. The GBP listings are displayed underneath a map at the top of the search results and are known as the “local map pack.” These listings are called Google Business Profile listings, and they are essential to every Local SEO campaign.
If you do not have a Google Business Profile, go to business.google.com right now and create one. You will need to verify your GBP for it to be published publicly, and to do so you will need to request that Google mails you a postcard which will contain a verification code on it. Once you receive the postcard, enter the code into your GBP dashboard and your profile will soon be live on Google search.
Once you have verified your GBP, ensure it is optimized by following these five simple steps and watch your organic search traffic and rankings begin to rise:
1. Fill out as much information in the Google Business Profile dashboard as you can
When logged into your GBP, click the “Info” tab on the left panel. This is where all your basic business information is controlled, and it is important to fill as much of it out as accurately as possible. Here are best practices for a few of the items you will see:
- Name: Ensure your business name is accurate and your website matches
- Address: Ensure your business address is accurate, and choose whether you want to display or hide the street location
- Service Area: Choose to add a service area if your business provides services in other locations
- Hours: Set your hours and keep them up to date so your customers know when they can reach you. You can choose to set special hours for holidays as well.
- Phone Number: Ensure your phone number is accurate and that the phone number on your website matches.
- Short Name: Add a “short name” that can be used by customers to find and follow your business on Google.
- Website: Add your website URL exactly as it appears in your browser’s URL bar (copy and paste it if needed).
- Products/Services/Menu: Depending on your type of business, what you see in the lower left portion of the page (above the business description) will vary between products, services, or a menu. Regardless of which option is relevant to your business, fill it out in its entirety. Include descriptions with the items you add and pricing as necessary.
- Business Description: Include a short description of your business (up to 750 characters) for your customers to learn more about you and what sets you apart when they view your GBP.
- Opening Date: Include an opening date for your business (month and year will work if you can’t remember the specific day).
2. Set Primary & Secondary Business Categories
When you first verify your Google Business Profile listing, you will likely need to select a primary business category. Choose a category that is most relevant to your business. To update your categories, navigate to the “Info” tab in the GBP dashboard. Ensure your primary category is the most relevant category available and add up to 9 additional secondary categories as necessary. NOTE: Do not add more categories than necessary. Adding irrelevant categories for the sole purpose of ranking will confuse users and cause Google to drop your listing in search results.
3. Add Business Photos & Logo
Photos are one of the best ways to showcase your work. Add photos of your business, employees, projects, products, food, or anything else you would like your customers to see. Adding photos to your GBP provides two benefits:
- People love looking at photos, and Google loves businesses that give people what they like.
- Photos give authenticity to your business when customers are in the research phase of their buyer’s journey. Customers are more likely to trust a business with recent and aesthetically pleasing photos than a business without.
PRO TIP: Use a tool like GeoImgr to geo-tag your images based on where they were taken. Geo-tagging an image attaches GPS coordinates to the image, which helps Google to understand the location of the image and associate your business with that location.
In addition to photos, be sure to add your business logo. Adding your logo to your GBP will help with branding when customers are searching online for your business.
4. Generate & Respond to Reviews
We live in an age where people trust Google reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their friends and family. Once your Google Business Profile listing is built out, it is time to start generating reviews for it. Start by reaching out to past customers or clients that you know enjoyed their experience with your business and ask them to leave you a Google review. And as new customers or clients do business with you, ask them if they can take a minute to leave you a short review. While it is not an end all, be all by any means, businesses with better reviews on Google generally tend to rank better in search results.
Equally important as generating reviews, is responding to them. Negative reviews are going to happen – that’s inevitable – but it’s not a reason to worry. A business with several reviews all of which are five stars will look unnatural to Google, and this can be worse than having a few negative reviews. The important thing to do is to take the time to respond to the negative reviews. This gives you the chance to possibly fix things with the unhappy customer, and it allows you to address the concerns brought forth so that future customers will see that you have made the effort to correct the situation. Additionally, Google likes businesses that interact with and are helpful to their customers.
5. Utilize Google Business Profile Posts
Google Business Profile posts are posts on your GBP listing that are displayed for up to seven days. They are a great way to share content with your customers like promos and specials, recently completed projects, news, latest blog posts, and much more. And in addition to being a good source of website traffic, GBP posts can provide a slight SEO benefit since it is no secret that Google appreciates businesses that utilize its features.
An optimized Google Business Profile listing is a key component of any successful Local SEO campaign. If you have further questions about optimizing your GBP or any other digital marketing needs, don’t hesitate to send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are really good at being in touch within 24 hours.
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