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The Complete Guide to the New Google Business Profile for Local SEO
Formally known as “Google My Business” the new Google Business Profile is a rebranded feature that allows you to manage your Business profile on Google through Google search and Google maps.
In an official announcement, Google announced that they recommend small businesses to use their listing profiles directly on search or maps. Adding on that the Google My Business app will also be retired in 2022.
This change is important for small businesses as the goal is to give them more control over their brand and how they appear on Google. Previously, business owners could only make changes through the app which was often difficult to navigate. The new Business Profile looks to offer a cleaner and more user-friendly interface that makes it easier for business owners to manage their listing information and connect with customers.
The Importance of Google Business Profiles for Local SEO
Claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile is one of the most important Local SEO strategy for any local business looking to rank higher on Google. The average local business receives 1,260 views each month through their GBP on search! With so much possible traffic, its important to keep up with it, as Google and any user can suggest changes to their profile that can be approved within hours.
This shows the importance of not only claiming your profile, but optimizing and maintaining it, to make sure the information is correct.
Managing Your Google Business Profile
There are different ways to manage your GBP depending on if you are a multi-location business or a single-location business. Multi-location businesses can still use the GBP dashboard , while single-locations are best taken care of through the Google Maps app, or directly through Google search!
If you own a multi-location business, as mentioned above, the best way to view your GBP is still to log in through the GBP dashboard. This gives you the most options to manage your profile and holds all of your locations in one spot.
Make sure you’re logged in with your Gmail account that is used to manage your GBP and type your business name into the search bar. You will see a knowledge panel at the top and your Business profile down the right side. Both will have options for you to edit your profile information.
Another quick way to view your business profile is by searching “My Business” and knowledge and edit panel will appear.
How to Setup and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
1. Claim Your Listing
To claim your GBP listing, go to the Google Business Profile website and follow the steps to find your business.
First it will require you to type in your exact business name. Once you find it, read the terms of service and privacy information before going to the next step.
The next screen will ask you to put in your business location information, including a full address with your city and zip code. This step is important because proximity is one of the most important signals to rank high on search in your local area. Make sure you review the information and click to the next step.
The next screen is for businesses that serve customers outside of their buildings location. This is referring to surrounding areas that you provide services too. If your business only serves customers locally, select “no, don’t,” and move on.
If you do serve nearby areas, specify which ones so people searching for your business can find you. Make sure to start with counties first, then cities, and state last when selecting areas.
After that, you will be asked to select a business category. This step is extremely important as it lets Google know what type of work you provide. If you specify yourself as a restoration company, you will show up in searches looking for restoration help. Click the option that most closely resembles the type of business you are.
Next, it will ask for more business contact information including a link to your website and a phone number. If you don’t have a website, it will give you the option to have a free one provided by the platform. However your listing will lose some credibility without a custom business domain. We recommend making sure the site it provides you with is active, while also building a proper website separately.
2.Verify Your Listing
The next screen will ask you to verify your GBP listing. Your business will not be available on searches until it is verified. Depending on your business, options include email, phone, or a postcard in the mail. Mail is the most common because it is the only option that is available to all businesses.
While the other methods can get your profile verified at a much quicker rate, if mail is your best option, the postcard should reach you within 5 days. Once you receive the postcard in the mail, sign back into your GBP account and click “Verify Location” Enter the five-digit verification code from your postcard and submit it.
3. Business Attributes
Attributes include from the business, accessibility, amenity, crowd, health & safety, and service options. More detail of these include Wi-Fi, online appointments, and wheelchair-accessible, among others. Depending on the category you choose for your business, Google Business Profile offers attributes for you to confirm. After choosing the ones that apply to you, a badge appears on your listing that tells users that it applies.
4. Photos & Videos
Adding photos and videos to your Google Business Profile not only allows you to add your logo, videos, a cover photo, and business interior photos for customers to view, but it also can be a ranking factor for Google search.
To add photos click “Photos” from the Google Business Profile dashboard menu, then click “choose photo” and add whichever type of photo you are uploading.
If you are a single location, you will be able to do this from Google search.
A couple notes:
- Videos should be no longer than 30 seconds, have a 720 pixel or higher resolution
- Photos should be in JPG or PNG format with a minimum resolution of 720 x 720 pixels and between 10KB and 5MB in size.
It is important to make sure you have a logo and cover photo uploaded to your profile at the very least. These show up in your Google Business Profile search results when customers search your business.
After you have the initial photos and videos uploaded, it’s a good idea to stay active uploading photos and videos each week. This lets Google know your profile is active and is a ranking factor in local search.
5. Description and Hours of Operation
Add accurate business hours to your profile, along with an accurate description of the service your business provides. To edit this, click the “info” button on the dashboard menu, and select the clock. Next, put in accurate business hours that reflect your hours of work.
To add a business descriptions, click “Add description” under the “Complete Your Listing” option tile. The description allows you to introduce people to what you do, so make sure you are clear! Google must approve it before its published, so make sure to use proper grammar, along with avoiding overly promotional speech, hate, or offensive speech.
6. Google Business Profile Posting
When it come to posting on your Google Business Profile there are 5 different types for you to choose from. These types are covid-19 updates, offer posts, what’s new, event, and product posts.
Remember that post disappear after 7 days, so posting weekly is important, because the content you post will appear along side your listing in search.
- Covid-19 – This feature is a realitvely new type of post that allows you to reach out to customers, notifying them about any health and safety changes that are relevant to your business.
- Product – Product posts emphasize a specific product you sell. These post require the products name, a category, and a photo or video. You are also given the option to add a CTA button. After posting, these will also stay on your profile in the “product” section.
- What’s New – These posts provide general information that is relevant to your business. An example of this would be an auto company making a post about getting watching your tire pressure throughout the winter.
- Event – Events can be promoted that your business is involved in or supports. These posts require a title and a start and end date. However it is good to know that you can make an event last up to a year. You also may include a CTA button and other information.
- Offer – Offer posts are for when you provide promotional sales or offers from your business. These also need a title, start/end dates, and times. There will be a “view offer” button added to the post so you will need a link to the offer on your website.
7. Business Reviews
Reviews are one of the most important ranking signals for your Google Business Profile. We recommend that the optimal average review ranking is between 4.2 and 4.5.
Encourage reviews! GBP allows you to share your review page link with customers. It is a good idea to encourage reviews, but remember, you are NOT ALLOWED to offer anything to a customer in exchange for a good review!
To share your review link, google search your business and click “Write a Review” on your business profile. Copy your review page URL from your browser’s address bar and paste it.
Respond to reviews! Thank positive reviewers and respond to negative reviews with solutions. To find reviews, click the “reviews” section on the dashboard menu. You can reply to each review you receive. We recommend using keywords relevant to your business when possible within your replies.
The services section allows you to show users what you provide. Make sure to list all of the services that match your business, and delete the ones that don’t. Sometimes Google will add services to your GBP based on the categories you choose, so keep an eye out for new additions!
9. Respond to Questions
Google Business Profile allows you to respond to questions users ask, and even ask some for yourself. You should post questions that are frequently asked about your business, so that your profile will benefit the users needs even more.
10. Constant Maintenance and Continued Optimization
Once your listing has been completely setup, the process is not over. Maintaining your google business profile will help improve the user experience, and ensure that your local listings are always up to date.
GBP offers features such as “insights” that serve as a SEO tool that allows you to see what terms customers are using to find your listing. Insights also show you calls, messages, and more that have come from your listing. We recommend using this information to optimizing your listing, especially for your GBP website listing.
Google My Business Marketing Service
The google business profile (formally known as Google My Business) is a powerful tool to add to your arsenal of local SEO tools for small businesses, and can help you achieve higher google rankings in the SERPs. In fact, many would say it is the most important tool for local search.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Google Business Profile Free?
Creating and activating your Google Business Profile on your own is completely free.
How to hide address on Google my Business
If you’re looking to hide your address on your Google listing, there are a few easy steps to take.
- First, log into your Google account and go to your business profile.
- Next, click on the “Info” tab and scroll down to the “Address” section.
- Third, there will be a button labeled “Show business address to customers” click to turn this off and click save.
- After that, you’ll want to scroll to find where you can list service areas, and list the areas you serve.