If you run any kind of local trade or service business, you need a steady flow of local enquiries from the right kind of people, to keep you and your team busy, week after week.
Having a Google Business Profile could do wonders for your business. It will help you get found online in local searches, and generate enquiries. We rely heavily on Google Business Profiles to provide successful local SEO services to our clients.
What on earth is a Google Business Profile?
It’s the new name for Google My Business. Back in 2004 it started out as Google Local, then Google Local Business, Google Places, Google+ Local and most recently - Google My Business. The tool was recently rebranded to Google Business Profile and has become a local marketing cornerstone, ensuring ownership and control over business information within search results. We don’t really understand why Google keeps renaming it, and doesn’t just announce new versions like most other tools and platforms do – eg: Google Local 7.0. Guess we’ll never know the answer to that conundrum!
Is Google Business Profile the same as Google My Business?
Yes and no. Although many features are similar, Google My Business as we know it will be retired in 2022. This is a summary of the changes.
Immediate changes to Google Business Profile
Managing a single location business
The main immediate change relates to how Google wants you to manage your Business profile. While it’s been possible for a while, Google is now deliberately pushing those with single listings to manage their businesses within Search or Maps and not in the old Google My Business console or mobile app.
All you need do is simply type your business name into Google Search and you will then see this directly in the search results.
This carousel of entry points makes it far easier to do the following directly from Google Maps and Search:
- Claim a business listing
- Verify the listing
- Send and receive messages to customers
- Manage reviews and Q&As
- Track data on inbound calls that came from Google Business Profile (US and Canada to start with, hopefully rolling out to other countries soon)
Managing multiple locations
If you manage multiple outlets - e.g. your business has several shops or offices, or you manage a franchisee organisation, you will still have to login through Google My Business backend, but it will be renamed Business Profile Manager.
In addition, the current profile URLs will be rebranded and redirect to the new experience.
Benefits of having a great Google Business Profile
There are many benefits of having a well optimised Google Business Profile.
- Your business will show up on local maps. If you run your business from premises that you want people to visit, then your business will appear on Google Maps. This really helps local people discover that you exist, and to find their way to your premises.
- You will get enquiries if you rank in Google’s 3-pack. The “3-pack” is the 3 listings below or next to the map. The best part about being in the local 3-pack? Around 45% of people click on one of the 3 businesses listed here. They view the Google Business Profile, ring them, message them or click on their website link. Searchers might also click on the Google Ads below or on the organic results underneath, of course. But if you run a local business – you need to show up in this 3-pack for all the right keywords, including the Near Me searches (- e.g. painter near me etc).
- Getting reviews boosts your appeal. These days most people check out reviews about local businesses before they decide who to use, and they mainly do it on Google Business Profile listings. The star ratings and reviews are one of several important factors for moving up the local ranks towards the ultimate goal of being in the 3-pack. And we have a couple of clever ways to get more of your customers to leave you a review.
- You will get more visitors to your website. You can see in the Insights tab in the backend just how many people clicked through to your website from your Google Business Profile. These are people who have searched on a specific keyword and found your Google Business Profile, and then gone ahead and clicked on your website link. This proves they are interested and could be good leads. If your website convinces them that you can help them – and you make it easy for them to contact you – you could see a good surge in qualified leads.
The amazing results our clients are enjoying
We help many of our clients with managing and optimising their Google Business Profiles.
- One Brisbane trade business client has hundreds of reviews gets 25 messages, over 40 phone calls, and more than 120 website visits, every month through his Google Business Profile.
- Another client in Sydney gets 175+ website visits, over 100 phone calls and over 60 direction requests for people to visit their warehouse, every single month.
And we have more inspiring case studies just like these. Our clients are in the 3-pack on page 1 of search results for their most important keywords, and we keep them there by optimising their Google Business Profiles every single week.
What you need to do to optimise your Google Business Profile
Please note that after you’ve claimed your free Profile listing, it can take a while to get in the 3-pack on page 1 of search results, particularly if you have lots of competition. It takes time and you must have the right SEO strategies and optimising campaigns in place. When you do, you will move up the list and get on page 1 in the 3-pack, which is the only place to be. Hardly anyone goes to the second page of results.
There is a lot to it, but here’s three tips to get you started.
1. Choose your category carefully
There’s over 3000 to choose from, and you will achieve better results if you choose a primary category that is not too generic. See pleper.com for the complete list of categories for each country; enter your category to see all the variations and related categories.
For example: “Consultant” has 33 variations, and one of them –business management consultant – brings up another 24 related categories!
The best practice is to choose the most relevant category as your primary and to add 2-3 more additional categories that also describe your business, but no more than 5-6 categories in total.
2. Keep attributes up to date
When you add attributes to your Google Business Profile listing, you increase the chance that your business will show up in more specific searches. You choose relevant attributes from the lists given in the info area. Attributes include a range of specific features in categories such as accessibility, activity, amenities, crowd, dining options, highlights, offerings, payments, planning, etc. There are also some hidden attributes that are designed to generate responses from customers, but business owners can also answer these questions.
3. Make the most of your Google reviews
Google reviews are extremely important for your business as they are independent comments on what it's really like to do business with you. The more four and five star reviews you have, the better for building trust and generating leads, and for moving up the ranks in search engine results.
- Always respond to reviews – good and bad – quickly and politely.
- If someone is not happy, this is a golden opportunity to rectify the situation quickly and improve your systems and processes.
- Have your Google reviews automatically embedded on your website. This has a big impact on website visitors. Contact us now for details on how we can do this for you.
What else can you do?
There’s another six or seven strategies (depending on business type) that we implement for our clients every month to ensure their Google Business Profile gets into the 3-pack and stays there. See our SEO packages for details of some of the many things we do to ensure our clients get on the first page of Google.
Find out how you’re doing – get your free report
Why not get a free local SEO Report to see how your business ranks in Google when it comes to being found by people in your area. You’ll have your report in minutes, along with recommendations for improving your Google Business Profile and local search ranking results, if needed.