Whether you run a cozy coffee shop nestled in the heart of a bustling city or a high-tech startup in a suburban office park, your potential customers are out there, typing away on their keyboards and tapping on their smartphones, eager to discover your business. How do I know this? Well, the following statistics point to that fact.
- Nearly half (46%) of the 5 billion searches on Google are from people looking for a local business or service.
- It’s projected that local search will send 70% of potential customers to a physical store.
- 78% of location-specific mobile searches result in an in-store purchase.
From these statistics, we can agree that having a strong online presence is no longer optional–it’s essential for success. Enter Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile), a powerful tool that can elevate your business in the digital realm.
But what exactly is Google My Business, and why should you care?
This guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to make Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)your secret weapon in the competitive digital landscape. We’ll also recommend the best Google My Business scheduler that you can use to schedule your GMB posts in advance.
Let’s dive in and discover how to make your business shine on the world’s most prominent online stage.
What Is Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business)
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free, powerful, and user-friendly online tool provided by Google to help businesses manage their online presence and connect with potential customers more effectively. It serves as a digital storefront, allowing businesses to display essential information about their products and services directly on Google Search and Google Maps.
With its array of features and capabilities, GMB plays a pivotal role in modern digital marketing and should be a fundamental part of any business’s online strategy. It is accessible through a web dashboard and a mobile app, making it convenient for businesses to manage their online presence on the go.
Why Google My Business Is Important for Businesses
Google My Business (GMB) is a vital tool for businesses in the digital age, and its importance cannot be overstated. Here are several compelling reasons why GMB is crucial for businesses:
Enhanced Visibility in Google Searches
According to a Sistrix study, the first organic search result on Google captures approximately 28.5% of all clicks, with clickthrough rate (CTR) decreasing significantly for lower-ranked results. Another study revealed that about 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
These statistics underscore the critical role of Google and online search in today’s consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. They emphasize the need for businesses to invest in effective SEO and online presence management. One of the ways to do that is by optimizing their GMB listing.
Having an optimized GMB listing can significantly improve your business’s visibility in Google search results, especially for local queries. When users search for products or services near their location, businesses with complete and up-to-date GMB profiles are more likely to appear in the coveted “local pack” or “3-pack,” which displays the top three local results prominently.
Detailed Business Information
Information is a powerful influencer when it comes to potential customers’ decisions to visit your physical store. Customers today are more research-oriented than ever before. They seek detailed information about a business, including its location, operating hours, contact details, and customer reviews, all of which play a pivotal role in shaping their perception and trust in your brand.
Google My Business acts as the bridge between businesses and their potential customers by offering a comprehensive platform for sharing this vital information. With GMB, you can provide accurate and up-to-date details about your business’ offerings, respond to customer queries, showcase high-quality images, and even highlight special promotions or events.
This wealth of information not only makes it easier for customers to find and understand your business but also builds confidence in their decision to visit your store, ultimately fostering stronger relationships and driving more foot traffic.
A staggering number of consumers turn to their smartphones when searching for local businesses online. A report by PR Newswire indicates that over 60% of smartphone users make one-quarter of their internet searches from their mobile devices.
With the increasing use of smartphones for searching and navigation, GMB listings provide critical information like your address, phone number, and directions in a mobile-friendly format. This makes it easy for on-the-go users to find and contact your business quickly.
Before making a purchase, dining at a restaurant, or booking a service, a significant majority of consumers now turn to online reviews for guidance. Studies show that around 93% of consumers read reviews to determine a business’s reputation and quality. This is where Google My Business plays a pivotal role.
GMB allows businesses to showcase their customer reviews prominently, providing potential customers with valuable insights into the experiences of others. Positive reviews can instill trust and confidence, while effective management of negative feedback can demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
When you leverage GMB, you will enhance your business’s online credibility and stand a better chance of converting potential customers into satisfied patrons.
Insights and Analytics
Analytics have become the lifeblood of modern business strategies, providing invaluable insights that empower informed decision-making. In this data-driven landscape, understanding customer behavior and interactions is paramount.
Google My Business steps up to this challenge by offering crucial analytics that can make a world of difference for businesses. These analytics provide detailed information on how users are engaging with your GMB listing, including the number of clicks, phone calls, direction requests, and website visits. This data helps gauge the effectiveness of your online presence and informs adjustments to better cater to your audience.
Related Article: 18 Social Media Analytics Tools for Marketers in 2024
How to Use Google My Business for Local SEO
Google My Business (GMB) offers numerous features and tools your business can leverage to enhance its local search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Here are different ways your business can use GMB for local SEO:
Optimize Business Information
Google My Business (GMB) offers a powerful platform to optimize your business information and improve your online presence. Meticulously filling out your GMB profile can provide potential customers with a wealth of accurate and up-to-date information about your business. This includes essential details like your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
Furthermore, you can choose relevant business categories, add a detailed business description, and include attributes like Wi-Fi availability, outdoor seating, or online booking options. By taking advantage of these features, you not only enhance the discoverability of your business but also increase your chances of appearing in local search results, ultimately attracting more potential customers and driving foot traffic to your physical location.
Add High-Quality Photos and Videos
Statistics show that 91% of consumers prefer visual content to written content. This means that visual content is a powerful tool for enhancing user experience and is particularly crucial in today’s digital landscape. When it comes to Google My Business (GMB), adding high-quality photos and videos can make a significant difference in how potential customers perceive and engage with your business. Visual elements provide an immediate and compelling way to showcase your products, services, and premises, giving users a clear visual representation of what to expect.
High-quality visuals also create a positive first impression and instill confidence in your brand. They help users quickly assess whether your business meets their needs and preferences, making them more likely to engage with your listing, visit your store, or explore your website. In essence, visual content on GMB not only elevates the user experience but also plays a vital role in capturing the attention and trust of potential customers, ultimately contributing to your business’s local SEO success.
Use the Messaging Feature
The Messaging Feature on GMB presents a valuable opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers in real time and enhance their customer service. When businesses respond promptly to customer inquiries and engage in real-time conversations through GMB, it enhances user experience, demonstrating accessibility and responsiveness.
Since the messaging feature on GMB fosters better communication between a business and potential customers, it can impact local SEO positively. It can lead to higher customer satisfaction and potentially positive reviews, which are significant factors in local search ranking.
Promote Events and Offers
Search engines are designed to provide users with the most up-to-date and relevant information possible. Since user preferences and search intent constantly change, search engines tend to favor listings that consistently offer new, relevant information. This preference is based on the belief that fresh content is more likely to meet users’ immediate needs and interests.
Websites, businesses, and platforms that keep their content current and aligned with user queries are often rewarded with higher search engine rankings, as they are seen as more valuable and trustworthy sources of information.
This underscores the importance of regularly updating and optimizing online content to maintain visibility and relevance in the digital realm. Regularly posting events and offers keeps your GMB profile updated with fresh content, which can contribute to improved SEO visibility
Utilize Google Posts
GMB posts appear directly in your business listing on Google Search and Google Maps. You can strategically include keywords related to your business and services to improve your listing’s chances of ranking higher for specific local search queries. You can also include a call-to-action button, such as “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Buy.” These CTAs can direct users to take specific actions, driving traffic to your website or encouraging users to contact your business.
When users search for local products or services, these posts can help your listing stand out, increasing visibility among your target audience. As such, consistently utilizing this feature can contribute to higher visibility and better search rankings in your local market.
Related Article: Essential Guide to Google Business Profile Posts
How to Sign Up for Google My Business
You can use either your PC or your smartphone to sign up for Google My Business. Here are the steps to follow:
- Sign in to your Google Account.
If you do not have one, create a new Google Account and ensure you sign up with your business email domain.
- Go to business.google.com and click “Add your business to Google.”
- Enter your business name and category, and click “Next.”
- Choose if you have a physical location, and click “Next.”
Choose “No” if you don’t have a physical store and “Yes” if you do. If you click yes, you will be asked to provide your business address or position a marker on the map for the location of your physical business. Click “Next.”
- Enter the service area of your business.
- Confirm if any of the businesses shown are your business. If you see your business on the list, click on it and continue the procedure to claim it. If none of them is, click “None of these” (when multiple businesses are shown) or “This doesn’t match (when only one business is shown,” and click “Next.”
- Choose whether you provide deliveries or home and office visits.
If yes, choose “Yes,” add the areas you serve, and click “Next.”
If no, choose “No” and click “Next.”
- Enter a phone number and website URL (optional). Click “Next.” You also have the option to skip this step.
- Choose whether to get updates about your business.
- Choose “Verify Now” or “Verify Later.” If you choose to verify, it will take a few minutes to verify.
The verification status will be displayed.
- Add business hours
- Toggle the button to choose whether to accept messages and click “Next.”
- Add a business description.
- Add photos of your store.
- Claim your free advertising credit.
- Choose where people should go after clicking your ad. Choose between “Your Website” and “Your Business Profile.”
Click “Next,” and you’ll be directed to where people will go after they click your ad. Click “Next” again. You can click “Preview your business profile” and click “Done.”
You may be prompted to take further steps, including
- Choose your main advertising goal.
- Write your and click “Next.”
- Add keyword themes to match your add-to searches.
Follow all the necessary steps or skip to add later.
That’s it. You’ve signed up for Google My Business.
Leverage the Best Content Curation Tool
Use Social Champ to add and schedule Google My Business posts easily.
How to Claim Your Google Business Listing
If you suspect that there’s already a Google Business listing for your business, but it’s not under your control, you can claim it. Claiming a Google business listing is a straightforward process that allows you to take control of your business’s online presence.
You can use either your PC or your smartphone to claim your Google Business Listing. Here are the steps to follow:
- Go to Google Maps.
- Enter your business on the search bar and choose the name of the business you’re claiming.
- Click “Claim this business.”
- Click “Manage Now.”
- Choose a verification option, and follow the steps on the screen.
That’s how you claim your Google business listing.
In an era where online visibility and engagement are paramount, GMB empowers businesses to establish a strong presence, connect with local customers, and enhance their reputation. It’s not just a listing; it’s a dynamic platform that bridges the gap between businesses and their communities. From optimizing business information to leveraging analytics and engaging with customers through posts and reviews, GMB offers a multitude of strategies for success.