I don’t know if you’ve heard the word, but according to many SEO professionals the Google Business Profile is the new website. And, I could not agree more.
Some of you reading this right now may be wondering…
“What are Google Business Profiles and why should I care?”
Google Business Profiles make up Google’s directory of businesses – it’s how Google populates Google Maps, Local 3-Packs, Knowledge Panels, and more. It also populates the vast majority of local search results and, according to Moz, accounts for more than 25% of your local ranking.
In short – if you want to be found on Google – it’s imperative you have a Google Business Profile.
Here – I’m going to outline Google Business Profile best practices. If you want to learn how to set up a Google My Business page or claim your current business listing, you can follow Google’s step-by-step instructions at this link.
Google Business Profile Best Practices
1. Take time with your business description.
You get 750 characters to describe your business – use them wisely. In addition, only 250 of those characters actually show up on your Google Business Profile. So, load up the first few sentences of your description with your business’s most important services and keywords.
Here’s an example of how your business description will appear.
2. Get your GBP verified.
If you’re going to take the time to create a Google Business Profile, take the time to verify it. Verification is incredibly simple. In fact, as soon as you create your Google Business Profile or claim it, Google will ask you if you want to verify it.
To verify your business listing, Google will send you a code in the mail. When you get the code log into your Google Business Profile listing and click “verify.” It truly is that easy.
When I verified my Google Business Profile it took 3 days for the code to get to me.
3. Post to your GBP page often.
You should treat your Google Business Profile page like you would any social channel. You can post announcements, offers, events, products, and more to your Google Business Profile. These show up under your “updates” section of your page and populate at the bottom of your business listing.
Why are they SO important? Because they increase engagement on your business listing.
Posts increase the number of actions taken by potential customers who find your business and posting regularly sends signals to Google that you’re engaged (i.e. it could increase your rankings).
Here’s an example of how a post will appear on your business listing.
4. Add your service areas.
The services areas help Google determine where to populate your business in the Local 3-Pack. If you only use your business address you’ll limit the area in which your business will appear.
For example, here are the service areas I outlined for my business. Now, Google knows I’m willing to work in these areas, so it will more likely show my business to people searching for services who live here.
5. Add photos to your profile.
Photos are used to spotlight your business and featured at the top of your Google business listing in search. A BrightLocal study showed that businesses with more than 100 photos get 520% more calls and 1,065% more website clicks than the average business. This doesn’t mean you should use stock photos to clutter up your page – use relevant photos that mean something to your business and encourage your customers to add photos as well.
Photo guidelines for Google Business Profiles:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
- Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720px wide
Pro tip: You can upload photos to your Google Business Profile page from your phone by using the GMB app. This makes it easy to upload a quick photo while you’re on-the-go.
6. Create questions and answers.
Creating your own questions and answers has two primary benefits: 1. These questions and answers could help a customer choose your business and 2. Anyone who finds your business listing can ask and answer questions on your business listing. So, it’s best to control the conversation and ask and answer any general questions you think may come up. Think of them as the FAQs of your business.
7. Ask for reviews.
Reviews on your Google Business Profile for more than 15% of your local search ranking (which is HUGE). This makes it incredibly important to continually ask your customers for reviews and to send them to your Google Business Profile. Your local search rankings depend on it.
So, what does this all mean?
OK – I know this was a lot of information. But I promise if you do these things and take time with them you will see a difference in your organic presence on Google.
“Wait Amanda – at the beginning of this you said my ‘Google Business Profile’ is my new website.’ So, does this mean I don’t need a website?”
Websites are still a thing and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. What it does mean is we need to stop thinking about SEO in terms of just websites because it really encompasses our entire digital presence – onsite and offsite.
Have more questions about your Google Business Profile or offsite SEO? Send me a note with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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