4/20/2021Small Business Advice
Small business marketing: Create an optimized Google business profile
Use these tips to enhance your Google My Business profile and bring more traffic to your site.
Head of Growth
Google launched their Google My Business (GMB) platform in 2014. This free business listing tool allows businesses of all sizes to manage their presence on search results and Google Maps. This powerful platform goes beyond providing business listing services. Business owners can take advantage of its different features to improve their search engine optimization (SEO). Remember, SEO is all about improving the amount of user traffic to your business website from search results.
GMB also combines with Google Knowledge Panel to provide additional, in-depth information to people checking out your profile. This could be the first time a potential customer gets to know your business, so it’s important to have a complete and valuable profile.
To qualify for a Google business listing, a member of the business must be available to answer questions from customers during the listed business hours. According to Google, business owners can create GMB profiles if they have a physical location, or travel to visit their customers. To avoid a suspended profile, a business will have to agree not to post prohibited content, provide accurate information, and comply with all of the Google policies.
After signing up for the free GMB account, you can begin to add to your profile. There are several different aspects that you might not have time to complete in one sitting. We created the following priority lists:
Fill out this information the same way it is on your website, social media handles, Yelp profile, or anywhere else. Being consistent, especially in the way you write your business name and address, helps optimize your business profile to show up in Google searches.
Begin by matching your business name to your current signage. Double check that the address also matches (Street vs. St, Avenue vs. Ave). Ensure your information is always accurate, including the phone number, current website, and your hours of operation.
Be sure to include any special holiday hours. It can be frustrating to look up a business and see Google’s automated "Holiday may affect business hours" message. If you know your business’s schedule ahead of time, put it there for your customers.
To continue to optimize, add pictures of your business. You can include a storefront, product photos, service images, and your logo to start. Users can also add pictures. Having photos increases credibility and offers more insight into your company. Think about your own experience when clicking a business profile on Google Maps. Doesn’t the company feel more legitimate when there are some images to scroll through?
As we noted earlier, if you do not have a physical location, you won’t be able to utilize GMB. Online-only businesses do not qualify per Google terms and conditions.
The priority two category requires a little more time and effort. This is where you’ll determine the finer details, like the category your business fits in, which sub-categories you want to associate with, and the products or services that you feature. The answers you provide in this category will make your profile more SEO-friendly.
Consider using keywords people search and associate with your business. Be as accurate as possible and avoid throwing in irrelevant high-volume keywords. Using those words might lead to more exposure, but there will also be more competition too. On the other hand, using low-volume keywords can actually help increase your domain authority. For more information, check out this article on keyword search volume.
To develop your Frequently Asked Questions section, utilize industry and competitor research. What do people care about when it comes to your industry? Creating a buyer persona could help narrow this down. What do your competitors’ FAQs include? You can also check what customers are asking on their profile.
This is where you can continue to update your content. Use the post function to provide content to your customers about your business offerings and any industry-related news. It could be about a new website launch, an update on services, or a promotion.
Ongoing reviews from users shed light on your business for others who are interested in your services. Within this section, you should always be answering any consumer-related questions. If you keep seeing the same question, consider adding it to your FAQ. For negative reviews, acknowledge the complaint, sympathize with the user, and leave a customer service email they can contact to potentially get their issue resolved. Head here for more guidelines on how to respond to all kinds of reviews.
You have probably interacted with Google Knowledge Panel in the past - you just didn’t realize the name of what you were using. When you perform a Google search, sometimes you get a box on the right side of the page next to the results. When you search a business, a profile should come up there and ideally show the name, address, and phone number.
The Google Local Pack, also known as Local Finder, is a block of businesses that populate based on the search criteria you input into Google. If you’re looking for "fine dining near me," the search will produce a block of results that include establishments for that criteria. Only businesses with a complete GMB profile will show up in Local Finder.
Google Maps offers all kinds of information - including exposure for your business! Have you ever been driving and realized you needed gas? You might have found the gas station location straight from while using the navigation features. Sometimes people open Google Maps on their computer and type in the type of business they’re looking for straight into the search bar. If potential customers want to find a business like yours while using Google Maps, they’ll be able to discover you easily if your profile is complete.
Your business profile is not a one-and-done task. It’s a powerful marketing tool designed to maximize your local business potential. To ensure you are making the most of your GMB profile, remember to:
Your GMB profile needs to center around providing your customers with quality information. The more quality content your profile and content provides, the more exposure your business is likely to get.
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