Imagine yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. This person is three blocks from your storefront and looking for exactly what you do best, and maybe they were referred by a friend who knows how great your products are! If they search Google on their phone while standing right outside waiting patiently near an intersection (or even just walking around), will that particular business come up as part of their results?
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) has been a staple of local marketing since its debut in 2014. It is one of the essential tools in a marketer’s toolbox and has become the de facto hub for local businesses online. It is the term for your business listing on google.com, maps, and search locally based results! Whether you are looking to connect with customers on Google Search or Maps, your business must have one, and creating one will help drive traffic directly back into your website or store.
Using this completely free tool, businesses or consumers can use to interact with customers and manage the information about their company so that people can find it when searching for your business, its products, and its services.
A compelling profile can draw visitors to your store or website, help raise capital, win investors, differentiate you from your competitors, and persuade clients. A few reasons why a Google business profile is a good idea:
There is no question that your local SEO program is an essential aspect of your marketing plan.
Anyone, including random strangers or automated listing generators, can create a map or business profile. The only thing required by Google is the business name, location, and category. After Google confirms it is not a duplicate listing, they will create a profile for that location.
At that point, your profile is open to customers to ask questions, leave reviews, and add pictures. It will also populate with the information Google retrieves from across the internet. This means that even if you created your Business Profile, you can’t manage the reviews it collects or the information it displays. You can, however, make sure the information is correct and enhance your profile.
Taking ownership of your profile allows you to enhance it by creating a Google My Business account to access, customize, manage, and improve your Google profile. You can show important information about your business, including opening and closing times, contact details, or a link to your website.
More recently, Google released new features allowing you to use direct messaging, post a link to articles, load posts and set up alerts. There is also an iPhone and Android app to allow you to manage it on the go and view analytics that shows interactions and performance.
We’ve registered hundreds of profiles, and while these features are great, there are certainly improvements to be made.
In November, Google announced several new features to their business profile platform, including simplifying their name from ‘Google My Business Profile’ to ‘Google Business Profile’ and making it easier to claim your profile. Several other features are now available that are expected to become popular enhancements. Let’s look at a few highlights.
1. It is also easier to complete verification or resolve other issues with your Business Profile by simply searching for ‘my business on Google Search to get to your Business Profile and complete your setup directly on Google Search and Maps.
2. You can now utilize a direct-to-business messaging feature that makes it possible for search users to message businesses in real-time, directly through their business listings.
3. A new ‘merchant call history’ feature shows which inbound customer calls came from their Google profile. This free call tracking feature logs calls a business receives when people use the “call’ button on their Google Business profile. Once the call history has been turned on, customers connect with you via a local forwarding number.
4. Google also recently announced a new “in stock” filter on a search to allow shoppers to see nearby stores with specific items in stock. Their new “Pointy from Google” is a free feature in the Business Profile area of search that helps you automatically upload in-store product inventory by connecting directly to an existing point of sale system or local inventory feed or manually adding them to your Business Profile on Search.
5. Google has also announced that moving forward, additional tools will be available to help business managers to understand how their business is performing and how they can enhance their online presence, all through Search and Maps. This tool can help create plans for local advertising investment and see how changes to those plans might affect your outcomes and performance.
Recent studies reveal that a whopping 56% of local businesses have not claimed their Google Business listing. Even those who have claimed their listing are not updating it regularly or optimizing it for search. After all, your business is competing on search with every other business in your area. Therefore, your profile should not be thought of as a set it and forget it listing. Staying on top of local results requires optimizing and maintaining your listing, just as you would with your website.
While managing a profile can be a daunting experience, help is available. Marketburst can help you develop a local content marketing program and local search campaign that will rank you at the top of the local search results and assure you receive the conversions you are looking to close.
As a part of our local search campaigns, we will target your competition and customers, update your profile and optimize it for ranking. Our team will then continue maintaining your profile, keeping it fresh and updated.
Our SEO team has worked with the Fortune 500 and the local restaurants, the online store, to large manufacturers. This diversity of experience helps companies fend off fierce competition.
We will also create local search content and pages, create backlinks to your website, submit your company to other directories and optimize your website for a better user experience and increased conversions.
If you are looking to get found in search locally, you cannot afford to be without a local search program, starting with an optimized Google Business Profile. Contact our team today for a complimentary audit of your website and your Google Business Profile.