In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for businesses to attract potential customers. As a result, social media platforms have become an integral part of marketing strategies, with billions of users actively engaging on these platforms. However, amidst all the social media frenzy, one powerful marketing tool often overlooked is Google My Business (GMB) – an essential element of local SEO.
GMB, currently known as Google Business Profile, is a dynamic snapshot that provides valuable information about your business, such as contact details, address, and opening hours, to your potential customers, all from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
And the best part about this powerful tool is that it is completely free.
So, if you haven’t taken advantage of GMB yet, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to optimize your local SEO.
In this post, Alpha BPO, the top-rated local SEO company in the Netherlands, will provide you with the best tips and strategies to optimize your Google My Business account to increase visibility, attract potential customers, and boost your online presence.
But before that, let’s understand if your GBP (Google Business Profile) fits your business correctly.
Is GBP the Right Fit for Your Business?
Since most people turn to Google for local searches, listing on GBP is a great way to ensure your business shows up on their radar. However, before you get started, you must check whether your business is eligible for a listing.
Generally, the listing options are available to companies such as:
- Businesses with brick-and-mortar locations like restaurants, stores, doctors, etc
- Service providers that offer services at a customer’s location, such as plumbers, maids, and painters
- Brands or companies that need to show their physical address on the map
- Organizations with multiple locations and franchises.
Once you have ensured that your business is eligible for a GBP listing, it’s time to move on to the next step – setting it up.
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Ways to Optimize Your GBP Listing for Local SEO
As a local business owner, you know how crucial it is to be found online. With Google constantly updating its algorithms and features, keeping up with the latest changes and optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) can give you a leg up in the local marketing game.
To help you ace your local SEO game, Professional SEO agency Alpha BPO has shared its top tips for maximizing your Google Business Profile listing and leveraging your business potential.
Start by creating a GMB account
Creating a Google Business Profile is the first step in boosting online visibility. But before you dive into the optimizations, you need a Google My Business account to access and manage your profile.
It’s important to note here that a Google Business Profile and a Google My Business account are two separate things; the latter is what you’ll use to optimize your profile.
To create a Google My Business account, all you need to do is visit google.com/business and sign in with your business’s Google or Gmail account, and voila! – you’re ready to connect with potential customers in your area.
Get Your Profile Verified
Verifying your business on Google is a crucial second step toward improving the visibility and performance of your profile. Without verification, your business and its updates will not be displayed on the search engine, and you won’t be able to access essential analytical information or customer reviews.
But don’t worry; the process is easy. Google typically sends a postcard with a verification code to the business address, which you can use to complete the process. Alternatively, you can verify via phone or Google’s Search Console.
Once you receive the code, log in to your GBP account, select “website,” and hit “publish.” Enter the code, and voila! You’re done!
By completing this simple verification process, you can give potential customers the confidence they need to choose your business over competitors.
Publish Your Profile
Once you set up your Google Business Profile, you’ll gain access to the Google Business Profile Manager. This tool allows you to manage your business profile and make modifications as needed.
Below are a few key tips to ensure your profile is optimized.
Fill Out All Essential Information
To make your business shine in the crowded online world, you must provide potential customers with all the key information they need. When creating a Google Business Profile, make sure to include the following:
- A proper name for your business
- Phone number
- E-mail address
- Website URL
- Hours of operation
These essential details are the first things people will look for when searching for your business online. Leaving out any of them could raise doubts in their minds about your credibility, leading them to move on to your competitors.
Here’s how to optimize each one of these factors for maximum visibility:
- Use your official business name exactly as it appears in the real world. Avoid adding location names or keywords, as Google considers this spam and may penalize you.
- Ensure that your business name and address are consistent across all your online listings, including abbreviations and spellings.
- Display your regular and holiday hours to help customers plan their visits and avoid negative reviews.
By being meticulous with your contact information, you’ll improve your search engine rankings and enhance your customers’ experience.
Craft Effective “From the Business” Description
Although the brief description that appears below your business name is outside your control, there is still a way to optimize the content that you do have control over.
The “from the business” section in your Google My Business account dashboard appears lower in your profile and is a great opportunity to showcase what sets your business apart from competitors.
To make the most of this section:
- Use all 750 characters and focus on key information in the first 250 characters.
- Repurpose content from your “About Us” page or mission statement, and use relevant keywords that your audience uses to find businesses like yours.
- Avoid repeating information already visible in other sections of your profile. Instead, use this space to highlight what sets you apart from competitors and what customers love most about your business.
- Remember to keep it concise, engaging, and free of links or HTML.
Choose the Right Category
Your Google Business Profile is crucial for connecting with potential customers online. But did you know that choosing the right category can make all the difference in getting your business noticed? It’s true – research shows that most Google Business Profile views come from “discovery searches,” where users search for a particular product, service, or category term and then find your business based on the categories you’ve selected.
Not only does choosing the right category improve your chances of being found, but it also unlocks category-specific features that can make your profile stand out. For example, restaurants can showcase their menus or enable reservations, while hair salons can highlight their experience with different hair types. It’s a simple yet effective way to give your profile a competitive edge.
Be specific when selecting categories to get the most out of your Google Business Profile. For example, if you’re a nail salon, choose “Nail Salon” rather than just “Salon.” And if you’re a restaurant, go for “Mexican Restaurant,” “Italian Restaurant,” or another specific category that matches your cuisine.
You can also select secondary categories to showcase additional offerings, but be careful not to overdo it – too many categories can actually hurt your visibility.
Select Applicable Attributes
Once you choose a category, Google will provide a list of attributes that you can choose from to describe your business. Attributes are special features that potential customers often look for when searching for a business. They can be anything from “Outdoor Seating” and “Accepts Credit Cards” to “Dog-Friendly” and “Vegan Options.”
When choosing attributes, focus on those most relevant to your business. Google will only display the most popular attributes for each category, so double-check to ensure you select only applicable attributes.
Add Photos and Videos
Photos can be a powerful tool to optimize your Google Business Profile. By uploading your high-quality images, you can ensure that your profile looks its best and show potential customers what your business offers. Regularly adding photos to your profile can also signal to Google that you are active with your profile, which can positively impact your ranking.
But it’s not just about the number of photos you add to your profile. You want to ensure you’re adding the right photos to showcase your business in the best light. By By following Google’s photo guidelines, including happy customers, interior and exterior views, and team photos, you can help potential customers visualize your business.
And don’t forget about the videos! Adding videos to your profile can also increase engagement and give potential customers a better sense of your business. Finally, using Google’s Street View app to add a 360º photo to your profile can further enhance it and show customers what it’s like to be at your business.
Respond to Reviews
Managing and responding to customer reviews is an important aspect of maintaining a positive online presence as a business owner. Not only does responding to reviews show that you value customer feedback, but it can also positively impact potential customers researching your business. In addition, positive reviews can also help boost your visibility in search results.
One effective way to encourage customers to leave feedback is by providing them with a link to write a review for your business. In this way, you can engage with your customers and demonstrate that their satisfaction is a top priority for your business.
Enable Messaging on Your Google Business Profile
Making it easy for customers to reach out to your business can be a game-changer in building lasting relationships with them. You can do just that by enabling messaging on your Google Business Profile. With messaging, your customers can reach you directly from your Business Profile via the Google Business Profile app.
To enable messaging, tap the Customers tab, select Messages, and turn on messaging through the app. You can even create customized automated responses to greet customers and improve response times.
Keeping a quick response time is key to success with messaging. Ideally, you should aim to respond to messages within 24 hours to avoid any negative impact on your responsiveness and visibility. Remember, fast responses can make all the difference in turning a potential customer into a loyal one.
Google Local Posts: Engage with Your Audience
Google Local Posts allow businesses to publish offers, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps through their Business Profiles.
Here are some benefits for making the most out of Local Posts:
- Keep your presence fresh on Google and engage with your audience.
- Posts can be created on-the-go from a phone, tablet, or computer.
- Businesses can also influence their Knowledge Panel breakouts with direct feedback about their businesses and those representing them.
Tips for creating high-quality Local Posts include
- Ensure that each post is free of spelling errors, broken characters, gibberish, or useless information.
- Make sure your posts are respectful and non-offensive.
- Include visuals and trusted links in your posts. Links that lead to malware, viruses, phishing, or pornographic material aren’t allowed.
Note that businesses that operate on regulated goods and services can use Local Posts but can’t post content related to the products themselves. These industries typically include:
- Adult services
- Alcohol and tobacco
- Pharmaceutical products and recreational drugs
- Health and medical devices
- Gambling-related services
- Financial services
Utilize Your Product Catalog
Showcasing your products is made easy with the Product Editor feature of Google Business Profile. This feature lets merchants provide essential product information, like pricing, details, and photos, to potential customers. By doing so, customers can interact more with your business and better understand the products offered.
Most business types, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, are eligible to use this feature, except for a few specific verticals. However, larger businesses may need to use Local Inventory Ads to showcase their products.
Providing this product information not only benefits customers but also allows Google to have a better understanding of your business.
Choose the correct CTA option.
Choosing the right call-to-action (CTA) for your Google Business Profile (GBP) is critical to driving customer engagement. Google provides various buttons, including shortcuts to book appointments or send text messages and a “Service” button for describing your business’s products or services. By including appropriate options, you can make it easier for potential customers to interact with your business and convert their interest into sales.
Add Q and A Section
Adding a Questions and Answers section to your Google Business Profile shows that your business is responsive and attentive to your customers’ needs. This feature allows potential customers to ask questions about your business, products, or services and get real-time answers directly from you.
Surprisingly, many businesses neglect this section, leaving 25% of questions unanswered. By actively engaging with customers and answering their questions promptly, you can set your business apart from the competition and build a strong reputation for customer service.
Optimizing your Google My Business account is necessary for any business looking to improve its local SEO. By following the steps outlined in this post, you can ensure that your Business Profile is visible and stands out among competitors. From claiming and verifying your business to adding photos and Q&A sections, each step can significantly impact your online visibility and customer engagement.
So, what are you waiting for? Start optimizing your Google My Business account today and watch your local business grow! And if you need help with your local SEO strategy, Alpha BPO, the reliable local SEO company in the Netherlands, is here to help.
Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive SEO services and how we can help you grow your business and reach more customers in your local area.