A Google Business Profile can increase visibility, attract potential customers and provide an edge over the competition.
If you’re looking for effective ways to attract potential customers to your business, make sure you are visible and putting your best foot forward when they are searching online. Learning how to update your Google Business Profile and why it’s important can help you reach wider audiences with relevant information.
It’s estimated that 97 percent of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else, and 46 percent of all searches on Google are generated by people seeking local information. Putting your business in their sightlines needs to be a priority, especially when it comes to standing out from the competition.
Google offers local search results to users based primarily on relevance, distance and prominence, so optimizing your profile is a powerful way to raise your visibility online. When local customers need options nearby, you want to ensure you show up high up in their search results.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile is a free tool that helps you control how your business appears in Google Search and Google Maps. It provides critical information, like your business location and hours of operation. It also lets you connect with customers, post updates, list products and services, and even accept online orders.
It can help potential customers find you in local searches and gives you an opportunity to outrank your competitors. Getting on the first page of Google search results drives more website traffic, so any tactic that helps drive this outcome is worth exploring.
How does updating a Google Business Profile help your business?
Potential customers typically search for local businesses when they are looking for new options to fill a need. For example, they may need to purchase an item for their home, get a quote from a local landscaper or book a reservation for dinner.
Their first step is searching on Google. The second step is clicking through to the top handful of results.
Updating your Google business listing can:
- Help new audiences discover your business.
- Target searchers who have a strong intent to purchase a product or service.
- Provide necessary information to assist customers in choosing your business.
- Help customers understand how to do business with you, in person or online.
- Engage interested customers to increase the likelihood they’ll call, visit or order.
Updating your profile gives you a chance to offer valuable information that might draw them to do business with you, now or in the future. In addition, if you do a thorough job of optimizing your profile, visitors are more likely to find you and recognize you as an excellent choice to help them with their needs.
How to update your Google Business Profile
Creating your Google Business Profile is the first step to getting the most out of what it can do for you. You’ll also need to create a free Google My Business account for the profile to ensure you can manage and edit it to benefit your business.
1. Create a Google listing
You can add or create a Google listing by visiting Google My Business online. Simply sign in to an existing Google Account or create a new one. You’ll need to enter the name of your business, its location if you want to appear on Google Maps, whether you serve customers at this address, your business category and your contact information.
2. Claim and verify your Google listing
Next, you’ll need to verify your Google listing. You can do this by phone, SMS or by requesting that Google send a postcard to your physical address. Completing this step authorizes you to make changes, so don’t skip it.
3. Edit, update and optimize your Google listing
Manage your Business Profile by editing it to ensure the information is accurate and that the profile effectively highlights what you do and the products or services you offer.
What information should you add? Think about your ideal customer. What do you know about them? What information do they need to find you, feel compelled to learn more and do business with you?
They may need to know where to find you and directions for accessing parking. They may need to know what days of the week you’re open and what hours, so they can plan their visit. You can add photos to show customers what you sell or provide. These could show off the interior of your retail space or showcase delicious lunch specials at your restaurant.
4. Responding to and interacting with customers via Google Reviews
Another critical task is creating a system to interact with your customers through Google Reviews. Customers can leave ratings and comments, and express concerns on your Google Business Profile, so make it a priority to check these often and respond promptly. Responding to reviews helps customers see that you care about their concerns and experiences, and provides an opportunity to repair any missteps.
Even when you can’t make a customer happy, you can demonstrate a willingness to communicate, explain policies and empathize. Other customers are watching to see how you handle these exchanges, and they’re more likely to do business with you if you’re responding to reviews. Plus, Google Reviews impact your SEO ranking, so keep this top of mind when managing your profile.
When should you update your Google Business Profile?
There are a couple of ways to approach updating your Google Business Profile, and both are important.
The first approach is to make updates as they occur. For example, you should update your Google listing whenever you change your business hours, add a new product category or make changes to a menu. Remember, this information helps the right people find you and provides them with the information they need to feel confident that your business can meet their needs.
The second approach is to regularly check your profile. These checks can motivate you to update images, refresh written text and remove stale information. Mark them on your calendar along with other ongoing marketing tasks, like updating your website and social media accounts. All elements of your online presence should be updated and optimized regularly.
Tip: The key is to take control of what you can to improve your outcomes. Remember that some updates are automatic or from alternate sources, which means you won’t be able to edit them. It’s also important to note that changes can take up to 60 days, so be patient if you’re not seeing updates in real-time.
Your local online presence is key to attracting customers to your business and standing out from the competition. Creating and updating your Google Business Profile is vital to attracting local customers and highlighting how your business fits their needs.
If you’re ready to tackle local search optimization, your strategy should include listings management to track coverage and ensure that accurate and relevant content is always available online. You’ll want to monitor reviews from Google and Facebook, and offer prompt responses on each platform. Also, target the correct keywords, and track performance and potential revenue for both locations.
Want reassurance that you are getting the most from your Google Business Profile? Book a free Local Search Optimization Audit with a Postmedia expert.