Setting yourself up with a Google Business profile is now an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. Originally launched in June 2014, Google My Business replaced Google Places for business and the doomed Google+ Local dashboards. Now named Google Business, users now have the power to control all their business information in one place.
What is Google Business?
Google Business is a free online tool that you can use to manage and optimise your business profile on Google. It allows you to display relevant information about your company on your business profile, such as:
- Business hours
- Contact details
- Business address
- Physical location
- Customer reviews
- Business name
Google uses a verification method to prove that a business listing is yours. Once you verify your business, you’re twice as likely to be considered reputable by potential customers.
Why is a Google Business profile so important?
Creating and maintaining a profile should be fundamental to your online marketing strategy. If a new customer wants to find out more about your business, they’re most likely going to perform a Google search. According to Google’s 2022 Retail Marketing guide, 41% of shoppers go to Google when considering a new purchase.
A Google Business profile allows you to control the information that people see when they search your business name. Here are some other key benefits to setting up and optimising your Google business account:
Highlights your business
Many businesses use Google Business to boost their search visibility and facilitate discovery searches. This is incredibly effective, as more than half of shoppers say they use Google to discover a new brand.
Having a profile is a great way to boost your Google search engine results page (SERP). It’s also relatively easy to update your free business profile to keep your information as accurate and up to date as possible. This will help take away any confusion when new customers search for your business online.
Improves your search ranking
It’s essential that Google Business is a part of your local SEO marketing strategy. Businesses with a location are far more likely to appear on search engine results than businesses without a location. Listing your business location means you can be found against local search results.
A relevant Google search for business types will always yield local search results first, making your business profile more popular. This is because the Google algorithm favours complete business profiles, making them rank higher in local results. Google determines local search ranking with three factors:
If in doubt, Google has lots of information about improving your local SEO ranking and optimising your business profile.
Taps into local SEO even without a location
If you don’t have a physical address customers can visit, you can still find value in having a business profile. A business that covers a certain service area can benefit from SEO rankings by providing a location. You can also benefit from increased web traffic by linking your business website to your business account.
Improves physical location visits
The amount of people using the search term ‘near me’ or ‘close by’ has increased exponentially over the last few years. Where location is concerned, Google Maps is an invaluable tool that helps customers find a local business.
With over 1 billion people actively using Google products and services, tools such as Google Maps are becoming invaluable. This is why including accurate and complete information on your business profile is paramount.
Some business types, such as retail businesses, can benefit from Google tools such as direction requests. Customers who cannot find your location can use these requests to search for exact business locations. Using Google Business tools, customers are more likely to find you via indirect and direct searches.
Helps build trust with consumers
More and more customers want reassurance before they make a purchase. Your profile can convey up to date, complete and accurate information to your customers. It can also allow you to regularly publish posts, and pictures, and update the cover photo of your existing business profile.
Boosts credibility online
Google Business profiles also show both negative and positive reviews from customers. This can give you a massive boost of credibility and may make your business more appealing to customers. It can also tell you how your business performs compared with other businesses in the area.
Provides useful data
As a business owner, you may be worried about negative reviews appearing on a popular public platform. Negativity is inevitable online, but a bad review can also provide you with useful data. This data can be used to improve your products or service.
Google also finds a combination of bad and good business reviews to be more trustworthy. By responding consistently to bad reviews on your business listing, your customers will know you value their input.
Helps you manage your PR
Google Business gives you a free PR management tool at your fingertips. You can use Google Business to publish business posts to your profile and provide details of a new location customers can visit. It can also help you publish the latest industry news, helping you appear in relevant searches.
Manage a crisis with engagement
By taking certain steps, such as answering a negative review, a business profile can help you manage a crisis. Perhaps one of the best ways that your profile helps mitigate a crisis is its direct messaging capabilities.
By engaging directly with consumers via business messaging, your Google listing can prevent negativity from escalating. You can also change your business account information to include a secondary phone number or a crisis management web page. One real-world example is the many businesses that updated their business description and business offers during the pandemic.
Gain insights and form a strategy
Google Business profiles have their own insights tool that offers valuable analytics. These analytics offer a breakdown of critical information, such as your customer demographics and how your posts are performing.
Insights such as these help you understand the sorts of customers your business is attracting and why. With this information, you can modify your communication and marketing strategies and optimise your google ads.
Utilise category-specific features
The features included with your profile will vary with each primary category. Features such as class ratings and amenities, for example, are only available for hotels. Using your google business profile manager, you are allowed to select up to ten categories for your business. This is especially useful if you have a multiple category business, such as a hotel and spa.
Both small and larger businesses can benefit greatly from an official business profile on Google Business. Contact our award-winning PR agency today and let us help you make the most of your profile [email protected].