What is often the first thing you do when checking out a new business online? You Google it.
Businesses make themselves visible online using targeted ads and SEO, and by setting up and optimising a Google Business Profile. But what is this and how is it optimised?
What is a Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a tool that allows you to create a free Profile for your company on Google. Once created, you can amend and optimise this Business Profile to better attract people to your business both online and in person.
From appearing in local search results for your area, to the correct positioning of your business on Google Maps – everything is determined by how well your Business Profile has been optimised.
A Business Profile on Google looks like this:
Why should you set up a Google Business Profile?
There are a plethora of reasons why you will benefit from setting up and optimising a Google Business Profile.
- You will boost the SEO of your website and ensure you rank favourably alongside other businesses local to you.
- Your business will be visible on Google Maps – integrating your business into GBP will provide your exact coordinates to anyone hoping to visit your business in person.
- You will increase engagement and trust in your business. A well-crafted Business Profile with plenty of good reviews makes online users far more likely to view your business as trustworthy. You will find that the more you put into your GBP, the more engagement your website and social media will receive.
- Your business will rank higher in Google Search, and the top results are more often than not the ones we click on, rather than the ones lurking at the bottom of the page.
- You can post updates on your GBP, such as your latest blogs and news, and any special offers your business is promoting.
- If you have an eCommerce store, you can add products to your GBP, including the prices and a button to buy. This is great for people browsing quickly and looking for a purchase. These products will also be shown on Google Shopping, where ordinarily businesses have to pay to list their products.
- Google Business Profiles are location-based and boost your visibility to people searching in your local area. For example, if you Google ‘web agency near me’, the results will change depending on where in the world you are.
How to set up a Google Business Profile
There are a few simple steps to follow to set up a Google Business Profile.
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “Manage now”.
- Type in your business’s name and click “Next”.
- Choose a business type (for example, click “Online retail” if you sell products online but do not have a physical store).
- Enter a business category that best describes what your business does. Type in your business address. (If you don’t have physical premises but deliver services or goods from a private address, you will be able to hide your address later.)
- Drag the cursor to mark the exact location where your business is located on the map.
- Enter your business phone number and website URL.
- Verify your account with Google through a phone call, text message, email, or video. Once your business has been verified, your up-to-date business information should be available to view on Google within a few weeks.
How to optimise your Google Business Profile
Setting up your Google Business Profile is only the first step. Next, it’s vital that you optimise your profile to ensure that you appear as a relevant search result for your target audience.
To optimise your account, there are a few key things you should do.
1. Add a business description
Your business description sits near the foot of your business profile and is a hugely beneficial thing to have. However, it’s not enough just to write a couple of words – this is somewhere where you can really sell your business to prospective visitors before they’ve even clicked on your website.
Use your business description to tell people what sets your business apart from the rest. List your USP, your key products and services, and the area you operate in if you are a localised business – make use of as many of the 750 characters that Google grants you for the business description as you can.
2. Choose the right business categories
When you first set up your Business Profile, you’ll be prompted to choose a business category that best describes what your business does. At that time, you might have thought, ‘This category doesn’t really cover everything my business does.’ The good news is you can actually choose up to ten business categories.
To get the best results, only choose a few categories that best describe your business – choosing ten different categories (however similar they are) will likely just confuse people Googling your business.
3. Fill in your contact information
Key information like your hours of operation and phone number need to be correct. Listing a local phone number is also essential to rank well in local searches.
Remember to update your business hours should they change for any reason (such as Christmas break). Changes like this can be added ahead of time.
4. Populate your business profile with photos
An easy way to make your business look legitimate and professional from the get-go is to upload plenty of high-resolution photos to your profile. This should include both interior and exterior photos, images of your products or services, and a high-quality version of your logo.
5. Collect positive Google reviews
Customer reviews are great for finding out how consumers feel about your business and how you operate. Feedback can help you improve your processes and iron out any flaws in your service offering – but Google reviews are also a major asset for your business profile.
It always pays to research a company before making a purchase from them. Positive reviews and glowing testimonials from happy customers go a long way to reassuring prospective buyers that your business is the real deal.
Whenever you can, gently encourage your customers to leave positive reviews so that online users encountering your company for the first time will see that you are a business they can trust.
Cognique can help you optimise your Google Business Profile
From setting up your profile to writing a winning business description, Cognique create fully optimised GBP for our clients. If you want help with all things GBP and more, reach out to us today.