The best way to rank for Google’s local search results and enhance visibility is by creating a Google Business Profile for your business.
According to Hubspot, 72% of consumers who did an online local search visited a store within five miles. This means by creating a Google Business Profile, you can tap into that 72% of customers.
We’ll give you all the details you need to optimize your GBP profile, from setting it up and fixing any problems that arise, to tips on how to improve your ranking in local search results.
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a feature from Google. It enables you to create and manage your online presence across the entire search engine, including Google Maps.
If you create a Google Business Profile (GBP) profile, you can add useful information like the following:
- – Opening hours
- – Contact details
- – A short description of your business
- – Photos to make your business’s profile more appealing
Also, you can easily share photos of your products or services, manage your business information (such as name, place, and hours), and reply to customer reviews. This will enable your business to get more visibility over time.
Your business needs a physical location to use Google Business Profile effectively. Remember that GBP is free and offers many benefits that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Why Is GBP Crucial for Local SEO?
A Google Business Profile provides you with greater visibility. This means more people will click on your website, increasing your chances of generating leads.
When you list your business on Google Business Profile, you can also show customer reviews. Research has shown that online reviews significantly impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. Positive reviews on your listing can make your business more appealing and trustworthy, growing customers’ confidence in your business.
Google Business Profile allows you to interact with your customers. This will help you build a relationship with your customers as they can then ask valuable questions or launch a complaint.
How to Create a Google Business Profile Account?
Creating a Google Business Profile account is a straightforward process. We have laid down the step-by-step instructions that will help you build your Google Business Profile.
Step 1: Creating Your Google Business Profile
If you don’t have a Google Business Profile visit https://business.google.com/create and create or sign in to your Google Account. You can use an email address with your business domain or a regular gmail id.
Search on Google to ensure that your business does not already have a Google Business Profile. If your business does have a Google Business Profile (GBP), All you need to do now is claim it.
To create a new profile on Google, all you need to do is click on the “Add your business to Google” option.
Step 2: Add Business Name
Begin by entering your business’s name. Ensure the name is the same as the business’s signage to avoid confusion.
Step 3: Pick a Business Category
Select a category that your business represents. For example, this can be “Tech equipment”, “Nail Salon”, “Restaurant”, etc.
Don’t worry about the categories, Google has over 4,000 categories, so finding the right one is easy.
Additionally, you should add any relevant features or amenities (if you have them), like free Wi-Fi or parking.
The more details you add to your GBP, the better its SEO will be.
Step 4: Add Your Business Location
When filling out your business address, make sure to use the same address for your social media accounts and website.
If you are irregular in this regard, Google will penalize you.
If you provide delivery services, make sure to mention it and specify the areas to which you deliver.
Step 5: Create a GBP Description
To finish the GBP listing, enter a short business description.
Provide concise and creative information about your local business offerings without including URLs or HTML code. Keep the text under 750 characters.
Step 6: Add Your Business Contact Details
Add details like your website address and your phone number. You can get a free website for your business if you do not have one already.
Congratulations! You have successfully made a Google Business Profile.
How to Verify Your GBP Listing?
Now that you have completed your profile, you need to get it verified. To verify your Google account, you just need to wait for a postcard with a verification code to arrive at the address you provided. It usually takes around five business days to receive it. Once you’ve verified your account, you can access insights like analytics, and reviews, among others.
If you don’t have a physical address, you can contact Google support to ask for a phone or email verification, especially if you offer services.
How Does Google Decide Local Ranking?
Google uses various factors to determine local rankings, including relevance, distance, and prominence.
Here, Google checks the customer’s search intent and your business’s relevancy to it. So, if you want to enhance the chances of your business showing up in the search results, You should provide Google with as many details as possible.
Another factor is the distance. The proximity between the specified location in the search query and the potential search outcomes. If the user does not specify a location, Google will utilize the historical location data to understand where the user is located.
How prominent a business is also determining local search rankings. Google examines this by collecting details about a listing from articles, reviews, directories, or local events.
How to Optimize a GBP Account for SEO?
To improve your local search ranking and appear in the local pack, follow these tips:
1. Keep Your Details Up to Date
Your customers rely on your listing for information and to get in touch with you, so your details must be accurate. Also, ensure that all your information is consistent everywhere, including local web directories. Any mismatched information can risk your profile for a penalty.
2. Set Primary and Secondary Categories
When creating a GBP listing, you need to choose a business category. This helps you to determine which queries your business can rank for. Your business’s primary and secondary categories are also ranking factors for Google’s local pack.
With about four thousand categories to pick from, take some time to choose which ones to select. You should understand the options and be strategic in finding the right categories for your business.
Among the most important things to regard is the search volume. The higher the search volume, the better impressions your listing can attract. You can use keyword research tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to determine a keyword’s traffic potential.
When researching similar businesses, consider local competitors. Look up a target keyword and expand on the local pack to check the primary business category.
To find secondary categories, utilize a Chrome extension such as GBP Everywhere.
Make sure to choose only nine secondary categories relevant to your organization to avoid breaking Google’s guidelines.
3. Include Pictures
Having pictures for a GBP listing plays a crucial role. Google understands that your business is legitimate when it sees pictures. So, to enhance rankings, ensure to have professional images.
Google will use details like alt text, captions, titles, and geotagging within your images to understand your business’s location.
4. Include Services and Products
Include services and products in your GBP listing to enhance visibility. Consumers will understand what you are offering. You will also stand out from other competitors.
If you want to add products or services to your Google Business account, follow these steps:
1. Log in and find your profile by typing your business name in the search bar or looking for “my business.”
2. Choose View Profile and click the Edit Profile control.
3. Choose either Services or Products and fill in the required fields.
Remember that Google doesn’t allow certain regulated products or services to be added to a listing, like gambling services, tobacco, health or medical equipment, alcohol, financial services, and unapproved supplements.
5. Acquire More Reviews
Reviews help you boost your profile ranking on Google Maps and the search engine.
When creating a review strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you should aim for authentic reviews, as search engines are good at detecting fakes.
Encourage customers to leave reviews, but you can also use tools to help out.
Quality is more important than quantity, so try to get reviews that are detailed and informative.
Lastly, responding to reviews is a great way to show customers that you care and to gather feedback.
6. Use The Messaging Feature
Your customers can easily reach out to you through instant messaging. This will also help in establishing trust, boost engagement, and enhance customer satisfaction.
Google Business Messages allows customers to chat with you directly from their search results. To start a chat, customers click on the Chat button that appears on the Google Search and Google Maps listings.
To activate this feature, you need to enable the Messaging function, which will notify you when a customer sends you a message.
You can also make an automated message and share images with customers through the chat.
Remember that Google requires you to respond to messages within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, it may result in deactivation of the chat feature.
7. Create Posts For GBP
You can create interactive posts on GBP. You can include your website’s blog posts and articles.
Here are some things you can do when creating such posts:
1. Write a minimum of 10 posts: You can write more if you want. These posts will expire after 14 days, but you can repost them if you don’t want to write new ones. Your post should be about 1,000 words and include the keywords you want to rank for in Google searches.
2. Add new content regularly: Google favors up-to-date, new, and relevant posts to the current season.
To stay relevant, post updates daily, add new pictures, write about recent changes in your company, and so on.
8. Respond To Client Queries
When people find your Google Business Profile, they want to know the correct information. This will help you get more customers and improve their experience.
Google has a Q&A section in your profile where anyone can answer questions. Sometimes, Google suggests answers depending on past responses or reviews. The questions with the most likes show up first.
But, you can’t be sure if these answers are correct. You should reply to the questions yourself. Also, some people might think it’s a messaging technique and ask sales questions. If you don’t check it daily, you might miss a chance to get new customers.
How to Rectify GBP Account Problems
Usually, there are two common GBP account cases:
- – Suspension
- – Issues Signing In
- – Negative Review
Let’s learn how to fix them:
When a suspension takes place, you cannot manage your listing. It is also possible your GBP profile may not appear on the search result page at all.
Some common causes are:
- – A wrong business name
- – Posting prohibited content
- – Numerous listings for the same enterprise
To determine what caused the issue, you should first refer to the official guidelines provided by Google and identify any potential violations if your Google Business Profile account has been suspended.
You can then fix your profile by taking the necessary steps. This may involve removing incorrect information or deleting problematic content.
After making the required changes, you can request that Google review your account again by submitting a reinstatement form. The form will ask for your email address, business name, and address, as well as a valid reason why Google should reinstate your account.
Reactivating your account can take a significant amount of time, so it’s crucial to avoid breaking any rules in the first place.
Flagging a Negative Review
If you see a negative review on Google that talks about a previous job you had or your competitors, you should know that it goes against Google rules.
But don’t worry, you can get it removed by reporting it. All you have to do is log in to your Google Business Profile account, choose the review, and tap on the three dots to flag it as inappropriate.
It usually takes up to three days for the report to be processed. If the review hasn’t been removed by then, you should contact Google Business Profile support for help.
Trouble Signing In to Your GBP Account
If you’ve forgotten your email address or password, or have issues with the two-step verification process, then head to Google Accounts Troubleshooter to find solutions for various sign-in issues.
Google Business Profile also offers a helpful community forum that discusses everyday problems and ways to solve them.
How to Report a Google Business Profile Account
Reporting a fake GBP listing can help you enhance your search engine ranking.
A Google Business Profile spam listing can take one of these conditions:
1. Fake listings: These are non-existing enterprises or are not located at the defined address.
2. Duplicate listings: These businesses accidentally verify more than one listing or deliberately make numerous listings to overpower the map pack.
3. Keyword stuffing: These businesses add street addresses or targeted keywords to their listing names.
If you discover a listing that matches any of the explanations above, it’s crucial to take action and report it to Google immediately.
To suggest changes to a business listing, select “Suggest an edit.” If the business doesn’t exist or is a duplicate, choose “Close or Remove.”
Be careful to only suggest factual edits to avoid penalties. To report spam or fraudulent activity, use the Business Redressal complaint form.
In conclusion, optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP) profile is a critical step in mastering local SEO and boosting your business’s visibility.
Understanding how Google determines local rankings based on relevance, distance, and prominence is key to tailoring your GBP profile for optimal results.
At Egara Digital, we understand the critical role GBP plays in local SEO. Our focus is on optimizing your GBP profile to maximize visibility, improve customer interactions, and boost your local search rankings on platforms like Google Maps.
Whether you have a single location or multiple, Egara Digital is committed to helping you achieve prominence in local search results.