As a small local business, you probably operate with a limited marketing budget. This can allow the big guys on the block to steal your ideal customers. However, your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) offers a free and very valuable marketing tool that can help you reach your target, generate more leads, and see more conversions. Here’s why GBP is the 800-pound gorilla in the room you can’t afford to ignore.
What is a Google Business Profile?
GBP is a free tool that improves how your business appears on Google Search and Maps including:
- Business name
- Monitoring and replying to customer reviews
- Adding photos
It also helps you learn where and how people are searching for you, and more. As a free and very effective tool, it is the best place to start with local SEO. Even if you already have your SEO underway, your GBP profile is a powerful tool to support your efforts. Why? When people search for a product or service “near them” they're usually very close to making a purchase.
In fact, half the people who conduct a local search for a service near them, visit a store that day. That’s why it is so important that not only your business show up in local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but also your information is complete and correct. When you optimize your GBP profile you help raise your ranking for local SERPs.
The Benefits of Your Google Business Profile
Technology makes it easier and faster to promote your product or service. According to Search Engine Watch, 50% of people who use their mobile phone for a local search end up visiting a store. Since most people own smartphones, you want to tap into the potential sales you can generate for free by using GBP to improve your organic search ranking.
That’s why creating, verifying, and properly optimizing your Google Business Profile is such an invaluable opportunity. By optimizing its features to their fullest extent, you’ll reap the following benefits:
Your GBP Allows You to Appear in Maps and Google Local Pack Listings
When you do your own local searches, you’ve hopefully noticed the highly visible map and list of business names appearing on top of the page. This is local SEO gold known as the Google Local Pack. This is important for two reasons:
- It’s Highly Visible: The Google Local Pack dominates real estate on page one of Google search results, making it the first thing users see.
- It Enables Users to See the Information They Need at a Glance: The Google Local Pack provides at a glance relevant information potential customers need, including your location on the map, your contact number so people can reach out or better yet book a reservation or arrange for a quote, store hours, and even your star rating. It’s a convenient feature for both the business and the customers.
According to Moz, GBP is the biggest determining factor when it comes to what companies show up in the Google Local Pack rankings. Therefore, verifying, updating, and optimizing your online information through your Google Business Profile is the best way to connect to your target audience within your service area.
GBP Allows People to Leave Reviews of Your Business
Never make the mistake of underestimating the power of customer reviews and their impact on your search ranking. This might seem completely unconnected to your SEO efforts, but studies found, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how search engines rank results. So, if you want your business to be visible in the search results, you need to make it easy for your customers to leave positive feedback using your GBP. Those reviews help in the following ways:
Improved Local SEO: Almost all customers (93%) might be influenced by online reviews when making a decision for purchases. Nothing says more about your business than actual testimonies from customers who used your product or service. These are real people who weren’t paid to promote your brand.
As a result, prospective customers can trust their testimonies, good or bad. Checking customer reviews has become a routine for consumers when choosing a local business. Search engines recognize the value of reviews and now use them to rank search results. By using this feature properly, you can see a major improvement to your ranking and the success of your business.
Increased Sales: Positive reviews not only improve your ranking but also serve as free and reliable ads for your products or services. As they say, nothing advertises a business more effectively than good old word of mouth. It’s only natural that logical customers feel more confident trying products with many positive reviews as opposed to a business with a lot of criticisms. There’s a certain amount of trust established with online reviews because they read like personal recommendations.
The more positive customer reviews you get, the more likely you’ll generate leads and increase sales. And this isn’t just speculation. Research shows there’s a positive correlation between reviews and sales. Just remember, you can’t please everyone, so negative reviews will still pop up even if you pride yourself in superior service. Don’t panic if this happens. Instead handle them in a professional manner, to show your commitment to customer satisfaction, then use them to improve your product or service. Negative reviews are never personal and can provide useful information to help your business advance.
Understanding What Customers Think About Your Business: Reviews tell you how customers view your brand. This is like having a free focus group providing valuable insight into how consumers are taking your products or services. You can understand what strategies you should keep, what things to change, and areas needing improvement.
Whether they’re good or bad, reviews are a direct link to your clients’ thoughts. When viewed logically, you can leverage that feedback to improve your business, while also improving your local SERP ranking.
Your GBP Provides Insights That Give You Helpful Information
Reviews aren’t the only insights your GBP provides. Your GBP also helps you understand the market with insights on important areas that assist you in creating strategies and making informed decisions. These powerful features provide access to valuable statistics and insights that can help determine where your audience is coming from including:
Views: Google tracks the number of views your business profile, photos, and posts get helping you verify the effectiveness of your campaigns. You can review the numbers and get a better idea of whether your campaigns are working well and getting the attention you want or if they are missing the mark.
Search Queries: Your GBP tells you how consumers find your business with reports showing what keywords they input to find your listing. As a result, you can determine what keywords are relevant to your online presence to help you significantly boost traffic. For example, your Google Business Profile can provide information on long-tail keywords you can dominate to seriously increase clicks to your web pages. Alternatively, it can also show you if you’re being found for things you DON’T want to be found for and you can make adjustments for that as well.
Engagement: Understanding how your audience interacts with your posts enables you to see what posts they share and what types of comments they leave. GBP Insights give you a better idea of the types of material that work well for your business, allowing you to provide the right material to improve engagement.
Audience: Your Google Business Profile provides a profile summary of people following you. You can check out the age groups, gender, and even the countries they’re from so you understand your audience when building a campaign.
Clicks on Website Link: Your goal is to increase traffic to your website. Your GBP shows you how many clicks you get from the local SERPs and your GBP. You can quantify the information with these statistics, helping you create sound strategies. If you want to improve your audience engagement, website traffic, and boost company sales, you have the numbers you need to make smarter decisions.
It’s Free and Easy to Use
As with any smart business decision you want to consider ROI. If a tool is overly costly, or difficult to use, no matter how helpful a product is, its potential won’t be maximized. Fortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to your Google Business Profile. First, because it’s free your ROI starts off very high. Second, it is efficient and easy to use, making it a tool any business can use without a high learning curve.
You can promote your business by simply creating and verifying your profile in just a few hours. If even this seems too much for you, there are tools that can get you instantly verified so you’ll be ready to rock page one of Google. Once you’re up and running you can use GBP tools to analyze performance and find ways to improve your business’s ranking.
A Google Business Profile increases visibility and improves your chances of showing up in SERPs to easily promote your products and services. GBP also helps potential customers quickly find and contact you. You can use this free tool to improve your online presence, connect with your customers, and increase your business’ revenue.