When it comes to your marketing initiatives, you might first think of your social strategy, gaining followers, likes, and shares on popular platforms, or placing a strategic advertisement where it will gain attention. While these strategies are essential, there is something you should be doing first and is even more critical: creating a Google Business Profile listing.
When it comes to ALL online searches, market leader Google generated 63.5% of all search queries in the United States. Furthermore, local searches lead 50% of mobile searchers to visit stores within one day. So, where does that leave your business in a competitive search engine space?
Fortunately, Google offers Google Business Profile (GBP), a phenomenal FREE tool for small businesses that allows you to actively manage your online presence. The benefits of Google My Business are much more far-reaching than just adding a phone number and address. Take your business to a new level by establishing a rock-solid listing that will put you on top of your competitors’ online presence and ranking.
Steps to Improve Your GBP Ranking
Claim Your GBP Listing
GBP is a user-friendly platform where you can manage your business’s digital presence through Google Search and Google Maps. If you haven’t already, claim your GBP listing. You can claim your listing through your Google or Gmail account. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one.
Once you have your Google account, visit google.com/business to claim your listing and start the verification process. Google sends a postcard with a unique PIN (personal identification number) to your business address. Keep in mind that Google does not allow PO or UPS boxes for business addresses. If you need to use your home address for verification, you can later mask or hide it in your listing.
By utilizing GBP, you optimize your SEO, local search, brand, and overall business.
Categorize Your Business
Google uses categories to describe your business and connect you to customers searching for the products or services you offer. By correctly categorizing your business, you increase your chances of appearing in the top results for relevant searches, which helps in reaching new customers. Google auto-populates categories, so you can’t create them, but it offers several options across all industries. When selecting your primary category, choose one that describes your overall business. Then, later in the set-up process, you’ll be able to add additional categories to help customers search for your products or services.
Add Your Business Description
Under the “Info” button in your GBP account, you have the option to “Add business description.” Since GBP has a 750-character limit, you’ll need to be short and sweet in describing your business. To further enhance your GBP description, make sure you include relevant keywords. Think about words customers would use when they search for your business, similar to how you use keywords throughout your website.
A picture is worth a thousand words – and that is especially true when it comes to your GBP listing. According to HootSuite, businesses with photos on their listings receive 35 percent more clicks to their website than those that don’t utilize this feature. Use high-quality images that capture your business culture and the products and services you provide. For optimal performance, add three to six photos to your GBP listing. Or take it to the next level by hiring a Google-approved photographer to create a 360-degree virtual tour.
When you start creating your GBP listing, Google will ask you to search for your business. If your business is listed, claim the page as your own. Then add your local phone number to localize your GBP page. Including your phone number validates your GBP listing and appeals to local customers who prefer to support local businesses. Finally, make sure your listing information (including name, address, and phone number) is consistent across all social media platforms and your website.
Ask For Reviews
According to a 2020 survey by BrightLocal.com, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If customers are interested in your products or services, reviews on your GBP page are a great way to build trust and provide personal insight into what your business offers. Reviews also help your GBP page rankings; a page with more than 20 reviews is more likely to be shown in the mapped listing than a page without reviews.
Turn to Merrimack Digital!
As our world continues to go virtual, it’s more important than ever to optimize your GBP listing. Doing so will help you boost your online presence and, in turn, your SEO rankings.
The good news is that the experienced digital marketing team at Merrimack Digital has your back! Don’t miss out on the variety of digital marketing opportunities for your brand! Contact Merrimack Digital today to help do your marketing the right way.