Spoiler Alert: YES!
First, why do we always talk about Google, and not the other search engines, like Bing?
Well, Google currently has 92% of the market share of searches done on the internet.
So how does your business capitalize on that?
Create or claim your Google Business Profile (GBP).
We started talking about this last week with the start of our Tech Talk Tuesday series. A quick recap:
- It’s FREE to set up or claim your own profile! (although you can hire services to help you with this)
- 46% of all searches include a location – think of the “near me” results
- Roughly 97% of people who use online search look for local businesses
- An estimated 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their Google Business listing
WHY you should claim your listing?
- Local Search Popularity: According to Google, 46% of all searches have a local intent, meaning people are searching for information about local businesses or products and services in their area. Having a GBP is crucial for businesses looking to reach these local searchers.
- Increased Visibility: A Google Business Profile can increase the visibility of a business in Google search and map results by up to 3x, making it much easier for local customers to find and interact with the business online.
- Customer Engagement: Google Business profiles provide a wealth of information about a business, including photos, reviews, business hours, and more, allowing customers to interact with the business in a variety of ways. This can result in higher engagement rates and more positive interactions with customers.
- Increased Credibility: Google Business profiles are one of the first things a potential customer sees when searching for a business online. A well-maintained GBP with accurate information and positive customer reviews can help establish the business as a credible and trustworthy provider in the local community.
- Increased Traffic: According to Google, businesses that have claimed and verified their GBP have seen an average increase in website traffic of up to 35%.
- Improved Local SEO: Google Business profiles help businesses rank higher in local search results by providing Google with accurate and up-to-date information about the business, including its location, hours of operation, and services offered.
- Insights and Analytics: They provide businesses with valuable insights and analytics about their online presence, including how many people have searched for the business, how they found it, and what they did after visiting the profile.
So now we know why, but what about how?
First, if you have not set up or claimed your profile, yet, or don’t remember if you have, search Google for your business. I recommend doing this in an incognito Chrome window. To do this, find your Chrome icon, but before clicking on it as you usually would, right click on it, so the menu appears. Near the bottom, choose New Incognito Window. This will open Chrome without all of your accounts or passwords being pre-loaded. When you searched for your business, did you get a screen that looks a bit like this?
Then the business has been created by you, someone else, or Google. In the middle, do you see a link that says “Own this business?” If you don’t remember setting up this profile, or what account you used, go ahead and click that link.
Google will show a screen with a partial email address of the person that registered that listing, if it was registered by someone else. If you don’t recognize the email address, then keep following the prompts to claim the site.
If, when you search for your business, you don’t see a screen like that, then your business does not have a profile set up.
Your next step is to go to business.google.com
Select Manage Now, and sign in to the Google account that you want to use to manage your business profile.
Then follow the prompts to enter your business information.
Google is going to ask for your street address. Don’t let this hold you back from claiming your profile. They use this information to help verify that you are who you say you are, as well as to show your business in your local area. You do not have to make the address you use visible on your profile. A lot of us work virtually, or visit our clients’ sites, so we wouldn’t need to show our address. Trust the process, and go ahead and enter the address.
What is important to Google about your profile?
- Be consistent with your data across listings: If your business is at 123 Main Street, make sure you always spell out Street, or always abbreviate it. Don’t go back and forth between the long and short.
- Another example is your website listing. Google considers www.yoursite.com to be different than yoursite.com. So make sure that you are consistent with how you provide the information.
- Keep your information up-to-date: Regularly update your business information on your Google Business profile, such as your business hours, phone number, website, and address. This helps potential customers find accurate information about your business, and it also helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
- The minimum amount of time between updates to keep Google happy, which keeps you ranking higher in search results, is one month. So put a reminder on your calendar each month to update something on your profile.
- Add photos and videos: Add high-quality photos and videos to your profile. This can help potential customers get a better sense of your business and what you offer.
- Respond to reviews: Regularly check for reviews on your GBP and respond to them in a timely manner. This shows that you are engaged with your customers and that you value their feedback.
- Use posts: Use posts to share updates about your business, such as new products or services, special promotions, or events. This helps keep your profile fresh and relevant, and it also helps you reach a wider audience.
- Monitor your insights: Use GBP Insights to monitor your listing’s performance, such as how many people have searched for your business or viewed your photos. This information can help you make informed decisions about how to optimize your profile.
Sound daunting? Already overwhelmed? I can help!
Smart Virtual Solution can work with you to set up your Google Business Profile, optimize it with keywords that work for your business and industry, and add updates each month to ensure you have an active site that Google wants to promote.
Schedule a chat with me to find out how we can help your business succeed.
Prefer to watch content instead of read? View the video presentation here
A live presentation of this Tech Talk Tuesday was presented on the Alignable platform.
I’ve found Alignable to be a great platform to build relationships with other business owners.