If you’re an organization looking to capture the attention of local customers, a Google Business Profile is a key piece of your marketing strategy. The Google Business Profile is a free business listing from Google that allows you to share important updates and provide details and photos of your business, including your location, services, and products. 

Google is the world’s most-visited site and currently holds more than 92% of the search engine market share. Formerly known as Google my Business, a Google Business Profile is a critical way to connect with your customers online and improve your local SEO. Specifically, a GBP listing is more likely to appear when people search for a nearby business using Google Maps. Here’s how to optimize it to improve your local search.  

An important note: Google Business Profiles are only available to businesses that have contact with customers. This includes businesses with a physical location (like a store or restaurant) and businesses that provide services by meeting with clients in other locations (like marketing consultants or painters). Need to set up or claim your listing? Follow the step-by-step instructions here.  

How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile 

Google has shared with users that they determine local search ranking based on three main factors: 

  • Relevance: How well your Google My Business listing matches a search from a user  
  • Distance: How far your location is from the person who is completing the search 
  • Prominence: How well-known your business is (based on factors like number of reviews, review score, number of links, and SEO  

Here are some steps you can take to maximize your Google Business Profile and boost your score for all three factors. 

Optimize your business name:  Check out the top 1-5 businesses in your area for reference to location and keyword(s), and be sure to include your brand name plus the keyword or your brand plus the location keyword, e.g., Stella For Star Marketing Services, or Stella For Star Marketing in Woodstock, GA. 

Optimize business descriptions: You have 750 characters in your business description, and you want to use them all, if possible. As above, when you’re reviewing other GBP profiles in your industry, you can cross-reference location and keywords to include in your own. You’ll want to mention your brand name at least once, and make sure to include how long you’ve been in business in your area. If possible, include important neighborhoods or locations and any awards you have won.  

Choose the Correct Business Categories: Select your primary category, then secondary categories using the same competitive examples used above. Use GMB Everywhere, a free Chrome plugin that runs an audit on your Google Business Profile and lets you view categories on maps.  

Optimize Your Products and Services: This is the section where you can list all of your organization’s products and services. Make sure you give each product and service a complete description and add a link to the corresponding landing page on your website. When writing the descriptions, use optimized and relevant images for each product or service.  

Add Photos of Your Location, Products, and Services: Photos of your business’ location, your products and/or services act as online social proof for your company. If you’re a restaurant for example, upload photos of your tables, your staff, and most importantly, your dishes! If you’re a home services business like an electrician, plumber, or painter, share before and after photos of your work.  

Encourage Clients to Leave Reviews: Each review should include your location and keyword(s). Encourage your clients to take photos with you and your team and upload them to GMB. (This is another bump for your social proof.) Respond to every review as quickly as you can and use the correct keyword(s) in your response. If you receive negative reviews, it’s even more imperative that you respond online, as future customers will take note of how you react to negative feedback.  

Have questions about how you can strategically use your Google Business Profile for your own business? Give us a shout—we’re happy to help you discover ways to boost your local search visibility.  

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