What is Google Business Profile (GBP)?
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business (GMB), is an easy-to-use, completely free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps.
A Google Business Profile increases your businesses’ visibility and allows it to show up in key places such as your knowledge panel, local pack, and Google Maps.
Um...What is a Knowledge Panel?
Knowledge panels are those information boxes that show up on Google when you search for a place, person, organization, or thing. They are meant to give you a quick overview of information on the topic based on Google’s overall understanding of what content is available on the web.
Here is the knowledge panel for Augusta National Golf Club. Google is providing key information on the searched term to hopefully answer any questions the searcher may be trying to find. With this knowledge panel we could visit the website, see its location, get directions, call the business, see when it opens for the season, etc.
What is the Local Three Pack?
The Local Pack is a SERP (search engine results page) feature that appears on the first page of results for any search query with a local intent. It shows up right under the ads portion of the results page, but above the organic results.
The Local Pack will feature a map of business locations and a listing for the top three businesses relevant to the search. There is an option to view more that three locations by expanding the section, but only three are initially visible.
These Local Pack results are created through Google Business Profile listings, and are based on what Google’s algorithm feels is most relevant to the searched terms.
Why Should You Use GBP for Your Business?
With Google Business Profile, you get to control your business’ information, build your reputation and trust through reviews, and make a great first impression before ever meeting your customer! GBP directs traffic to your website, your physical location, or a simple click to call.
Did you know?
- 84% of all searches focus on discovery?! (BrightLocal)
Meaning that 84% of searches are generic topical searches and not someone searching for a specific business by name (ie. coffee shop vs Starbucks).
- 64% of consumers look for a BP page for contact info (BrightLocal)
- 90% of customers are more likely to visit a business that has added photos to their Google listing
How does GBP Work?
Google Business Profiles are dynamic. Meaning Google prioritizes sections of your profile according to what a users searches for to show the most relevant information possible.
The three main ranking pillars for GBPs are:
Google’s algorithm is literally built to provide the most relevant results based on a user’s search query. If Google understand what your business is about, your services, and the type of problems you solve for your customer, the more effectively it will connect you with potential customers.
Essentially, Google is playing matchmaker!
What can you do about it?
Be sure to incorporate relevant keywords into your Business Profile so Google can understand who you are and what you do. Use targeted keywords in your business description, your responses to reviews, answers to questions, and in the posts you publish.
Also be sure the information in your Business Profile is complete and accurate. Try to provide all the requested information in every section of your Google Business Profile dashboard, especially your contact information, special hours, and attributes.
Proximity is pretty self explanatory. When a user searches a term, the closest locations from where the person is searching from will show up first.
This makes sense! Why would Google show someone a list of car mechanics in Dallas, Texas, when they are broken down on the side of the road in Augusta, Georgia?
Google’s proximity ranking factor is another great reason to ensure your listing is accurate and your business actually appears where it is listed on the map.
Prominence is simply how popular or well-known a business is. This is where we have a bit more control! Google will take information about a business from across the web, from reviews, social media posts, links, articles, directories, etc.
Consistently making social media posts, adding new content to your website, and gaining positive reviews are all great ways to help increase your prominence and therefore increase your local ranking.
How to Create Your GBP Listing
- Go to business.google.com
- Click ‘Manage now’ to Add your business to Google
- Sign in to Google
- If you have a Gmail account associated with your business use that or you can create a new Google account.
- Caution: You may already be logged into your browser with a personal account, if you don’t want to use your personal account, be sure to sign out
- Note: You do not have to create a Gmail account. You can create an account with your current business email.
- Once logged in, search using your business name.
- Chances are your business already exists and will show up in an autocomplete dropdown box. Be sure you select the correct business.
- Choose a business type:
- Storefront, Service Area Business, or Hybrid
- Service Area Business: A business that visits and/or delivers to customers directly, but does not serve customers at their business address.
- Examples: cleaning services or plumbers
- Hybrid Business: A business that servers customers at their business address, but also directly visits or delivers to customers.
- Examples: A dine-in restaurant that also delivers food. A lumbar yard where you can pick up supplier or have large orders delivered to a build site.
- Select a category – start board, can add secondary categories laster
- Choose a service area (if applicable)
- Complete your listing with phone number, website, hours of operation, etc and submit
- Select verification method
- Typically, Google will send you a post card with a verification code to your business address
- Google will let you now which methods are available for your business
Optimizing & Maintaining Your Profile
An optimized and well maintained Business Profile helps consumers choose your business over the competitors, improves customer engagement, boosts your local rankings, and helps convert more customers.
Lets take a quick look at what an incomplete/unoptimized Business Profile looks like compared to an optimized one.
Unoptimized Google Business Profile
- Very little information
- Does not signal to customer that is a trustworthy/active business
- No reviews or website
- Does not invite engagement
Optimized Google Business Profile
Now that you have seen the difference between an incomplete, unoptimized profile verses an optimized one, let’s talk about how exactly one would go about optimizing their profile.
As we mentioned earlier, it is important to complete every section in your Google Business Profile dashboard. That includes name, address, phone number, website, hours, category, attributes, products, services, and description.
It is important to be meticulous with your contact information. Be sure your name, address, and phone number (commonly referred to as the NAP) is consistent across all online assets.
Make sure keywords you wish for your business to show up for in searches is listed in your profile, whether that be in your description or listed as a service or product.
Ok, I know what you are thinking. I have created and verified my listing. I have optimized the description, added services, products, and keywords. What else could I possibly do!?
Well, there is maintenance that comes along with having a GBP. As a business you will want to continue to look active online. Maintain your GMB by adding photos, updating holiday hours, making relevant posts to keep customers aware of events, deals, specials, and what is happening with your business.
Also continue to ask for reviews from your customers. When you look at a list of potential businesses in search results, which one are you most likely to choose? The one with 100 reviews and a 4 1/2 star rating? Or the one with little or no reviews at all? Reviews are one of the most influential factors on consumer buying and is therefore a key ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
GBP Maintenance Strategy
As you can see, a Google Business Profile is not a fix it and forget it task. It is a local marketing strategy that requires ongoing action in order to increase your online presence. Having a solid Google Business Profile maintenance strategy will help you maximize your benefits.
Such a strategy should include:
- Updating information
- Publishing posts each week
- Uploading photos each week
- Continue to consistently ask for reviews
- Monitory and respond to all review (both positive and negative)
Code Of Entry Can Help
We know properly setting up and maintaining a Google Business Profile sounds like a lot of work, especially when you have a business to run. That is why Code Of Entry offers Google Business Profile management services.