Pop quiz: what are the THREE most important factors in real estate? Ding ding ding! That’s right, it’s location, location, location! If you’re wondering why a digital marketing agency is talking about real estate, it’s because your web presence is your digital real estate. The more prominently your business appears in web searches the better your business will perform online. In this blog we will discuss why your business needs a fully fleshed-out Google Business Profile and why going the extra mile makes all the difference in how you appear to your audience online. Expect to learn the importance of the Google map pack, what Google Reviews do for your authority, and how SEO optimization can help you with local lead generation and cruise past your competition!
1. Perfect Your Google Business Profile to Grow and Scale Your Business
Google is the world’s leading search engine with 93% of all search queries being asked on the behemoth’s platform. That’s an overwhelming majority, and no matter how many bells and whistles other platforms have (nice try, Bing) the fact that your business is going to have to compete for attention on Google is a fact of life for now – so as my parents said “deal with it!”. As a local business owner, you need to make it simple for potential customers to contact you when they need your services, that way they don’t click on your competition’s link instead, leaving your sales team lonely with no one to talk to. Now for pop quiz round two: have you reviewed your Google Business Profile recently? If you’re asking what that is – you’re reading the right blog! A Google Business Profile is absolutely necessary for location-based businesses that want to effectively reach their target audience. Your Google Business Profile (or ‘GBP’ if you want to impress your marketing agency) helps boost your businesses visibility, collect business reviews and improve credibility, and oversee your businesses’ listing in Google. When optimized and used properly, your GBP can help drive more traffic to your website and lead to improved local lead generation and revenue! It’s everything you’ve ever wanted for your business!
2. What is a Google Business Profile?
The Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows businesses to take control of how your business appears in Google Search results including Google Maps and Google shopping. A GBP lets you easily communicate with your audience, post information about your business, list products and services, and share your location for easy navigation. The chances are you have seen many of them when you search for local businesses on your phone or desktop, and they look like this: behold! Here is the Google Business Profile of White Star Bar, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the home of the best burger in the United States (we here at Estes Media are prepared to fight anyone who disagrees with this statement). GBP’s share business information like a physical address, hours of operation, contact information, common questions and their answers, and temporary updates (holidays, etc.), so your customers can quickly get the answer to their questions instead of calling and asking the new kid who answers the phones who’s “not sure if we’re open on Arbor Day, I’ll have to ask the manager…” In addition to posting photos of your business and services too on your GBP, your customers can share their photos of your work as well, which is incredibly helpful since 62% of purchasers claim customer photos influence their decision making when considering a purchase. You’ll also notice this is where your customer reviews live; a major component to a Google Business Profile that helps build trust and credibility with potential clients. This is something you simply can’t sleep on – customer reviews are your social proof that you do good work! Remember, you don’t need to service customers at the location, just as long as you can communicate with them on your GBP. A thorough GBP can help an organization with a lower domain authority show up on the first page of a Google search through map packs and shopping results, edging out higher-ranking brand’s websites (see below under ‘Map Packs’) that are run by larger and more powerful organizations. That’s like getting a free personal stool to stand on at a concert so the tall people don’t block your view of… Taylor Swift!
3. Why is it Important?
The truth is, simply setting up and optimizing your GBP can dramatically help your business become more visible in search engine results pages. Boom, congratulations! According to Google Customers are 70% more likely to visit and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with a complete Business Profile. They’re also 2.7 times more likely to consider a business reputable if they find a complete Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. Additionally, customers are 756.2% less likely to buy from a shady looking organization that reads like a scam online. So don’t give potential customers a reason to doubt you! Here’s the real kicker – over half of local service retailers have not claimed their Google Business Profile yet. What a bunch of bozos (not you). Think of how many missed opportunities that could be! Take ‘yours truly’ for example; if someone is searching for a “New Jersey marketing agency” and we never set up our Google Business Profile, Estes Media wouldn’t show up in the Map Pack results. And that’s our best performing keyword that we rank for! It would all be for nothing without a Google Business Profile. So great, simply cash-in on claiming a GBP and you’re set, right? Womp womp. We hate to bring you back down from orbit but having a profile is one thing – it’s the optimization that is key. Optimizing your GBP means filling out as much information in the profile submittal form as possible. Being thorough helps your customers – and Google – know more specifically what you do and where you do it so that they can suggest your business in your audiences search results.
4. How a GBP Will Help Drive Local Lead Generation
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” is an infamous quote from NHL legend Wayne Gretzky that we love saying around here. In digital marketing, your shots on goal are measured in the amount of eyeballs that gaze upon your business. If you don’t do the minimum to get in front of your customers, they’ll never have the chance to buy from you. The key is to have a strong digital presence so that you can capture revenue opportunities wherever they may be. A Google Business Profile not only makes your business look more credible, it specifically helps local businesses gain more attention and increase those previously mentioned revenue opportunities. Google searches that include the words “near me” have increased 200% over the past several years. To us, that means there’s never been a better time to be a local business (in a post-horse-and-buggy world), as you can now compete with mega-retailers without having to spend mega-retailer advertising dollars. This is great if your business serves a city or region, as you get a more level playing field in search engine results pages (cool marketing people call them SERPs). “So get to the point,” you say. “How do I do this Google Business Schmizzness?” We’ll tell you! If you focus on optimizing your GBP for the Map Pack, focus on obtaining thoughtful customer reviews, and aligning all of your digital channels to be congruent with your SEO strategy, your business can increase customer awareness and sales revenue.
5. Google Map Pack
GBP is essential for businesses that want to show up on the local Map Pack when customers search for “roofers near me” or “HVAC near me,” etc. The rule is pretty simple: No GBP – no appearances in the Map Pack! Map Pack results can let you skip the line in terms of search results rankings, where a higher domain authority competitor would normally show up before a lower ranking business. Since we clearly have food on the brain, here’s another restaurant example: When we searched ‘best pizza in Atlanta, Georgia’ notice how the ‘Papa’ or the ‘Hut’ didn’t show up in the map pack, even though they’re nation-wide chains with higher domain authority? (just trust us on the domain authority for now). That’s because 1. Their pizza is literally better than Johnny boy’s as well as the other cardboard delivery pizza and 2. Their Google Business Profiles are optimized for local searches and 3. Multiple customers have written ‘best pizza’ in their reviews. Do you see the power of SEO working in customer reviews? That’s what we love to see! Here’s a bonus tip: The middle Map Pack result is the most clicked result at about 40% of clicks! Exactly how to show up in the middle-place is a deeper science, but the essence here is that you want your business to show up in the top 3 results in the Google Map Pack for the best results and most attention. Again, you don’t have to be Amazon or Microsoft to win here. Claim and verify your business and keep your business information accurate and up to date – let your customers know when you’ve made updates to things like your business’ operating hours, services, and phone numbers. Choose the right categories for your business and help Google understand what your business does. Accurately describe your business as it relates to your industry, and don’t be afraid to be really specific (commercial HVAC specializing in multi-family apartments will outperform professional contractors every time). Optimize your business description (think SEO strategy!) Write something concise and descriptive about what services you offer. Use keywords that your website is competing for to strengthen your efforts. Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo, Florida has a good example of a business description: Add high-quality photos – show your audience what you’re all about. If you’re a first-class construction company, show some examples of your best work.
6. Google Reviews
Google reviews are shown on your GBP, so do your best to keep your business’s dirty laundry under wraps (we’re looking at you, Tony Soprano). Of course we’re kidding, but more reviews mean more credibility to your audience and increase your chance of conversion. In addition to building trust with your audience, thoughtful reviews help improve your business score and help increase the frequency of your business showing up in search results. Keep in mind, 90% of purchasers read reviews before buying, so plenty of reviews will go a long way!
Encourage your customers to leave detailed reviews: this has confused some people in the past, but customer feedback is crucial to gauging your performance, and Google is more favorable to business profiles. For example, “Varasanos Pizzeria is the best pizza experience in Atlanta by far! My family came here for a birthday and we all loved the authentic Italian flavor” (dang, we’re hungry now) is better than “good pizza,” even though they may both be 5 stars.
Increased trust and loyalty drive sales: 9/10 consumers read reviews of some kind before making a purchase. If you have a large amount of reviews, they can trust you are a credible business.
Google favors businesses with more reviews: more reviews increase the frequency in which you appear in the search engine results.
Ask for reviews: Once you have your GBP set up – Ask for Reviews! Despite some beliefs, Google actively encourages businesses to ask their customers for reviews (they just insist customers be honest about them).
Here’s something that a lot of business owners need to hear – your reviews don’t all have to be 4 and 5 stars. Of course this helps, but what’s really important in Google’s eyes (mainframe?) is that the reviews are thorough and genuine. Believe it or not, but in addition to proving legitimacy, a 2 or 3 star review can assist in building brand loyalty. It also gives your business the opportunity to respond to your customers and make things right if it’s in fact needed (come on, nobody’s perfect).
7. SEO Optimization
By now you’ve read the word ‘optimize’ so many times you could have mistaken this blog for a transcript from a big tech conference in San Francisco. But we digress, optimizing your businesses SEO efforts across all of your platforms such as your website, social media accounts, email strategies, and more, is necessary to maximize your local lead generation results. First off, make sure your business has an SEO strategy in place that can help you win over the market share of your desired search terms. If you’ve gotten to this point and you’re still wondering “what is that silly S-E-O acronym they keep saying?” then don’t fret, check out our crash course on SEO. You’ll want to make sure you have consistent messaging on all of your platforms. Use your business’ target keywords on your Google Business Profile as well as on your website, advertisements, social media campaigns, and marketing emails. Optimize (okay, refine) your GBP business description – write something concise and descriptive about what services you offer. Use keywords that your website is competing for to strengthen your efforts. Consistency is key when describing your business! The more you incorporate your SEO efforts into the rest of your business’ channels the better. Make sure to optimize (necessary this time) your website for mobile performance. Your potential customers are searching on mobile devices more than desktop. Mobile searchers have officially usurped desktop searchers, and now account for 63% of all Google searches nationwide. Don’t let a poor web experience on a smartphone turn customers off.
A well refined Google Business Profile will make a huge impact on your business’ ability to edge competitors on Google’s search engine results pages. Remember that every business can develop a strong profile and use it to garner more attention from potential customers and drive leads and revenue. When your local audience is seeing your business more often they’re calling you more, visiting your website more, and ultimately buying from you more. Claiming and building your Google Business profile is a free and easy digital marketing tactic local businesses simply can’t afford to miss out on! Thinking about hiring an agency for a Google My Business optimization service? Let us know! Click here to get in touch with our team and to learn more about how you can become more competitive and grow and scale your business!
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