Having an updated Google My Business profile is a critical tool especially for businesses that want to rank high in local searches. 84% of the searches are discovery, meaning that someone is looking for example pizza places near them, not a specific restaurant by name.
Having a business profile is free so you don’t have to spend any marketing dollars to show up in search results. People use the profile to find out more about your products and services. They can view photos, read reviews, and contact you directly from the profile. Keeping the profile up to date takes only a little work, but can bring huge SEO benefits.
First, you have to create or claim your profile. To check if there is an existing business profile, open Google maps and type in the name of your business. If you can find your business click on the business name and then click on “claim this business.” On the next screen click on the “manage now” button and then follow the instructions on the screen.
If you can’t find your business on Google maps, you’ll need to create your business in three easy steps:
1. Go to google.com/business and log in with your Google account.
2. Follow the instructions and enter the name of your business, the address, and other information like the business category, phone number, website, and pictures.
3. Finish the process by verifying your business.
Once you have created your business profile it’s important to update it regularly so that your potential customers can find relevant information like the opening hours, what services you provide, and any business updates.
Here’s how to optimize the Google My Business profile
Add a logo, cover photo, and pictures from both the inside and the outside of the business so that potential customers can visualize your business better.
Add new photos of your products or services to your profile regularly.
Make sure your opening hours are accurate and let customers know if you’re closed on a specific holiday.
Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
Make sure your company bio and contact information is always up to date.
Include your most important keywords in the business listing so that you will come up in relevant searches.
Create posts to share additional information about your business. You can share offers, updates, and events that will show up in your business profile and keep your customers in the loop.
Add a Frequently Asked Question section and answer the questions you get most often. This is really important especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when people might want to know more about your health and safety measures.
Monitor your listing insights to get information like how many people found your business, what keywords did they use, how many of them asked for directions, and how many called you directly from the profile.