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The FutureProof Blog

What is a Google Business Profile & why you need it !!

In this post, we will explore the Google Business Profile and why your business needs to grab hold of its potential today. We will look at creating an effective profile, optimising its content, managing updates, and using the profile to stand out from your competitors. Unlock the full potential of the search and maps results for your business with a Google Business Profile.

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Having a strong online presence is vital for every business that wants to succeed (you want to succeed, right?). One of the first elements you should look at when establishing this presence is a Google Business Profile. A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is an essential Google tool that allows businesses to showcase their information directly on the search results page; and what’s even better, it’s completely free !!

This powerful platform offers your business a virtual storefront, where you can present all of your basic info; address, phone number, operating hours, products, services and much more. The Profile not only serves as a business listing but it also plays a crucial role in local SEO, influencing search results and enhancing the overall visibility of a business.

claim your Google Business Profile…

Google Business Profile

"3 Pack" Local Search Results

In Google’s search results, the “Local 3 Pack” refers to a feature, towards the top of the page, that displays a map and a list of three local businesses relevant to the query. It typically appears just below the paid ads and before the organic results. For example, if someone searches for “Italian restaurants near me” or “dentists in Roscommon” Google will display three businesses that match the query and are in close proximity to their location. Earning these spots is almost entirely down to the optimisation of your Google Business Profile and positive customer reviews.

read this local pack guide…

Below is an example of a local pack. This is towards the top of the results page for the term “beauty salon castlerea” and is typical of this type of result. Orla’s Beauty Studio is a previous FutureProof client.

Example search results page local pack.

Google Business Profile

The new Google My Business

For many months, the ability to edit your Business Profile information directly from search has been available. The old Google My Business interface has now been discontinued, and all profile actions are now directly editable from the search results. From the search results you can now edit all of the information customers will see about your business; address, business hours, offers and updates, customer reviews responses, and more. Over the years Google My Business, and now Google Business Profile, has become an essential marketing tool for all kinds of businesses, but especially local businesses, shops and service providers.

more info on the changes to Google My Business…

The Importance of a Google Business Profile

Having a well-optimised Google Business Profile is crucial for a number of reasons. As described above, GBP is THE ranking factor in terms of locally based search results, but it doesn’t end there…

Improved Trust and Credibility

A complete and up-to-date profile builds trust and confidence within your customer base. It shows that your business is legitimate, at a time when everyone is worried about scams. An actively managed profile creates a positive first impression that can influence a customer’s decision to buy from you or employ your services.

Access to Valuable Insights

Google My Business provides you with valuable data and insights about your online presence. You can track the number of views, searches, and actions taken on your profile, helping you understand your audience and refine your marketing strategies accordingly. Combined with Google Analytics and Search Console data this can be hugely powerful.

Customer Engagement

Your Google Business Profile enables you to directly communicate with customers through reviews and the Questions sections. Earning fresh reviews, and responding to them, and addressing customer queries fosters a strong sense of loyalty and demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Integration with Google Maps

Having a Google Business Profile is the only way for your business to appear accurately on Google Maps, helping customers find and navigate to your physical business location. For example, you run a café, it’s hugely important that when tourists search for “coffee near me” or “coffee in location x” that your profile is the one they see first.

FutureProof Digital on Maps

Set-up & Optimise Your Google Business Profile

It’s vital to set up a compelling Google Business Profile, ensuring it stands out among competitors and resonates with your target audience. Providing accurate business information and optimising the content is the best way to feature in local Google search results. Setting up your Google Business Profile is a pretty straightforward process, but can significantly impact your online visibility. The step-by-step instructions below will help you to create a well-optimised profile for your business.

Sign in or Create a Google Account

If you don’t already have one, create a Google Account for your business. Head over to Gmail and hit “create account.” If you have a Google Account, sign in to proceed to the next steps. If you’ve ever used a Google service before; Gmail, Google Drive or Google Analytics for example you will already have an account. Any email correspondence related to your Google Profile will be sent to this email address.

Visit Google My Business

Do a search for “google business profile” or visit https://www.google.com/business/ then click on the “Manage now” button. This will start the setup process. The screen below is your destination, this is where you set up your Google Business Profile account. If you’ve been in business for some time, Google may already know who you are and your business might appear in a drop-down when you start typing your name. Don’t panic, you can change all of the info they have.

Google Business Profile, Set up Page

Business Name & Category

Enter your business name as you would like it to appear on Google. Make sure to use your official business name that people will easily recognise. Choose the most relevant business category, the one that best represents your business, it helps Google display your profile to relevant search queries. Sub-categories and individual services can be added later.

read this post for a full list of categories…

Business Address & Contact Information

As well as your business name, you have to give Google a physical address, but if you run a service-area business or work from home for example, you can choose to hide your address and instead specify an area you serve. Add your business phone number, website URL and any other relevant information; customers can contact you directly from the search search or click to learn more about your business.

learn why NAP is important…

Verify Ownership of Your Business

Google will need to verify that you are the owner of the business. the methods of verification change from time-to-time, but the easiest way is call or text. In the past, the only way to verify was via a postcard sent to your address, and this is still available in some locations.

learn more about verification…

Business Description & more...

Write a concise and compelling business description that highlights the features of your business. Be clear and informative, giving customers a glimpse of what you offer. Upload high-quality images and videos that showcase your business, your products, services, and your team. Visual content creates a positive impression. Provide accurate operating hours for each day of the week. Ensure to update them regularly for holidays or special events.

Direct messaging can also be set up at tis point, but many businesses prefer to direct customers to phone, email or website contact page.

Managing Your Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile is just the beginning of your journey. To maintain a strong online presence, effective management of the profile is essential. Below, we will explore best practices for managing your Google Business Profile, keeping it up-to-date and engaging. Whether you operate a single-location business or manage multiple locations, these strategies will make the most out of your profile.

Regularly Updating, Fresh and Current Information

Consistency and relevancy are key to maintaining a successful Google Business Profile. Regularly update your profile to ensure that your customers receive accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Customers rely on Business Profiles basic info; opening hours and contact information, as well as services offered. Keeping this information current, builds trust.

Adapting to Business Changes

Your Business will evolve over time, and your Business Profile should reflect those changes. If you introduce new products, add services, or even move location, updating your profile allows you to keep customers well-informed about these developments. With more people getting their info directly from the search results, without even a click, this becomes even more important.

Search Engine Rankings

The algorithm rewards businesses that regularly update their Google Business Profile. By frequently adding new content, such as Google Business Posts or special offers, you increase your chances of ranking in the local search results, and placing your business in front of more customers. See below for more detail on posts.

Engaging Your Audience

An active and updated profile shows that your business is engaged in its online presence. Engaging content like posts and regularly adding photos, encourages users to interact with your profile and stay connected with your brand. Regular updates also allows you to highlight special promotions, events, or limited-time offers. This can be a powerful tool for attracting customers and can even drive foot traffic.

Google Business Reviews

Customer reviews become more important almost by the day. They provide valuable reissuance to both new, and existing, customers and have a direct impact on your local rankings. Getting reviews from previous customers is something often overlooked by small business owners, a lot of people find it uncomfortable, but it can’t be ignored, because Google gives them so much value.

learn more about Customer Reviews…

The Impact of Customer Reviews

Social Proof and Trust

Positive reviews serve as social proof (“people buy from people they know and trust”) reassuring customers that your business is reliable and that you provide quality products or services. They build trust and confidence, encouraging more people to choose your business over competitors. Positive reviews also encourages other customers to leave a positive review (can’t tell you why, but it’s true).

Search Engine Rankings

Google considers customer reviews as a factor when determining rankings. A high number of positive reviews can improve your local search visibility and position in the local results. The “3Pack” described above is a separate ranking algorithm from the standard results, and reviews play a much larger role.

Gain Insights from Customer Data

Reviews offer valuable insights into what customers appreciate about your business and where there might be room for improvement. By listening to customer feedback, you can identify trends and make data-driven decisions that can enhance the customer experience in the future.

Google Business Profile Reviews

Effective Review Management

Respond to Reviews

Engage with both positive and negative reviews. Thank customers for their positive feedback, and address any concerns expressed in negative reviews professionally and constructively. This shows new customers that you value their opinion and are committed to providing an excellent service. Aim to respond to reviews within a day of posting, or as quickly as you can. Acknowledge feedback within a few days to show that you actively monitor your profile and prioritise customer satisfaction.

Negative reviews are inevitable, but how you respond is critical. Avoid being defensive or confrontational. Instead, offer a sincere apology and seek to resolve the issue privately if possible. Customers that have an issue resolved often report being more satisfied with a company than those who had an issue free experience. Use feedback as an opportunity for improvement. If you notice recurring themes in negative reviews, address those issues, and enhance the overall customer experience in the future.

Encourage Reviews

Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews by including a link to your Google Profile on receipts, invoices, email signatures, and on your website. While you cannot incentivize positive reviews, you can request honest feedback from happy customers. We include a custom review platform on the majority of the websites we deliver to clients, see the next section for examples.

Leveraging Positive Reviews

Highlight on Your Website

Showcase positive reviews on your website to reinforce trust with new customers visiting your site. There are WordPress plugins that will do this for you, but we design a custom review platform for each client, in keeping with their branding and specific requirements. Below are several recent examples.

check out the review section on the FutureProof Digital homepage…

Wanderly Wagon Homepage Review Slider
Wilderhut Review Section

Google Business Posts

Every time you get a positive review, share it as a Google Business post.

Google Post Review

Share on Social Media

Share positive reviews on your social media channels to showcase customer satisfaction and engage your audience, tag the customer if you can, especially if you’re in the B2B space. If you provide services include an image of the project, or an image of the product that the review is about. Reviews can be repurposed into post, reels, stories or even YouTube videos, so get creative.

Social Media Review Post

Google Business Profile Services

The Services section on your Google Business Profile provides a valuable opportunity to showcase what your business has to offer. This section allows you to present detailed business information directly on your profile, giving potential customers a clear understanding of what your business does. It also has an influence on the local search results, offering greater opportunity to rank.

use text from your website to populate your service section…

The Importance of Business Profile Services

Expand Your Profile

Listing your services on your Business Profile provides a clear and organised display of what your business does. Like a free advertisement, right there in the search results. With this detailed info, potential customers can quickly identify whether you are the right fit for them, whether you can meet their needs.

Improved Google Search Results

Including detailed service information increases the visibility of your profile in search results, for relevant keywords related to that service, and your business as a whole. When users search for specific services related to your business and featured on your profile, Google is more likely to display your profile, driving targeted traffic to your website, and your business.

Competitive Advantage

Utilising the Services section allows you to highlight what sets your business apart from competitors. By showcasing unique or specialised offerings, you can attract customers who are specifically seeking those services. When customers compare profiles, and your profile features a number of specialised services, it moves their decision towards your business.

Optimising the Services Section

Be specific and comprehensive, provide a list of the services your business offers. Be specific in your descriptions to give potential customers a clear idea of what each service entails. Remember your business category, described above, is broad, these services need to be as specific as possible to capture as many search result spots as possible. Incorporate related keywords in your service descriptions to improve the likelihood of your profile appearing in relevant search queries. Think about the terms customers might use when searching for services like yours. You can also add attributes here, wheelchair access or free Wi-Fi for example.

Google Business Services Section

Google My Business Posts

The “Posts” section of your Google Business Profile is a dynamic feature that allows you to share content with your audience. Think of it as a digital bulletin board, where you can post updates, promotions, events, and other time-sensitive information directly on your profile. The Posts section can boost customer engagement and drive traffic to your website or physical location.

The Importance of Google Business Posts

Real-Time Communication

Posts, just like social media, enable you to communicate with your audience in real-time. You can share the latest news, product launches, or limited-time offers, keeping your customers up-to-date with your business, right at the time they are searching.

Boosted Visibility

Google Business Posts appear prominently on your profile, making them visible to anyone who discovers it through Google Search or Google Maps. This increased visibility, and a larger listing, can drive more clicks and interactions.

Encourage Action

With the option to add call-to-action buttons to your posts, you can directly prompt customers to take specific actions, driving conversions and engagement. If you’re launching a sale choose “order online” or “buy now” and if you’ve written a blog post and you want clicks to your website, pick “learn more.”

Business Posts Strategies

  1. Be Consistent: Regularly posting fresh content keeps your audience engaged and demonstrates your business’s active online presence. Aim to post once a week to maintain a consistent flow of updates.
  2. Use Images & Video: Posts with the best visuals you have, high quality images or videos are more likely to grab attention and increase user engagement. Visual content showcases your products, services, or events in a compelling manner.
  3. Keep it Concise: You have a 1,500 character limit in your posts but don’t feel you need to use all of them. It’s essential to be concise and get your message across quickly. Use clear and compelling language to capture your audience’s interest.
  4. Highlight Special Offers: Google Posts are the perfect way to promote limited-time promotions, discounts, or exclusive deals. Create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to act quickly.
  5. Event Promotion: Use the Posts section to announce upcoming events; webinars, or in-store for example. This can help attract attendees and drive foot traffic to your physical location.
  6. Monitor and Analyse: Regularly monitor the performance of your Google Profile, including Posts, using the Insights feature. This can provide you with valuable data on how users engage with your content, helping you refine your content strategy for better results in the future.
Google Business Profile Post

Google Business Profile & SEO

Your Business Profile plays its most important role in local SEO, and is an essential component of every local Google search strategy. Local SEO focuses on optimising your online presence to attract customers searching for products or services within a specific geographic area.

check out our SEO Consultancy Services…

Enhanced Local Visibility

When users search for businesses near their location, Google relies heavily on Business Profiles data to provide relevant results. Having an optimised profile can significantly increase your businesses visibility in local search query results, putting you in front of potential customers at the very moment they need your products or services.

NAP Consistency

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Consistency in NAP information across the internet is hugely important; your website, other online directories and your Google Business Profile. Well-maintained profiles with accurate NAP data signals to search engines that your business is legitimate and trustworthy.

Get Your Google Business Profile Set Up

A robust online presence is essential for businesses to thrive. A Google Business Profile is a powerful, free tool for growing this online presence, and all businesses should be using this tool. As we’ve seen, GBP serves as your virtual storefront on the world’s most popular search engine, providing potential customers with the information they need about your business.

By consistently updating your profile, responding to reviews, showcasing your services, and sharing engaging posts, you can leverage your profile to foster strong customer relationships, attract new prospects, and drive tangible business results. With its integration into Google Maps and Local SEO benefits, it becomes an indispensable asset for driving traffic to your website, and foot traffic to your physical location. So, take the first step today, and unlock the full potential of your business with a compelling Google Business Profile. 

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About Adam Bermingham
This blog is dedicated to helping you stay ahead of the curve, with insights into the latest trends, tools, and best practices. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or web designer, we have something for everyone. We bring you expert advice, tutorials, and case studies to help you optimise your online presence.

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