Your Best First Step Online Is to Sharpen Your Google Business Profile
Third in a Series
Before you spend any more money or time with online marketing, it’s imperative that you claim, optimize, and maintain your Google Business Profile.
Yes, there are other search engines out there, but Google is still used the most – by far! In January of 2022, it was reported that Google holds 91.9% of the market share, so you can see why it is important that you play the internet game according to Google’s rules. Setting up your Profile correctly and maintaining it regularly gives a big boost to your search ranking, especially over competitors who have not yet optimized their own Business Profiles.
Called “Google My Business” until November of 2021, the Google Business Profile is the latest incarnation of their online directory that in the past included Google Places and Google Maps. The emphasis on geography is important because it drives local search, but businesses without brick-and-mortar storefronts can still have a Google Business Profile by using a physical address to mark a “service-area.”
You’ll need a Google account to begin, but then you can explore the Google Business Profile Manager. If you are a new business, you will need to create your Profile from scratch, but others may find some kind of Profile already exists. This could have been created from outside information that put you on a Google map but was never “claimed” by you, the business owner.
Before you can clean up incorrect information or add photos, you will need to claim ownership of your profile and complete Google’s verification process. You may even need to delete extraneous Profiles or merge duplicates. Once that’s done, it’s time to clean up any sloppy details.
It is vital that your business name, address, phone number, and other identifiers match exactly across the internet, from your Google Business Profile to your social media accounts to your website. Internet search is particular, so if you are listed as “ACME” one place online and “ACME Company” another place, to a search engine that is two competing businesses. Don’t waste marketing efforts competing with yourself!
Next, beef up your Profile with descriptions, photos, and product or service information. Encourage your customers to leave reviews here for all to see. Keep in mind that this is not a one-time exercise. You’ll want to log in at least weekly to answer questions that may have been posted and respond to reviews that were left. Don’t forget to update your business hours according to the holiday calendar and post timely specials or sales as well.
While you’re working on your own Google Business Profile, check out your competition as well. You may find that your brand-new pizza place is ranking behind a long-time local favorite whose owner just retired and closed down. You can ask Google to remove that old Profile – and remove your search engine competitor!
Like any marketing campaign, don’t forget to measure your efforts. Check your Google Analytics and Google Search Console reports monthly to monitor your improvement and guide your next steps.
While a Google Business Profile is free to use, it does take experience and effort to set up efficiently and correctly. The Sprocket Websites team does this for clients all the time, so it just makes sense to hand this task over to us while you run your business. Click on the button below for us to get started.
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