Many customers rely on online search to connect with businesses and brands today. With Google holding 92% of the global search engine market, Google Business Profile is the ultimate online space for customer-business interaction.
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a tool that enables you to create, manage and optimise your business profile on Google. It is one of the easiest ways to gain more visibility on Google search results and improve user engagement, yet many businesses fail to use it to its full potential.
In this article, we’ll look at why small businesses should have a Google Business Profile listing, and why it’s worth taking the time and effort to make the listing as useful and effective as possible.
So what is a Business Profile?
As mentioned above, Google Business Profile is a listing service that allows you to register your business on Google. Once you are registered, your business will be visible across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping whenever people search for your brand name—or even if they search for brands or services that are similar to yours.
A Google Business Profile includes:
- Business description
- Overview of your products and services, your primary contract information
- Links to your website and your social account and section for customer reviews
Why do I need a Google My Business Listing?
There are many ways a Google Business Profile supports your company, and we’ve highlighted 7 of those reasons…
1. Prominence in search results
A listing can help your business to stand out in search results, and can help people to find your business, whether it’s online or offline.
While listings will guarantee that you’ll appear in brand name searches, such a prominent position isn’t automatic for ‘business type’ results. This can depend on the level of competition in your local area for your business type, and factors such as review scores. However, if you can get into the top three results, it’s a great way to drive people to your website or physical location.
2. It makes it easier for customers to find you
Listings provide key information quickly for searchers which can help them to find a business and decide on a visit. Opening hours, popular times to visit, and maps to help with directions all make it more likely that searchers will visit the store.
3. Your competitors may or may not be on it
If your competitors have Business Profile listings, people are going to have to work harder to find your site in local searches. People will have to scroll down the search results page, past the more prominent listings, to find your site. Having your own listing helps you to compete on a level playing field.
On the other hand, if your competitors don’t have a business listing, this is a chance to gain an advantage. Your mobile and local search results will stand out more, and searchers will be more likely to see your listing.
With so many businesses now online, it’s important to tick all the boxes to show your business is credible. Web users are now accustomed to seeing business profiles on Google, and can rely on a businesses credibility based on the information available.
Listings look professional and provide key information that helps people to decide whether you’re a credible business or not through address information and reviews for instance.
5. Get customer behaviour insights
Google provides some useful data around your listings which you can use to gain insights into customer behaviour. For example, you can see how people found your listing (through web searches or maps), and information on the actions taken after viewing the listing. This can help you to understand how customers find you, and help you to provide the kinds of information they’re looking for.
6. Mobile Search Optimised
For the major search engines, mobile search has now overtaken desktop. In Dec 2022, 93.99% of mobile searches were via Google, followed by Yahoo at 3.11% and Bing 0.35%.
60% of mobile users are ‘very likely’ to click on the first two or three results they see, which is significant given how Google Business Profile results appear in mobile searches. This makes mobile visibility ever more important, and as these listings dominate mobile search results to the extent that it’s impossible to avoid them on many local searches.
7. The importance of local search
For some business types e.g. cafes, shops, and vet clinics, mobile search can be more powerful. Being a location bound company, the location of the searcher and the query mean they have a real intent to purchase or visit.
According to stats from Google, 46% of all Google searches are local. From this, Google Business Profiles appear in 93% of all local searches. Those with local intent, were used by 83% of smartphone shoppers. These searches fell into the following categories:
Food – 84% / Entertainment – 56% / Banking – 50% / Clothing and shoes – 41% / Personal care – 38%
If you want to improve your chances in local search results, then a Google Business Profile listing is the key.
How to use Google My Business for local marketing
So we’ve established that Google Business Profile is a tool in which you enhance your business listing to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Let’s cover the four core ways you can use your Google Business Profile as a better local marketing tool.
1. Engage with consumers
There are a lot of ways consumers can interact with your Business Profile, and you engage back with them. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, enable direct messaging, and set up associated alerts. You can even publish posts to your Business Profile, much like you would with Facebook and other social media platforms.
Your Google Business Profile dashboard is where you can respond to reviews, publish posts, and answer questions asked on your business listing.
2. Highlight your business
A Business Profile alone contains limited information about your business. But through your account dashboard, you can provide hours, a link to your website, products and pricing, attributes, and other details that make your business unique. A complete Business Profile offers a complete snapshot of your business, including its best features, right in the SERP.
3. Gain insights
You can use the business dashboard to gain key insights on your audience and local search performance. In the analytics tab of the platform, you can see the queries customers are using to find your Business Profile, whether they found you on Google Maps or Google Search, a breakdown of actions taken on your listing, and how your photos are performing compared to other profiles in your category. Note also that there are ways to track clicks from a Business Profile via UTM parameters and Google Analytics.
4. Perform local SEO
Just as Google has algorithms for ranking its ads and websites, it also has one for ranking Business Profiles. Through your dashboard, you can incorporate keywords into your Business Profile and perform other optimizations to help it rank in local results.
Getting started: How to set up a Google Business Profile
Follow these easy steps to set up your business profile.
- Visit webpage: Create A Google Account For Your Business
- Add your business name, address, service area (for service businesses)
- Select your business category (whether you are a retail shop or restaurant or hotel)
- Add your contact information
- Verify account and get started
Once your business profile has been verified, it will appear on Google Search and Google Map results.
A Google Business Profile listing is a must for businesses of any size. It’s free, and it’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your visibility on search results.
As the stats quoted here show, mobile search with local intent is becoming increasingly popular, and a Business Profile listing appears front and centre for mobile searches.
To make the most of your business listings though, it’s important to go beyond the basics and work to create a useful and eye-catching listing which will encourage searchers to visit your stores, your website, or get in touch with you.
If you need help getting started with your Business Profile, then get in touch! Our web and creative teams are always on hand for anything you need.