What is Google Business Profile?
Google is the world’s most visited website, with over 5.6 billion searches happening daily. Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business ) is a free tool created by Google that acts as your ‘shop window’, making you discoverable and attracting potential new customers to your business.
To make the most out of your Google Business Profile you need to make sure it’s optimised.
We recently hosted a free webinar with James Boyes, COO at Trustist, an award-winning customer reviews platform, who explained how to make the most out of a Google Business Profile. Here are the key points and highlights James discussed.
Why is Google Business Profile important for your business?
Google Business Profile is the first thing your potential clients see when searching for a business or organisation. If you fill it out fully, then future customers will have all the information they need to find you, contact you and see what you offer.
Many businesses have incomplete profiles, but if you want to improve your ranking on Google and make the most of this free tool, you need to optimise your profile.
James says that “49% of your entire ranking in Google is impacted by Google Business Profile and reviews in Google Business Profile.” This means it’s absolutely essential to make sure you use all the free features and tools available so that your business has the best chance of standing out from the crowd.
How do I optimise my Google Business Profile?
Google is an amazing resource for businesses. As well as being a powerful search engine, it also offers other tools such as Google Analytics and Google Trends which can inform you how best to list and describe your business.
Optimising your Google Business Profile to its full potential
Here are the ten features you’ll need to complete to maximise your search ranking on Google.
This may sound obvious but just entering your name may not be enough. For example, if you own a gymnastics club, it’s worth using Google Trends to discover the most used search terms for your discipline or activity.
To do this, just search for “Google trends” and it’ll appear. Once the page is up, type a possible search term (e.g. “gymnastics club”) into the Explore Topics search bar. This will bring you to another page that allows you to add and compare a variety of different search terms. To do this just press the “add comparison” button to add other possible search terms, e.g. “gymnastics classes” or “kids gymnastics”. When you’ve added about four or five terms, you’ll get a good idea of which are the most popular from the graph that’s created below. Adding the most popular phrase to your name will improve your search ranking on Google.
The other important addition to your name is your location. By adding your location, you’ll once again improve your search ranking. Your name should end up looking something like this, Cartwheels Gymnastics Club Manchester.
If you have a Google account already then it’s possible that Google will automatically include the address associated with your account. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be your home address, so unless you want your home address to be included in the listing, edit it to show the location of your club or business.
It’s also really important to check that the address shown on your Google Business Profile is identical on your website contact page and all your social media. If it’s not the same, then your search ranking will be affected, and you’ll be less discoverable. For example, if the address is, 14 Ramsden St, on Google, it shouldn’t be 14 Ramsden Street elsewhere.
James also says that “…if you have a club in multiple different service areas like you’ve got one in Leeds, you’ve got one in York, you might have one in Scarborough, then it’s absolutely fine to have different Google my business listings.” Otherwise, just have one listing.
It’s worth knowing that if you create more than one Google Business Profile to cover different service areas where you don’t have a physical location, then Google may suspend one or more of the accounts. James warns, “…just be aware that Google in their guidelines say that you shouldn’t have multiple Google Business Profile accounts for service areas, you should just have one. …I’ve seen it where people have had those for ten years and it’s never been suspended. But I would just be aware that that’s an option.”
This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many companies and clubs don’t include their phone number on their profile. The best thing about this feature is that if you include your number, Google automatically generates a phone icon that potential customers can tap on to call you directly.
James says, “…you lose about 70% of website traffic if you don’t have business hours and phone calls listed, and there’s a reason for it… people don’t know if you’re open or not, thinking, I don’t want to bother them.”
He suggests that it’s best to show the office hours rather than class hours so you’re available to answer calls or respond to emails as soon as possible.
Photos and videos
Photos and videos are how you influence potential customers. Because of this, the Google algorithm places a high value on them.
James says that “…there’s this really interesting correlation in Google Business Profile between the number of pictures and videos that you upload and the amount of website traffic you get, phone calls you get, directions, requests, all the important metrics. They’re important metrics because they’re going to get you inquiries. So, the more pictures and videos you have in Google Business Profile, the more discovery searches you get found for.”
Including a video on your website can improve your conversion by 80%. If you can also add video reviews to your site then, 66% of consumers said that they’re more likely to make a purchase after watching. Videos also generate 1200% more likes and shares on social media than images and text. So… where possible, include videos.
Justifications are chunks of text that Google uses in the top results to help users “justify” why that business is showing up. There are three types of justification: services justification, website justification and review justification. James stresses that “…justifications are becoming massively more important.” So, take note.
Services justifications allow you to add your service within the Google Business listing James specifies that “…on the left-hand side of your dashboard, you’ll see a list of things like products and services. If you’ve got something listed as a service and somebody searches for it, sometimes you’ll get shot to the top of the list. Doesn’t happen every time, but you can actually influence this by adding services to your area.” For example, you could add “kayaking lessons” to your list of products or services and if someone searches for that term, it would appear in the results. When your service justification is the source of the search term, then a little blue tick will appear next to it.
The website justification reflects the fact that Google found the search term from within your website. When this happens, the search term will appear in the results with a little blue globe next to it.
The review justification shows up when someone has left a review with the exact wording of the search text. This shows the value of reviews, they can actually lead potential customers directly to your listing. Because of that, it’s worth asking your happy customers to leave a review that contains the most popular search terms for what you do. When a review was the source of the search term, then a blue oval with a blue person inside it will appear by the text.
It’s now possible for new customers to book appointments with you directly via your profile. So, if they want to sign up for a dance class, for example, it can be done within your Google Business Profile, rather than through your website.
James shared, “…we’ve found that our demonstrations have picked up massively since we incorporated this.” He also mentioned that “… there have been some studies over the past few years that if you add an extra click into a customer journey if they have to fight their way through your website, you lose about 90% of that traffic.”
Google now allows you to specify services as products. So, not only can people buy your tangible products through Google Business Profile but they can also book classes. Once again by removing any extra clicks you have a better chance of getting bookings.
Reviews are incredibly important when you have an online presence. Customers are 63% more likely to trust businesses with online reviews compared to businesses with no reviews. A recent study also suggested that 93% of customers say online reviews impact their decisions. When you look at those figures, you can see why your Google Business Profile really should include Google reviews.
James also stresses how important it is to respond to all reviews. He says, “Google has specified …that if you respond within 24 hours to your Google reviews, both positive and negative, you will rank higher than people that don’t bother. So there are a lot of people who don’t respond to positive reviews because they just think, “oh, that’s fantastic, great, I’ll leave it.” But just say thanks. Thank you so much for the feedback. If you get a negative one, just be diplomatic, but make sure you respond because you’ll rank higher than businesses that don’t bother.”
A lot of businesses or clubs don’t bother with posts, as they don’t seem to drive any more traffic to your site. However, what they do affect is your Google ranking. James says, “Google posts now account for about 7% of your local rankings in Google. So, what that means is you can impact another 7% on top of that 49% where you rank by just doing these posts.”
If you’re wondering what to post, just use the same sort of content you use for your Instagram or Facebook pages. Things like recent good reviews, upcoming events or images with a caption of a recent class or session are all fine. James suggests posting at least once a week, but ideally twice a week.
By using all of these features you really will maximise your Google Business Listing. However, if this all seems a bit overwhelming, James suggests that at the very least you should do these three things:
- Change your Google Business Profile title by looking at Google Trends
- Add your services as products
- Create multiple listings if you have multiple locations
For more information about how to get your club’s / organisation’s website ranking on Google, read this article.
Good luck and enjoy seeing your Google ranking rise!
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