How to Leverage Your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) for Local SEO
If you're a business owner, here's some serious local SEO & Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) stats you can't afford to ignore.
Did you know that 76% of people who search on their mobile for a product/service visit a business within a day.
28% of these searches result in a purchase?
Did you know a whopping 63 percent of shopping occasions begin online?
In 2021, an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide purchased goods online (Statista, 2017).
Your customers are looking for you but are they even aware that you exist?
You may be spending lots of money on advertising.
Or maybe not.
You may not be demonstrating your true value.
You may be irrelevant or just hidden.
The needs and expectations of your prospective customers change.
But if you are not on top of it, they will drift away.
Knowing your customers better is not only good for your sales, but it also helps you deliver good customer experience leading to strong customer loyalty and word-of-mouth.
It’s All About Micro-Moments
We are empowered by devices and fast connectivity.
Whether we need to find the nearest restaurant, buy something or find an answer to a burning question, Google is there to help.
So much so that smartphones are now considered an extension of us.
They contain all the information and details about our lives and help us find whatever we may need.
No wonder Google came up with the term ‘micro-moments.’
These moments are the gamechangers.
They are the moments that really matter.
Using these micro-moments can help customers discover businesses when they need it the most.
So if you are a business owner, how do you take advantage of these concepts?
And how do you implement it?
In this article, we will discuss all about micro-moments, local SEO and how your Google Business Profile can be a game changer for you?
Keep reading to learn more
What Are Micro-Moments?
Micro-moments are those moments “when people reflexively turn to a device –increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”
Leveraging these micro-moments can businesses get an upper hand and capitalise on user behaviour.
There are over 6.9 billion smartphone users worldwide according to Statista.
Over 86% of the world’s population owns a smartphone and that means over 6.9 billion can engage in micro-moments each day.
Here's how you can tap into these micro moments with your business.
How can your business leverage micro-moments?
Business owners can utilise these micro-moments by putting in a hyperlocal SEO & marketing strategy.
What do we mean by a hyperlocal marketing strategy?
According to Wordstream
“Hyperlocal marketing is the process of targeting prospective customers in a highly specific, geographically restricted area, sometimes just a few blocks or streets, often with the intention of targeting people conducting “near me” searches on their mobile device.”
Chances are you may have already conducted a hyperlocal search when you typed a query based on your suburb or by typing
“xyz near me”
When you query for a restaurant or cafe based on distance or opening hours...
That’s another example of a hyperlocal query.
Google also gives an option of “discover more places” and sorts it by categories.
For example - here it is fish and chips takeaway, cosy restaurants and more.
For consumers it is a great way to find the right information at the right time.
If they are looking for fish and chips, a cosy restaurant or just the best restaurant in the town, they can sort and find the right restaurant.
As a business wanting to get more customers through the door, hyperlocal marketing is the best way to tune into your customers needs.
So how do you take advantage of micro-moments and hyperlocal search and take your business to new heights?
It’s quite simple to start actually.
You may have heard of Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business.
It is a local listing platform and allows business owners to list their business, provide information to users, answer their queries, receive reviews and post photos online.
If you don’t have a business profile, make sure you claim it on google business and add correct information like - address, phone number, and opening hours.
How to create a Google Business Profile?
1) Start the set up process at the Google Business Profile Website
2) Click on "Manage Now" button
3) Enter your business name
4) Enter a business category
Categories describe your business and help you reach your target audience.
Choose a category that best describes your business and be specific.
So if you are a restaurant specialising in pizza, choose a “pizza restaurant” as your category.Some example of business categories include:
- Accounting School
- Air Conditioning Contractor
- Air Conditioning Store
- Fencing School
- Advertising agency
- Car Dealer
- Cattle Farm
- Electrical Repair Shop
- Fish & Chips Restaurant
- Health Club
- Fish Spa
- Fruit and Vegetable Store
- Flower Delivery
- Liquor Store
- Vegan Restaurant
- Pizza Delivery
- Pizza Takeaway
5) Choose your business type
6) Enter your business address
7) Enter your contact details
8) Put your business on the map
Once you have added all the information, you may have to wait a few days to get a post or a phone call to verify your identity. When you receive your code, enter it into your profile and your profile will be activated.
But that’s not enough, you need to optimise it to be discovered by your customers and improve brand engagement.
How to optimise your GMB profile?
Review your business name, address and phone (NAP)
Review your business name, address and phone number to make sure it is accurate.
- Is the business name the same on all other directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc?
- Is it consistent with the business name at your physical location or your website?
- Is your phone number still active?
- Can your customers reach you?
If you recognise any discrepancy, update the information.
As you can see below, this is our website and we have mentioned our address, areas served, phone number, opening hours and appointment.
1) Review business information
Review your business category, attributes, website, brief description of your business.
Let’s talk about each one individually.
Category - Select the category that matches your business. Category is quite specific and best describes your business.
For example - if your business is a farm, farm would be the best category to select. Likewise, a hotel or a Chinese restaurant if your business was a hotel or a Chinese restaurant.
For our business, we have selected the category “Internet marketing service”
Attributes - Attributes allow you to let customers know specific details about your business. There are two types of attributes - factual and subjective.
Factual attributes are added by the business while the subjective attributes are the opinions of the users. Make sure your primary category is selected correctly so you get the right set of attributes for your business type.
For example - For our business we can see the following attributes -
- Identifies as women-owned - Yes/No
- Do you have gender-neutral toilets?
- Is it LGTBQ+ friendly? Is it a transgender safe space?
- Do you need to book an appointment?
For a hotel - the attributes will cover amenities like:
- Parking options
- Meals served
If your business has a website, make sure you include your website URL and provide a blurb about your business.
Make sure you include a few keywords to highlight the offerings of your business without overstuffing it with keywords.
For example, here’s a description for Domino's Pizza Warana -
“Delivery/carryout chain offering a wide range of pizzas & a variety of other dishes & sides.”
If you leave any part of your business information untouched, you can miss out on searches and conversions.
So make sure you have got all your bases covered.
2) Ask for reviews and engage with your customers
Reviews are a great way to engage with your customers.
Your customers can help you get more customers, simply because word of mouth is still so powerful. Even in the digital world.
We don’t need statistics to drive this point. You are most likely to read reviews before you buy something or visit a local cafe. If it’s a great review, you will go for that business. But if it's a bad review, you are more likely to consider another option.
If you have a brick and mortar store, you can simply ask your customers to review your business. You could put QR code in the store which lets them do it instantly.
But here’s another way to ask for reviews. Did you know you could simply share your Google Maps link with your customers and ask them for reviews?
Here’s how you can do it.
- Go to Google maps - https://maps.google.com/
- Search for your business name and click on the hamburger menu icon at the left of the screen
- Click on “Share or Embed Map”
You can share the generated link with your customers via text messaging, Facebook, Twitter or by embedding the map on your website.
Your work’s not done yet though…
Once you start getting reviews, make sure you reply to them whether they are positive or negative.
Here Domino’s Pizza Warana has made sure to respond to both positive and negative feedback.
Engaging with customers is excellent customer service. And it shouldn’t stop in the real world.
3) Post photos and updates
Create your own content regularly and add it to your Google Business Profile.
Google allows businesses to add their content. It could be updates, photos, videos, offers, ecommerce listings to promote new products or services. You could also show off your store photos or upcoming events.
Creating these posts is 100% free. And it is a no-brainer that optimising your presence on Google and creating quality content is a non-negotiable for any business.
The best part - you can get more traffic to your website or physical store by posting just once a week.
Customers can get a feel of your business and know your offerings. It is a low investment but offers great rewards.
So how do you post and what should you keep in mind when creating a post?
- Your post may include text up to 1500 characters
- Photos should be in JPG or PNG format
- Photos can be between 10KB and 5 MB with a recommended resolution of 720 px tall and 720 px wide
- The photo should be clear and should not have excessive filters
- You can add logos, cover photos and business photos
- Video should be up to 30 seconds long, with a file size of up to 75 MB and resolution 720p or higher
- Think of the purpose of your post and write a succinct piece matching the objective. You can repurpose your existing content and add it to your GMB profile
- Include a photo or video
- Use a call-to-action button - it could be “learn more”, “book”, “sign up”, “order” depending on your post type
Here is an example of an update posted by Anaconda - it is to promote their portable fridge, a visual and a CTA to shop online or buy in-store along with a Learn more CTA directing the user to their website.
4) Talk to your customers directly
GMB has a great feature of interacting directly with the customers.
Sometimes, your customer may not want to call you but rather send you a message.
And GMB lets you do just that.
There are two things you could use here.
Google Business Profile Messaging and Questions & Answers section.
Google Business Profile Messages
The messaging feature is like Whatsapp or Facebook messenger allowing your customers to reach out to you in real-time. They don’t need to call you or go to your website… cannot get simpler than that.
How to enable Messaging?
- Go to your Google Business Profile.
- Go to “Messages” and click on “Turn on chat” button
5) Craft a welcome message
You could write a short blurb about your business and thank them for reaching out to you.
Bonus tip: Here are a few welcome messages you could use
- Welcome to Websites That Sell, how can I help you?
- Thank you for contacting Websites that Sell. How can we help grow your business?
Your customers will be able to message you.
Make sure your notifications are turned on so you can get an alert when someone messages you.
Once your messaging feature is active, make sure you respond quickly and keep the conversation friendly and answer their questions.
Question & Answers
This feature allows your customers to ask any questions regarding your services.
You may be wondering - what if my customers don’t ask me a question?
What should I do in that case?
It’s very simple actually - consider this section as a FAQ page on your website..
You could simply copy paste a few questions and answers to this section.
- To do this… simply login to Google.
- Search for your business
- Click on “Ask a question” button on your business profile
- Click the post button.
Google loves content and the more the better.
This is valuable for your customer and will help you set your business apart from your competitors.
If someone asks you a question, you will get an email. Make sure you respond to the question. If customers are asking questions and they get unanswered, it’s a lost opportunity.
Using Google Business Profile is free and will complement your marketing efforts.
To optimise your profile, follow these tips:
- Claim your business if you haven’t already
- Verify your business
- Fill your profile accurately and review it often - make sure your business name, website URL, address, phone number are consistent on your Google Business profile. social media, website and local directories
- Choose the right category and attributes for your business
- Use good quality pictures to showcase your business
- Get reviews from your customers and make sure to respond to them
- Post regular updates
- Take advantage of GMB messaging and Q&A feature
While you can do all this yourself, with professional help you can worry about what matters the most. And leave this stuff to us.
Our expert team can help ramp up your local SEO efforts - manage your business profile and make sure your customers know YOU exist. Give us a call on 1300 188 662 and we will be happy to help.