Your Google Business Profiles Aren’t Fully Optimized If You Miss These 8 Things
Fully optimizing your GBPs in these eight ways will help you access the billions of people using Google Maps to earn calls, clicks, store visits, and brand awareness.
Where’s the nearest tire shop? Is my favorite burrito place still open? How far am I from the urgent care? Where can I see some comedy tonight?
When you’re stuck, hungry, in need, or crave a gut-tremoring laugh, you turn to Google Maps.
Google Maps has over 1 billion monthly active users, with 41% of smartphone owners opening Google Maps at least once a week. This is where people discover the business that meets their needs — 84% of Google Maps searches are discovery searches, meaning most people aren’t searching for a specific store or brand. They’re starting with a flat tire, a grumbling tummy, a sprained ankle, or an ache for a chuckle or two.
Your customers are using Google Maps, but if you’re not paying attention to your Google Business Profile/s (formerly Google My Business Profile), then people probably aren’t paying attention to your business.
Fully optimizing your Profile in the following eight ways will help you access the billions of people using Google Maps to earn calls, website clicks, store visits, and brand awareness.
1. Complete Your Listing
This tip might seem elementary, but take a stroll (er, scroll!) through Google Maps. So many listings are missing a phone number, website link, appointment link, hours, payment options, accessibility information, etc. These small pieces of information can build or tarnish a searcher’s trust in your business. Consider how a link to an old menu could set a diner up for disappointment if they specifically arrived at your restaurant to gobble up a fettuccine alfredo you no longer serve. A complete listing enhances the customer. An incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate one frustrates the customer.
Would you choose the Costa Oil change location with no store images, appointment link, hours, store information, and one review from “Yoo Mamahouse2x?”
Or, would you choose the Firestone Complete Auto Care location with a website link, appointment link, product search, hours, recent reviews, and additional payment and store access details?
2. Publish All the Google Post Types
Assuming your listing is complete, it’s time to attract attention and clicks! Use Google Posts the same way you use social media posts. Keep them short and post often. Google Posts show toward the bottom of your GBP listing but are increasingly being pulled into different areas of Google Maps. The more visually engaging your Profile is, the more likely a searcher is to click. They may also choose you over a competitor if they know you’re offering a discount or coupon on the service they need.
For example, Offer Post titles show when you scroll through Google Maps.
Information Posts and images are being pulled into the main header image area of Profiles.
[Pro tip: If you have more than a handful of locations, use a listings distribution platform/partner to bulk upload and schedule posts to be published over time. Speed up the process by using your social media calendar — you can publish posts in your Google Business Profiles and on social media without the content being seen as duplicate.]
3. Add Videos
Record casual videos of your business interior, exterior, and people on the job. Videos automatically play when a user scrolls through businesses on Google Maps, and people will pause and engage with a Profile that stands out.
4. Add More Images, More Often
Businesses with more GBP photos get more clicks, calls, and direction requests. The data proves it!
BrightLocal analyzed 580,853 images across 15,191 Google My Business listings and found that:
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business, while those with just one image get 71% fewer.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 2,717% more direction requests than the average business, while those with just one get 75% fewer.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 1,065% more website clicks than the average business, while those with just one get 65% fewer.
What should you post pictures of? This is where you can be both pragmatic AND fun. Post pictures of the location’s interior, exterior, and signage. Snap photos during the day and at night. Snap photos of your store in different seasons and weather. Rain or shine!
If you have more than a handful of locations, use a listings distribution platform/partner to bulk upload and schedule images to be published over time. Similar to social media posts!
5. Post Q&A and Respond to Customer Questions
The Q&A feature was introduced in 2018 to empower users to inquire about and provide answers related to a location or store directly in the Google Business Profile. The Q&A feature allows the business owner or designated representative to address these queries directly. An ‘upvote’ function also enables users to signal the most valuable or precise response to fellow searchers.
Anyone–including you, the business owner!– can ask and answer a question on a Google Business Profile. All a person needs is a Google account. Ask and answer customer FAQs here to help alleviate customer friction and get ahead of confusion.
Consistently responding to Questions posted on your Google Profile sends a message to Google that the Profile content is regularly updated and the details are current. This practice enhances Profile visibility, potentially leading to better conversion rates.
6. Respond to Reviews AND Include the City, State, and Service/Product
The number, frequency, and star-rating of your Google reviews are factors in your local search ranking. The more reviews and positive ratings you have, the higher you’ll climb in Google Maps (all other factors, like proximity, being equal).
Do as Google says! “When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive customer reviews can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”
When you respond, however, say more than, “Thanks for the review, Kim!” Use the review response as an opportunity to get more keyphrases and brand details into your listing.
Here’s an example. This customer left a 5-star review for Costa Oil in Bloomingdale, IL.
A better response from the Costa Oil owner would be, “Thank you for bringing your Toyota in for an oil change, Pat! We appreciate your business, and look forward to serving you again for an oil change in Bloomingdale or Mt. Prospect.”
The response shows the owner is paying attention to the customer’s service, vehicle, and location.
You can even think about review responses like compliments. Would you rather your friend say, “Great job, Dan!” Or, would you rather they say, “You handled that flat tire with such patience, Dan. I was really impressed by how quickly you took action to fix it, even though the kids in the backseat were screaming for snacks. It’s hard to stay cool, calm, and collected in that situation.” You’d prefer the second compliment because it makes you feel seen and understood!
Make your customers feel seen and understood, and let Google know you care (with a few keywords!).
7. Add Products with Branded Images
Customers want to know what products they’ll experience before visiting your store. Displaying products in your shop through your Business Profile can help customers comprehend your offerings, ultimately persuading them to come and explore in person. Products can also spark interest where there wasn’t any before! And you don’t have to maintain a real-time inventory in this section. You can put pillar items or main product categories (such as T-Shirts or Couches), instead of individual items (such as a brown Ashely recliner).
You don’t even have to be a traditional store to post product images and descriptions. In the following example, Walker Brothers Kombucha posted their drink flavors with detailed descriptions, call buttons, prices, and links to their main site. Consider that 720 people each month search Google for “walker brothers kombucha,” and those products are now seen by 8,640 people a year!
8. Add Your Open Date
Adding your business open date will not improve your Google Maps ranking. It could, however, increase clicks and calls from your listing as it’s an indicator of trust and authority if you’ve been in business for many years. Would you rather have your car radiator fixed by a mechanic who’s been popping hoods for 20 years or one that’s been around for who knows how long?
Do It All in a Listings Dashboard
If you manage one location in Google Business Profiles, doing all of the above is pretty quick! If you manage more than a handful of Profiles, you’re probably scratching your head at how you’re going to upload images, Q&A, Google Posts, and Products, and then respond to reviews in a meaningful way. The solution? Do it all in a dashboard, or work with a partner to manage the dashboard for you. See how easy these Google Business Profile enhancements could be with a GPO demo.