The Google Business Profile is an information hub for potential customers and by completing and optimizing your profile you can stand out from your competition and clearly showcase your offerings. We’ve spoken with a panel of industry experts and compiled a collection of their top tips when it comes to successfully optimizing your client’s Google Business Profile.
During the production of this article Google made an update to their Google Business Profile, previously referred to as Google My Business. Throughout the article Google Business Profile and Google My Business will be used interchangeably.
- Use keywords in your description and title
Jocelyn Bowmaker of Cariad Marketing says “Craft Keyword-Rich Business Descriptions. In plain and simple English what this means is that Google my Business gives you the option to describe your business within your GMB profile. This is meant to be an option to explain your business and introduce what your brand stands for to prospective customers. But, for SEO purposes it is an opportunity to rank for industry-relevant keywords if you are clever about it and choose keywords that balance being industry-relevant and search terms your website can potentially rank for.”
Gatis Viskers of Ambition Digital shares “My favourite tip that works really well for optimising your Google My Business profile is adding the keywords you’re trying to rank for into the title of your listing. We recently did this with a client (car dealer) who previously just had their registered business name as the listing title. By tweaking it to also include the keywords they were able to shoot past their competitors.”
Angus Chang of Hextto says “You should Include industry-related trending keywords for optimizing your Google My Business. Like other website SEO, Google uses different signals like keywords, content length, etc. Adding relevant search phrases and keywords in the business listing is very helpful, especially if your business’s website is listed directly with the GMB listing.”
Alan Rabinowitz of SEO Image shares “We use a specific series of local business citations that seems to work best for ranking GMB pages. We have a proprietary list we like to use. Most businesses can try a citation building tool and it may be enough, unless it’s a very competitive market. That combined with a good branded title and sometimes adding a keyword to the title can help.”
Keenan Beavis of Longhouse Media says “Optimizing from the business section of your account will be one of the best ways to maximize the use of your Business Profile. One characteristic of a good account is to be presentable and recognizable. A business description will make your account reflect its true nature and kind. Thus, utilizing this section will allow you to present your business with its genuine characteristics. Moreover, you can rely on it as a contributor to the initial impression, allowing customers to know what your business is all about.”
David from Digita Cloud states “One tip to optimize Google my Business to get more eyeballs is to include keywords on your title. For example your agency name is Mark bakery service so try Mark Bakery Services | bakery services in Dallas | best bakery services”
Jamie Burgess of Cariad Marketing shares “Where possible, include your main keyword/s in the name of your GMB listing. This one factor has shown itself to be crucial to competing in the local pack / map results – especially for competitive terms – superseding other important factors such as proximity, categories, and reviews in countless tests and searches. There is a fine line to tread in doing this in a way that doesn’t come across as spam, but if done correctly you will notice immediate improvements in the visibility of your profile.”
Allen Vaysberg of More Local Clients says “One tip for optimizing the profile that isn’t usually mentioned but very effective then it would be using a DBA (Doing Business As) for your business name. Google’s policies make sure that you use a real business name in your profile and can remove your listing if you add keywords to it. So if your business name doesn’t naturally contain the keyword, for instance Buffalo Grove Chiropractic, then you can file for a DBA which is a short process that doesn’t cost much, and then legally use a keyword rich name as your GBP business name. That will definitely optimize your listing and get you ranked higher.”
- Update your listing regularly
Jemima Myers of Social Chameleon states “Often businesses make the mistake of neglecting their Google My Business page once it has been set up. Businesses should look to update their listing on a regular basis, adding products to the ‘Product’ section if they’re an e-commerce business, or using the ‘Posts’ section to share snippets of recent blog posts. Adding additional content can help your GMB listing to gain additional impressions whilst also increasing the number of links towards your site – making it more likely that a user will end up on your website.”
Leanne Gallant of Clearpoint Consulting advises “Keep your listing current. Whether you run a restaurant, a lawn care business, a legal practice, or jewelry store, if you have a local business (brick and mortar or service based) then you can’t afford to take for granted or ignore your Google My Business listing. Especially these days when many local businesses have not been fortunate enough to survive. You don’t want your Google My Business listing leaving people guessing whether or not you’re still in business.”
Evan De Zilva of Oddball Marketing says “the listings that stand out in the Google Map Pack, and often find their way to the top of the Map Pack, are the ones with complete and updated profiles. This means consistently posting, listing products/services, seeking reviews from customers and responding to them positively – good or bad, and always monitoring what your competitors’ are doing with their listing.”
Nicki Betterbid of PBJ Marketing shares “With the holidays around the corner, it’s important to keep your holiday hours up-to-date by adding them to the Special Hours section. This will keep any potential customers informed of any special holiday hour changes or closures.”
- Get customer reviews
Chris Jones of LeadFocus advises “While there are many factors to optimizing a Google My Business profile, the one that seems to be the biggest bang for your buck is reviews.
Not only does Google place a high emphasis on the frequency and rating of your reviews – the algorithm also seems to like when the business responds to reviews, whether positive or negative!
On top of that, having 5 reviews or over gives you the star ranking you see on some businesses, and this places an enormous amount of trust in your listing when people are Googling for a business.”
Jamie Smith of Blue Whale Media states “Reviews on your GMB will allow your GMB snippet to show on the search results page with a yellow star rating system and in some cases, Google will directly show your reviews on the results page. This instantly allows your business to appear trust worthy to potential customers, and it makes your listing more visible compared to competitors.”
Mark Goren of 10|20 Marketing advises “The single most important thing you can do to optimize is to encourage positive reviews and ratings of your business. 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews while improving your star rating from 3.5 to 3.7 stars can increase your conversions by 120%. As a point of comparison, if your business is already sitting above a 4-star rating, moving it from 4.3 to 4.4 can provide an additional bump of 25% in conversions. This is huge! Responding to reviews is just as important too. Businesses that reply to at least 32% of reviews achieved 80% higher conversion rates than companies that replied to just 10%. So you can start to see the importance of generating reviews and ratings of your business on GMB!”
Tom Baker of 427 Marketing says “In the ever-growing digital world online reviews play a big part in the perception and success of your business. Almost 90% of consumers read online reviews, to help them decide what to buy and where to buy it. If you aren’t checking in with your reviews, managing them by responding to them or reporting irrelevant (or spam) reviews, then you may be missing out on a huge growth opportunity.”
Zach Colman of Creatitive advises “When people visit your Google My Business page, they will have the chance to see reviews. Reviews don’t 100% correlate with higher rankings, but they are a sign for Google to see how your business is doing and how active you are. The more positive reviews you have the more likely you build authority with Google and rank higher on the Google 3-pack.”
- Use UTM tracking
Daniel Gray of Market Media Connect shares “One tip I would give regarding Google My Business is to use UTM tracking on Google My Business links. If you do not do this, you won’t be able to differentiate between the performance of your Map listing and organic listings in Google Analytics and Search Console. In local SEO, half of the challenge is not figuring out which drives the most traffic/new business – organic or local results.”
Tim Dugan of Zero Gravity Marketing advises “We recommend leveraging UTM parameters on all URLs mentioned in Google My Business (including posts, appointments, etc.) so that we can ‘follow’ the visitor from GMB into Google Analytics. It also ensures that all visits from GMB are attributed properly (via Organic). Although this tactic won’t help with visibility, it will help with tracking which is critical.”
- Set-up the GMB website
Arielle Gamble of Smash Cut Digital Marketing says “Use as many of the tools that Google provides as possible. For example, even if you have your own website, also completely flesh out the free Google My Business website that’s available within your account.”
- Add photos
James Pardoe of Grow Digital Services advises “Use images to show (and control) what your business looks like. If you don’t add your own, high quality images, then your visitors/customers will upload theirs, and they may not show you in the same light as you’d like.”
Sam of mKonnekt shares “Add photos and videos- According to Google, Businesses with photos receive 35 percent more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. Photos help you to showcase the best of your business- it gives potential customers a vivid idea of what to expect from your business. Remember the instances, when you are searching for a new place to eat on Google, don’t you like to take a look at the interiors of the restaurant to get a better idea of what to expect in terms of ambiance or the photos of food to make a fair estimate of the kind of food to expect. Your customers are looking for the same.”
Max Juhasz of Rebel Base SEO says “One of the best ways to optimize your GMB is to use real photos instead of stock images and make sure they are properly titled and geotagged with the longitude and latitude that match the city that you want to rank in.”
- Choose a category
Dan Sarao of Macaw Digital Marketing states “Make sure you are using the right business category. Do competitive research to understand what your top 3-5 competitors are using for their category or categories.”
Paras Pandya of Cuneiform advises “You will have chosen a business category when you created or claimed your business in GMB but you can now add further categories to help Google show your listing to relevant searches with greater accuracy.”
Victoria M of Insight Digital Copy says “Add categories to your photos, the benefit of doing this is that features of your business get spotlighted which can help customers when they make a
purchasing decision. To add a category click on a photo (under the photos section) then click on the ‘i’ icon on the top right hand corner of the screen. Then choose from the category options available.”
- Be responsive
Chelsea Roller of Rank Fuse Digital Marketing says “We tell all of our clients that they need to be active and responsive on GMB. It is no longer enough to have a GMB listing. Now, you need to be active on it, and this includes responding to reviews and questions.
If you have numerous reviews and questions coming in, it can be a challenge to dedicate the time to reply. However, it shows that you care about your customers and their needs.”
- Add product titles
Jake Snelson of RookieSEO shares “One thing that business owners can do is add product titles. They are relatively new, but they give potential customers an idea of what you offer before having to click on your website (you want as few clicks as possible to win a client). It is also another chance to throw more keywords out there for Google.
In your GMB profile, there is a Products tab. You can add up to 10, and they can include a picture, a short description, and a link to purchase or for more information. They help make your GMB look more professional and built out, which in turn helps conversion rate.”
Cory Young of BCC Interactive states “Take advantage of the products and services section no matter what. First, it will give your business significantly more real estate in the knowledge graph when customers are searching for you. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to drive conversions with multiple CTAs in each of the product modules. Lastly, it offers businesses the ability to insert local and industry-relevant terms to boost authority (and visibility) in the eyes of Google.”
- Keep NAP up to date
Sam Heaton of Atomicdust says “When optimizing a local business’ Google My Business, the first thing a business needs to keep up-to-date is its NAP (name, address, and phone number). This is because Google scrapes directories to view consistencies of NAPs in order to prevent duplicate listings or businesses from taking advantage of multiple listings.”
Benjamin Poirrier of Prodima shares “Optimize your Google My Business NAP: Name & Address & Phone. Simply because they are the most important identifier of Google My Business
(aka Google Business Profile) & must be the same / unique everywhere across the internet.”
Cath Gemmell of Search Jam states “Your Google My Business address should exactly match the address on your businesses website, paying particular attention to items like Suite numbers and address formats.
For example, Suite 2/1 High Street should not be entered with Google My Business as Suite 2-1 High Street or Suite 2/1 High St. Although these are only minor formatting differences, the fact that they are not an exact match will make it much less likely that Google can validate you as a legitimate business.”
- Create targeted geo-networks
Mark Leifer of CentsibleClicks shares “One tip that people do not take advantage of when optimizing their GMB profile is creating targeted geo-networks. A geo-network is a network of web 2.0 sites that you optimize for a specific area. For example, let’s say you have a plumbing company in Miami. You can create a site about different businesses in the Miami area. You don’t need a fancy website, use sites like blogger.com and yola.com to create a free blog. One of the pieces of content on the site can be about your plumbing company.
When writing the content you would add your website’s URL, a link to your GMB using an exact match anchor text (plumbers in Miami), and embed a map of your business location.
Now you have a relevant link to your GMB profile from a site that is location and niche specific to your industry. Do this 5-10 times and you can start seeing some nice organic results for your GMB profile.”
- Post promotions
Debby Girvan of Flair Communication advises “Post regular promotions on Google’s posting feature with image graphic and backlink to the business’s promo landing page and/or website at least once or twice a month. We’ve seen significant increases in visibility, SEO and business search ranking on maps for our marketing clients.”
Ewan Duthie of Web Integrations says “Google often ranks GMB listings in the local pack when the websites associated with the listings mention the terms that the searcher entered in the website content, even if the search term is not mentioned anywhere in the Google Business Listing. Therefore, it is recommended to mention your services in your website content in a natural way. You can also create dedicated pages for the services that you are trying to rank for.”
Tiffanie Smith of KNB Communications shares “One key to optimizing Google My Business is adding regular posts to your profile. Using the “create post” feature, businesses can add new offers, upcoming events, and other updates like blogs and newsletters. While these posts will appear lower on the profile than other attributes such as the business description, contact information, hours, and reviews, new posts are a prominent opportunity to show the rest of the industry what your company has been up to. It also helps Google understand which keywords should be closely associated with your business.”
- Optimise schema
James Allen of POLARIS shares “In terms of optimizing for Google My Business, you have to understand where people usually see GMB data surfaced. Primarily this is from Google’s standard web results (where business or local data is imported) or from Google maps. I think it’s a good idea to ensure that Google’s organisation-level knowledge graph panels (which draw both from on-site schema, and from Google My Business) are properly optimised. This means that schema (on your website) and your GMB profile, both work together to generate these business-tier panels in Googles results. So I’d like to say (though it may not be conventional), make sure your site’s organisation-appropriate schemas are in order. Website schema, Logo schema, Organisation / Corporation / Localbusiness schema. If you make sure that these organisation-relevant schemas are in order, your websites coding will be able to supplement your GMB profile info, in order to generate richer (and more attractive) knowledge panels (about your organisation) on Google’s results.”
- Ensure your profile is completely filled out
Dimeon Van Rooyen of Amra & Elma says “You can optimize Google My Business by ensuring that your listing is as complete as possible. This includes: Getting verified, creating original review content, completing any pending requests and cleaning up negative comments.”
In conclusion, your Google Business Profile is a powerful and effective way to educate and connect with prospective customers and also helps you to stand apart from your local competition online.