Having a hard time ranking your Google Business Profile (GBP)? While GBP seems easy enough to manage, it can be very difficult for a local business to rank high in the Google search results. While it's entirely possible to manage and optimize your GBP listing yourself, if done wrong, you're losing out on huge amounts of quality visibility and traffic (and revenue) for your business.
Did you know that 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information and 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours [source: HubSpot].
With such staggering statistics that are only growing each year, the question isn't whether you should optimize your GBP, but how? In this article we'll give you a 30-day easy to implement marketing plan that you can use to rank your Google Business Profile in the coveted 3-pack in the local search results of Google.
Why is Google Business Profile so Important for Local Business?
When it comes to SEO and online marketing, visibility is the currency of success. For local businesses, the Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business) has emerged as a pivotal tool in ensuring they're not just seen, but chosen. Here's why:
- Predominance of Google in Local Searches: The majority of consumers turn to Google when seeking out local businesses. It's the go-to platform for quick, reliable information. With GBP being the primary feature in local search results, it's the first impression many potential customers will have of a business.
- Google's Ecosystem: Google's strategy has been increasingly geared towards retaining users within its ecosystem. This means providing as much information as possible directly in the search results. With GBP, users can access hours of operation, reviews, images, and even promotions without ever leaving Google. For businesses, this means the potential for immediate customer engagement is higher than ever.
- Prime Real Estate in Search Results: GBP listings don't just appear in search results; they're prominently displayed above organic listings. This prime positioning ensures that, even if a user doesn't scroll further, they've already seen what your business has to offer.
- The Power of Reviews: In an era where word-of-mouth has gone digital, Google reviews have become the modern referral. A staggering number of consumers rely on these reviews to gauge the credibility and quality of a local business. A well-maintained GBP, replete with positive reviews and timely responses, can significantly sway consumer decisions in your favor.
GBP isn't just a listing; it's a dynamic digital storefront for your business. In a world where decisions are made in the blink of an eye, and first impressions count more than ever, GBP ensures local businesses are not just seen, but remembered.
Week 1: Setting the Foundation
Before diving into the details of GBP optimization, it's crucial to lay a robust foundation. Think of this week as setting the stage for your business's grand performance online. A well-structured base will not only make your business stand out but will also ensure that subsequent efforts yield maximum results.
- Claim and Verify Your Listing: This is the starting point. Ensure you've claimed your Google Business Profile and verified it. This step is obvious, as it signals to Google that your business is genuine and ready to engage with potential customers.
- Optimize Business Information: Details matter. Fill in every section of your profile fully and completely. Ensure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all online platforms such as your website and 3rd party review and directory sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages. This consistency is vital for search engines and helps in local search ranking.
- Add High-Quality Photos and Videos: Visuals can speak louder than words. Upload clear, high-resolution images of your business, products, and services. But don't stop there. Incorporate videos that showcase your business in action, offer virtual tours, or highlight customer testimonials. Videos can engage users more deeply, making them spend more time on your listing.
- Add Products and/or Services to your listing: In your GBP listing there are sections to add information about the products and services. Be sure to add every product and service that you offer as they give Google important information about your business and can help get your listing triggered when people search for these products and services online.
- Encourage Customer Interaction: One of the best ways to boost your GBP's visibility is through customer engagement. Encourage your satisfied customers to post their own photos of your products or services. When customers actively interact with your listing by uploading images, it sends positive signals to Google about the relevance and popularity of your business. Think about doing something like a photo contest, where every person that posts an image of your store or product to your GBP listing can enter to win a prize.
Why These Actions?
The first week is all about making a strong first impression. By verifying your listing and providing comprehensive information, you're telling Google and potential customers that your business is legitimate, trustworthy, and worth their time. High-quality photos and videos enhance the user experience, offering a visual narrative of what you bring to the table. Lastly, when customers engage with your listing, it not only boosts your credibility but also indicates to Google that users find value in your business, pushing your GBP higher in local search rankings.
Week 2: Engaging with Your Audience
Engagement is the lifeblood of any successful online presence. While the first week was about laying the groundwork, the second week is all about fostering connections. It's not just about being visible; it's about being memorable, trustworthy, and engaging. This week, we'll focus on strategies that not only enhance your GBP's visibility but also build a rapport with your audience.
- Prioritize Reviews: Reviews are the online world's word-of-mouth. A steady influx of reviews not only boosts your GBP's ranking but also acts as a powerful conversion tool. They are also a direct driver of getting your GBP listing ranking higher in the search results. If you do nothing else with your GBP listing, get reviews on a regular basis. Here's how to maximize them:
- Directly Ask: Whether it's after a successful sale, a satisfied service, or during regular interactions, don't hesitate to ask your customers for reviews.
- Engage Past Customers and Vendors: Your business network isn't limited to current customers. Reach out to past customers and even vendors you've had positive interactions with.
- Incentivize Reviews: Consider offering incentives for honest reviews. This could be in the form of gift cards, discounts, or entry into a monthly prize draw. Remember, the goal is genuine feedback, so always emphasize the word “honest” when promoting such initiatives.
- Regular and Varied Posts: Consistency is key, but so is variety. Regularly update your GBP with posts about new products, services, and upcoming promotions. This not only keeps your audience informed but also signals to Google that your business is active and evolving. You can use social posting tools like Content Studio to create and schedule your posts in advance.
- Leverage the Q&A Section: The ‘Questions & Answers' feature is a goldmine for engagement. It's a platform for potential customers to seek clarity, and for you to showcase your expertise and customer service. Pro tip: Create a FAQ by asking and answering common questions about your business. This preemptively addresses concerns and makes it easier for users to understand your offerings.
Why These Actions?
Engaging with your audience is about building trust and establishing authority. Reviews are a testament to your business's credibility and quality. Regular posts keep your audience in the loop, fostering a sense of community and anticipation. The Q&A section, on the other hand, is a direct line of communication, allowing you to address concerns, showcase your expertise, and build trust. Together, these strategies ensure that your GBP isn't just a listing, but a dynamic platform for interaction and growth.
Week 3: Enhancing Local SEO
Local SEO is the linchpin of a successful Google Business Profile. It's about ensuring that when someone in your vicinity searches for a service or product you offer, your business is front and center. The best things you as a local business owner can do is create keyword rich content on a regular basis. This week, we delve into strategies that amplify your local presence, ensuring that your GBP and website work in tandem to dominate local search results.
- Synchronized Content Strategy: Your GBP and website should be two sides of the same coin. Here's how to ensure they complement each other:
- Link Your Website: Ensure your GBP listing is linked to your website. This not only drives traffic but also strengthens the bond between the two and helps Google understand the relationship between the two properties. Google will scan the content on your website to help it make decisions on how and when to show your GBP listing in the local search results.
- Keyword Consistency: The keywords you target on your website should mirror those on your GBP. Google scans website content to determine relevance, so ensure your site has detailed service or product pages that align with your GBP's offerings. Be sure to conduct keyword research using tolls Like Google Keyword Planner and Wordstream to create a list of keywords that your potential customers use to find a business like yours and incorporate them on your website as well as your GBP listing.
- Leverage the ‘Posts' Feature: Regularly share content from your website, especially service or product pages, via the Posts feature on your GBP. This not only drives traffic but also reinforces the connection between your site and GBP in Google's eyes.
- Local Backlink Building: Backlinks are a vote of confidence in your business. For local SEO, it's essential to get these votes from local sources. Here are some avenues to explore:
- Directories: Local business directories are a great starting point. Ensure your business is listed in prominent directories specific to your region.
- Local Blogs and Media: Collaborate with local bloggers or news websites. Guest posts, interviews, or features can provide valuable backlinks.
- Industry Memberships: Being part of industry associations or groups often comes with opportunities for directory listings or features on their websites.
- Community Involvement: Sponsor local events or collaborate with community initiatives. These often provide opportunities for backlinks from event pages or community websites.
- Embed Google Maps: On your business website, embed Google Maps with your business location highlighted. This not only aids user experience but also reinforces your local relevance to Google.
Why These Actions?
Local SEO is about relevance and authority. By synchronizing your content strategy between your GBP and website, you're telling Google that your business is not only relevant to local searches but also authoritative in its domain. Backlinks, especially from local sources, further cement this authority, signaling to Google that your community values and trusts your business. Together, these strategies ensure that your business isn't just visible locally, but is also the go-to choice for those in your vicinity.
Week 4: Monitor, Analyze, and Adjust
- Monitor Insights: Regularly check the ‘Insights' section on your GBP to understand how customers interact with your listing.
- Engage with Negative Feedback: Address any negative feedback or reviews. This shows you value customer feedback and are proactive in resolving issues.
- Adjust Strategy: Based on insights, adjust your posts, keywords, or any other aspect of your GBP to better cater to your audience.
Why These Actions?
Continuous improvement is crucial. Monitoring insights gives you a clear picture of what's working and what's not. Engaging with negative feedback can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one. Adjusting your strategy ensures you're always one step ahead of the competition.
Be Consistent and Improve on a Regular Basis
Ranking your Google Business Profile isn't just about optimization but also about engagement, relevance, and continuous improvement. Put a strong focus on getting reviews on a regular basis and create a keyword focused content strategy for both your website and your Google Business Profile listing. Find out what is working and what is not working, make improvements and do it again. Continually improvement and incremental gains will make you a winner at the Local SEO game. By following this 30-day plan, you're not only making your business more visible on Google but also establishing trust and authority in your domain.
Want to learn how to rank in the 3-Pack for your Google Business Profile listing? Contact 3Bug Media today for a free consultations and find out how to can create an amazing Local SEO stargey for your local business.
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