Most small businesses struggle with the one thing that could improve their traffic: Their Google Business Profile.
In the marketing world, we call it local SEO. But in practice, it’s getting your business to rank near the top of Google search results. Roughly half of all people search online about a business or service before making a purchase.
Have you ever google, “________ near me?”
Of course you have! It’s on of the most popular ways to use Google. Getting your business to show up at the top of a search result can be a lucrative. To do that Google offers a free product called a Google Business Profile. By creating a profile and following the best practices laid out in this post you can be sure that you’re ranking at the top for people searching for your services.
Here are what you need to do to maximize your chances of being the first result in your area.
1. Optimize Your Basic Information
There was a time when people would mess with the names of their companies to rank higher on Google. The funniest example was/is a business called “ER near me.”
People are certainly searching for that.
But Google has gotten more sophisticated. And now, it pays to be honest. Be honest and consistent with all your basic business information. This includes name, address, hours of operation, etc… Don’t try and game the system.
Google will punish you.
2. Optimize Your Business Description
Google gives you up to 750 characters to describe your business, but more importantly, to sell your business. Your description should be a masterclass in sales copy. Or, at the very least, an attempt at sales copy.
Most businesses jot in a few forgettable sentences and move on.
Not you! No! You’re going to use this area to sell!
The first part of the description will hook people and get their attention. And then, you’ll use good copy principles and keywords to get people to click on your business.
And you know what you won’t do?
You won’t add links, you won’t talk about discounts, and you won’t provide misleading information.
You are going to persuade people to buy.
3. Respond to Reviews
Reviews and testimonials are amazing for Google and your business. As part of Google Business Profile optimization, you will manage and respond to customer reviews.
But most importantly, you will encourage your customers to leave reviews. The more positive review you have, the higher your business will rank.
You should also respond to all reviews, positive or negative. Google wants to see active brands using their platforms.
Interacting with reviews will improve your ranking on Google.
4. Add Photos
As stated above, Google wants to see active businesses on its platform.
A great way to be active and provide valuable information is to post photos to your Google Business Profile. Not only does it give you a chance to showcase your business, but it will also make your Business Profile look compelling and engaging.
5. Answer Customer Questions Promptly
Google likes to see businesses engage with their platform (How many times do I have to say it?!?!).
So when people ask questions, answer them.
Be polite when answering, and try to use this as an opportunity to make a sale. And if you want to get bonus points, try to seed your answer with keywords relevant to your business.
6. Post regularly: Updates, Events, & Offers
Google lets you add posts to your Google Profile. Do this (You should know why by now.).
Post about updated hours or special events.
And if you’re running any sales, definitely make a new post promoting it. All these things signal to Google that you are using their platform, and they will rank you higher.
You should be posting. At least post once per month, and if you want to get on Google’s good side post once a week!
And as usual, make sure you have strong Calls to Action and are adding keywords to your post.
7. Enable Messaging
It’s one more way for customers to get a hold of you. So you can answer questions and get more sales.
To reiterate, Google likes to see businesses engage with its platform.
So use the platform. Use it to interact with customers by answering questions. Use it to build a strong following by responding to reviews. And use it to inform people about promotions and events.
If you do all these things, the Google Algorithm shall provide.
If you would like help setting up and maintaining you Google Business Profile we can help. Aqueduct Marketing specializes in helping local business drive traffic to their sites through local Google Searches. If you’d like to find you more please use our contact form and we’ll be in touch