Are you trying to stand out online? Your business may be one of many out there in your area, so you need to find new and interesting ways of grabbing your audience. The answer is actually easier than you think. A Google Business Profile (GBP) listing can be the way forward, allowing you to connect with local customers. Here’s everything you need to know.
WHAT IS GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE?
What is Google Business Profile? It’s essentially Google’s directory, something akin to sites like Yelp. This allows customer to search for businesses like yours near them, and get all the info they need without even having to leave Google.
When you have a GBP listing, your business listing will show up in a ‘card’ at the top of the searcher’s search results. If you’ve provided all the correct information, you’ll see more leads come in as they call or visit you.
HOW TO SET UP GBP LISTING
To start benefiting from all these new leads, you need to first set up a GBP account. Firstly, Google your business. Does a listing already show up for it? If so, you can click the ‘own this business’ link, and claim it as yours. Once you’ve done this, you can start filling in the information Google asks for. This will be things like:
- Phone number
- Website address
- Working hours
It’s vital that you set up your Google Business Profile listing correctly. Your listing will work better if all the information is relevant and correct, so take care during this step.
You’ll be asked to create a title for the listing. It’s best to use the business name, plus the area you operate in. For example, if you owned a florists, a good title would be ‘Harper’s Florists in London’. Don’t keyword stuff the title, or add extra areas in order to expand your reach. This can get you penalised by Google.
Finally, ensure that your listing is verified. All you have to do is click the message that says ‘get your page verified’ near the top the screen, near the name of your business. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a ‘verified’ shield by your business name.
MANAGING NAP (NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER)
The most important information to get correct on your listing is your name, address, and phone number. You’ll commonly see this written as ‘NAP’ online, or ‘NAPW’ to include your website address too.
Firstly, ensure that the information is listed on your website, and that it matches the info in your GBP listing. It’s best to have a contact page with the information listed, to help strengthen your citations online. You’ll also want to look into getting backlinks on other sites. This helps Google see that your business is popular and worth promoting.
You can build up backlinks in several ways, such as guest blogging on other people’s websites, or getting onto news sites for taking part in community events. Choose reputable sites, as they will be the best for helping to build up your reputation.
Along with your GBP listing, you’ll have reviews for your business. These can be left by anyone who has used your business. As the business owner, you want to get as many good reviews as possible. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your business will rank. How do you get these reviews?
When you work with a customer, you can ask them to review you. When you do, it’s important that you don’t offer any kind of recompense for doing so. That could be money off an order, a free gift or similar. This is because if you do, that review is going to be biased, and Google will penalise you for it.
Once you have reviews, make sure you’re interacting with them. When you get a good review, it’s usually enough to comment something like ‘thank you very much!’ underneath it. If the review is less than ideal, you’ll soon see that you can’t delete it. After all, that wouldn’t give an accurate view of your business if you could.
What do you do in this case? If you do get a negative review, the best thing to do is interact and ask how you can put the issue right. This works in your favour as other customers will see you trying to put things right when they go wrong, helping give a positive image of your business as a whole.
ADD PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Another aspect of GBP is photos and videos. These come up with your listing, and are again very important. They help customers get an idea of what you do, and they can see what you’re offering. For example, as a restaurant you can post pictures of your most popular dishes.
When adding pictures, add some in every category you can. There’s several, including Exterior, Interior, Products, Menu, Team and so on. Remember, you’re adding photos to Google’s servers rather than your own, so you don’t have to worry about overloading them. Add as many as you can so you can get ahead.
Some businesses will be tempted to add photos that aren’t actually from their business, to fill their listing out. Don’t do this, as that can lead to copyright issues and will make you look less trustworthy overall. Also, ensure that you get approval if you’re posting pictures of people. It seems like common sense to use pictures that clients take and tag you in on social media, but ask permission first if you want to use them.
This is a quick summary of Google Business Profile, but it will help you get started. Set yours up now and reap the benefits.