If you’re a local business owner or considering opening a local business, creating or claiming your Google Business Profile account, should be one of the first things on your to-do list of building or growing your digital presence.
Whether you already have an account, are familiar with the resource or we're introducing you to a brand new resource, we promise to unveil a few secret benefits and additional ways to use your account to promote your business and it's products and/or services.
What is a Google business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business Account)
Formerly known as your Google My Business (AKA your GMB account), your Google Business Profile is a FREE online tool that functions as a mini-website for your business. (See example on the right from one of my favorite restaurants!)
In fact, many people end up finding a company’s Google Business Profile before their actual website because of the many local search benefits tied into a Google business Profile.
And the best part is that Google continues to evolve this FREE (we just had to emphasize it again) product so who knows what additional features could be added in the future?
And not to worry, it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been in business, it’s never too late to claim your Google Business Profile. We've included helpful links on exactly how to do that at the end of this article.
Google My Business accounts are so 2014 – Why start one now?
Yes, 2014, when Google first created GMB accounts, feels like a lifetime ago, especially when it comes to all the changes in the digital marketing world. You may be reading this, thinking “I’ve been in business for 20+ years and never even thought about creating an account.”
We get it. If you're an established business, you likely have a website that’s optimized for search, potentially paid digital advertising campaigns and a social media presence but a quick glance at these recent statistics prove (at least in our opinion), that a fully optimized Google Business Profile is still important to have.
More than 90% of adults use search engines to find information.
Not surprising but you’ll find Google has more than 90% of that search engine market share (behind Yelp and Facebook)
Google reports that almost half of all searches are looking for local businesses.
More than 50% of actions on Google Business Accounts are website visits and almost 25% of actions are calls to the business.
Google Business Profile benefits
Not convinced yet? Let's talk about some of the biggest benefits that come from creating or claiming your account.
Creating an account is free, quick and easy
Free opportunity to display all the pertinent information about your business on the world's most popular search engine, including:
Your business name, industry and description
List of products and/or services offered
Photos and videos of your products, staff, location, etc.
It gives legitimacy to your business.
Before your profile shows up online, Google reviews and approves all profiles. This means, if you have a business account, the “king/queen” of search has officially verified your business.
Can improve local search engine results
The more optimized your profile is (see links at the bottom of this article), the more relevant Google will view your profile, meaning the more often it will come up in local search results. This could also lead to being included in the coveted Local Pack Listings.
Local Pack Listings (pictured to the right) appear on the first page of search results and include a map and more detailed information about the business. They used to list seven businesses but now it’s only three, making the the Local Pack Listing even more desirable.
You can create posts (with graphics) about new arrivals, services, discounts, sales for anyone viewing your account to see.
Manage how people see your business of Google Maps and Search
Recently, Google added the functionality to manage your business account through Google maps and search allowing you to further streamline your efforts.
People can view and leave reviews of your business.
Scary? Yes. But, reviews are so very important (link to 2 past blogs). In a world filed with advertising everywhere you look, consumers have grown savvy and look to reviews from real-life people who’ve done business with your company.
As the owner of the account, you’ll also be able to see insights related to your account, such as:
How customers are finding your profile online (IE – keywords that are associated with your business)
Audience insights including gender, age and country
Visits to your website from your GMB account
Phone calls to your business (including the phone number, time and duration)
Convinced it's worth claiming or creating your account but don’t know where to get started?
We've included a few resources to help you get started. The most important thing to remember, in order to get the full benefit of your account, is to keep it updated by creating new posts, photos, videos, etc. If you create it and forget it, you'll be missing out on a lot of the key benefits.
How to claim or create your account
How to get the most out of your account
Google Business Profile Help Center
Have additional questions or another topic you'd like us to cover?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to help!