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Do I really need a Google Business Profile?

As business owners, we are given an avalanche of advice about what’s essential for ongoing success. It can quickly get overwhelming, especially as you’re already stretched thin with the innumerable tasks you have on your plate to keep your company going. 

So, when someone tells you that you must get a Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business), do you believe them? Is it really that necessary? 

Well, the answer is, undoubtedly yes—for most of you, anyway.

But it isn’t enough to just tell you that it’s important and to leave you to it. In this post, we’re going to explore exactly why you should take the time to create an account. What’s more, by understanding the reasons behind having a Google Business Profile and how it serves searchers, you’ll be better able to put your account to use and gain more customers. 

Who doesn’t need a Google Business Profile?

Let’s get this out of the way quickly. There are indeed businesses that have no need for a Google Business Profile. The only real point of having one is to help customers find you in person. Think of it as the bridge between the real world and the virtual one. 

So, if you only operate online and have no physical premises, there is no reason that you need a Google Business Profile. 

Google Business Profile is for you if:

  • You make in-person contact with customers.
  • You have specific hours that you are open. 

Why you shouldn’t put it off

Many of you with physical businesses might understand that having a profile is beneficial but you keep putting it off in place of more important tasks. While not claiming your business won’t exactly harm your business, it can have an effect on your customers. 

The fact is that anybody is able to enter your business’ name and register it in Google. Now, they can’t actually verify it and pretend to be you, but they can influence the information that’s displayed if the business hasn’t been verified by you. If the information is incorrect, this will undoubtedly lead to frustration and lose you customers. 

How a Google Business Profile helps you

Man helping woman

Aside from ignoring potentially negative consequences, the fact remains that you need a Google Business Profile simply because it is a huge asset for your local business. It helps you in two key ways:

1. Helps you get found

This is the main benefit and what Google Business Profiles are known for. Imagine someone is in your neighborhood and they need the product or service your business sells. The first thing they’re going to do is search for what they need on Google. If you don’t show up, then they will go with someone else. 

In fact, an incredible 90% of searchers only look at the first page of search results, and since Local Pack results (more on that later) are some of the first results to show up, you really can get more customers that way. Surveys show that most businesses get 59 actions from their Google listing every month, with actions defined as a website click, call or direction request from users. That’s a lot of potential business you could be turning away.

2. Provides insights

Beyond helping you get found, you need a Google Business Profile as a way to gain data. If you rely on local business, this data can be more valuable to you than what you gain from Google Analytics or Google Search Console. Located in the Insights Pane, you can find out: 

  • The way customers are searching for your business.
  • The specific queries they use to find you (which you can use to strengthen your local SEO). 
  • The trends in how they interact with your listing.

How Google serves its customers

Woman serving a customer

Now you know why exactly having a profile is so important for your business. But it’s also worth taking the time to think about it from the customer’s point of view. You see, Google’s goal is to connect the most relevant businesses with customers. 

And it’s quite smart in the way it identifies what people want at any given moment. For local searches, this can take three main forms. 

1. “Near me” searches

When someone is in the local area and looking for a product or service, they may write “restaurants near me” or something similar. 

2. Geo-targeted searches

The second type of search is geo-targeted. This is when a person writes the actual location, such as “restaurants in Palm Springs.”

3. Local intent

Finally, Google will assume that the location a person is currently in when they search is where they’re chiefly interested in finding results. If someone just searches for “restaurants,” Google will use their current location to present results. 

What the results look like

Woman considering the results

When someone carries out one of these location-specific searches, the results they will see take a number of forms.

1. Local Pack results

Local Pack results is a section just below the ads with different local businesses’ Google Business Profile information. While it used to show seven results in total, now it only shows three. For this reason, it’s known as the “3-Pack.”

Being featured in the “3-Pack” drastically increases your chances of getting local business.

If, for example, you’re in the Chicago area and you search for pizza, you may see the 3-Pack as shown below: 

Local pack results

2. Google Maps results

Searchers can click on the “Maps” option on Google, which will show them where the stores are physically located. There are a number of factors that Google takes into consideration with what they show, such as relevance, distance to the individual, and prominence. However, ensuring your Google Business Profile is fully optimized also helps.

When creating your account and continuing to optimize it, here are some specific points you should keep in mind to have a better chance of showing up:

  • Enter complete data about your business.
  • Verify your location(s).
  • Ensure your hours are accurate and up to date.
  • Manage and respond to reviews.
  • Add quality photos to your account.

Staying with the Chicago pizza result, the Map will look something like this: 

Chicago pizza results

3. Local Finder results

The Local Finder results are an extended version of the 3-Pack and also the Maps. At the bottom of the Local Pack results, there is an option to “view all.” On the left hand side, you will find the Local Finder results. It can also be found when you click on Maps. 

For the sake of balance, we’ll use New York pizza as the example for the Local Finder results:

Local finder results

4. Organic results

Finally, the organic search results will appear below the 3-Pack, and appear just as they would for a normal search that doesn’t require local businesses. This has nothing to do with your Google Business Profile and is influenced by your normal SEO efforts.

By understanding the way people search and the results that it produces, you are then able to effectively target the keywords you need to get into the 3-Pack and boost your local business success. 

The fact of the matter is that, not only do you need a Google Business Profile, but that profile also needs to be properly optimized. Every small tweak or positive review can influence how well you perform in Google results. And these small actions can snowball into long-term growth for your brick-and-mortar business.

Want to find out more about setting up and optimizing your Google Business Profile? Reach out to us now!

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