=Google Local Search Tips for Small Businesses
Google local search is an easy way to promote your business online. It allows potential customers to find your business in the context of where they live, rather than just searching for businesses online.
If your business doesn’t have a Google Business Profile set up (used to be called Google My Business), it should because it is a FREE listing!
Google Business Profile is an online tool created by Google to help businesses manage how they appear in Google search results and Google Maps.
Essentially it is a snapshot of your business to help you promote your business (and website).
It will also help to you appear in the right hand “knowledge panel” and local three pack.
1. Attract – appear in Google Maps to be found in local search.
2. Connect – allow potential customers to easily connect with you.
3. Engage – share your news, provide updates on your offers and receive reviews to earn trust
AND through the ‘Insights’ feature you can see how businesses are interacting with your business and use these results to optimise your listing.
What is “Google BUSINESS PROFILE”?
To understand what “Google Business Profile” is, we have to first understand what it was.
Back in 2011 Google launched Google Plus (or G+) as a social network to rival competitors. Due to poor usage and potential security issues, it was shut down in 2019.
Then, Google My Business was set-up in 2014 and was a better tool to increase traffic to your website through local search, and therefore increase your number of customers.
In 2022 it was changed again to Google Business Profile and is now available through Google Maps.
The key benefits of Google Business Profile:
Have your business show up in search results when people are looking for you online. As Google is the main search referrer, having a Google Business Profile will ensure your company shows up in the search results. It will also show your customers how to get in touch, or visit your business (if you have a physical address).
Take control of being found. Don’t leave it to Yell.com or similar. It is simple to set-up, simple to use and optimise to work for you and to keep your customers informed.
2. Easily connect
Claim a listing for your business and create a profile to promote your services through images, posts, videos, and events. Give easy access to your contact details and hours of operation and provide a link to your website. Google Maps automatically provides directions to your place of work. You can also provide insight and an overview of your business as well as reviews.
3. Build trust
With a Google Business Profile listing, you are twice as likely to be considered a reputable business by consumers. And having a complete listing also earns more trust.
Customers are 70% more likely to visit a business with a listing, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews. It is important to respond to your Google reviews, even the negative ones! This is so customers and potential customers see you are engaging. Not only this but that you care about the feedback you receive, even if it is negative.
4. ENGAGE and grow
The main dashboard has all the information you need in a snapshot. Make sure you utilise this to see how you’re performing and where you can make improvements.
In the information tab include as much information as possible and at the bare minimum your address, telephone, email and opening hours.
The account will allow you to gain insight into how customers are finding you, which in turn will help you when you’re looking for ways to attract new customers. Furthermore, it will set you apart from a local competitor as you will be listed in the local Google listings.
Really take time to understand your insights page. This is so, SO important as it provides you with so much key information and it’s FREE!
Understand your Google Business Profile listing
Your information will be clearly shown on the right-hand side of page 1 on Google. By including photos, your address, contact information, and opening hours make interacting with your business so much easier.
Another point to mention is that your Google reviews are clearly shown.
Setting up a Google Business Profile listing
Google Business Profile is simple and easy to use. To set-up your free account just follow these 3 easy steps:
- Go to google.com/business and select ‘start now’
- Enter your business name, address, category, phone number, and email
- You will then just need to verify your business, this comes in the form of sent a postcard with a number to input. Be patient as it can take a while to come through at the moment.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer, we can set-up your Google Business Profile account for you. Just give us a call, or drop us an email.
*It’s important to remember that although you may sign up for an account, this isn’t the sole way to optimise your business. A lot of work goes into building your brand on Google and enhancing your presence, this is just one part of it.
✅ PRO tip:
Ensure you input as much detail about your business as possible. Ensuring there is both a contact number and email for your company, along with the address. The address is especially important as nearly a 3rd of all mobile Google searches relate to the location of the business. Without an address how can you show up in local search?
Enhance Google Business Profile
It is one thing setting up an account, and another thing to optimise Google Business Profile to get the most out of it. Ideally you want to appear high on Google, by this we mean on page 1 – no one goes beyond there. This is increasingly difficult if you are a new business, or aren’t sure how to utilise tools such as keyword research and search engine optimisation (SEO).
In order to optimise Google Business, you will need to understand the tools available to you. Below we have listed the four most important tabs on your account and explained what they mean and what they show you:
1. Home page
The home page is your dashboard, which provides you an overview of your performance over the past 28 days, whether it has increased, or decreased. By performance we mean views, visits and activity – we will go into more detail on each of these when we look at insights but the homepage is great for an ‘at a glance’ at how you’re doing on Google overall.
This shows you all of your posts/blogs, how many views you’ve had and if anyone has clicked any internal or external links. You can also go into the backend of your website to see how your blogs are getting on, this is a really simple way to view exactly how your blogs have been viewed.
This is the page where you input all of your important information. We’ve spoken about this earlier but it really is important you get this right and include as much information as possible. You can also add photos to your profile to enhance click-through rates – companies who add photos to their profiles receive 35% more click-throughs to their website than those who don’t post any.
4. SET UP + USE Reviews
Google reviews are powerful. They allow customers to leave reviews about their experience of your business which will help potential customers learn more about you.
Reviews are shown on your home page near the bottom but this page shows all of your reviews, the ones you’ve replied to and the ones you’re yet to reply to. 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses so it’s great if you can respond to as many as possible as it shows you’re interactive.
Respond to negative and positive reviews as this also builds up trust.
5. Add photos and videos
Once you’ve got Google Business Profile set up, you can start adding photos and videos to help customers find and engage with you. Show photos of your services as well as any promotions or offers that are current.
6. Update your name, address and phone number (NAP)
Having an up-to-date address in your Google profile is imperative to getting found locally. It will ensure your business comes up when someone searches. Being consistent with how you present your name, and address and phone number, also known as NAP is also important because it helps Google to trust you. Don’t forget to update your opening hours, and website URL.
Optimise go Google Business Profile with the insights function
Google Insights provides you with powerful data which will help ensure the content you post is relevant and it can help you appear higher on Google.
Insights will show you where your customers are coming from, the common words that led people to your website, what they did once they got there, and how you’re performing.
Google Insights makes it really easy to follow as it explains exactly what direct and discovery searches mean. If someone has found you directly, they have searched for you, ie. Your business name. If someone has discovered you, they have searched for a service, category, or product, for example, “restaurants near me”.
It’s important to know how a customer has found you as discovery searches account for nearly 2/3rds of all impressions for businesses. This is why keywords and SEO are so important for your website, as customers often don’t search via your company name.
A graph will show you whether your business has been found through Google Maps or Google Search. This is why it’s important to have your address appear on Google, especially if map searches are higher than Google searches.
Search queries are what users have typed in Google to find your business. They are a great tool to help optimise Google My Business as this section provides you with keywords you could use on your website. By including the keywords it’ll help customers discover your website and help you appear higher on Google.
These are actual actions that customers have taken once they have found your business on Google. They are important as they help you break down which regions are searching for your company, meaning you can post more targeted content on your social media platforms. They can also help you pinpoint what time your website or phone receives the most traffic, meaning you can schedule your content around your busy periods.
1. Include as much information about your business as possible. Be sure to include photos, an email, contact number, address and opening hours.
2. Add a cover photo – but make sure it represents your business in the best way. The cover photo acts as the front page to your business.
3. Download the app – Google Maps available on both iOS and Android as well as desktop, so be sure to download the app so you can keep an eye on your business performance.
4. Get to know Google Insights – and refer back to this blog when you need to – if you bookmark this article, you’ll have instant access whenever you need it.
Google dominates 72% of all online searches. Bing, the 2nd most-used search engine takes up 12% of searches. This is a big gap between 1st and 2nd place. This is why it is so important to have a Google My Business listing, as the majority of the world uses Google as their search engine. We’ve provided you with all the necessary information you need, from Insights to our Google Business Profile tips.
It’s important to get your SEO right on your website in order to optimise Google Business Profile. You need to optimise your keywords and understand who is visiting your website and when.
We always say a website is never finished and neither are the web tools that go with them. Your business is evolving and therefore the web tools need to evolve too. Once you have these tools it’s important to keep refreshing them, the term a customer searched on last year, won’t be the same next year. Google Business Profile listing provides you with all the information you need, you just need to action it.
If you would like to understand more about Google Business Profile or need some help with setting it up and how to optimise your website performance, please contact us.