Google Business Profile (Podcast)
Hello everyone, and welcome back, listeners. Thank you, guys, for joining us again for another one of our podcasts.
Denise and I are going to be talking about your Google Business Profile, or what used to be called your Google My Business, and we're going to kind of get into some of these—
Or, before that, Google plus... they have had almost as many name changes as P. Diddy.
It is an important aspect of a business, definitely an important aspect of marketing, so today we're going to get into some details about what can be done about it. What's the best way to go about optimizing it and making sure that it's functioning properly?
So where do we start, Denise?
So, your Google Business Profile is one of the fundamental SEO practices you can do, one of the first things you can do, without even having to touch your website, which is great.
So, if you don't have access to your website, you don't know who controls it, this is something that you have complete control over. So, what is it? What's your Google Business Profile?
When you Google your business name or any business name, there's usually something that pops up on the... right-hand side?
Yeah, on the right.
Right, and it'll show your location. It'll show the map. It'll show the reviews. It'll show all of your information.
It's also something that appears in the maps when you look at different businesses in Google Maps. You'll see all the listings there. That is your Google Business Profile.
Yeah, and it's interesting, though, that it's not even just for physical businesses.
Like, if you don't have an actual storefront, you can still have a Google Business Profile. You can still have, you know, a map. It may not show your specific location, but it'll show your service area and where you service. So, it really is for pretty much any business out there, regardless of size, regardless of what industry you're in. Your Google My Business is pretty necessary.
Yeah, so how do we get ahold of it? How do you claim that listing?
So, if you Google your name and your Google Business Profile comes up, you'll see a little question mark that'll say "claim listing" there, and it'll take you through a process of verifying your business. Typically, what Google will do is send you a physical postcard in the mail, to make sure that you are the owner of that business, that you will receive mail there, with a code which will be the final step of your verification.
We've had some hiccups with this. Of course, there are some other ways around it, so that if it's not possible for you, if you can't get mail there, if for some reason your postcard didn't come, it's like you can work with Google support. You know, there are workarounds of taking pictures of the building, of your signage or different things. But typically, that's how you would claim your listing. So, there is a little sign-up process and then it usually ends with a postcard in the mail.
And then once you have your listing you are free to go, you're good to put in all your information. So, we're going to talk about some of those things that you could add to your profile to make sure that it is fully optimized.
That's starting with your info.
So, starting out, exactly like you said, it's one of those first kinds of touches for a business.
It's your first opportunity to display your branding...almost in a very simple way to do it. But, the number one thing that you want to make sure is accurate there is your name, your address and your phone number.
Now, there are some SEO implications to this which we kind of briefly discussed in a previous podcast and we will do in a future one, but just ensuring that your name, your address and your phone number are consistent across every listing on your website. Pretty much anywhere online. It's actually going to help your SEO because Google is gonna recognize you as "That's the business with the correct name, the correct phone number, the correct address".
So those are the first three. You really want to make sure that those are there and those are accurate.
And then of course, you're going to want to put things like your logo as your profile picture and just make sure your profile is complete.
So, you're gonna start adding things like your store hours or even your business hours if you don't have a storefront. The category of your business. This is the big one because this is what's going to help you show up in the right category searches so if someone is searching for plumbers in your area, you want to make sure that plumbing is one of your categories.
Your service area—so, if you don't have that physical address, you can put in all the areas that you service. These are great for our home-based businesses.
What else have we got? We got images you can put up there.
Yes, images are huge because you can actually upload any image that you'd like. So even if its images that you've used on social media previously, images of jobs you've done at your location of your office, any of those can go up. But similarly, what will also be displayed sometimes is images from some reviews.
So, if people do actually review with an image on it, you can see that image directly in the images section of your Google Business Profile. But we do always recommend—you actually have control over which images are shown and as you upload new ones, those kind of end up at the top of the list.
We do always recommend that you have high quality images. Obviously showing something really beautiful that looks good about your business and something that is your business and that is accurate to what you do. Because again, if somebody does Google your business or even your industry and your Google Business Profile shows up, you want to make sure that you're displaying your business in the best way possible from the second they start to see it.
Yeah, and your images are one of the first things you see when you do look at your business profile, so that's key there.
And then Google will also change features and change what information can be available based on what's going on. So, for example, in COVID times, you had questions on, you know, what kind of big protocols did you have? Was there curbside pickup?
Really relevant. So, it's not just a set it and forget it. It is something you're going to want to constantly, continuously go back in and make sure that you have all the sections filled out because that is the key component. You want to have as much information as you can out there.
You can even set your holiday hours. Even though your standard hours are nine to five, every holiday coming up there'll be an option to set your holiday hours so, okay, Canada Day, we're actually closed, and then it'll show on your listing as "closed", but in brackets that it's a holiday so people know that you're not always closed on Monday—but only 'cause it's a holiday. So keep going back to it, keep making sure you're filling out all your sections.
They've also added some really cool features in there. I think they have an appointment booking system right in there for some of your businesses, so if you can take online appointments, there's that option in there.
We have ordering I think I even saw or...?
Yes, some restaurants now can actually set up almost like a shop directly within their Google Business Profile, and you can order online or click and be taken directly to their website where you can order online right from the Google Business Profile.
So that's something that you offer for your business.
It's just another way to get people driven right to your website or drive people who are ready to actually make a purchase from you. So, if you have that opportunity to set it up, do it and use it. It's going to be a huge help.
And these are numbers that we really want to pay attention to as well, because Google wants to deliver the information to its searchers as fast as possible, right?
So, if I'm looking for a business, I don't want to necessarily have to go to their website to find their phone number or go to their website to find their address or any of this information.
If Google can display all the information you have right through their Google Business Profile, that's their end goal. That's what they're looking to do. And so, when you're looking at your marketing success, or you know you're looking at your results from your marketing, some numbers that you definitely want to pay attention to are your Business Profile numbers, because it can be huge if you see that there's been hundreds of people requesting directions to your place that month right?
Maybe that traffic didn't go to your website, but they got directions to go to your store, which is, in my mind a pretty good lead or a pretty good indication that this is definitely worth something putting effort into.
I'm glad you brought that up, 'cause something that we've mentioned in a lot of our previous podcasts and discussions is about how the majority of people today are Google searching on their mobile phones.
Well on a mobile phone, you do have a Google My Business profile. It actually shows up right at the very top of the search result and right on there, there's a button to click to get to someone's website. There's a button to click to call them so it'll open up the phone app on your phone and directly start calling the business. Or, it'll give you that button that you can click for directions, and you click that and it opens up your Google Maps and it'll direct you straight there. So, having that fully set up, making sure that everything is accurate, just gives people more availability and accessibility to you and your information.
At the end of the day, it's one fewer click they need to take to find the information on your website, 'cause they can find it directly on Google.
Ah, we can dive into Google Insights all day long. Because it's Google, they know everything so you can look at the analytics of your Google Business Profile. There is a Google Insight section and you can start to see how many times your profile came up from branded searches, so someone searching you directly by name. How many people did your profile show up for because there was a category search? What were those categories searches? How many calls have you had?
There are so many insights just from your Google Business Profile. Not even going to touch on your website, so I highly recommend everyone pay attention to those numbers too and dive through your account that way.
Yeah, I agree.
So, one of the biggest parts of your Google Business Profile that we've just briefly touched on is reviews.
So why are reviews so important? What should businesses be doing to manage their reviews?
Who buys from a business without reading a review anymore? Honestly.
Your reviews will be front and centre. So, if you are looking for doctors in your city and or medical offices or whatever, and it shows up and then all of a sudden you'll see with each of their listing their review rating with it, and how many reviews they have, right?
It's so easily displayed that you want to, one, encourage that you have a lot of reviews and that you have a high star rating because, yes the highest star rating is important, but I think people are also now really paying attention to the number of reviews.
If you have six five-star ratings, to me it looks really kind of shady, whereas if you have 404.7, you're gonna go with the one that has more accurate or just more people rating you.
Absolutely, and if I want to work with this or I want to purchase a product and I'm checking the review or I'm checking their Google My Business to see if, you know, this HVAC company is good to work with, if I'm seeing 400 with like 4 plus star reviews, then I'm recognizing there are like at least 400 other people who agree that this is a good business.
If I'm seeing you know 10 or so and they're all five-star, I'm immediately gonna be like, "It is a little bit fishy. I don't know how I feel about this".
And what if you only have 10 and your rating's a three? Then we really have a lot of work to do.
Because I mean, let's be honest, you're not going to please everybody. No one is going to have a perfect star rating when you have a high quantity of reviews.
So really, really important that when you do get some negative reviews or some reviews that are anything less than a 5 or a 4, you'd want to respond to those right? You want to individually and personally respond to those. And not just like an auto generated message that is super generic.
We encourage you to not get into what we call review wars, where you start to have this large thread of back and forth. We don't encourage that at all, but just address that you know whatever happened or address a situation and then encourage the person to reach out to the store directly or to reach out, giving different times that they can call, or you know, like kind of feel where they're coming from, understand them. And, at least it's those other people who come to that review later and see that you've taken the time, that you actually care.
You care enough. Exactly.
Chances are they're not going to call you back. You know, you can say, "We're so sorry this happened", blah blah blah, "Can you give us a call back? Our management will be happy to speak with you".
They're probably not going to call back, but to anybody reviewing your profile, it shows, exactly, that you took the time, that you actually care about what your reputation is.
Yeah, absolutely, and don't get us wrong. You know, we're saying it's important to respond to those reviews, particularly if they're relatively more negative ones, but that doesn't mean that you don't respond to the positive ones as well.
If you do get really good reviews or you've had great experiences with some of your customers, they've had good experiences with you, please do respond to them. It just adds to it. Again, when people are looking at reviews, they are looking for responses as well.
And as somebody who might be looking forward to working with your business, seeing somebody have a really good experience with you and then see you responding again—it just shows that extra level of care, that the person really mattered as a client or a customer to you and that you're willing to continue to engage with them.
Especially when you put a personal touch on there.
There's nothing better than when you see someone leave a really great review. You see on a hair salon that they replied back and said, "We're so happy you loved it. That color looked great on you Caleb".
Put in that personal touch and it can go such a long way, right? Because now all of a sudden you feel like, "Wow, these people actually remember who their clients are. They remember. They care".
And yeah, it speaks really well for you.
Yeah, I agree.
We also have the feature of a Q&A.
So, people can actually ask questions to you or to the public. I think anybody can actually respond to them.
And so, we highly recommend that you don't leave your questions unanswered.
And better yet, if you have questions you want people to know, ask yourself those questions.
You can put your own questions and answers in there. And it's like creating this little micro FAQ on your Google Business Profile.
It helps people find those kind of—again, an FAQ, those frequently asked questions—if you know the questions that your customers and your clients are asking, put that question right up there and give them the answer upfront. Again, kind of reducing the amount of work they have to do.
Now, I don't have to search: "Do you actually do plumbing as well as HVAC?" I know that you do both because that's one of the questions that you've answered. You know, you can service hot water tanks and a furnace or something along the lines of that, but ensuring that again making that information easy for your potential customers find. This is going to help close that sales gap a little bit, yeah?
I guess we should give a little caveat here that we're really just scratching the surface of all the things that can and should be done to a Google Business Profile.
There're full optimizations that can be done, and again, as Denise mentioned, we could just go on for hours about all the things that should be done. But these are just some pretty good starting points. They're some key points that will help you get a good foothold on your Google Business Profile, understand it a little bit better and then, obviously, use it to help your business, but there is a lot more that can be done, and we may go into more detail about it.
Or, as we always say, you know, reach out to us. We'd be more than happy to talk to you about it, to discuss what other things can be done and how to actually use your Google My Business or your Google Business Profile to the best of its ability.
Yeah, and I want to add that as with any sort of content you're putting out there, especially in this case, there is an opportunity to add those keywords that you would want to highlight.
So, there is a product in the service section where you can start to list the services that you offer. And this is a really good opportunity to put some of those keywords in there. We'll never encourage keyword stuffing or just filling everything with, you know, "furnace repair", in there, but making sure you fully list out all of your products and services. It will help when people are searching for those, if you have those listed within your profile.
And the other thing I want to kind of touch on, 'cause this is something we get asked all the time, is how do you have your profile show up higher, right?
If you have so much competition, if you're looking at restaurants and there's tons of restaurants in your area, what determines the order or the rank of where these profiles show?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer. There are a lot of different factors in there and so we can always just give the best tips to help your profile show up. But something Google has really focused on in their last, I think it was the end of 2021, they had an update come out and it's put a huge emphasis on proximity.
So cut yourself some slack too when you know you're doing everything right, because a lot of search results are going to be shown depending on where the user is. And so, if you're looking for "restaurants near me", typically they're going to also show results based on the proximity to you.
But what can you do to help? Like what can we do to help, you know, make sure anything works in your favor?
Reviews? Who loves reviews?
Yep, that's a big one. Yep.
So, as many reviews as you can get. And what are some ways that we can help people get more reviews or like what are some easy things that you can do to help encourage get more reviews?
Yes, I mean we have a number of strategies with our own clients that we do. They are some of the most basic things like just as soon as you close a sale or you've completed a service, the easiest thing is ask for review. You just have to say, "Hey, you know, I'm glad that you had a great time and that you appreciated the service we did. Do you mind just leaving us a review on Google?"
If you want to go a step further and make it even easier for that person to leave a review, you can do things like— your Google Business Profile has a link within its profile itself that you can go to and directly leave a review for them.
So, what we'll do is we'll make QR codes out of those links, give them to our clients they can add into invoices, so somebody can just scan it with their phone and leave a review immediately.
We'll give them shortened links or really any way to make it easier for that user to just jump on top of a quick review and send it off.
The easier you can make it for them, the better. Of course, the more detail they put into the review, the better. That's kind of what we're going for. But getting that review and you know, getting over that hump of being worried about asking for review or that kind of awkward sensation of "Hey, do you mind leaving us a review? I hope you enjoy the service", but once you kind of get over that it's people who are actually willing to help out and to write a review, particularly when they had that really good service.
Yeah, and you know, if you have a point of sale, or if you are retail store, leave a QR code sign right at the cash, right? If they got really good experience in your store and the QR codes right there when you're checking them out, you can just ask them, "Hey while I check you out, do you mind leaving us a Google review? If you enjoyed your time today".
If you're a service-based business, if you're in the HVAC business, we know some big companies that will provide incentives to their text if people leave a review with the text name in there.
You cannot— Google will not allow you to pay for reviews so you cannot, you know leave us a review and we'll send you something. That's technically not allowed, but you could always incentivize your staff to say "Hey, if you get a Google review with your name in it, we'll give you a chance to enter a draw, or X, whatever it may be, buy Tim Horton's gift card or whatever, and then that encourages them to make sure they're asking for those reviews and to also make sure that they're providing the best service, right?
So that's what you care about. You want to make sure everyone is serviced really well and that more people know about it, yeah?
The other point that we haven't really talked about, and this can also really help increase your Google Business Profile ranking, is posts.
So I'm glad that you brought this up because a lot of people don't consider it this way—but I've been considering it this way for a couple of years—is I like to think of a Google Business Profile, especially that post section, almost like a social media because you can add in text like just messages, and you can add in photos. You can add in links and it's a really good way to display your information just right there.
And in reality, the reach that you're going to get from posting on your Google My Business is actually significantly higher, in general, than you're going to get on social media. And the reason for that is people kind of just happen upon your Google My Business. It might be by searching something and it shows up on the side.
They may not even be looking for you, but as they are scrolling past it, if they see a nice, beautiful image with some text over it or something that really catches their eye in that post section, they're gonna be like, "Oh", and that's when they're looking at you. They're looking at your branding all over again.
And similar to Denise's earlier point, using keywords within those posts as well do help also. Google is seeing what you're posting and posting regularly consistently beautiful images, enticing content and calls to action to encourage people to take an action beyond just looking at the posts. All those foundational basics of social media really apply here, which is why I like to kind of think of them as pretty similar.
No, I loved all of that, like Google loves activity.
So, if you are constantly updating and posting new things—and you don't have to do this every day — but you know, if you're frequently adding to your profile and posting these kinds of posts, yes, the outreach you'll get is great, but then also Google likes to show a profile that's active.
In the same way, if you're getting reviews with tons of ratings, right, that's showing activity on your profile. That's the stuff that Google loves.
So, whether you have proximity in your favour or not, you can also do these things to also help rank that higher.
So, that's a good start.
I think so, I agree.
So, if you do not already have your Google Business Profile claimed, step one is just please go do that.
If you have any questions or need help, reach out to us or, you know, leave comments on this podcast. We're happy to provide more guidance or provide some sort of screen shares, but it's pretty straightforward. Google your name, claim my listing and follow the steps from there and then just go section by section and make sure you have everything built out to the best you can.
Well, thank you all again for listening.
We appreciate you taking the time to hang out with us, and we look forward to hanging out with you guys again soon.
We'll talk soon.