Having a presence on Google Business Profile—previously known as Google My Business—is the cornerstone of local SEO. Even if you have a website for your business, a Google Business Profile still assists in amplifying your business’ online visibility. But like your website, it requires optimisation and regular updates. And our simple checklist will help you ensure your Google Business Profile is in great shape for the next year.
Leveraging the Full Spectrum of Google Business Profile
If you’ve ever supported a local business after seeing their Google Business Profile show up in search results or Google Maps, you understand how beneficial it can be. But even if it only surfaces and highlights local businesses, your own profile would still be competing against dozens, if not hundreds, of similar businesses. Your Google Business Profile comes with a host of features, all at no cost. And the best way to stand out amongst your competitors is to use as many of these as possible.
Enriching Your Profile with Essential Business Details
Getting the most out of your Google Business Profile means adding as much business detail as possible. A business address and contact details are essential, as are business hours and a description of your business and services or products offered. And this is even better if supported by high-quality images of your business. Your goal should always be to have a profile that is as rich and detailed as possible.
Google Business Profile 2024 Checklist
Our Google Business Profile checklist will not only help you keep your profile fresh and up to date for the new year. It will also guide you on how to use all the available features and optimise your business details for better visibility.
Optimising Business Information
The core information on your Google Business Profile serves as the primary introduction of your business to potential customers. A well-optimised profile not only makes your business stand out, but it also makes it easily discoverable.
- NAP Consistency: It’s critical to maintain consistency in your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) across all platforms and listings. Now is the ideal time to check this to ensure you’re not hindering your local SEO or misdirecting customers.
- Business Category: Equally important is having your business listed under the correct primary and secondary categories. Customers often won’t search for your business by name but rather by business type, services offered, or products sold. With more than 4,000 categories to choose from, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that perfectly matches your business. However, use as few categories as possible, while focusing on the core business. You can also use the GMBspy Chrome extension to check the categories your competitors have used.
- Compelling Description: Assess whether the description in your Google Business Profile is as good as it can be. You want your business description to be concise, informative, and accurate. The description is limited to 750 characters, but only the first 250 characters are immediately visible in your profile. Ensure the most important information is included in the first 250 characters.
- Accessibility Information: Providing detailed accessibility information, such as wheelchair accessibility, parking facilities, or other relevant features, can be crucial for potential customers in deciding to visit your business. Check whether your profile includes this and whether it is still accurate.
Utilising Advanced Features
Your Google Business Profile is more than a simple online listing. It includes a variety of advanced features designed to create a more informative experience for customers and to encourage engagement. Check whether you are using these as effectively as possible.
- Regular Updates and Offers: Include your Google Business Profile in your social media strategy. You can post updates, promoting the latest products, services, events, and promotions to potential customers. There is a 1,500-character limit for each post, but you can—and should—include a high-quality image or video. You can also include a CTA with each post, with the options being “Book”, “Order”, “Shop”, “Learn more”, “Sign up”, and “Call”. You can also set UTM parameters, making it easier to track each CTAs performance.
- Effective Q&A Use: The Q&A feature is an excellent tool to address common inquiries and concerns proactively. As a business owner you can ask and answer questions on your own profile, but so can anyone with a Google account. Add commonly asked questions with answers but take time to also answer questions posted by your customers.
- Managing Reviews: Check that you have been responding to reviews—both positive and negative—on a regular basis. Doing this shows your commitment to customer feedback, building trust. Reviews on your Google Business Profile can also help you identify and correct issues before they become serious problems.
- Booking Management: If your business allows customers to make reservations or appointments, check that you have enabled and set up the booking feature. This feature does require you to work with a supported provider to manage your bookings. But once set up, bookings for supported businesses can be made directly from your Google Business Profile.
Enhancing Visual Appeal
Visual appeal on digital platforms is not merely about making your profile look great. The use of high-quality images and videos is a highly effective way to communicate with and engage your audience.
- Quality Photos: Check that your posts and your profile include relevant, high-quality photos that give customers a visual insight into your business. Update the photos of your business periodically, particularly the exterior and neighbouring businesses, as this makes it easier for new customers to find your business.
- Video Content: If you are already using video on your profile, assess the overall performance to see whether your strategy is working or needs some tweaking. If you’ve avoided video for whatever reason, it might be time to reconsider, especially if your competitors are using video in their posts.
Maximising Local SEO
Local SEO is about being visible to the right people at the right time. Tailoring your Google Business Profile for local searches ensures that your business is a top contender in the local digital market, making it easier for nearby customers to find and engage with your business.
- Relevant Keywords: The keywords potential customers might use when searching for a business like yours will change over time. Audit the keywords used throughout your Google Business Profile, checking if they are all still relevant and popular.
- “Near Me” Optimisation: Optimising for “near me” searches is vital in capturing local customers. This doesn’t mean adding “near me” to certain keywords, but it does mean using your location (city, suburb, or region) with relevant keywords. If you’ve updated any of your keywords, you might need to adjust your “near me” optimisation.
- Local Schema Markup: Schema markup makes it easier for search engines to understand your content better and how they might display some results. While it can be quite technical to implement and applies to your website and not your Google Business Profile, it can improve your local SEO. If you work with an agency or SEO specialist, ask them about the use of schema markup on your business site.
Monitoring & Analysis
You monitor and analyse the performance of your business and your business website. But what about your Google Business Profile? There are a number of ways for you to do this, allowing you to make better informed decisions for continuous improvement of your profile.
- Google My Business Insights: Unlike Google Analytics, there’s no need to set up anything to start pulling insights from your Google Business Profile. But you should ensure insights are being collected monthly.
- Performance Analysis: Naturally, collecting insights is meaningless without you analysing them. You should be checking which aspects of your profile are working and which need improvement. Don’t focus exclusively on the number of profile interactions. Look at what actions visitors took; did they call or message your business, did they choose to visit your website, or did they check on directions to your location?
- Strategic Adjustment: Assess how many adjustments were made to your Google Business Profile over the last year, and how this influenced performance and whether they also fed into your overall strategy.
- Competitor Benchmarking: While you don’t have access to your competitors’ insights, you can still use the GMBspy extension to regularly check the categories they’ve associated their business with. And you can periodically check their profile and posts as a way of benchmarking your own use of your profile and advanced features.
As with the rest of your digital strategy, your Google Business Profile should not be something you set up once and then forget about. You need to ensure your business information is always correct and that you are engaging with customers through reviews and questions. You should also be monitoring how your profile performs and making adjustments to it accordingly. And if you’re already short on time managing other aspects of your business, speak to us. At Conversion Digital, we can expertly optimise your Google Business Profile and manage it, helping your business achieve sustained local SEO success.