What is a Google Business Profile?
The last time I checked, Google had upwards of 90% market share of people searching for things online. I’m not suggesting that you should believe Google is the only search engine people use, but prioritizing is critical for a business. If getting more people or “traffic” to your website is important to you, I’d suggest focusing on Google first. If you have more time later, sure, go ahead and spend some effort on Bing or Yahoo.
Now that we understand Google provides the highest potential return for more traffic to your website, we should focus on how best to do that. Google offers a few ways to let businesses be discovered. Of course, Google displays websites for businesses, which your business should probably already have. However, Google also tailors their search for businesses in a different way called Google Businesses Profiles. Whenever you search for food near you, you will typically see a map with various listings of restaurants around your area. Those results are Google Businesses Profiles. Yep, your business can actually be found on Google without a website.
How does your business actually get onto the list of businesses? It’s quite simple to be in that list. For starters, go search for Google Business. One of the first results will be from Google saying “Google My Business – Manage Your Business Profile”. From there, follow the prompts and enter all the information they want to know about your business. After you complete all of their steps, they will inform you they are sending a verification code to your business. It’s a clever move designed to confirm you are actually a business at the address you provide in order to thwart any malicious users trying to fake a business. Anyway, in about 5 business days, you will receive the code. Once you verify your Google Business profile by entering the code, you can be found on Google.
This all sounds great, and getting a business profile established is quite simple. However, being towards the top of Google’s list demands quite a bit more effort and knowledge. While none of us, with the exception of the folks at google, know what algorithm orders how businesses are ranked, experienced website consultants know several factors that contribute to that ranking. While I could speculate on quite a few I believe to contribute to the ranking, I’m quite certain I can offer at least two that are almost guaranteed to rank your business higher in that list.
The first would be location, of course! If Google displays a map, it obviously cares about where your business is. “Restaurants near me” isn’t going to show some sushi restaurant in New York City in your Google Business results. This shows why it is so important to not only have a profile, but to also be sure you have accurate information that is verified on your profile. Just because you can already see your business has a Google Business Profile doesn’t mean it has the right information. You should always claim your business even if Google appears to magically know your business already exists.
Second and finally, rating matters. If you have a business that gets one out of five stars, Google doesn’t think very highly of your business because apparently your customers don’t either. Customer satisfaction contributes considerably to how well your business ranks. Treat your customers well and encourage them to leave good reviews on your business profile. Talk with your local website developer or designer to learn about how to get more positive reviews and rank higher in the Google Business Profile listings.