When people search Google for a local product or service, 1 in every 2 people visit the business they’ve researched that day. 50%. Let that sit for a second. That means if you’re an estate or lettings agent not utilising the tools Google are offering you to promote your business on their service, you could be losing a lot of business to competitors who are on the ball. If you haven’t got a clue what Google Business Profile is, and your head’s currently in a spin, then make yourself a coffee, grab a notebook, and listen up.
You can either watch the recording of Jane’s Facebook Live video, or scroll down for the blog post.
What is Google Business Profile?
Your Google Business profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free profile for your business to help your engagement with local customers who might be looking for your services.
Why should I spend time on my Google Business profile?
From April 2019 – April 2020, Google had a massive 91.89% of global market share when it comes to online searches. Their closest competitor were Bing, with 2.79%. Your customers are contributing to the 70,000 searches Google processes every single second and if you aren’t doing everything you can to prove to Google that your business is worthy of being shared with their users, then you’re needlessly missing out on a jolly big slice of the pie.
Google Business Profile is free advertising with a massive impact, and you should definitely ignore it if you want to gift your competitors more of the local market share.
What does my Google Business profile include and how do I make good?
Make sure your business name is written exactly the same as it is on your website. This might sound obvious, but if your name is Mr House’s Estate Agent on your website, make sure you’re not Mr House’s Estate Agents on Google Business Profile. That little s could make all the difference between Google deciding to display your ad, and deciding to not.
You can select this from a drop down, and making sure it’s as accurate as possible helps Google to know about your business. The more Google knows about your business, the more searches your listing will be shown in – so it’s important to take your time and make sure you’re choosing the right options to describe you.
You can now add 750 characters worth of description to your Google Business profile, and it’s really important that you utilise this to your benefit. What do you do? What differentiates you from other local businesses? Make the most of this space so people looking for an agent in your local area can get to know you.
When adding addresses, especially if there are multiple branches, you need to make sure they are formatted exactly the same as they are on your website. It’s exactly the same as the business name, make it easy for Google to tell that your information is up-to-date and correct when they cross-reference the two to decide where to rank you.
Always important but perhaps even more so during the time of Covid-19 when many businesses are closed or have changed hours, make sure they are correct. Imagine the frustration for someone checking Google to see that you’re open, only to drive to your office and find that it’s closed with everyone still working from home. Make it really easy for people to find the information they’re looking for.
Again, make sure this is in the same format as it is on your website. In fact, now might also be a good time to check that it’s consistent wherever it’s seen across your website. Is the spacing consistent? Do you add the country code? Whatever you do, consistency is KEY.
Link to your website
This goes without saying, but make sure the link is correct. Copy and paste it from your address bar rather than typing it in manually to avoid any silly mistakes. It sounds daft, but we’ve known it to happen.
A picture says a thousand words, so make sure your pictures are up-to-date good quality and there are lots of them! Another stat for the numbers fans:
Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks to their website. (Google)
Straight from the horse’s mouth, that one – quite hard to ignore. Hands up if you don’t want 35% more clicks to your website. No? Didn’t think so. Get choosing some good photos.
Reviews and star rating
Reviews are so important. They contribute to your overall star rating, which is something that Google – and your potential customers – use as a benchmark to measure you against local competitors. It’s important to make sure that whatever other review platforms you use, you also pay attention to asking happy customers directly if they wouldn’t mind leaving you a review. Make it easy for them, email a link. You’ll be surprised at how willing to help people will be when they’re asked nicely!
Another thing to note about reviews is it’s important to reply to them all, both good and bad. Potential customers won’t mind bad reviews so much, if they see you responding to them well – it will give them confidence. If you need guidance on this, we have actually written about this before in the context of Facebook reviews, but the same rules apply!
Update with posts and important information
Regularly updating with posts and keeping information up-to-date helps your Google search ranking, because Google can see that you’re active. Not only that, but if potential customers see that you posted to Google Business Profile a few days ago, it will give them confidence that your other information such as business hours is correct.
If your business is still changing in response to updated Covid regulations, make sure you keep including this in your updates as well.
Suggest an edit
Our final note, is that you need to keep an eye out. Next to your listing is a ‘suggest an edit’ button, and anyone can click on this and edit your listing. If you receive an email about this and ignore it if you don’t agree, then Google will change your listing automatically based on the suggestion.
There is a lot to this, but it really is so worth the effort expended, when you consider the impact it could have on the online visibility of your business. If you’re feeling a bit daunted by the thought of creating or claiming your profile, and keeping up with all of the above then please do get in touch. We can help with the set up, give support as you flesh out the profile, or even get it all done and post regularly on your behalf!