There are countless places to promote your business online, from your own website to social media channels. But one of the most underrated platforms to generate brand awareness, interest and sales are this: your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business).
This online listing gives you total control over how your company shows up on all Google platforms (from the search results to Google Maps). It is also one of the most powerful ways to influence your local SEO and local search ranking, giving you a huge opportunity to connect with high-value customers in your local area.
Plus, it’s an underutilized resource and channel you can capitalize on. Take this stat: just 17.5% of businesses create Google My Business (GMB) posts every week, with a further 40% of businesses never posting to their GMB profile at all (according to Moz).
Are you wondering whether posting to your Google Business Profile will actually impact your SEO? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about GMB and your search engine ranking.
What is a Google My Business listing?
Before we go any further, let’s give you a quick overview of what is a Google Business Profile. In a nutshell, a GMB profile is a free listing that your business can create on the world’s most popular search engine, Google.
This profile is owned and created by you, and can be customized with all your business details (including your own imagery, opening hours, website links, and contact details).
The biggest benefit of a GMB profile is that it gives your maximum visibility across all of Google’s platforms (from the search results to Google Maps). Plus by leveraging extra features (like Google Business Profile posts), you can increase the chance of your business ranking high in the local search results.
Understanding GMB ranking factors
As we’ve mentioned, creating a Google My Business listing is a powerful first step to increasing your visibility in the Google search results. However, it’s also important to understand what factors influence your position in the search results, too.
According to Google, they base their search result rankings based on three core factors:
Google uses a combination of these factors to deliver search results that best match the queries entered by searchers. That means that even if a business is further away from a searcher’s location, it might appear higher in the search results if it’s more likely to have relevant products and services.
Let’s walk you through what each of these factors means in more detail:
- Relevance is all about how well a Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. The more detailed information you provide when setting up your profile, the easier it will be for Google to assess the relevance of your business to local search queries.
- Distance is about measuring the travel time between your business and the location someone is searching.
- Prominence is about how popular and well-known a business is. That could be a place having prominent status offline (such as a famous museum or landmark hotel). But, it can also be based on online information, such as your Google review count (meaning the more positive reviews your business receives, the more likely your business is to rank higher in local search results).
As a business owner, learning how Google works and what factors shape your Google search ranking can help you optimize your local businesses’ listing and GMB posts.
What are the benefits of Google My Business?
There are stacks of reasons why small businesses should be tapping into the power of a Google Business Profile. Let’s cover four of the main reasons why a GMB listing is a must for all businesses’ building an online presence.
Gather and share customer reviews at scale
With a GMB listing, you can easily collect reviews from your happy customers and use them to win the trust of potential customers. Google gives you an easily shareable link to collect customer reviews, with all of these reviews displayed on your Google Business Profile.
We know that a high volume of positive reviews can help improve your position on the Google results page, which is why this is a key benefit to creating and optimizing your GMB listing.
Boosts your local SEO ranking
By claiming and updating your business information through a GMB listing, you can make a positive impact on your local SEO.
The more in-depth and up-to-date your business information is, the easiest it is for Google to categorize and rank your business properly. So, but verifying your locations, keeping your hours accurate and adding products and photos, Google can pull its weight and help you score the best local SEO ranking possible.
A free, easy way to boost in-store visits
With a GMB listing, you can make it simple for local customers to discover and visit your physical shopfronts. With accurate business hours and easy directions to your business location through Google Maps, a customer can go from brand discovery to conversion in just one tap.
The best bit? A GMB listing is free to set up and manage, making it a cost-effective channel to take advantage of as part of your broader SEO strategy.
Streamline the path to purchase
From phone numbers to website links, your Google My Business listing is packed with helpful contact details that can make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you.
This can ensure they get their questions answered quickly via a quick email or phone call to help move them through the buyer journey faster. Plus, by making it easier to visit your physical shopfront, your Google My Business Page allows customers to scope out your products in person prior to purchasing with ease.
How to optimize your Google Business Profile
By now, you know that a GMB profile is a helpful free tool to help local customers discover and shop from your brand. But, what can you do to ensure you’re attracting high-quality leads in your local service area?
Here are a handful of quick and easy tips you can use to level up your Google listing:
- Claim your business name with a verified Business profile on Google.
- Use an accurate category that makes it easy for Google and potential customers to understand what you do best.
- Complete your profile in full and give Google as much detail as possible to rank your business accurately.
- Keep your contact details up to date to ensure customers are never sent to an old phone number or email address.
- Review your opening times and business hours regularly to ensure they reflect special events and holidays.
- Update your photos to give customers a taste of your in-store experience even before they visit your store.
- Respond to customer reviews (even if they’re negative reviews) to show you’ve got an active, engaged online presence.
Should you post on your Google Business Profile?
Along with acting as a digital listing for your business, your Google Business Profile is also a place where you can publish posts and the latest news about your business.
Posts on your Business Profile as an effective way to communicate with your current and potential customers. From new product announcements to your latest offers and even promoting your upcoming events, these posts offer a stack of benefits, including:
- Acting as a direct way to connect with your local customers.
- Improving your customer experience with accurate, timely updates.
- Offering another avenue to promote your sales, specials, events, news and offers.
Ultimately, Google Business Profile posts are a free and easy way to connect with customers and are a must for all businesses.
What types of posts can your share to a GMB profile?
So, what kind of posts can you publish to your GMB profile?
- COVID-19 updates: keep your customers up to speed about how your business is responding to the ever-evolving pandemic with posts that include:
- Your hours of operation and temporary closures
- Changes to how you operate (such as moving to takeaway or delivery only)
- Updates to how you’re managing safety and hygiene in-store
- Requests for support from your community
- Offers: these posts allow you to promote sales or offers, complete with a “View offer” call-to-action (CTA) button. Your post can include photos, video, descriptions, coupon codes, links and T&Cs (directly in the post).
- What’s new: these posts allow you to share general news and updates about your business. These posts include photos, video, a description and a CTA button.
- Events: as the name suggests, event posts allow you to promote upcoming events at your business. Your posts will include a title, start and end dates and a time.
How can Google My Business posts help SEO?
Sharing GMB posts frequently is a great way to keep your Business Profile active and up-to-date. Plus, when done correctly, you can increase your SEO visibility and search ranking too.
You’ll find GMB posts in a carousel at the bottom of your Google listing, allowing visitors to click through and view your most recent activity.
Plus, recent changes now mean that Google My Business posts don’t expire after just seven days. Instead, Google will display the 10 latest posts you’ve made on your profile (with no expiry date for individual posts).
So, how can GMB posts help boost your SEO ranking?
- It provides location-specific signals to Google: when crafting your posts, adding your businesses’ location can help Google to understand exactly what you do, what you offer and where you operate. The more detail you provide Google, the easier it is for them to rank you appropriately in the search results.
- It gives you scope to leverage keywords: through your posts, you can sprinkle in SEO-friendly keywords related to your next event, product or offer. These keywords are essential to improve your SEO ranking and can make it easier for potential local customers to discover your business.
- It builds the prominence of your business in the eyes of Google: with more detailed information about your business and a greater opportunity for customers to engage with your brand, GMB posts are a helpful way to improve your search results position. The more users that engage with your listing and content, the more likely Google is to prioritize your profile in the search results.
6 tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile posts
Ready to make the most of your Google listing posts? Here are six practical tips to elevate your posts and supercharge your results.
Post regularly to GMB
Keep your customers up-to-date with exactly what is happening in your business by regularly posting to your Business Profile. When someone lands on your listing, it’s helpful to have a stack of recent posts and updates to show them your business is active.
Plus, we know that GMB posts can boost your SEO which means there’s no reason not to post at least once per week.
Share high-quality content
Put your best foot forward and ensure you’re sharing high-quality imagery and video content in every post. It will ensure every visitor is compelled to take action and engage with your posts. Plus, it can boost the chances of someone choosing to visit your in-store location, too.
Keep your copy short and punchy
While you can write post captions that are up to 1,500 characters, the best GMB post are usually between 150 to 300 characters.
These bite-sized captions will help you get straight to the point and convince viewers to take action quickly.
Inject SEO-friendly keywords into your post
Like any piece of content, your GMB posts need to harness the power of SEO keywords to boost your organic visibility. Make sure to consider the topic of your post, your industry and terms related to your business when deciding which SEO phrases to add to your post.
Experiment with CTA buttons
There are stacks of different CTA buttons to use on your Google My Business account posts. From ‘book now’ to ‘get offer’ and even ‘call now’, these action-driving terms can generate different results for your business.
So, make sure to play around with these terms and see what CTA buttons drive the strongest engagement for your Google My Business profile content. Dive into your Google analytics in your Google My Business dashboard to assess which posts are driving the strongest results.
Avoid these common mistakes with your Google posts
Last, but certainly not least, is this final tip: avoid adding a phone number to your post captions. While it’s important to add contact details (like your phone number) to your profile, Google may reject your posts if you add your phone number to your caption.
And that’s a wrap! When it comes to boosting your SEO, Google My Business posts can help to elevate your digital marketing strategy and complement your other content marketing efforts. Use these posts to answer questions, promote your latest events, and showcase your upcoming products and promotions.
Without a social media algorithm to navigate, GMB posts are a free, easy and effective way to reach current and potential customers at scale.