30 GBP Tips: In Short and Simple Words
Learn how to optimize Google Business Profile (GBP) for best ranking with a list of 20 do's and 10 don'ts tips. Read on...
25th Nov 20 | 01st Mar Feb 24 | By Sannidhi
Your business is on Google Maps. Congrats!
You had invested a lot of time to create a GBP (erstwhile Google My Business - GMB) profile. You have done the best you could do to make the profile (also known as listing) impressive. Good. But your profile does not appear in the top list. Hm. You might have made some changes and keep regularly refreshing your profile, but still, you are facing trouble to improve ranking of your GBP profile. Sad. And no ranking means no visibility and no visibility means no business. If this is your situation, you are reading the right blog as I shall show you how this situation can be changed with some good practices to implement and bad practices to avoid. After implementing and taking care of recommendations listed here, your profile would be in a better position to come up in ranking order.
So, how can the ranking be improved? The answer is - by following below mentioned 20 do's and 10 don'ts tips to optimize ranking of your profile.
1) Basic details: Add business Name, address and phone number (NAP) with accurate details. The point to consider is "accurate details". This may look as simple and straight forward point, but many businesses try to trick Google by stuffing keywords into the business name which is a bad practice and could result in suspension of the profile or even the account. So, make sure to reflect exact name and address. If you provide services to the customers at their location, you should hide your address and specify service area locations. You can have up to 20 service areas per GBP profile and restrict the boundary of each service area to 2 hours of drive time from business address. Provide phone numbers that directly connects to the business at the specified location rather than call centre helpline phone numbers. In addition to primary phone number, you are allowed to enter 2 more contact numbers (mobile or landline only).
2) Description: Description is a very important piece of information to attract the attention of the customer. All it takes is a few seconds to make or break the interest of the customer in your business. So, write an impressive and unique description of your business in such a way that it creates a compelling impact on the customer to look forward to your business offerings of products and/or services. You could use description to specify the mission and some historical background of the business. Avoid providing incorrect and false information. DO NOT specify ANY type of links. And, make sure you cross check description for misspellings and grammatical errors before submitting for verification.
3) Categories: Categories are another very important elements of your business profile. They help to find a customer's search requirement with best results. And, if you are not careful in selecting the best and correct categories then they negatively impact on your profile ranking. Make sure to select categories that are as specific as possible. Rather than selecting categories as keywords, select categories that best represent your business holistically. As Google recommends: Select categories that complete the statement: "This business IS a" rather than "this business HAS a ". So, do not select categories to match the products and/or services that you provide, but concentrate on the whole idea of the business. If you cannot find specific category that best represents your business, select a general one that best fits your requirement.
4) Attributes: Though optional, it's better to add all attributes relevant to your business as they showcase what additional features are on offer. For example: women led business, parking feature, accessible to differently abled people etc... Do not overlook this feature and provide as many attributes as possible that are best applicable to your business as this helps to differentiate your business from other businesses offerings.
5) Website: Add website address if you have one or create one for free using GBP account. Preferably, do associate a website with your GBP profile as this helps in ranking. How? Create blog posts on the website for relevant topics related to your products and/or services, and link them back to your GBP profile. The more relevant and informative the posts for your products and/or services, the better they help in ranking the profile. From GBP profile, do not link to landing pages or social media website profile pages. Instead, link to the specific product or service page of the business website. And, make sure that Googlebot is allowed to crawl your website.
6) Business hours: Make sure to specify correct regular business hours for a typical week of operation. Also, explicitly provide special business hours for holidays and any special events. Note that, certain businesses should not provide business hours either because they run round-the-clock business (like hotels and motels) or have a varied business hours like transportation services. For businesses that are seasonal dependent, set regular business hours for the season and mark as temporarily closed for off-season.
7) Verification: Verification is very, very, important; without verification your GBP profile is not eligible for ranking. After you create GBP profile, make sure to get it verified as soon as possible. But, before submitting the profile for verification for the first time, be very sure to cross-check for correctness of all it's elements because if there is any discrepancy in scrutiny, the profile will be rejected and the verification process must restart and this takes lot of time. After first verification, changes to some elements of the business profile will need re-verification, such as change in business name, change in business type - from storefront to Service Area Based (SAB) business etc...
8) Photos: Photos help customers to have a pictorial connection with the business that helps enrich the user experience that in turn helps in ranking. You can add three types of photos: a logo, cover photo and additional photos. Preferably, add a logo to help your customers quickly identify your business. Add a high quality cover photo that is displayed on top of your business profile. Add, eye-catching, additional photos of your business, its products and services that helps customers in making a purchase decision. Photos must adhere to following guidelines:
* Must be either in JPG or PNG format
* Size must be between 10 KB and 5 MB
* Minimum resolution must be 250 x 250 pixels
* Maximum resolution must be 720 x 720 pixels
Make sure to regularly update additional photos as per the happenings surrounding the business. For instance: aniversary, event conducted by the business etc... And, flag any unrelated or inappropriate photos added by customers, this is very important as it helps keep the profile clean. Otherwise, the profile may give a spammy look and lose ranking.
9) Videos: Like photos, videos help in better showcasing the products and services of the business, and it's activities. Add and update the profile with high quality videos which help customers to engage and look forward to your business. Not just restricting to sharing of products and services, you may also capture videos of any events that the business has conducted or participated in such as social service, sponsorship to local events etc... and share with your customers. Videos must adhere to following guidelines:
* File size must be up to 75 MB
* Resolution must be minimum 720 pixels.
10) Reviews and ratings: Reviews and ratings are another very important factor that help in ranking as they provide useful information about your business to other customers. The total number of reviews and ratings are considered while showing a business profile in search results. Hence, as they help to stand out from other businesses on Google, ask customers to provide feedback reviews and ratings, and make sure to respond to them. Replying to reviews show that you value their feedback. For a positive review, at least respond with a thank you note. Even for negative and fake(14 Best Tips To Deal With Fake GBP Reviews - Do's And Don'ts) reviews, respond with a professional and a polite tone. Note that only verified businesses can respond to reviews. Report reviews and flag user profiles which violate Google guidelines/policy.
11) Questions and Answers: As with other elements that help in engaging customers with the business profile, questions and answers too help in interacting with customers by clearing any doubts they may have. This is another excellent section to help prospective customers to attract to your business. Provide a list of frequently asked questions with clear answers along with examples and testimonials. As this will instil trust in prospective customers. Also, make sure to provide answers to questions posted by customers.
12) Profile information update: Google likes and recommends correct and up to date information of the GBP profiles in search results. Any incorrect and outdated information on the profile will hinder the stability or progress of it's ranking. Hence, make sure to update any information (physical address, phone number, business hours, website address and business category) upon change. As an update to information will trigger a verification process, make sure to get it done as soon as possible.
13) Publish posts: Posts help to connect the business with existing and prospective clients with the happenings surrounding it. The more information you provide, the better is the customer equipped with the products and/or services information that result in better ranking. Posts can be of three types: text, photos and videos. To help customers keep up-to-date information about your business, make sure to update your business profile with posts such as offers, promotions, events, news, photos, videos etc... regularly in an appealing way. Visit Google's site to learn how to make great business posts.
14) Citations: Citations help strengthen the business profile's trustworthiness factor by mentioning about the business information on other established websites. Especially, they help from vertical segment websites. For instance, if you are into travel business, a citation on Tripadvisor's website would be helpful; if you are a photographer, a citation on Instagram website would strengthen your business profile. So, create about 25 citations on the best and top sources, and make sure that the information is accurate across all of sources.
15) Chat: Chat is another factor that influence the ranking, though in an indirect way. So, be courteous in chat and respond within short time. How will this help in ranking? Well, a happy customer spreads the word be it in the real world or on the Internet. The more positive news spreads about your business, the more prominence your profile gains and better is it's ranking.
16) Blogs: Blogs are a great source of ranking your GBP profile. Support your GBP profile to rank better by regularly posting blogs with unique and informative content. Link the business profile from the blog posts and share blogs through posts from the GBP profile. This two way link and post strategy helps a great deal in ranking.
17) Backlinks: Backlinks play a vital role in ranking your GBP profile. But, do not employ black hat techniques to support your profile as this will result in negative ranking. Rather, seek for genuine and strong backlinks to support your GBP profile. Concentrate on quality of backlink sources instead of quantity. Few strong backlinks from genuine sources are better compared to hundreds of backlinks from shoddy sources.
18) Facebook: Social profiles are automatically added by Google to your GBP profile. As per Google,
There are many factors that influence whether these links will appear in your listing, including:
* Consistency. Use the same name to represent your business in both your listing and your social profiles.
* Authenticity. If available, verify your profile using the social media site’s verification process. This helps Google determine that the social profile is managed by an owner or authorized representative of the business. Note that not all sites have verification processes available to all of their users.
So, the best that can be done to make your profile eligible for a link is to be active and engaging on such social profile accounts with lots of followers/subscribers. Though they may not be a direct ranking factor, but a simple share on social platforms may trigger a chain of shares which in turn would help in spreading the word that in turn will help improve your profile's prominence.
19) Site manager: Preferably, dedicate a person (in GBP's terminology, the role played by a dedicated person is known as Site manager) to handle day to day activities of your business profile as this helps in ranking. How? As a dedicated person can exclusively devote time to mange activities like post text updates, photos, videos, offers, promotion etc...; the information is more current and thus appealing to searchers that helps in engagement and in turn reflects on customer satisfaction. And, remember - a happy customer spreads the word. Timely response to calls, reviews and answers to questions would lead to higher customer satisfaction. Quickly flagging irrelevant reviews, photos, videos etc... would help business profile look more appealing with accurate and relevant information rather than waiting for them to be removed because there's no dedicated person to work on such tasks will make profile unimpressive with spammy look and thus result in losing ranking.
20) Advertisements: Advertisements (ads) help boost the business profile's visibility with quick presence in top results. You may leverage such quick result to gain customers attention and impress with your profile. Till your presence is known by a good number (depends on your requirements) of customers, ads help you promote your business. So, leverage it to make your presence felt. This may take time and patience, though.
Remember: The more current, informative and engaging information you have on your business profile, the better impactful impression it has on the customers. And, when the customer is impressed, [s/he] would reflect it on reviews and ratings, and help in spreading the word - both in real world as well as in digital world. The more popular your profile is, the better is it's ranking!
1) Address: Do not provide incorrect address information. Any deviation from exact business address location will lead to suspension. So, be very careful. Do not enter P.O. boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations as they are not acceptable by Google. Service-area businesses should not display address.
2) Keyword stuffing: Avoid keyword stuffing in business name, description and text posts: offers, promotion etc...
3) Personal information: In chat or messaging, avoid sharing or asking personal information with or from customers, respectively, as this could dent business reputation(bad spread of word of mouth to other customers) and call for an action from Google which may lead to suspension.
4) Call centre phone number: Avoid providing call centre phone number in your business profile. Instead, provide a direct contact number of the business be it storefront or SAB.
5) Sharing phone number: For service-area businesses, avoid use of same phone number for multiple locations. Rather, use separate contact numbers for each location.
6) Sharing web page: For service-area businesses, avoid use of same landing page for multiple locations on the website. Instead, create a unique page for each location, preferably with pictures.
7) Delay responses: Avoid delay in responding to customer queries through any medium(phone calls, chat, reviews-good or bad, question, answers section etc...).
8) Questions and Answers: Do not ignore questions posted by the customers and provide answers in courteous manner. Remember, questions posted are public and unanswered questions have negative impression.
9) Junk information: Do not fill any information just for the sake of filling a column. Avoid providing repetitive details.
10) Frequent profile updates: Refrain from making frequent updates to profile information as it may lead to suspension.
Provide accurate and complete information for all basic and mandatory fields. Make sure to supply as much relevant information as possible that helps the business profile to standout from others. Write unique and impressive matter be it for profile fields or posts or replying to customers. Keep the profile fresh by frequently posting high quality and engaging content for textual, images and videos. Flag all fake and inappropriate content. And, make sure all the information adheres to Google guidelines.