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Guide to Google Business Profile Optimizations & Best Practices

By Amanda Tietjen

April 6, 2023

local businesses benefitting from a guide to google business profiles

What is Google Business Profile (GBP)?

Google Business Profile (formally named Google My Business) is a free tool by Google that allows business owners to control how their businesses appear on local search results. Business owners can edit the name, address, phone number, hours, and much more on their GBPs.

GBP appears when potential customers search for your business or keywords related to your business. Google Business Profile optimizations ensure your business appears in the SERP and ranks for SERP features like Local 3-pack.

GBP Requirements

To create a GBP, you must have a Google account. You’ll also need to verify ownership of your business. Be sure to follow Google guidelines. Most businesses are accepted, though some are ineligible, including…

  • Properties for sale and vacation rentals
  • Companies that promote illegal activities
  • Services like ongoing classes or meetings at a location you don’t have access to

How Does GBP Affect Local SEO?

GBPs are designed to help businesses provide accurate information for local and branded Google searches s and help businesses be more competitive in the SERP. When Google determines local ranking, it looks at three factors: Relevance, Distance and Prominence.

  • Relevance is a measure of how accurately the GBP matches the search.
  • Distance is a measure of the physical space between search results and the location from which the term was searched.
  • Prominence measures businesses’ reputation–for example, how well they’re known.

A well-updated GBP can affect all three of these factors. More importantly, a GBP that follows best practices gives potential customers an overall better user experience.

As we’ve learned from Google algorithm updates like the helpful content update, creating user-first content is more important to search engine optimization than ever.

bookstore owner taking pics for google business profile

11 Ways to Optimize Google Business Profile Listings

Optimizing your GBP can be as simple as adding photos and media. Following these best practices can help improve local SEO and provide a better experience for your potential customers.

1. Upload Media 

Help people recognize your business (and showcase your products/services) with updated media. Uploading new photos and videos consistently is essential when it comes to keeping your GBP fresh. Media could include:

  • Cover photos. Try to choose one that represents your culture and brand.
  • Logos. Add at least one logo.
  • Business-specific photos. Add at least three photos representing the services you offer.
  • Team photos. Add at least three photos spotlighting your management team and employees.
  • Videos. Add at least one video (up to 30 seconds long) that represents your services.

Be sure to follow Google’s media guidelines, too:

Photo Guidelines 

  • Format. JPG or PNG.
  • Size. Between 10 KB and 5 MB.
  • Recommended resolution. 720 px tall, 720 px wide.
  • Minimum resolution. 250 px tall, 250 px wide.
  • Quality. High-quality photos should not have any significant alterations or filters and should represent reality.

Video Guidelines 

  • Duration. Up to 30 seconds long.
  • File size. Up to 75 MB.
  • Resolution. 720p or higher.

2. Correct NAP Information

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Be sure your NAP matches the information on your website. A good rule of thumb is to put this information at the bottom of your homepage, where visitors expect to find it.

Consider listing your business information on other online data aggregators. These aggregators provide data to top sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Microsoft Bing. All of these aggregators must contain matching NAP.

3. Update GBP Title and Business Description 

GBP listing titles can be up to 80 characters long and should include the official business name at minimum. Consider including other info if space allows, like products/services offered, location/trade area, primary keywords and terms of associated third-party sites.

The business description may or may not appear in all content placements. It must be less than 750 characters and include keywords and semantic keywords that help rank for local 3-pack listing. Consider including things like social proof (like a founding date or awards), primary services/products and unique selling propositions and differentiators. 

pizzeria restaurant is a part of google business profile special categories

4. Add Category and Special Attributes 

Your GBP’s primary category should be associated with your business. For example, if you own a pizza parlor, your category may be “Pizza Restaurant.” You must select one from Google’s list of categories.

GBPs also have special attributes. Attributes let businesses identify features, specific services, amenities and other qualities that help businesses show up in relevant local searches. Select all attributes that apply to your business.

5. Add Services & Products

List your services and products so customers see your expertise right away. Highlighting your most popular offerings is recommended. 

6. Highlight Dates and Times

Add the date of your grand opening, or the day your business was established. This can help demonstrate your experience to customers. 

Also, be sure to set regular business hours. Let customers know when you’re open for tours, and be sure to update this for special hours during holidays consistently. 

7. Create Trackable Links

All links used within GBP profiles should be appended with UTM parameters. This lets you isolate and measure performance over time, both in Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Relevant metrics include measuring keyword rank changes over time (in Search Console) and assessing impact on overall conversions (in GA).

florist managing and responding to reviews

8. Respond to and Manage Customer Reviews 

Business reviews play a key role in maintaining your reputation and prominence. Reviews also allow businesses to interact with customers by responding to them (even when they’re negative).

Be sure to encourage reviews from customers; businesses with higher numbers of reviews typically rank higher in local search results.

9. Let Customers Message You 

Customers can get in touch with you through business messages. This allows businesses to answer questions and attract new clientele. Messages can be enabled through the business profile, as well as customized to show automated responses (like “welcome,” or “thank you for your message”).

Be careful, though–you should only use this feature if a dedicated person can respond to messages within 24 hours. A long wait is a negative customer experience.

10. Add Posts (Events, Updates, and Offers)

Regularly create posts. Google recommends using Google Posts to keep customers in the loop with your business and industry. Posts help you stay fresh on Google and let you engage with your audience. We recommend regularly sharing information about promotional offers and sales, new tours and special events.

11. Monitor Q&A Section 

Be sure to monitor your GBP’s questions and answers section. Try to answer new questions within 24 hours. Like messages and posts, this section lets you interact with customers and establish your presence on Google.

Get a Helping Hand With Your Local SEO

Noble Studios is an award-winning creative digital performance agency that can help your company rank higher for local SEO. Contact Noble Studios to learn how we can help your SEO get better every day.

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