Every business wants to achieve a higher level of online visibility, especially when it comes to Google. Local search listings, including the Google Map Pack, are especially important, ensuring that businesses attract the right kinds of people to their business (e.g., local shoppers who are motivated to make a purchase).
In pursuit of increased visibility, one of the most important tools businesses have at their disposal is the Google Business Profile. There are a handful of specific ways in which companies can optimize their Google Business Profiles to achieve better outcomes.
4 Ways to Optimize Your Google Business Profile
1) Get more reviews.
One of the most effective ways to boost your business’ visibility on Google is to encourage more users to submit reviews.
Keep in mind: Google wants to highlight businesses that get a lot of reviews. Their thinking is that these businesses are probably among the most notable and popular, and thus the most worthwhile for local shoppers. Additionally, reviews are seen as a helpful way to aid search engine users in accruing information about the company and making a truly knowledgeable purchasing decision.
All that to say: If you want more traction with Google, and more trust among local consumers, you’d do well to ensure your business has a decent number of online reviews. (To begin with, why not aim for 10 or 12?). It’s also important that your business has current reviews, so keep this as a consistent priority.
There are plenty of ways to encourage people to leave you reviews. You can verbally request reviews from your customers. You can do some email outreach to previous customers. You can include “leave us a review” links on online invoices and receipts.
Additionally, investing in software solutions to help manage your online reviews is something we highly recommend. Ask us about our review management platform of choice.
2) Avoid spam.
Once upon a time, it was much more feasible to game Google’s system and cheat your way to greater visibility. But Google has gotten a lot smarter, and its algorithms no longer reward duplicitous activities like keyword stuffing and doorway pages.
That’s true when it comes to general SEO rankings, but it’s also true when it comes to your Google Business Profile. Simply put, if you try to take shortcuts to greater online visibility, Google is going to know, and you’ll likely incur a penalty of some kind.
For instance, there’s no use in paying a firm to generate a bunch of fake five-star reviews on your business’ behalf. Even offering incentives for customers who leave reviews can backfire.
The risk you run with these spammy practices is that you’ll lose standing with Google and lose trust among your customer base. Better to skip the shortcuts and focus on more honorable methods.
3) Respond to criticism.
No business owner enjoys getting bad reviews. The reality is, even the best-run, most service-oriented companies are eventually going to get some criticism, whether due to a real lapse in customer care, a defective product, or simply a disgruntled and hard-to-please consumer.
A bad review doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are right and wrong ways to respond to criticism, and having a wise, prudent response can often diffuse whatever damage the review might do to your online reputation.
Simply put, bad reviews provide an opportunity to show off your customer service skills. Don’t ignore them, which would send the message that you are indifferent toward your customers. And don’t get angry, which would be even worse. Instead, patiently apologize that the user didn’t have a better experience and ask if there’s anything you can do to make things right.
Remember, bad reviews aren’t just about you and the reviewer. Other customers may read the review, so seize the opportunity to show off some real customer service.
4) Use all the tools Google provides you.
A final note: Google provides a number of tools built into Google Business Profiles. Make sure you know about these tools, and use them as advantageously as possible.
In particular, look into the Google Marketing Kit, which provides a wide range of tools and features. These include custom stickers and social media posts. You can also create online “posters,” highlighting some of the praise you receive in positive customer reviews.
If you’ve never explored these features, you’re really not using Google Business Profiles to its full extent. Check into these features soon.
Questions About Google Business Profiles?
At enCOMPASS, we believe Google Business Profiles have a lot of value for your overall digital marketing strategy. We’d be happy to provide guidance on how to optimize your profile or incorporate it into your broader marketing approach. If you have any questions or just want to talk about strategic options, reach out to our team at any time.
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