Many businesses pour a lot of effort into their websites and social media pages, but did you know that having a credible, updated Google Business Profile can be a game-changer in generating sales leads and raising awareness of your company?
Your Google Business Profile appears on the right of Google Search results when searching for your company or for a related topic. It also appears on Google Maps.
It contains elements such as your business’ name, physical address, logo, opening times, reviews, products and services, photos, and website and contact details – all in one place.
Your Google profile has not always been created by you, which is scary, because your business can be defined by other people and you seemingly have no control over it, like a Wikipedia entry.
Your business information is being collated and shared by Google, whether you like it or not. You need to take ownership of your Google Business Profile, and edit vital information to ensure customers can find it. You should also extend your presence with advanced functionality, once you’ve got the basics done.
Claiming and controlling your business’s Google Business Profile will help you put your organisation’s best foot forward.
According to Think with Google, There has been a 900% increase in “near me” searches over the past few years, a 150% jump in “near me now” searches and 200% growth in location-based searches. The purposes could range from searching for nearby tyre fitment centres to looking for attractions and restaurants while travelling.
This, coupled with a strong surge in voice-based searches, confirms the importance of businesses having a strong online presence.
Plus, Google Maps, with one billion users worldwide, is one of the largest social networks, with people searching for and reviewing businesses. Are you putting as much effort into Google Search and Maps as you are into Facebook and other social media platforms?
Five top tips about managing your Google Business Profile:
- If your business does not have a Google Business Profile (google it to find out if it pops up on the right-hand side of your search results), it’s important to add it
- If your business does not exist on Google Business or is left unclaimed, it poses a serious business risk – as others will have free rein to define your business
- For example, if you don’t claim your profile, Google may still showcase your information, using artificial intelligence and algorithms to draw details from publicly available sources such as your website, third parties and users
- Should you not claim and set up your profile, members of the public (or a former employee, for example) can also determine your business information – including adding incorrect information such as stating it is “permanently closed”
- You can claim your business on Google by going through a rigorous verification process, or by contracting an agency such as Flow (which is a Google Partner) to help you set it up and edit your details, including helping to curate and, if necessary, dispute user reviews
Google Business allows you to actively engage with people who want to do business with you. By claiming your business profile, not only do you gain full control over it, you also get great analytics, which can take your marketing decisions forward.
Christina Kennedy is a senior writer at Flow Communications (www.flowsa.com), one of South Africa’s leading independent marketing and communications agencies. Founded in 2005, Flow has a permanent team of over 60 professional staff, with more than 800 years of collective experience in communications.
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