As a business who provides our potential clientele with audits of their digital assets, I notice from time-to-time different commonalties that sometimes trend from business to business. One of these involves Google Business profiles. Ultimately the brain behind your google presence. The common factor which I have noticed is there tends to be a “set it and forget it” mindset. What I mean by that is businesses will put in their important information, their location, website, business hours, etc. Maybe throw in a few images of their business or products. Wham bam thank you ma’am, their done. Well not exactly. When you’re working with a Google Business profile, you’re operating in a continuously moving environment. You never really finish optimizing your profile.
Like everything in the digital world, Google is constantly changing. Adding to, tweaking, monetizing, and retiring features. This means there are many factors that are going to affect your Google profile whether its from your ranking or a conversion perspective. As business owners and marketers, you need to be monitoring your Google Business profiles so that you can check the progress or quality over a given time set. You also need to make sure you have a process for systematic review and optimization so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t. Monitoring the search landscape is also essential so that we’re aware of any new opportunities and challenges.
There are several reasons why Google Business profiles require ongoing attention and optimization including:
Changes to the appearance of local search results
- The most recent layout change took place recently, moving the map to the right-hand side of the local search results.
Changes to the way buyers search and make choices
- Like any good marketer, we should all be concerned about how customers and potential customers make purchase decisions. We need to stay on top of how world events, technology, and other factors affect the way consumers search and are influenced in their decision-making processes.
- We know that mobile phone use has massively shifted search behavior, user expectation, and the way that results are presented. As marketers, we’ve had to take this into account as we plan and implement our strategies.
Changes to profile features
- The pandemic has shown just how efficiently Google can launch useful new features. Many of the new additions provided during the early days of the pandemic are still available for businesses to use today and may become permanent. These features include Covid-19 Posts, health and safety attributes, being able to mark a business as temporarily closed, ‘More hours’, etc.
Interactivity and user-generated content
- A high level of interactivity and user-generated content is presented in local search results. We don’t control all the content that appears here, so we need to monitor and optimize everything that’s making an appearance.
- We’re all very familiar with reviews and understand the importance of reviews for our profiles.
- Another user-generated feature that’s less well known is Q&A. Businesses still seem to largely be ignoring it, while users continue to ask and answer questions.
- Google messaging is available for many businesses, and it’s increasingly easy for businesses to manage messages via the dashboard or through a third-party provider.
- A recent change to the Google Maps app now means that users can add their own photos and comments to the ‘updates’ tab. This has traditionally been an area that only businesses themselves could manage using Google Posts.
Now I know what you’re thinking, this probably seems like quite a bit to pay attention to. Well, yeah it is. There is lots of monitoring on your part or your marketing agency’s part to keep your google business profile up to snuff. One of those things that require monitoring include your Search Engine Results Page (SERP). We need to keep a close eye on the SERPs and ask ourselves: How does my Google Business Profile look in Search? How does my Google Business Profile look in the Local Finder? What about my competitors? Do they look just as or more awesome as me in all these places? In the same way that you’d check the responsiveness of a website across different devices and platforms, you need to check how your profile presents across devices and platforms as well.
A picture is worth a thousand words. In all aspects of our digital marketing strategies, we curate our images based on what we want people to think about us both professionally and personally. So, why when it comes to Google Business profiles, or any local listings do some choose to not update their images? We all know that we should be updating our websites with current and correct information, and we should be doing the same with Google Business profiles. If you think about it. In most instances, your google business profile will be the first thing someone sees before they even get to your website. All businesses need to carefully curate and optimize their own images. Ask yourself: Do your images reflect the products and services you currently offer? Do the images of your staff reflect how they currently look? Do your images reflect the season? Are you monitoring your images regularly? Keep in mind that your images that you upload aren’t necessarily the only images that may be attached to your profile. You need to monitor your customer-uploaded images as well and ask those same questions.
When it comes to your Google Business profile, what most people don’t realize is that it should be treated the same as your social media platforms. You are encouraged to post and engage frequently on your socials. The same goes for google. Keep in mind that your posts expire. Which brings back the importance of monitoring your profile. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
Our clients always want to know how their Google Business profile is performing. It’s important information to know: What’s working and what isn’t? What features are driving traffic, and which aren’t? What happens to their conversions when Google moves a feature in the business profile or the Local Finder? Google Business Profile insights can provide you some very useful data about how people interact with your business profiles.
Claiming your Google Business profile is the easiest first step in building your online visibility, which can make or break your company. As a business, keeping track of the daily changes to search engine algorithms and listings can be challenging. Whether you choose to try to stay on top of the changes or hire an agency like Crunch Fource to execute your SEO strategy, putting resources into your constantly adjusting online presence is vital in today’s increasingly digital and ever-changing landscape.