Is Your Google Business Profile Updated?
You probably don’t even know it, but you have most likely experienced the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. What is that exactly? It’s a frequency illusion and it occurs when something you’ve just noticed starts to pop up everywhere. For example, if you recently bought a new white car, now you start to realize how many white cars there are on the road. Just the other day I was scrolling through Facebook and a friend of mine pointed out that all the new New York state license plates all start with the letter “K”, and guess what? Now that’s all I see, which I never would have noticed before if she didn’t point it out. From this point forward, you will no longer look at Googling a business the same.
Google is a fascinating platform in so many ways for both consumers and business owners, and it acts as a bridge to connect the two. Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second; that’s over 8.5 billion searches a day! One way for businesses to make it easier for consumers to find them is to use Google Business Profile. Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, allows business owners to have more control over the information which Google displays about businesses when it populates search results pages and Google Maps. If you have ever Googled the name of a business to find a phone number, address, hours, etc., the result that you see on the right-hand side, that is called a Knowledge Graph. It appears on a Google search results page and that information is all populated from a business’ Google Business Profile.
If you’ve ever used Google Maps, that information that appears is also populated using information that a business has entered about themselves in their Google Business Profile.
Another listing feature that also pulls information from a Google Business Profile is the Google “Snack Pack” local listing.
Sixty four percent of consumers have used Google Business Profile listing info on a Google search results page to find contact details for a local business, and this figure is likely to grow. With over 60% of consumers using Google Business Profile, it is imperative that businesses keep up to date with their profile. Some of the most crucial optimizations that they want to make consist of the following:
Claiming the Business Profile
Complete every section of the Google Business Profile account
Be meticulous with contact information
Select primary and secondary categories
Mark off applicable attributes
Write a complete “from the business” description
Publish Google updates weekly
Upload new photos weekly
Collect and respond to reviews
Add your products and/or services
Set up messaging
Maintain your Business Profile
Keeping the information that is listed in the Google Business Profile is important because it is one of the primary places Google looks for information when populating the search page and maps results. On average, businesses receive 943 search views of their Google Business Profile listing information on a Google search results page and 317 Maps views each month. I don’t know about you, but if someone was looking for my business 943 times in a month, I would want to make sure I had the correct information listed! Another reason the right information should be listed is because almost 50% of searchers don’t even click past the search page, meaning they are getting the information they are looking for without going to the business’ website, and that is called a Zero Click Search. If I Google “Pizza Hut near me” to see where the closest Pizza Hut is, this is what I see:
Without even going to the website, I can see the different locations, get directions, or place an order over the phone without leaving the search results page. If almost 50% of searchers are getting all the information they want from a Google search, this example shows how important is it to have 100% accurate information.
Google is constantly making changes when it comes to their platform as a whole, and the Google Business Profile interface is one of those that is in the process of being updated. If you do not have a Google Business Profile yet, that is going to be the first thing you want to set up by going to google.com/business. From there you will sign in and create an account. If you do have a Google Business Profile and you’re an admin, you can click “Manage Now” to get into your account.
Some of the changes that Google is making to Google Business Profile is how you can update information and it is all still in the works, so you may see a message that says “Manage on Search”, or if you’re logged into Google, and you type in Google Business Profile, it will bring up all the profiles you are an admin for and you can click “View Profile”.
Once you’re in, you’ll see a newer looking format compared to the old Google My Business setup. The previous setup was a dashboard where you could make edits to the Google Business Profile listing, and now you have all the editing capabilities, but you’re still within Google. Right from this page you can edit the profile, read reviews, add photos, edit products, respond to questions, and more. Google is calling this new interface “New Merchant Experience”, or “NMX”.
If you click on “Edit Profile”, it will bring you to a page where you have full control over the business name, the business category, the description of the business, the phone number, the website, hours, location, and more. For businesses that don’t have a physical location, Google will allow you to leave that section blank. For businesses that have products and services that they offer, when you click on “Edit Products”, you will see another screen where you can add or edit any products that they have. With “Edit Services”, you can add or edit any services the business provides, and you want to make sure to check this routinely because Google will make suggestions based on what people search. To do this, Google is looking at what people search and what they click on to go through to that website, so it may not be a service that you have listed in your Google Business Profile, but based on recent searches, Google thinks it should be added. If there are services that they add that don’t pertain to that business, they will want to make sure to remove them.
“Add Photos” is another header you want to make sure you utilize because photos have a big impact on engagement. Searchers are 42% more likely to request directions to a business if its profile has photos, and 35% more likely to click through to its website. Businesses with more than 100 photos get 520% more calls, 2,717% more direction requests, and 1,065% more website clicks than the average business.
Under the “Performance” header, Google has performance metrics as it relates to the Google Business Profile. When you click on that header, it will take you to another screen where you can change the time period and it will give you a breakout of overview, calls, messages, bookings, directions, website clicks, how people view the business profile, and certain words they typed in to find that search.
Asking for reviews is another important part of Google Business Profile. Here, you can share a link with customers to review your business on Google. If they shared with you that they had a great experience, take advantage of that and ask them if they would be willing to leave a review via a link that you can text or email them. Google reviews have become an integral part of the buyer’s journey, so much so that 77% of consumers now say they ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.
Under the “Review” header, it will take you to a section where you can read the reviews that customer leave, and it is imperative that you respond to not only good reviews, but the bad reviews, too. People want to know that their opinion is heard, and it also shows that you are active. Almost nine out of ten people read online reviews, and close to 3/4ths also read the business’ responses to these reviews.
With “Add Update”, you will use this for periodic updates like a change in hours for the holiday season, special offers, if there is an event going on, blog content, etc..
Continuing with our New Merchant Experience, under “Calls”, you can see how many customers called your business from Google Search or Google Maps.
Another option with Google Business Profile is businesses can turn on messaging so that consumers can message with that business right from their phone. If a searcher Googles the business on a smartphone or in Google Maps, a message button appears so they can initiate that conversation, and the first greeting from the business can be customized.
The last header is Questions and Answers, and this is a great section to create Frequently Asked Questions for your business to be displayed right on that search results page. If you go in here, you can ask questions about your own business that you think people would be interested in, but searchers can also go in and ask questions and you want to make sure you are answering those. This is another instance of where Google likes to see that you are active within your Google Business Profile, and they also look at how quickly you respond to questions.
Now here is where everything is going to come full circle. All of that information that we just updated and put into our Google Business Profile is now going to be displayed within that Knowledge Graph on the Google Search page.
Next time you Google a business and see that Knowledge Graph, you know what kind of work goes into creating, listing, and updating all that information. You will also start to notice how many times you are doing a “Zero Click Search” and experiencing the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.