“Eric Rutin will improve your Google Business Profile” Wow that is a big claim to stick your name to, especially with so much advice floating around the SEO universe.
Almost all advice on how to improve Google Business Profile results usually focuses on the Google Business Profile (GBP) itself. Typically most SEO professionals view a GBP as a supporting vehicle for a website.
But I am here to share a secret hack that very few SEO’s are talking about. By helping you understand the equal relationship between your website and your Google Business Profile, I will show you how one change to your website will have a huge impact on your GBP.
Do I need a Google Business Profile?
The answer is quite simple, yes.
A Google Business Profile is the cornerstone of local SEO. Google Business Profiles link your Google Map, your placement in the all-important Map Pack, and your website, creating a powerful unified online presence.
It is critical to be at the top of the Near Me searches which are the lifeblood of businesses. Near Me searches have increased over 200% in the past two years, and companies with fully optimized GBPs are usually at the top of the search results.
Your Google Business Profile also allows your consumers to leave reviews that significantly impact your search results and directly link to sales.
Still not convinced?
78% of local searches result in a customer visiting a store within 24 hours.
How do I get a great Google Business Profile?
Creating a fully optimized Google Business Profile is easy. There is no need to hire an expensive digital marketing agency or SEO consultant. Almost anyone with the most basic computer literacy can create a fantastic GBP.
I have created a step-by-step guide that shows even the most novice marketer how to make an optimized Google Business Profile from beginning to end.
Not only do you not have to spend any money hiring a professional to help you, but Google Business Profiles are also totally free.
What is the difference between a Google My Business and Google Business Profile?
The short answer is nothing. In November of 2021, Google rebranded Google My Business to the current Google Business Profile.
The longer answer is that Google is transitioning your profile management away from the old independent GMB manager site to managing it directly from search or Maps. Google feels this will be easier for most business to manage their profiles. (time will tell!)
Larger companies with multiple GBPs will still have a centralized Business Profile Manager (essentially the old GMB website).
Now on to the good stuff!
Optimize your website to improve your Google Business Profile in 7 simple steps.
By now, you have done the work on your Google Business Profile. You have services listed; you have uploaded more pictures and videos than your competitor; you are even using UTMs to measure your GBP traffic in Google Analytics.
Be proud of yourself; your Google Business Profile is totally optimized. Now it is time to turn your attention to your website.
Make the following seven updates to your website to transform your GBP from really good to truly outstanding.
The number one mistake business make with their Google Business Profile is linking to their home page. This may seem like a good idea, but you need to consider what drives local search and specifically what elevates your Google Business Profile to the top of the Map Pack.
Google has stated that local search results are based on relevance, distance, and prominence. Therefore, rather than linking to your homepage, create an optimized location page that is useful to visitors and feeds the Google algorithm.
The first step in developing this new page is to focus on maximizing relevance. Therefore construct the page around a targeted keyword rather than simply focusing on your location (we will deal with proximately later).
Do the same keyword research you would for any other page. But rather than using Google Analytics or an SEO tool like SEMRush, use your Google Business Profile’s Insights. It is the perfect tool for your research.
GBP Insights shows the top search terms that returned your profile in the results. These results are precisely what you want to optimize, so select your keyword from this list and get building your new page.
Remember, the primary purpose of this page isn’t to drive traffic to your website but instead to improve your GBP’s search visibility.
Now that you have your keyword, it is time to use it.
You want to make sure you use your keyword in the Page Title. This is total Google juice as well as being important for your users. The Page Title is displayed in search results, browsers, and social media. Your Page Title should be between 30 and 60 characters.
When Google scrubs your site, it helps the search engine easily understand what is important. But it isn’t just for the Google bots; they also help real people understand what your page is about.
I have had many lively debates with SEO professionals on the importance of H tags, specifically H1’s. While Google has said that H tags are not a ranking factor, they are still crucial for SEO.
H tags help visually structure a page. The H1 is the page’s headline, while H2’s are the chapters. H tags help users quickly decide if a page is what they are looking for while skimming the content. Improved understanding and readability subsequently improve the user experience, ultimately affecting rankings.
Because of the effectiveness of these H Tags, work your keyword into your page’s H1.
In addition to your keyword, you also want to include the primary category from your Google Business Profile in either the Page Title or H1. You don’t need to have it in both. Either one is fine.
It is time to start addressing the distance criteria for local search success. This is a location page, right? So a vital component of this page will be your business’ contact information, primarily your address.
A core principle of SEO is ensuring your business’ NAP (name, address, phone) is consistent across your entire digital footprint.
Your website, social media channels, and citations should reflect the exact contact information.
Of course, it also applies to your Google Business Profile. And obviously, this extends to the new location page you are building.
These NAP sources are essential for building a strong ranking signal for Google that establishes your distance domination.
In addition to the NAP info, you can include your hours of operation and any other general information that a potential customer may find helpful such as wheelchair accessibility.
While we focus on establishing your distance criteria, there is an underused technique to send a tsunami of ranking signals to Google: add driving directions to your page.
There are two ways you want to do this. The first is simply writing the driving directions to your business from all directions.
You want to include street names, landmarks, notable businesses, and anything and everything that is recognizable to your customers. These will feed into the Google algorithm and boost your location status.
The second tactic is to embed Google Maps on the page. The easiest way is to create static maps that reflect the driving directions you laid out above. With a bit of basic HTML code, you can add an interactive map that allows your customers to simply type in their starting address to receive directions to your business. This blog post details both techniques for embedding a map to your page.
We will take a quick detour back to building some relevance by creating lists on this page. Lists are a great signal to Google that the information is important. So let’s make sure we pack these lists with important info!
You can make multiple lists, but the mandatory one is your Services.
Like with your NAP, you want your services to have the same terminology as listed in GBP. The services included in this list should mirror the ones from your Google Business Profile.
Remember, the purpose of this page is to optimize your Google Business Profile, not vice versa. But there is nothing wrong with the page double-dipping and providing some SEO gusto to other pages on your website.
Go ahead and do some internal linking to your website’s services pages. These contextual links will help boost those valuable service pages by signaling their importance.
If you feature products on your Google Business Profile, create another list and internally link to those pages as well.
Lastly, another great list to include is the cities and neighborhoods you serve. Your actual address will be the primary local signal to Google, but the more you include these surrounding areas on your website, the greater your chance your GBP will appear in those searches.
Remember, distance is only one of the three criteria influencing local search. As you build your relevance and prominence, you will begin appearing in searches outside your immediate area. This list will help Google understand which neighboring cities are part of your service area.
We have been focusing on distance and relevance; now we turn our attention to prominence, the final building block of local search. And to build prominence, there is one way that dominates all others.
Lots and lots of reviews.
You don’t just want to link to your reviews on this page, but want to actually re-write them. They must live in the HTML code for search engines to read them, so make sure you avoid a plug-in that just displays them.
You also need to recreate them EXACTLY as they are in Google. You can’t edit them at all. If there is a typo or grammatical error, or someone phrases something differently than you would, it doesn’t matter. Duplicate it as it is.
Once again, you can not change the review.
Every month, go through and update the reviews to keep them current. Also, don’t be afraid to post those less-than-5-star reviews. This will help your credibility.
Every one knows every business can’t be perfect every time. So when a consumer sees just 5 Star reviews, they are suspicious. In fact, various studies have shown the most effective overall ranting for a business is in the neighborhood of 4.7.
Now that you have done all this work (it wasn’t that much work though, was it?), it is time for the final step. The best part, this is the easiest and quickest stop of all.
You want to create the direct link between your Google Business Profile and this new location page that you just created.
First, let’s get the link for your GBP to add to your location page. You will find the sharable link in the middle of your Home tab of Google Business Profile Manager. Just copy it and add it to your new location page.
Next, we want to return the favor. While you are still down on your Google Business Profile Manager page, navigate down to the Info tab. You want to add the URL for the new location page in the website field. If you want to go next level, add UTM tracking to your link. It is easy to do and has enormous rewards.
Simply go to Google’s Campaign URL Builder and fill in the necessary info. You will be given a unique tracking URL for your Google Business Profile. This will separate all of your GBP traffic in Google Analytics from being buried in your Organic Traffic. Here is a video that walks you through it step-by-step.
There you go. Now you know the seven secret hacks that will supercharge your Google Business Profile and skyrocket your local search results. And the best part, your competitors are probably not doing it.
Optimizing both your Google Business Profile and your website to support each other will have a massive impact on your business. If your website is built with a standard page builder like Elementor, you should be able to create this powerful page yourself. If you need a little help from a developer, this should be fast and easy for them (i.e., not cost very much), and the investment will definitely be worth it.
Are you ready to dominate?