Google Business Profile is the #1 listing for local businesses. When someone searches for a business or place near their location, they’ll find local results across Google in places like Maps and Search. For example, you will be served local business results when you search for “Italian restaurant” on your mobile device.
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Per Think With Google, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local businesses, and according to Search Engine Land, 77% of people are using Google Maps to do so. Consumers can find your website by searching on Google, but your business will only be featured on Google Maps if you’re set up with a Google Business Profile. Business owners can use Google Business Profile to attract new customers, provide information about open hours changes and new offerings, as well as use the platform to respond to customer reviews and share photos. Next to your website, your Google Business Profile is the best way to engage new customers.
How does Google Business Profile work?
Google looks for trust signals when deciding which businesses to rank for different searches. Consistency between your website and your Google Business Profile builds trust with Google’s algorithm, which makes consistency a key ranking factor for local results.
Profile Set Up & Claiming Your Profile
Getting started with Google Business Profile is easy; you just need to make a Google account and claim your business. Once claimed, you will need to verify the business’s legitimacy, as well as your affiliation. There are a few ways that Google may ask you to verify your business, including:
- Claim by mail – the most common, in which Google sends a postcard (yes, a real-life postcard) to your business’s address
- Claim by phone–where Google sends an automated voice message containing a verification PIN to your business’s phone number.
- Claim by video verification
- Claim by using an email at your domain
Note: Often, which verification method you have available is up to Google’s discretion.
Optimizing Your Profile
Once verified, you can fill in all the necessary details for your listing. Be sure to fill out all the available fields. Online listings with extensive information are more likely to rank higher in search results and provide useful information to prospective customers. You are less likely to see success if your profile is inaccurate or incomplete. Third-party services can also update your Google Business Profile information (Yext, Moz, etc.)
Special Features for Restaurants
There are a few fields that are unique to restaurants, which are important to keep up to date. These include:
- The “Order Online” Button– where you can include a list of your restaurant’s most popular providers.
- Menu & Reservations Link(s) – where you can take control of your preferred links.
- Attributes–which are important sub-fields like your Accepted Payment Options, Amenities, Accessibility, and Highlights. Some of these attributes like “Black-owned” or “LGBTQ Friendly” enable a special badge that will display publicly on your Google listing.
Monitoring + Reporting
Don’t just set it and forget it! Monitoring your information to make sure it’s accurate is key to prolonged Google Business Profile success. Be sure to update your Google Business Profile, website, and other listings when there are changes to your information like the business operating hours, menu items or to add new photos.
|Pro Tip: Use a Business Information Spreadsheet to keep all of this information in one place, that way you have a centralized place for all business information needs. This information can be shared with your restaurants’ managers so your whole team stays in the loop.|
Set up a cadence, like every Friday or every few weeks to check in on your business. Carve out some time to respond to all the positive and negative reviews that customers are leaving on your profile. Reviews are a key conversion factor for Google Business Profile! You can use Google Business Profile’s Insights tab to monitor the data and analytics of your listing(s). Here you can see how many people are finding you from Google, what customers searched to find you, what zip codes they are coming from, etc.
If you are a local business, you simply cannot ignore the benefits that Google Business Profile can bring to your local search visibility. Use our guidance and utilize as many of the features as possible, and you will already be one step ahead of the competition since many businesses simply fill out the basics and leave them be.
Be the business that has an active and busy listing, that earns great 5-star reviews, and whose profile leaves competitors wishing theirs performed as well as yours!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Google Business Profile or other digital marketing needs, please contact us.