Optimising your profile
Optimising your GMB profile is a great way to improve local visibility – any good local SEO campaign should begin with GMB creation and optimisation. Please be mindful that these changes can take up to 3 days to take effect – so you might not see any changes immediately.
Once you’ve got yourself set up and ready with your basic company information, now’s your chance to make the absolute most of your profile! Usually, my process begins with adding a company description. Whatever you do, don’t copy this from your website – it needs to be a good paragraph about your business, with any key info you can’t put in the options (for example if you have office hours for enquiries but your actual service runs outside of those hours) and a description of what you actually do – not “your no.1 for getting you places” – but more like “London’s top luxury car rental service”.
Here’s an example of a good GMB description:
Getting your description right can make the difference between potential customers clicking on your profile and deciding you’re not suitable to engage with. Of course, for big brands and noted names, GMB is much less of a critical thing, due to the higher general awareness of those brands (though it should still always be important in my eyes). But for your local plumber, your independent shop, your small/medium business and your bricks-and-mortar services (hairdressers, dentists for example) or even those online-only businesses that provide a service with high search volume, a description is almost as important as the profile itself. This is especially poignant for those who don’t have websites – it gives your customer all that lovely info they need.
You can edit your description directly from the info tab in the profile manager.
When you first set up, you’ll be prompted to add a business category. It’s in your best interest to add as many categories as are relevant to your business – if there’s only one, then keep it to that one!
It’s important to keep your categories close to the services you offer – services are now listed under each category, so they all need to be relevant and related.
Services in GMB are a newer feature and involve inputting the services you provide as a business to customers. They only appear on mobile GMB listings so, unfortunately, you won’t find it on your desktop listing – and will appear either under ‘Services’ or ‘Menu’. This is something that we’ve heard rumours about being brought to desktop, but no official confirmation.
Services currently have no insights on how often users go through to this section and view it, but this is a great way to give some more depth into your business as well as giving Google that extra reason to present your profile for location-based searches outside of your brand.
To add a service or set of services to your menu, go to the left-hand tab in the profile manager and click ‘Services’, adding them individually. You can add descriptions and extra info in by clicking the confirmed service, where you’ll see an edit box appear with extra options. Try to add detail to your services where you can and if it’s a set price service, e.g. window cleaning price per window or perhaps haircuts, you can add that in too.
Products can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your GMB profile. Of course, if you don’t offer products and only offer services, this isn’t much use and Visa Versa. Here’s what products look like on your GMB listing:
This is available on both Desktop and mobile and is a handy way to showcase the products offered and give another click-through opportunity for potential customers. These are added the same way as services. Again, there’s no need to put prices in here but it helps to add them in if you have them – and also be aware that not every profile has products yet – so if you don’t have it on yours, don’t panic!
Adding attributes is done in your profile manager under the info tab. Adding attributes can improve the visibility of your business for specific searches, e.g. “Bars with live music” will more likely return your business if you’ve selected that you offer live music in your venue under the attributes tab. Attributes are only available dependent on the business type you have – so to use one of our above examples, a carpet fitting business only has a select few attributes that would be applicable to the business or establishment according to Google’s attributes feature.
How do you choose which products you’re going to buy when there’s so many available? What would you use to justify choosing one TV over another when the features are the same? The majority would say they check reviews. A digital way of having that word-of-mouth recommendation is reviews – these are critical to your local strategy. If you’re not making the most of the short link option to leave reviews – you should be! Here’s an example of one for StrategiQ: and you can find this simply by going to the ‘home’ section of your profile, and clicking ‘share my business’.
Short names are a relatively new thing to GMB – and allow your customers to find you easier:
“If you’re a verified business, you can create a short name, or a custom name, for your Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you.
When you share your short name, customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, like “g.page/[yourcustomname]”, to go directly to your Business Profile.”
This is something that currently won’t be used a lot unless explicitly shared with customers, but is a good opportunity to attach a location or a commonly used other name. It also helps google identify where a branch of a business is that might have multiple locations (alongside the address, of course).
A good example of a short name:
“SuperCarRentalsWolverhampton” < How users would naturally search for your company
A bad example of a short name:
“No1cars4rentcarrentalrentacar” < doing this will not help anyone or anything find you.
All of these extras will help you to become more visible in local search results, especially for your services and products. However, if you don’t do them correctly, they can detriment the performance of your profile.
I was recently asked if it’s worth having a GMB profile if your business isn’t a local business, bricks and mortar or gets a lot of search volume. It’s important to remember that your GMB profile and improving local SEO doesn’t only benefit those who find you via Google searches, but it also helps reinforce your reputation in the eyes of search engines across the board.
Stay tuned for the final part of Google Guides where we’ll talk about Local entities – the other things you can do as a small business to improve your local visibility outside of just Google My Business.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to know what more you can be doing with your GMB profile and how we could help you make more impact with search in your local area.