If you’ve read the first part of this blog series on local SEO directories, you’ll already be familiar with the concept of online business directory listings. These listings provide a great way to gain visibility for your business, as well as help potential customers find you more easily.

After you’ve reclaimed your old business directory listings, it’s time to take advantage of new opportunities and create more online business listings. This can involve submitting your business information to online databases or creating listings on specific directories that serve your geographic area.

Google Business Profile, Bing Places for Business, and Apple Business Connect offer ideal directories to start your local SEO strategy. Adding your business to a wider variety of online directories will help improve your presence in local search results and ensure that potential customers can easily find your business.

Google still retains a dominant share of the search engine market, making Google Business Profile one of the most effective directories for any business to join.

Google Profile for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses

Google has been the world’s leading search engine since the early 2000s. Despite the best efforts from its competitors such as Yahoo and Bing, Google is still dominating the search engine market over 20 years later. Not only is it the most sought-after search engine by Internet users, but it also provides a range of valuable resources, tools, and technology for businesses and organizations.

Google’s Business Profile Manager (formerly Google My Business) is a powerful, free resource for businesses of all sizes. The platform allows businesses to leverage Google’s vast network, giving them a great boost in terms of digital presence and visibility.

A well-optimized Google Business Profile can help businesses reach more customers, increase brand awareness, directly showcase their products or services, and drive more overall sales. When done correctly, an optimized Google Business Profile can give businesses a major SEO advantage.

However, a staggering 58% of small and medium-sized businesses overlook the advantages of local SEO. Investing in local SEO services provides your business with an effective, powerful, and long-term strategy for staying a step ahead of your competition.

Did You Know?

An overwhelming majority of small to medium-sized businesses fail to recognize the benefits that a well-optimized Google Business Profile offers and consequently miss out on key SEO opportunities.

Benefits of a Google Business Profile

Boost local brand awareness

Consider treating your Google Business Profile as a miniature version of your main website. Include all your major business details, such as contact information, locations, and the services you offer. Your Google Business Profile is a free extension of your web presence, making it easier for customers to find out more about you online.

Get found by your target audience

The Google Local Map Pack is a specialized search engine results page (SERP) that uses Google Maps to show businesses nearest to the user’s location. It pulls information from your Google Business Profile, allowing customers to immediately access essential information such as your business address, opening hours, contact information, and reviews. Optimizing your business profile increases the chances of Google featuring your business at the top of its local map pack search results, thus, helping your business get found.

Establishes trust in your brand

Establishing trust with your customers is the key to maintaining a successful digital presence. One of the most effective ways to build a relationship with them is by showcasing past and present reviews. Google Business Profile puts your reviews on prominent display, giving you an impressive boost in visibility. The more positive feedback you receive, the more trustworthiness and authority your brand will earn, leading to increased confidence when purchasing from your site.

Take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity to boost your site rankings and grow your customer base.

Click on each of the images below to learn more about content, directories, and Google profiles for local SEO:

Google Business Profile Optimization Services Blue Zenith
Online Web Directories for Local SEO Near Me
Local SEO Services Blue Zenith

Google Business Profile Walkthrough

Manage Your Google Business Profile 

Google Business Profile: Questions and Answers

We provide simple, direct answers to some of the most commonly asked questions in regard to Google Business Profile.

How can local search boost my odds of showing up first?

Local search is one aspect of Findability. Local search is defined when people search for services local to their location. Often, when people make these searches, they use the term ‘near me’, such as, ‘digital marketing near me’. Local search uses local business directories, like Google Business Profile, and local Maps to allow your business to show up first beside your competitors. Does this mean you only work with local clients? Not necessarily. What it means is that you are using the tools available for your business to capture clients searching locally for your services. 

Local search results are what pops up first on Google when people search for services. You know the section – it shows a Google map and map pins show you the businesses that offer the services you Googled within your specific location. So how do you get your business listed there? For Google, that is done when you list your business on Google maps. You manage that listing through your Google Business Profile. 

How do I get my business in the maps section on Google?

Google Map Pack is the section of the Google search results that has map pins in a local map showing you local businesses that offer the services you searched for. When a business is shown in this section, you’ll notice Google displays a summary of their Google reviews  and overall star-rating as well as the number of reviews the business has received. This helps you, as the consumer, choose the business you want to learn more about. This coveted spot is sought after by local businesses, since it’s one way that consumers can learn about your services. 

So how is your business shown in the Google Map Pack? That comes down to an optimized Google Business Profile listing, as well as a public address for your business. Good testimonials and reviews also help when it comes to getting those new customer clicks.

What are the most important sections to optimize my Google Business Listing?

Let’s look through the Google Business Profile sections and review why each section is so important to how your business shows up on Google.

Manage Your Business Profile Information

This section tells Google more about your business and provides an overview to your online visitors. The first step to optimizing your business listing is reviewing the business information and business profile description for accuracy. Make sure that your business description matches your current business offerings and uses keywords that accurately describe your offerings and services. Don’t use links within the business descriptions. Links will be removed. There are specific places in the business listing to add links – and that is the only place you are allowed to include links.

Business Address

If you have a public business address, your business is shown on Google maps. That gets your business shown in the Google Local Maps section of the search engine results. Google Local Maps is the coveted spot of showing your business pinned on a local map. By reviewing your profile listing information and optimizing the important sections, you allow your business to be more visible to online customers searching for your services. 

Business Category

So how does Google know what your business does? It comes down to defining your products and services inside your business listing, as well as showing a good understanding of what your customers are searching for. As an overall optimization strategy, understand this:  By categorizing your business properly, by defining services and products that your business offers, and by answering basic questions that your customers are looking for, you are giving Google a better understanding of your business – as well as better connecting to your online visitors as they search for solutions.

Choosing the right business category may be the most important aspect to optimize your business listing. Reviewing your business category and choosing the right main category, and proper sub-categories, is one way to get your business the right exposure. 

And one thing to note: just because you reviewed your business listing in the past, doesn’t mean that your listing is complete. It is recommended to periodically review your business directory category and subcategories to see if there are any new categories that Google has added that applies to your business.

Business Services Area

At the time of this writing, you can designate up to 20 service areas. It is my recommendation to stick to local service areas, but you can also include other states in those service areas, as long as you don’t exceed 20.

Read Reviews: Manage Your Online Reputation

Positive reviews or testimonials are a huge benefit to your online reputation. Google Reviews are even more important, as the number of reviews are shown along with your business information when your Google Business Listing is displayed. This section of your Google Business Profile is the area where you can manage your online reviews. 

Ask Your Customers to Leave You A Review

It is recommended that you ask your customers to leave you a Google review using your unique google link review link. To find this link, there is a button that says “Ask for reviews” (if you don’t see it, expand your collapsed options to find it as the last option). That will show you the unique link to send to your customers when asking for a review. Use the copy button to copy that link to your clipboard and then send that link through email to your customers.

Your Services: Manage How People See Your Business Services

There is a section dedicated to defining your services. Google will automatically add new services as it gets to know more about your business. It is recommended to make sure your services are populated along with appropriate service descriptions. These services can affect how Google ranks and serves your business.

Your Products: Manage How People See Your Business Products

There is a section dedicated to defining your products. It is recommended to make sure your products are populated along with appropriate product descriptions. These product listings can affect how Google ranks and serves your business

How Much Does a Google Business Profile Cost?

It’s completely free to list your business on Google Business Profile. This extends to businesses with multiple physical locations (such as businesses that have an office in downtown Denver, another one in Centennial, Los Angeles, etc.).

Although Google does require payment for their advertising services, Google Ads is an entirely separate platform from the free Google Business Profile.

Does Deleting My Google Business Profile Hurt SEO?

Absolutely! Haphazardly deleting your Google Business Profile can damage your SEO rankings, negatively impact your site traffic, and diminish your business’s overall visibility on the web. Furthermore, Google cannot recover deleted business profiles. We highly recommend against arbitrarily deleting business profiles, as this type of damage is often irreversible.

Why is My Business Not Showing Up on Google?

There could be a multitude of causes why your business profile isn’t showing up in Google Search results, including but not limited to:

  • You haven’t claimed or verified your Google Business Profile yet (according to Google, this can take anywhere from 7 to 14 business days). Additionally, your profile won’t be visible to potential customers until after you’ve completed your verification process.
  • Your physical business locations have changed, and your addresses haven’t been updated yet.
  • Your business address wasn’t properly entered.
  • You did not add a unique business phone number to your profile.
  • Your locations and areas of service weren’t properly set up.
  • Google detected too much keyword stuffing or other black hat SEO practices.
  • You have duplicate listings for the same business.
  • Other elements of your business profile were not properly optimized.

What is the Difference Between Google My Business and Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profile Manager is the most recently updated version of the earlier Google My Business platform, a digital local directory that helps businesses develop their online presence. The new version serves the same purpose, albeit with an improved interface and an array of additional features to help businesses market themselves more efficiently.

Google My Business vs Google Business Profile

Google Business Then  Now
Platform names Google +, Google Local, Google Places for Business, Google My Business Google Business Profile Manager
Type of businesses it supports Businesses with a physical store or brick-and-mortar locations Brick-and-mortar businesses, businesses with multiple locations, service-based businesses, and hybrid businesses
Admin access locations Manage, claim, and verify business listings through the Google My Business dashboard or app Manage, claim, and verify business listings directly from Google Search or Maps
Messaging customers Can message customers through the Google My Business messenger (functions in similar ways to a texting app) Can still message your customers directly from business listings on Google Maps or Search. Added read receipts
Calls from customers No detailed call history from Google My Business Access to a detailed call history log, including differentiation between your missed vs. answered calls (your profile must be verified to access this feature)

Hire Google Business Profile Experts to Get Your Business Ranking

A comprehensive local SEO strategy is key to staying ahead of your competitors and maximizing long-term business success. We understand that staying competitive in the digital space can be difficult, especially for busy business owners trying to manage daily operations and balance other priorities.

That’s why Blue Zenith is here to help: Our local SEO services are designed to assist you with optimizing your Google Business Profile and other aspects of your website. We provide easy and effortless solutions to amplify your online visibility, remain competitive, and maximize your business rankings.

Get Your Website Optimized!

Read Our Local SEO Content Strategy Series

This blog is the second in a series of articles about local SEO content and listing strategies for small businesses. Read the entire series by clicking through the links below.

Digital Directories: Our Local SEO Content Strategy, Part One

Google Business Profiles: Our Local SEO Strategy, Part Two

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Directories, Part Three, Bing Places For Business

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Four – Should I use Yelp?

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Five, Superpages and Dex. Are there any other business directories I should use?