Google develops dozens of new products and tools each year, so it’s only natural that some stick around and others don’t make it past the beta stage. Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is one of the success stories. So much so, that it has achieved ‘must have’ status for any local business hoping to feature prominently in local search results.
What are the benefits of Google Business Profile?
As Google continues to add new features to Google Business Profile (GBP), it’s an increasingly vital tool for local businesses. The list of benefits is long, and continues to grow:
- It’s a powerful local ranking factor
- It’s important for zero-click searches
- It’s a convenient source of useful information
- It’s helpful for business comparisons
- It brings images, reviews, and offers together in one place
- It can generate bookings and appointments
- It’s used on Google Maps for directions and local business lists
- It helps search users find relevant local businesses
- It allows search users to suggest edits and feedback to improve accuracy
Why is Google Business Profile important for SEO?
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that GBP is the single most important local ranking factor when it comes to ranking in the local pack. Experts agree that how you set up and continue to manage your profile has a direct impact on your local search visibility.
That importance continues to grow too, with over 6 in 10 marketing pros believing that Google Business Profile is more important year-on-year.
When it comes to ranking factors, the anatomy of your Google Business Profile matters, with Google taking cues from different parts of your listing profile. The information you provide, from the category you choose for your business, to what customers say when reviewing you, is a treasure trove of information that tells Google where you’re located, what you do, and how customers engage with you. This in turn feeds into the local search algorithm.
Research confirms that GBP signals make up around 36% of your Local Pack ranking, more than any other ranking factor. That means that your listing performs a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to telling Google when and where your local business should appear in the search results for local consumers.
Google Business Profile and zero-click searches
If you carefully study a Google local search results page, you’ll realize that you can get pretty much all the information you need, from a physical address and phone number to reviews and images, from the search results page (SERP).
You no longer need to click through to a local business website to decide if you want to visit the location, how to get there, when they’re open, what number to call to speak to someone, or what to expect when you arrive. All of those details, plus many more, are available directly from the search results.
The reason why they are available on the SERP is simple: Google Business Profile. Almost all of that information is pulled from your Google Business listing, meaning it puts you in immediate contention for visits, calls, and conversions even if that search user never visits your website. Without a Google Business Profile, you aren’t in the competition.
As a local business owner, this opportunity to make a conversion at this early stage, without someone ever needing to click through to your site, is arguably one of the most valuable GBP benefits.
Google Business Profile is a convenient source of useful information
Just as your Google Business Profile provides Google with a series of useful data points about your business, it’s also incredibly useful for local consumers too. Your GBP provides a range of useful information about your business, from how busy you are at any given time of the day, to opening hours, service options, and health and safety protocols.
It’s helpful for business comparisons
The process of researching local businesses can be frustrating and time-consuming if it demands individual visits to a range of different websites. For those consumers who are short on time and just want an easy side-by-side comparison, Google Business Profile is it. The search user can access key information, including review-star ratings for any number of local businesses directly from the search results just by clicking on the listing. Moving up and down the list is easy, enabling quicker, more stress-free decision-making.
It brings images, reviews and offers together in one place
Images, reviews, videos and offers can all help a search user to decide on a local business to frequent. Hunting down the various components could be time-consuming, but Google Business Profile collates all of those useful content assets together in one place, making it easy for the search user to access the information they need from a single centralized source.
As a local business, having the ability to share local updates, post pictures, showcase your best reviews and publish news and special offers from your profile is invaluable, especially in areas where competition is tough.
By making full use of your GBP listing—sharing professional images, collecting and responding to reviews, pushing promotions and special offers—you will be proactively giving local consumers reasons to choose your business.
It can generate bookings and appointments
The ability to take bookings and appointments directly from your listing is one of the most prominent Google Business Profile benefits for service businesses. Whether you’re a hair salon, a chiropractor, a restaurant, or a sports massage clinic, making it as convenient as possible to book an appointment can only be good for your bottom line.
With GBP, the search user can click to make a booking or reservation directly from the search results. This is helpful for the local consumer and potentially lucrative for your business, thanks to the increased convenience and visibility on offer.
It’s used on Google Maps for directions and local business lists
In addition to options to call or email your business, Google Business Profile makes it easy for consumers interested in visiting your location to arrive directly at your door thanks to a ‘directions’ feature. Google Maps and other properties use this to help local search users plan their journey with ease from their location.
If you’re targeting an increase in in-store visitors or foot traffic, this feature is very useful.
It helps search users find relevant local businesses
Hunting down relevant, high-quality local businesses is made easier with Google Business Profile. Search users are given suggestions and recommendations to find exactly the local business they need, whether searching for a specific product or, a particular type of business such as a women-only gym.
Lists of suggested businesses, helpful information such as review summaries, questions and answers from other consumers, ‘people also search for’ suggestions, and nearby places all help the user find the local business they need, even if they don’t have a specific business in mind when initiating their search.
Search users can provide direct feedback on listings to improve accuracy
Unlike organic search results where users can’t easily flag up any inaccurate information or suggest changes, Google Business Profiles allow users to ‘suggest an edit’ or provide feedback on a listing. This means that inaccurate or out-of-date information can be easily flagged, allowing the business owner to take fast, corrective action.
In addition, users can also add their own reviews and upload photos sharing their personal experiences of the business in question, making it much easier for other local consumers to select the right business for their needs.
Is Google Business Profile worth it?
It should be clear by now that GBP offers a wide range of benefits to businesses and search users alike. In addition to being the top local SEO ranking factor for the local pack, it also makes it easy to showcase useful information about your business, ultimately making the process of searching for, comparing, and selecting a relevant local business much easier for local consumers.
With bottom-line boosting benefits such as booking and reservation buttons plus the ability to share offers, news, and imagery, it can also make a notable difference to your local business.