10 Reasons to Claim & Verify Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
Local search has exploded. Just how much is a matter of conjecture and debate, with figures ranging from 26 to 50%.
We can argue over the percentages, but we can’t deny that local search is the only search that matters for a local business.
Your plumbing blog may drive hundreds of visits a day, but only a handful will be from your geographical area. And yes, some of those will convert to sales.
On the other hand, a search for “plumber” implies local intent. The top dogs in the search results will land in the coveted Google Map Pack. It’s the Holy Grail of local search.
So how in the heck did they get there?
That’s where Google Business Profile comes in.
What Is Google Business Profile (GBP)?
GBP is Google’s automatically generated listing of a business.
Every business with a physical address has a neatly formatted Google profile with images, location and contact information, business hours, etc.
It pulls GBP information into Google Maps and favors verified profiles because of the trustworthiness and accuracy of their information.
So why should you claim, verify, and optimize the profile Google already creates for free?
It should be obvious already, but I’ll list my top ten reasons.
1. You’ll rank better in the local search results.
A verified business profile will appear in more local search results and drive more phone calls, especially if you optimize it.
Why? Because it’s trustworthy and accurate. Google gives verified profiles a vote of confidence.
2. GBP will drive more local leads than any other source.
Most Culture Cube clients are local businesses. Because we track their phone visits and form completions, we get a better look at the data than most agencies. GBP can drive 20% to 60% of a local business’s online leads.
GBP is as critical to client success as their website, and maybe more. So when a new client signs up with us, we start with their GBP, which offers a quicker route to new business than SEO.
3. You’ll control your profile information.
A single negative review on Google can tank an otherwise stellar reputation. And you can’t respond to the complaint until you’ve claimed your profile.
Plus, your profile information will be a mishmash of scraped data, customer input and feedback, and maybe a “suggestion” or two from competitors.
John Q. Public will have equal access to your GBP profile and even your business description. Is that how you want to run things?
4. You can optimize a verified profile.
Why optimize a GBP? For increased visibility in the local 3-pack and Google Maps. But unlike SEO, GBP has little to do with keywords.
To optimize your profile, you should:
- Claim and verify it (duh!)
- Check it for accuracy
- Complete all fields, including the business description
- Upload as many business images as possible: your office, the people who work for you, your team on the job, etc.
- Respond to customer messages and reviews
- Post announcements and promotions
The number one factor for an optimized profile is reputation. The more positive reviews you have, and the more recent they are, the faster you’ll climb the local search results.
Images are another important factor. More images lead to more profile views.
5. You’ll appear in Google Maps searches.
Google Maps pulls information from GBP to display in search results.
You may be in the HVAC business, but if Google thinks you do appliance repair, you won’t appear for HVAC searches. You’ll get calls for refrigerator maintenance, not high-margin HVAC systems.
Google does its level best to categorize your business but sometimes gets it wrong. It’s your job to verify your profile, update your business categories, and put Google on the right scent.
6. It’s easy to do.
- You execute a Google search for your business
- You locate your business profile
- You claim it as your own
- Google will give you instructions to verify your listing, and they’re simple to follow
- Google will also tell you how to make your profile stand out
It doesn’t require special knowledge or expertise to optimize a profile, just attention to detail and perseverance.
7. It’s free.
Other than your time, managing your GBP doesn’t cost a dime.
But if you hire someone else to do it for you, be sure you understand the scope of their work and what it will cost.
GBP optimization is a critical component of online marketing. Some unscrupulous “experts” will promise the world and deliver nothing.
8. It has a faster return than SEO.
SEO is a slow process. People wait weeks or months for their efforts to bear fruit. GBP is much faster. You should see tangible results within a few days or weeks of optimization.
9. It fast-tracks your Bing Places for Business profile.
Bing Places is a business directory much like Google Business Profile. It lets you import your GBP, including all images and media, to your Bing account.
Bing accepts only verified listings; otherwise, you may have to build your Bing profile from scratch.
10. It sets you apart from the competition.
According to one study, only 44% of local retailers have claimed their Google Business Profile.
Their omission is your opportunity. Your verified and optimized GBP will stand out from the competition and make you the go-to provider in your service area.
An optimized profile will send prospects to you, not your competitors, who may naively believe their website does all the local SEO work.
About Culture Cube Digital Marketing
Culture Cube specializes in digital marketing for local businesses. Our clients include plumbers, HVAC installers, appliance repair companies, and local newspapers.
We offer the expertise of a large agency at small agency rates.
Because we specialize, we’re better qualified to promote your small business and create the most effective campaigns.
We don’t waste client money on lavish offices, fancy equipment, costly business trips, and endless meetings. We pass our savings on to you and welcome you as a partner more than a client.
Please contact us to learn what we can do for you.
Peter Losh is the SEO Director of Culture Cube Marketing in Upland, California. He's also a de facto UX designer, site builder, and content creator. Unlike most folks in the SEO biz, he works directly on the sites he optimizes, having witnessed the effects of recommendations that go ignored or misunderstood (in previous gigs).
Peter has worked on websites since the salad days of the internet, first as a graphic artist and web designer at the Centers for Disease Control. Then came several years of freelance web development, SEO and e-commerce management for business sites of various sizes, and ultimately a 10-year stint as the sole SEO Manager of PartyCity.com.
In his spare time, he enjoys classic film, classical music, and classic comebacks. And cats.
Professional Work Experience
- Search engine optimization
- Ecommerce management
- Conversion rate optimization
- UX design and analysis
- Copywriting and training
- E-mail campaign design
- Web design and development
- Graphic design