Everyone benefits from having a Google Business Profile. But not everyone is aware of how to take advantage of it.
Many companies believe that they cannot get listed on Google if they do not have a physical office or storefront. This is not at all true. Anyone who offers local services, regardless of whether the client comes to you or you visit them, can create a Google Business listing.
Over 1000 search views are generated by the average Google Business listing each month, and 84% of those views are discovery searches, meaning that without Google, those users would not have known about the company.
That is why GBP is essential if you run your business remotely, such as from your home or garage, rather than from a physical location like an office or store.
When a user searches for terms such as “plumbing services” or “food delivery,” even if they do not enter a specific location into the search field, Google will prioritize local providers. This information is based on the user’s current location, which Google determines based on your previous activity.
Even if you do not have a business website, having a Google Business account ensures that your service appears in Google’s local search results and will bring a noticeable increase in customers. If you have a business website, it is an easy way to improve your SEO and a sure way for a company to drive traffic to its website without using advertisements.
Google will also provide you with analytics on the number of visitors to your website as a result of the listing.
Want to find out if you’re eligible for a listing and learn about Google’s features that can help your company if you are an online-only company? Keep reading our article to find out.
Business Eligibility, According to Google
“To qualify for a Business Profile on Google, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.” – This is what Google has to say on that matter.
There are some exceptions to this, such as:
- Video-rental kiosks
- And express mail drop boxes are also eligible.
(When you add these locations, Google will require you to include contact information so customers can get assistance.)
- Seasonal businesses, like ice-skating rinks only open in winter months, or seasonal hotels are also eligible.
- And delivery-only food services are permitted if they have distinctly branded packaging and a distinct website.
And according to Google, the following businesses are not eligible for a GBP:
- Rental or for-sale properties such as vacation homes, model homes, or vacant apartments.
- An ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location you do not own or have the authority to represent.
- Lead generation agents or companies.
Since we are talking about online businesses, we can understand from this list that your company must be able to interact with customers in person. That interaction can occur at your business or your customer’s location (for example, their home), but it must occur in person.
Do not forget that P.O. Boxes and mailboxes in remote locations are not recognized as valid addresses by Google.
So, your address should accurately reflect where you serve your customers when you add it to your listing. Include that information if your company is housed in an office building or has a suite or unit number to represent your location and prevent duplicate listing issues accurately.
On your listing, fill out “Address Line 1” with the street address and “Address Line 2” with the suite or unit number. To make it easier for users to find you on Google Maps, you should also adjust your map pin as necessary.
If your company does not have an office or address and instead serves customers at their location, it is most likely a service-area business.
A service-area business represents a collection of cities, counties, postal codes, or other geographic areas. Your profile can include up to 20 service areas. These designated areas aid in controlling the visible boundary on your listing.
According to Google, service-area businesses can only create one profile for the metro area they serve.
Though Google recognizes that larger areas may be required for some businesses, a service area should not typically extend beyond two hours of driving time from your location.
When you first create a profile as a service-area business, you’ll probably be prompted to enter an address, such as your home address, for verification postcard purposes.
Still, you should leave the “business location” field blank in Business Profile Manager’s Info tab. Fill out the “service area” field instead.
So, what if your company does not meet any of the criteria that we have mentioned above? Will you still be able to get a GBP listing, or will you need it at all?
GBP serves a specific function. GBP listings appear only for searches with local intent, as determined by Google. In other words, when you search for “plumbing,” Google recognizes that you need a local service provider and places the GBP listings near the top of the organic results.
However, when you search for “home improvement supplies,” it will know that you can order those from an eCommerce store just as easily as you can buy them from a local shop, so the top results on the search engine results page (SERP) will be for eCommerce websites, with the GMB listings further down.
If your company only operates online, your primary keyword terms for SEO campaigns will probably not be those primarily dominated by GMB listings. There are also more effective methods you can try if you want to strengthen the local SEO authority of your website.
To compete with the thousands of other consultants offering similar services across the nation, an online marketing consultant who works with anyone will find it more challenging to rank first for a keyword like “online marketing consultant.”
However, if they are more specific and aim for “Boston online marketing consultant,” the number of competitors decreases significantly.
Even though fewer people use local search terms, if you can rank on the first page for a relevant local keyword, more people will see your website than if it were on page 10 for a more general term.
Here are some effective local SEO techniques you can use that don’t even involve GBP to increase your chances of ranking for a local keyword for your online business:
Highlighting your city on your website: You can mention your city on your website even if you do not provide a specific address for a physical location. Think about incorporating location-specific keywords in your page’s title tag and headings, as well as other SEO metadata.
Creating local content: If you’re marketing content, consider adding topics related to local issues to your content strategy. A clothing eCommerce store could compile a list of the best sweaters for the New Jersey winter.
A career counselor could write a blog post about the Top Professional Events in Philadelphia for Job Seekers, etc.
Encouraging reviews and testimonials: The majority of people agree that reviews are a crucial ranking factor for local results. Ensure you know the terms on all the review sites you are using.
You might violate their policies if you make an effort to entice more reviews by providing a discount or free merchandise.
However, a straightforward email expressing your desire for a review or links on your website that direct visitors to your review site profiles is acceptable.
Joining local professional organizations: Investigate the professional organizations in your area. There will almost certainly be at least one Chamber of Commerce, and organizations focused on specific industries or marginalized groups.
Many of these organizations offer directories to which you can add your information (including a link), strengthening your local SEO and providing another way for potential clients to find you.
Additionally, by getting involved in the local professional scene, you’ll develop the kinds of connections that will help you boost your company’s reputation and subsequently boost website traffic.
Sponsoring local events: Sponsoring local events can be a strategic way to build links to your site as well as an excellent opportunity to strengthen your ties to the community.
As you develop more relationships with individuals and businesses in your community, your brand’s awareness will grow, resulting in more traffic to your website and links pointing back to it.
There you have it! Remember that there are always ways to improve your SEO, so keep expanding your knowledge if you don’t want to miss out on easy methods to grow your business.