One of the most important tools a small business has for being found by customers is their Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business). When done right, a GBP can rank well, driving customers and site traffic. However, small mistakes can cause your profile not to show on the first page or even be suspended and removed altogether. As SEO experts, here are some of the most common mistakes we see in Google Business Profiles.
1. Address Issues
One of the most common issues we see is address issues. There is a lot of confusion around this topic for small businesses, especially service area businesses without a business location. Many business owners don’t realize that while Google requires an address to set up the listing, that address can be hidden and a service area displayed instead. Additionally, showing a home address or other address that a customer can’t visit (such as a PO Box) can cause your listing to be suspended. Even if customers can visit your address, Google may still suspend your listing if there isn’t proof that your business is located there, such as a sign with your business name.
Best Practices: If your business has a physical location that customers can visit, show your address on your GBP. Make sure your location has some sort of branding to show that your business is located there. Take a photo of this branding and upload it to your listing for best results.
If your business serves customers at their location–instead of having a physical location–hide your address and set up a service area instead. While you can use these to set up your business, do not display the address of your home, a mailbox, or other non-business location.
2. Incorrect and Inconsistent Information
We know that sometimes things change. Maybe your hours shift or you move locations. When things change, it’s important to update not only your website and your GBP, but also other listings across the web, such as your social media, Yelp profile, and other listing sites. Google wants to deliver accurate information to searchers. If you have one address on your Google Business Profile, but another on your other web listings, Google can’t trust the information and is less likely to show your profile to searchers.
Best Practices: Make sure that all of your business information is accurate and consistent across the web. Do a quick Google search for your business and make sure that your information is correct on all of the sites that show up. If you need help cleaning up inconsistent information across the web, a digital marketing company like Kite Media can help!
If you change any of your business information, be sure to update it everywhere as soon as possible.
3. Website Issues
Google allows you to add both a website link and an appointment link (if applicable) to your GBP. This sounds simple, but we often see businesses not utilizing these properly.
One of the biggest issues with a website link is using a link that redirects to another URL. This can be intentional or accidental, but either way, Google frowns on it. They want the link to be transparent, and redirecting looks suspicious. One common issue we see is businesses leaving off the HTTPS or www. in their URL. These links usually redirect to the correct page, but it’s still a redirect.
Occasionally, we see businesses not taking advantage of these links at all.
Best Practices: Copy and paste your website URL straight from the browser bar, instead of typing it by hand. This will ensure that it’s correct.
Utilize the website links. Every business should have a website. If your website allows customers to set up appointments, then that page should be linked as well.
4. Inactive Profiles
Google Business Profiles give you several tools to connect with your customers. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, and share photos and posts to share specials or other specific information. It’s important to take advantage of these tools! Not only do customers like to see that the business is actively engaged, but Google tends to rank businesses that are active higher.
Best Practices: Check in on your GBP regularly. Be sure to respond to reviews (both good and bad) and questions. Utilize the posts feature to highlight any specials you have or services you’d like to promote. Take photos of your products or services to share on your GBP.
We know that there is a lot that goes into managing a GBP, and sometimes businesses owners just want someone else to take care of it. That’s why we offer Google Business Profile management as part of our SEO services. Let our experts keep your profile up to date so you can focus on taking care of the customers that a good GBP brings in!