The advice in this post was written for and shared with newsXpress members last year. newsXpress regularly provides tactical business advice to its members.
I shared this advice with ALNA a few months ago, so they could share it with their members. I share again here today to reach more newsagents.
This is free advice that costs nothing to implement and is likely to attract shoppers to your business.
Research by several organisations in Australia suggest that more that 75% of in-store purchases include at least one online search. Having a current Google Business Profile is one key element in being found online.
Google Business Profile. Steps you can take to be more easily found.
Having an up to date Google profile is more important than ever. Google uses profile content to deliver search results.
Google‘s own data indicate that 46% of all searches have local intent. Use of Google Maps is common by people looking for something right now. Maintaining your Google My Business profile is the most important step to indexing well in local search and map results.
Google preferences Google My Business content in providing search results since it is verified content.
Sharing posts via Google My Business is possibly more important than what you share on social media.
Okay, so where do you start, what do you have to do? Here’s a simple to follow list. I have done this over the last few days for 2 of my businesses to ensure the advice is current.
- Do a Google search for Google Business Profile. It should bring you to: https://www.google.com/business/.
- If you don’t have a Google Business account, create one. If you do have an account, log in.
- Once in your profile, if your business is not listed, click Add business (top right), search for your business and request it be added. If someone else ‘owns’ the business listing it could take a few days to be released to you. If your business is not found in the search, add it manually.
- Do not rush this. Make sure you review everything.
- Click on the pencil icon to edit your profile.
- Choose your business category. Too often retailers select one. Select as many as apply to your business.
- Description. Make sure you describe your business. Use at least 500 of the 750 words allowed as Google uses this in search results.
- Hours. Make sure they are accurate.
- Location. Make sure your business location is correct. The service area is the area you serve. Choose wisely. You can put in multiple locations. So, put in your town first, then, put in the bigger city you are near if appropriate.
- More. Click on every option available under more as they matter in Google results. For example, noting the business as woman owned, if true, will help with results.
- Add a profile photo if you do not have one already.
- Click on the create post icon – it’s the third icon, next to the camera. Create a post.
- This should be about a product.
- Include at least one photo.
- Start with a headline.
- Write text. Aim for less than 200 words. Think about what people will search for. Have a good headline. Use paragraphs.
- If you sell the product on your business website, use the add a button option to add a link to the product on your business website.
- Google will check and approve the post.
Once you have done this, you should see the profile and post online in less than a day. Once that happens, the Google door is open for you.
Our advice is that you add a post at least weekly. Each post should be about a single product or single brand, something people are likely searching for. Keep the focus narrow. Write as you. Be relaxed. What is it you love about the product? Who is it for? Be grateful about having it available.
If you are just starting, consider a post a day for the first two weeks to get your content up and running, to encourage Google to notice you.
On the posts themselves, they should be more informative than, say, an Instagram post. remember, you are writing for people on their phones searching.
Google will preference profiles that offer fresh content. This is why I say posting weekly is important.
Your Google business profile works best for you when you have a website as that facilitates shopper browsing.
The other benefit of creating and maintaining a Google business profile that reflects your businesstoday is that suppliers will see it. This could help suppliers who pigeonhole you as a newsagency realise that you are not.
We appreciate some of you may have read this and thought it’s the last thing I need – more work to do. The thing is, more shoppers today search online than not.
Footnote: if you are thinking of paying someone to do this for you, I advise against that. This is your business. You know what you want people to find, and buy. A marketer or a friend will do more of what they want, and that may not match what you and your business need.
Now, we asked ourselves some questions for you:
- Can I use content I put on my business blog? For sure. Google may see it as duplicate so maybe trim it for your Google profile.
- How long should a new post be? Given that this content is most often accessed on the phone, 200 words is considered the max.
- How long do posts last? Currently, 6 months. It used to be 7 days. Google will continue to play with this.
- Should I always include a photo with a post? Yes.
- How many photos should I add? At least one. My suggestion is 4.
- How detailed should the photos be? Each photo should be one product, clearly visible.
- Should I use hashtags? Hashtags serve no purpose on these posts.
- Can I schedule posts? Yes, by using an external platform like Loomly, Sendible, OneUp or similar.
- What else do I need to do with the profile? Engage. Respond to reviews. Answer questions. Show the business as engaging.
Of course, it’s up to you if you create a profile for your business. It costs nothing and is likely to help people find you, and visit.