In the fast-paced world of business, it pays (literally) to stay on top of the latest happenings and trends in the digital marketing space. Take, for example, a Google Business Profile, a free web tool created to help local businesses gain increased visibility in Google search. For businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, it’s important to ensure that they not only optimize, but frequently re-visit their profile to stand out from their competitors.
What used to be called Google My Business has now been renamed to Google Business Profile (GBP), and it’s a powerhouse for local businesses looking to maximize their SEO efforts. It helps businesses improve their discoverability. For instance, a GBP allows businesses to be found in the Google ecosystem. So when a person searches “restaurants near me,” you can ensure your profile will appear. Without it, the algorithm won’t allow for it.
GBP also improves your business’s SEO and builds trust with your customers. Since Google search is intent-driven (the user’s search query is based on something they want to take action on), it not only advances your marketing efforts, but builds credibility with customers (past and present) through updated business hours, reviews, and posts. And with upcoming updates, Google will now be adding even more features to help businesses unlock the power of its platform.
But before you jump tabs to go look at yours, note that Google does have updates coming! From avoiding duplicate posts to posting fresh (and original) images, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading to learn about what you need to do to ensure your business profile stands out from the rest.
Manage Your Profile on the Front Page of Google
Previously, users would need to access their dashboard through a specific URL in order to access their profile’s dashboard and make changes. As long as users are logged into the appropriate Gmail account, which manages the business profile, this update will allow users to search for their name and manage their profile right from the front page of Google.
Messaging Access Through Your Desktop
Business profile managers will now be able to access the messaging function of their profile through the desktop version. Previously, this function was only available on the mobile app. This will benefit businesses since they usually have a desktop computer opened and ready to use. It will allow for quick and seamless communication between them and their customers as well.
Increased Visibility Through Google Maps
Google is enhancing the power of Maps by adding two new features.
Firstly, users will have access to a “live view” of the local area that they’re in.
Secondly, Maps users will be able to get the “vibe” of the area they’re in through a new feature called “Neighborhood Vibe”. This interactive feature allows people to get more information about a particular area and see what some of the popular spots are by reading through the profiles of other users who have been to that area and the businesses that operate there. This will give users information about your business, including your name, hours of operation, reviews, and crowd levels.
Enhanced Spam Detection
In order to encourage fresh and current updates from businesses, Google also rolled out a new policy requiring users to avoid duplicate content on their profile. This includes photos, posts, videos and logos. Anything that falls under this will be considered as spam.
What is detected as spam in the new update?
Google wants to ensure that any and all information that a business profile presents is accurate and honest. Therefore, they tightened up their policy on what they consider spam to include a list of items businesses must watch out for. Some of these include:
- Misspelling of words and/or using “gimmicky characters”
- Content which can be labelled as distracting
- Links to websites that are irrelevant to the business
- Content that is blurry, poor quality, or distracting
What happens if I violate these guidelines?
For profiles that are caught violating any of the policies laid out within the guidelines, those posts can be rejected and removed from Google Search and Google Maps.
Wait, so what do I do now?
Businesses that use their Google Business Profile utilize it in a number of ways. That being said, these updates are not meant to scare users from sharing posts and keeping an updated profile, but rather to ensure that everything being posted falls within the guidelines to ensure maximization.
Here is a quick rundown of all the important points you should keep in mind:
- Use original content every time. Yes, this may be difficult, but with planning and the power of Google, it’s definitely achievable.
- Avoid using the same images and videos.
- Don’t overuse your company’s logo. Using it consistently throughout your images may flag it to Google as duplicate content, resulting in its removal.
- Focus on your business and ensure your content is relevant. It can be difficult, especially for small businesses, to jump on certain trends they see online, but to operate within Google’s rules, be sure that your content relates to what you do.
- Get creative with video. Smartphone camera footage is perfectly fine. Keep things simple, but ensure the planning of content.
- Be aware of lighting and sound in your content. You’re telling a story about you and/or your business. Be sure to do it in the clearest way possible.
- Be wary of stock images. Remember, other companies may be using these as well, and since the new update flags duplicate content, your post may not be approved.
A Google Business Profile can be your bread and butter when it comes to your virtual storefront. There are numerous benefits to be gained from having a strong business profile, especially since most people on the internet use both Google Search and Google Maps. That being said, with new updates being rolled out often, it’s important to ensure that business owners stay on top of releases to use them to their full advantage.
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