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Imagine you’ve just moved to a new city. You’ve been unpacking boxes all day, dinnertime is fast approaching, and you’re craving Thai food. Chances are you’re going to pull out your phone and search for “Thai food near me.” Your search doesn’t disappoint. Google serves up a list of Thai restaurants and you click on one to explore their business profile on Google, including location, menu, hours of operation, customer reviews, photos, and more.
A business profile on Google isn’t just for restaurants and retailers. It’s also an amazing (and free!) tool that health and wellness practices and solopreneurs can leverage to be more findable in their local markets.
Anyone with a Googleaccount can create a Google Business Profile. But the real power comes from optimizing your profile to give potential clients as much information as possible about your practice and make it easy for them to explore, reach out, or book an appointment.
Keep reading to understand the advantages of having your own business profile on Google, and get pro tips on how to create, optimize, and improve the local search ranking of your Google Business Profile.
Advantages of Creating a Business Profile on Google
Your Google Business Profile isn’t just a free business listing – it can be a powerful local search optimization tool if you set it up right. In other words, it can make you more competitive with similar practices in your area by helping you rank higher than competitors in local search results.
Here are some additional benefits associated with mastering how to create a Google Business Profile:
Increased visibility. A well-optimized profile can increase the chances of your business appearing in relevant searches on Google Maps and Google Search, so new clients can easily find you.
Improved experience. Having accurate and up-to-date information on your profile – including your business hours, phone number, website URL, and more – can help potential clients answer some of their own questions without forcing them to reach out right away. It also shows that you care about providing a good client experience.
Better differentiation. By adding photos, videos, and other details about your health and wellness practice, you can engage potential clients and help them understand what sets your business apart from others.
A stronger reputation. You can’t respond to Google reviews about your health and wellness practice if you haven’t claimed ownership of your profile. By monitoring and responding to the reviews displayed on your business profile on Google, you show prospective clients that you’re professional, appreciative, and empathetic to their experiences.
Smoother conversions. A well-optimized Google Business Profile gives clients more information and easy methods to reach out to you. All of this can lead to more phone calls, website visits, and appointments.
Insightful analytics. Having a business profile on Google gives you access to analytics including profile views, clicks, messages, bookings, and the keywords people use to find you.
Stake Your Digital Territory: Creating an Irresistible Business Profile on Google
If you’re wondering how to create a Google Business Profile, there are a few steps you need to be aware of.
Step 1: Create a Google Account
If you already have a Gmail address or Google Workspace account for your business you can skip this step and go straight to Step 2. Keep in mind that while you can create a Google Business Profile using a personal Gmail account, it’s best to have a distinct Google account for your business to keep your personal email and business listing separate.
Here’s how to create a Google Account for your practice:
Click “Create account.” You’ll see three options: – For my personal use – For my child – For my work or my business. (Choose this option.)
This will take you to a new form where you can fill in the required fields and follow the prompts to complete this step.
Step 2: Claim or Create Your Business Profile
If you already have a business profile on Google that you’ve also claimed, you can skip ahead to get tips for profile optimization in Step 3.
While we’re on the topic of how to create a Google Business Profile, you might want to familiarize yourself with the rules around representing your business, to ensure your business profile won’t get suspended in the future. Check out the Google Business Profile guidelines or bookmark them to read later.
Once you have a Google Account, you can either claim your existing business profile or create a new one. You might be wondering how you could possibly have a business profile on Google if you didn’t create it yourself. If your business has been around for a while, it’s likely that Google automatically generated a basic profile for you based on publicly available information from things like directories, review sites, and social media platforms. Google does this because it helps improve the accuracy and completeness of Google Maps and other Google services. If this is your situation, you still need to claim your profile or you won’t have control over the information listed.
First, determine whether your business already has a listing. First, make sure you’re signed into your business Google Account and click Manage Now over here.
Next, search for your business name. If it already exists, you’ll see it in the drop down.
Select it and, if you’re taken to a page that says someone else may manage the profile, you can click the button to Request Access and follow the prompts to request ownership of the profile.
You can also claim an existing business profile on Google through Google Maps. Enter your business name in the search bar. If it appears in the drop down click on it and a profile will pop up on the left-hand side of your screen.
Click “Claim this business” and a new window will open inviting you to manage the business. Click the “Manage now” button and follow the prompts.
If your business profile doesn’t exist yet when you search for it, click on the “Create a business with this name” link.
Google will guide you through providing your business name and picking a category. You’ll also be asked whether you want to add a physical office location or simply add an area where your business provides services. It’s easy to follow the prompts before finally agreeing to the terms and conditions. That’s when you move on to the next step in our article: verification.
Step 3: Verify Your Business Listing
Once you’ve created your business listing, you’ll need to verify it to prove that your Google Business Profile is authentic. Google provides several verification options, including phone, text, and email. The method you choose will depend on your business and the verification options available to you.
After your business listing is verified, it’s time to start optimizing! In the past, this required having a Google My Business account, but this functionality was discontinued at the end of 2021. Now you manage and optimize your profile using Google Search or the Google Maps app.
Boost Your Visibility: Mastering Local Search Engine Optimization for Solopreneurs
What does it mean to “optimize” your Google Business Profile for local search? In simple terms, it means taking steps to make it as detailed as possible. This not only helps Google rank you higher in local search results, it provides clients with the information they need to get a snapshot of your business – including the services you offer, hours of operation, and location. Your profile shouldn’t stop at the basics, though, if you want to rank higher in search.
Here are some things you can add to your Google Business Profile to help with local search engine optimization:
Business name, address, and phone number. Make sure that your business name matches what you use out in the world to avoid getting flagged for spam by Google. And note that Solopreneurs and business owners can still have a profile even if their business doesn’t serve clients at a physical address, as long as they make in-person contact with customers.
Hours of operation. Don’t forget to update your hours if they change down the road. You can (and should) also customize your hours of operation for events like holidays or vacation shutdowns to avoid disappointing or frustrating clients.
Website. Your Google Business Profile is not a substitute for your website. Be sure to include a link to your website so prospective clients can dig into your services and story.
Description of services and pricing. Google lets you add pre-populated services to your profile and offers the opportunity to create custom services if the ones you offer aren’t already listed. You can also include a concise summary of the unique services you offer. Note that, as of February 2023, Google only allows pricing on your business profile if it’s a single price, not a range.
Photos and videos. Adding high-quality photos and videos to your business profile on Google can give potential clients a better sense of what it’s like to visit your health and wellness practice. This is not the place for stock photos, so aim to curate photos that showcase your space or services in action.
Here are two Google Business Profiles for wellness providers. The one on the left is not well optimized, whereas the one on the right provides lots of rich details for visitors.
Improve Your Local Ranking With These Local SEO Tips
If you’re looking for advice on how to do local SEO, why not go straight to the source? According to Google, local ranking is based on three factors: relevance, distance, and prominence.
This is about how well your Google Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. The more complete and accurate your profile, the easier it is for Google to serve it up to the right people. In addition to the tips offered in the last section of this article, here are a few other considerations you can add to your local SEO checklist:
Choose the right categories. Categories describe your business. They are one of the factors that influence your local search optimization. The primary category you choose should be as specific to your business as possible. For example, if you were a holistic nutritionist you would have a few pre-populated categories to choose from including “naturopathic practitioner” and “nutritionist.” Note that you can highlight additional categories to further complement the main one selected.
Stay up to date. Your Google Business Profile isn’t meant to be set-and-forget. Refreshing hours, updating descriptions and photos, and even adding events all represent best practices for how to do local SEO.
Google Q&A. Your clients and potential clients have questions. Google Q&A gives them a simple way to ask them. One thing to be aware of is that anyone can answer a question based on their knowledge or experience. Users who have visited or interacted with the business can share their insights, but Google’s Local Guides can also answer (and get rewarded with points when they do). On the off chance that you do receive rude or offensive questions or answers, you can use the report function to flag it to Google support.
To make the most of Google Q&A you should be actively monitoring it and participating to provide accurate, helpful information. This helps to show your expertise while building trust. You can enable notifications for questions and answers through Settings in your Google Business Profile. You can also both ask and answer questions on your Q&A to provide helpful information to prospective clients.
Add keywords. Sprinkling in relevant keywords and phrases to your business description and the answers in your Q&As can offer Google additional relevance signals and increase the chance you’ll appear in local search results. This helps to drive more traffic to your profile on Google Business. Be mindful of not going overboard with keywords – you want your responses to come across as empathetic and genuine and not like they were written by a keyword-stuffing robot.
Google evaluates how far a business is from the location a person specifies in their search. If no location is specified, then Google uses what they know about the user’s location before offering up search results.
The exact algorithm and weighting of distance in local search rankings may vary over time. Google is continually tweaking its search algorithms to provide the most relevant results to users.
This essentially means that the better known your business is, the more likely it is to appear in search results. While this might feel like a chicken-and-egg dynamic for a health and wellness solopreneur who is trying to build their profile, there are activities that can help to build prominence.
Reviews and responses. Positive customer ratings and reviews help to establish credibility and can attract new clients to your practice. While it may be tempting to ignore or downplay less-positive reviews, responding to both positive and negative sentiments shows that you value client feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.
Responding to reviews is also a solid local search optimization tactic. Google rewards businesses that do it, and your response itself is an opportunity to inject keywords that are important to your business. For example, a practitioner who offers nutritional counseling could work the phrase “nutrition counseling” or “natural nutrition solutions” + their location into their response to a review (i.e., Thanks for your kind words! I love being able to offer natural nutrition solutions in Toronto that help people get back to feeling like their healthiest selves).
Adding posts to your profile. You can share news, offers, and events through your Google Business Profile. This provides fresh content for potential clients, encouraging the views and clicks that increase your engagement metrics. Each post also provides an opportunity to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases, increasing the likelihood of appearing in local search results for those specific terms. Check out the specific rules around post types and what you can/can’t include over here.
Unleash Your Social Presence: Connect Your Business Profile to Social Media
You can’t directly add social media accounts to your business profile on Google. However, by putting the right pieces in place, you can get Google to add them for you.
First, you need to make sure your website URL is added to your Google Business Profile. This helps Google understand the connection between your profile and your website.
Next, your website needs to contain links to your various social media profiles, like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Typically these would appear in either the header or the footer of every page of your website. If you’re using social icons, make sure they have alt text associated with them (e.g., Freshen Up Nutrition on Facebook, Freshen Up Nutrition on Instagram, etc.)
Next you need to add Local Schema Markup with the same property for all your social media profiles. This gets a little technical, so if you have a partner who helps with your website they can perform this step for you. You can also review a detailed walkthrough on how to do it in this helpful video.
Interlinking between your social profiles also helps to speed up the process. Again, the video goes over what steps to take and how long you’ll likely have to wait.
Adding your Google Business Profile to your website
Adding your business profile on Google to your website helps visitors easily access essential business information without having to navigate away from your site or perform additional searches. It also offers local search optimization as Google values consistency and cross-references information across different platforms. Luckily, adding your profile to your website is also fairly straightforward.
Navigate to Google Maps and enter your business name in the search bar.
When your profile pops up, click on the Share icon on the far right.
This opens up a share window with some HTML code. Click Copy HTML.
Navigate to your website editor or content management system. Head to the page where you want to embed your Google Business Profile. This could be the homepage, Contact Us page, or a dedicated About Us page.
Paste the code you copied from Google Maps into your editor. Then save and publish the modified page. Your embedded Google Business Profile should now be visible on your live website.
Ready? Set? Build Your Google Business Profile
Conducting outbound marketing to attract new clients to your health and wellness practice takes a lot of time, effort, and money. A well-optimized Google Business Profile is your secret weapon for ranking high in local search and making it easy for people to find you.
If you weren’t sure where to start with how to create a Google business profile, we hope reading this article has you excited to jump in and get started. If you follow our tips and keep actively optimizing your Google Business Profile you can continue attracting new clients to your practice for the long term.
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