If there is one thing Google is really good at, it’s releasing updates.
Whether it’s the search engine or other Google products, an update is always around the corner.
On November 4th, 2021, Google announced an update about Google My Business, changing its name to ‘Google Business Profile.’
It also allowed users to claim and verify their business directly on Search and Maps.
With this big-time change, we wanted to summarize how you can use Google Business Profile (GBP) in 2022, with supporting stats.
A. Customers Use GBP to Search for Businesses Online
The digital realm is expanding rapidly, with the pandemic revving its growth. Calls to businesses from Google My Business (now Google Business Profile) went up by 61% during the pandemic.
But Google Business Profile has been favored since long before the pandemic.
Let’s see how.
1. Online Is Where Customers Go
Local businesses get a lot of traction online.
- In January 2022, there were 4.95 billion internet users worldwide, accounting for 62.5% of the world population.
- At least 97% of consumers look for local businesses on the internet.
- Around 12% of consumers search for a local business every day.
- Nearly 54% of consumers look for a local business online at least once every month.
In short, your business needs an up-to-date and well-optimized Google Business Profile today.
2. The Way Customers Search
There are two ways customers find the brands, products, or services they want on Google Business Profile – Discovery Searches and Direct Searches.
- A direct search is where the customers directly search for your name or address.
- A discovery search is where they search for a category, product, or service you offer and end up on your profile.
According to Bright Local, the average business gets found in 157 direct searches and 852 discovery searches each month. That’s an average of 1,009 searches per month. It also states that 34% of local businesses get seen in more than 1,000 discovery searches per month.
3. Going from Online to Location Visits
Consumers aren’t just searching for businesses online; they actually end up going to the stores.
According to Google, people visit 1.5 billion destinations every month related to their Google Searches.
And this is how it goes:
- 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.
- 88% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a related store within a week.
- 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase.
B. The Growing Importance of Mobile Search
Mobile search is on the rise.
It accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide – 54.4% of global website traffic in Q4 of 2021.
And some 54% of people use their cell phones for maps/GPS navigation.
Takeaway: Mobile search and your Google Business profile are closely connected.
1. Mobile Searches Fuel Local SEO
- Mobile makes up 84% of all “near me” searches.
2. Mobile searches often turn into purchases
- Nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices turn into purchases.
- Around 90% of those purchases are in a physical store
- Roughly three-fourths (76%) of those happen on the same day and most (63%) within a few hours.
3. Mobile searches improve engagement
- Over 50% of auto parts and service shoppers doing mobile searches call the service provider directly from a search result.
C. Where Does GBP Help in Local SEO
No one can deny the rising importance of local SEO.
And being the leading search engine, Google is at the heart of local SEO.
1. How Important Is Google Business Profile for Local SEO?
What customers say:
- Nearly 83% of consumers use Google Search, while 55% use Google Maps to learn more about nearby businesses.
- And it’s growing exponentially – “Near Me” mobile searches grew 136% YOY.
What SEOs say:
- In all, 36% of SEOs think your Google Business Profile is the most important ranking factor for the map pack. And 6% believe that it’s important for the “regular” organic results.
2. What Do They Do?
- Google Business Profile is the Yellow Pages of the digital era, with 64% of consumers using it to find contact information.
- Another study says 53% of local consumers most frequently search to find information about retail stores, such as product/service details, location, contact information, and website.
- This results in direct interactions with the local businesses. For instance, 60% of smartphone users contact a business directly using the search results (e.g., the “click to call” option).
3. What Do Customers Expect?
While this all sounds great, your brand won’t stand a chance to win over customers without an updated and optimized Google Business Profile.
- For example, when you display reviews for high-priced products, the conversion rate goes up by 380%. For lower-priced products, it increases by 190%.
D. Actionable Insights on GBP for Businesses
So, what does it take to make your Google Business Profile stand out?
The top three factors influencing consumers’ decisions are:
- Photos: 24%
- Google reviews: 21%
- Position on the search engine results page (SERP): 21%
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Taking a deep dive into this reveals the following truth.
1. Reviews Are Very Critical
- In 2021, 77% of consumers ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses, up from 60% in 2020.
Takeaway: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile.
2. Responding to Reviews Is Equally Important
- Nearly 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.
- On the other hand, 57% say they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.
- Likewise, 51% of consumers said they feel more confidence and trust in a local business when they see them actively responding to reviews.
Takeaway: Check reviews and respond, whether they are positive or negative.
3. Photos Matter Too
The connection between high-quality, relevant images and increased consumer interaction is more than evident.
Compared to an average business, those with more than 100 images on GMB get:
- 520% more calls
- 2717% more direction requests
- 1,065% more website clicks
Takeaway: Add more photos, and keep adding them regularly.
4. Make Sure Your Call Button Works
- About 16% of businesses receive more than 100 calls each month from their Google Business Profile alone. This means users have a deeper intent when doing a local search.
- Local businesses receive 94% of calls from GMB between Monday and Friday.
Takeaway: Add a call button to your Google Business Profile.
5. Website Visits
- On average, 56% of actions on GMB listings are website visits. If your business has a website and a Google Business Profile, you will most likely see an increase in traffic.
Takeaway: Get a website up and running for your local business. It can help you widen your digital footprint.
6. Questions and Answers
Questions and answers can also help rank you better. People are usually looking for answers when they are browsing the internet for a local service or product.
That’s why 25% of locations on Google Maps have questions.
The number of questions and answers may also vary depending on the type of industry. The following industries have particularly high numbers of questions asked:
- Car dealers.
- Employment agencies.
- Self-storage companies.
- Casual restaurants.
- Insurance agents.
Furthermore, 90 % of big box stores had questions.
Takeaway: Whether you are a big brand store or a local shop, you have to answer the questions accurately. It could mean the difference between winning or losing a customer.
7. Book Appointments
Setting up appointment links takes only a few minutes. However, it can make a massive difference in upping your local SEO game.
- In 90 days, an appointment link drives about 20% of the clicks on the Google Business Profile.
- 50% of consumers looking for services still make a phone call to book their appointments. But busy phone lines would mean missing out on potential clients. Instead, an appointment link would let you book multiple appointments simultaneously.
Takeaway: Take a few minutes to set up your appointment URL.
Log into your Google account.
Go to Info and click on the Appointment URL.
And copy past your scheduler’s link and hit Save.
8. Google Business Profile Posts
Posts have been a long-standing feature of Google Business Profile. It’s the best way to reach out and convert your potential customers.
- For starters, a post gets clicked almost 100% of the time on an average. That’s way better than a direct or discovery search.
- A total of 59.60% of businesses use this feature.
Takeaway: If you haven’t already, start writing Posts for your Google Business Profile account.
E. Leveraging GBP in 2022 and Beyond
Clearly, you will need to optimize your Google Business Profile from the get-go.
Take the following steps to guide your efforts in the right direction.
1. Get Basics in Order
Local search results will favor the Google Business Profile with relevant and accurate information.
Get your basics like contact information, category, services, address, location, website link, and bio in order.
2. Use the Right Keywords
Include the right keywords and search phrases in your Google Business Profile.
This will increase your chances of showing up in relevant results.
3. Update Your Work Hours
Make sure to update your work hours whenever needed.
Google allows you to customize your work hours anytime you want.
For example, you can update work hours for a special event.
4. Add Photos and Videos
Visuals make more impact than words. So, adding photos and videos to your Google Business Profile is a must.
Just keep the following in mind.
- Use high-quality photos and videos
- Keep it relevant
- NEVER use stock images
- Add new photos regularly, it’s best if you keep a schedule.
- Add Alt Tags to all your photos for SEO optimization.
- Showcase your brand with an appropriate cover photo
- Always follow Google’s best practices, which include:
Format: JPG or PNG
Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
Minimum resolution: 720-pixel tall, 720-pixel wide
5. Be Responsive to Reviews
Responding to customer reviews is critical to improving engagement.
Make sure to respond to all reviews, whether negative or positive.
This is going to have a positive impact on potential customers.
6. Schedule Local Posts
Leverage the local posts feature.
Regularly share local posts. You can use them to publish offers, events, products, and services directly on Google Search and Maps.
It’s one of the best ways to reach out to your potential customers directly.
You can also share practical tips, insights, and the latest market trends in your niche. Be sure to add relevant links to increase engagement.
7. Don’t Forget the Special Attributes
One of the most recent features is the Special Attributes that allow you to highlight your Google Business Profile.
Choose the most appropriate Special Attribute.
8. Bonus Tip
While all these efforts do help, you can’t improve your Google Business Profile rankings without a website. It’s a great platform to showcase your brand online. Plus, a well-optimized and regularly updated on-site blog can help you improve your local SEO ranking.
In addition to this, Things like location pages, info on related businesses in the area, local reviews, and local backlinks will help improve the local authority of your Google Business Profile.
That said, keep doing whatever it is you are doing.
As Google My Business transforms into Google Business Profile, your business will need to gear up for the coming changes. In this rapidly evolving digital era, staying on top of the latest trends is necessary. These statistics will help you streamline your local SEO and marketing efforts.
For more information, you can always reach out to E2M, a premium SEO agency. Let’s connect to see how we can help.