Google continues to double down on Google Business Profile on a consistent basis by adding new features, updating existing features, and growing the ways it attracts interested buyers to help them find the information they’re looking for. As you know, Google Business Profile is vital for all businesses, but especially for local businesses who can leverage this free platform by simply investing a bit of time.
As marketing consultants we often are enlisted to set up, fix, or optimize Google Business Profiles. Through this process, we’ve seen numerous problems and wish to help you avoid them. Here’s our list of the top 10 most common Google Business Profile problems we encounter:
Common Google Business Profile Problems
1. Unclaimed Profiles
Some businesses have been surprised to discover they may already have a Google Business Profile even if they hadn’t set it up. Google used to populate Google Business Profiles, and its predecessor Google Places, with information from other sources in order to fill out their business database. Here’s how to claim your profile.
2. Unverified Profiles
If you’re setting up your profile, you’ll need to ensure you complete the verification step or your profile won’t be publicly visible. Google most often verifies your business address by sending a postcard with a verification code in it. Here’s info about verifying your profile.
3. Unselected Or Poorly Selected Categories
Categories are the primary connector for Google to match your business with the products or services people are searching for. You need to ensure your Primary and Secondary Categories truly match the services or products you provide. Once you’ve selected them you can begin building out descriptions, including pricing information. Be sure to provide as much information as possible, and use all the space allowed. Check back into your categories at least monthly as information often gets changed by user-provided information or Google’s algorithm.
4. Pointing To Old Website Or Unsecured Website (http vs. https)
This is a very common issue as many websites were originally unsecured HTTP sites, but have since been updated to HTTPS. It’s important to point to your secure URL.
5. Duplicate Profiles
Many businesses accidentally create duplicate profiles, or in some cases, purposely create them, thinking that more is better. But in Google’s eyes, it’s all about building trust through correct, relevant information, so duplicate listings can actually hurt your Google rankings. It’s not always a straightforward process to merge or delete an existing profile, but our friends at Search Engine Journal have created a great guide to help you, found here.
6. Missing Information
Your job as the business owner is to ensure that Google has all the information it needs to effectively match your business to the people searching for your products or services, so be sure to take the time to fill in all the information within your profile. Some of the most common missing details we’ve seen: phone number, hours, holiday hours, website URL, appointment link (if you have a way for customers to book an appointment on your website), pricing information within your products or services, service areas, menu link (if you’re a restaurant), and accessibility attributes. None of this is difficult, you just need to make the effort in order to reap the rewards.
7. No Posts Or Lack Of Consistent Posting
Google has built out the Posts section of Google Business Profile over the years and it’s now fairly robust, and they’re leveraging this area for COVID information, regular posts that link to your website, updates, presenting offers to the public, featuring products, and even promoting events. Any time you play Google’s game you come out ahead because Google loves Google, and you can’t get much more Google than posting on their Google Business Profile platform.
8. Lack Of Photos
It’s not really very intuitive, but your photos on Google Business Profile can actually generate a lot of interest in your business. People looking for photos about your business, logos, photos of your services, photos of your products, photos demonstrating outcomes (before and after), photos of your teams, photos from events, virtual tours, etc… the list of photos you can share that will garner views is limited only by your imagination.
9. User-Provided Information Overriding Your Correct Information
Google has started to ask visitors and people in your business’s location to comment and confirm information about your business. We’ve found on many occasions that people have suggested changes that simply aren’t true, and Google will automatically apply these changes to your account. So it’s to your benefit to frequently check the information sections of your Google Business Profile account and review what people have suggested for changes to ensure it’s correct.
10. Questions And Answers
At the time of writing this eBook it’s not easy to find this function, but it can be a great boon to your account. This is a fantastic function of Google Business Profile that allows people to ask your business questions and for you to answer them. Find your Google Business Profile listing by Googling your company name, looking at the listing on the right-hand side of the screen, and then scroll down until you find Questions and Answers. If you don’t have any questions you can seed it by clicking ‘Ask A Question’ yourself and then answering it. This is a function of your profile listing that we see growing in importance.
Arming yourself with this information about Google Business Profile, staying diligent, and building a monthly review of your profile account will help ensure you’re keeping ahead of the competition and maximizing the platform for generating more visitors, leads, and phone calls for your business.