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Why Set Up a Google Business Profile: Benefits and Risks

In today’s digital age, more people search for businesses online than anywhere else. This makes it crucial for your local business to be easily found on Google and Google Maps. With a Google Business Profile (GBP), you can create a comprehensive and appealing listing in just a few minutes without any cost. This simple setup can significantly enhance your business’s online visibility and accessibility, driving more potential customers to your doorstep.

A Google Business Profile is one of the most popular and effective ways to market service-based businesses. Google displays what’s called a local map pack for nearly 70% of search queries where users look for services. This feature prominently showcases local businesses at the top of search results, significantly enhancing visibility. Consequently, many service-based companies turn to a Local SEO agency to optimize their GBP and increase their organic search visibility.

Related: What Is Local SEO & How Seach Works

This guide will explore the benefits and risks associated with creating additional GBPs, helping you to decide if and when this is the right move for your business. We have broken down the major topics around Google Business Profiles into a series of posts for you. This is part 1; to find the other parts of the blog post, click the links below.

Benefits And Risks Of Google Business Profile

Benefits:

  • Increased Visibility: Boosts presence on Google Search and Maps, driving more traffic and sales.
  • Market Expansion: Reach new customers and scale your business by setting up multiple locations.
  • Customer Engagement: Directly interact with customers through reviews and updates, building trust and loyalty.
  • Enhanced Credibility: A verified GBP adds legitimacy, attracting more customers.
  • SEO Advantages: Improves organic search rankings, synergizing with your website’s SEO efforts.

Risks:

  • Initial Costs: Expenses like rent, loans, and marketing investments for new locations.
  • Operational Costs: Additional costs for managing multiple locations, including staff and utilities.
  • Verification Challenges: Potential difficulties in verifying new locations and ensuring compliance with Google’s guidelines.
  • Risk of Suspension: GBPs can be suspended for policy violations, impacting visibility and reputation.
Related: What To Do When Your GBP Is Suspended?

Timeline: 

  • Minimum of 24 days to get your GBP created and verified. 
  • We recommend that you get 20-30 reviews before we start working on your GBP so that Google recognizes that it is legitimate and operational as a service based location. 
  • Can take 30-45 days before we start SEO work depending on how quickly you are able to get everything setup, verified, and have a good range of reviews. 

Benefits Of A GBP

The many benefits of setting up a GBP include increased visibility, market expansion, customer engagement, enhanced credibility to customers, and a myriad of SEO advantages. 

A Google Business Profile significantly boosts your business’s visibility on Google Search and Maps. When potential customers search for services you offer, a well-optimized GBP ensures that your business appears prominently in local search results. This increased visibility can drive more traffic to your website and physical location, ultimately leading to higher sales through more leads. Setting up a GBP allows you to reach new customers in different areas, making it an excellent tool for scaling your business. By establishing multiple locations, you can tap into new markets, attract a diverse customer base, and grow your business strategically. 

GBPs offers several features that enable direct interaction with your customers. You can respond to reviews, answer questions, and post updates about your business. Engaging with customers in this manner helps build trust and loyalty, encouraging repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. GBPs also allow call to actions for users to call you directly or visit your website with the click of a button. 

Google has worked really hard to ensure GBPs add a layer of credibility to your business. As a result, your customers are more likely to trust your business that has a verified profile on Google, complete with accurate information, photos, and reviews. This credibility can set you apart from competitors and increase the likelihood of customers choosing your services. 

Having a GBP can significantly improve your organic search rankings. Google prioritizes businesses with well-maintained profiles, meaning your website and GBP can work together to boost your overall SEO efforts. Due to Google’s weighted algorithm favoring their Google Business Profiles, we at Rotate Digital have focused our efforts on organic SERP rankings, a strong website, and GBPs as our main strategy to maximize your results. This synergy can lead to higher search engine rankings and more organic traffic. Since GBPs show up in the search result map pack, where 70% of the buying decisions are made, your customers can more easily find you, fill out a quote form and book a job. 

We believe in the power these Google Business Profiles possess to substantially benefit your business and help you grow. If you share that belief with us and would like to learn more, we would love to put a strategy plan in place to help you take your business to the next level. Fill out the form below and one of our team members will reach out to get you on track to reach your revenue goals this next year!

Risks Of GBPs

That all sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? With all those benefits, there has to be some downside, and sadly you are correct. Let’s run through some things you should be cognizant of before taking action. While setting up a GBP is free through Google, the associated costs of establishing new locations can be notable. 

While managing multiple locations, the first thing to consider is the rent and lease duration for this next location you are setting up. There will also be additional operational costs, including the aforementioned rent, hiring additional staff, and having more trucks as you grow and expand areas you service. These expenses can add up quickly, impacting your overall budget, meaning you may be considering using loans to aid in the expansion and you should consider the related expenses with the loan you choose.

Lastly, there is additional marketing spend needed to drive results in this new investment. All in all, proper financial planning and management are essential to mitigate these financial risks. Read “Part 2: How to choose a GBP location and office space” to get a better understanding of associated costs and guidance on which location is best for your business.

We talked about how hard Google has worked to make sure GBPs are trustworthy and consistent. Since Google weights their rankings higher to prioritize businesses with well established and optimized GBPs, they have established a very strict verification process to ensure the legitimacy of businesses listed on its platform. As a result verifying a new location can sometimes be challenging, especially if the address or other details are not accurately represented. Being prepared with the necessary documentation and ensuring compliance with Google’s guidelines can help streamline this process.

Because Google’s verification process is so strict, they also monitor these GBPs and often can suspend them if they in any way violate Google’s policies. Common reasons for suspension include using incorrect information, creating multiple listings for the same business, and not adhering to Google’s guidelines for shared office spaces. Suspension can significantly impact your business’s online visibility and reputation and hurt SEO rankings. We work with our clients through the entire process to mitigate these suspensions and get your GBP reinstated should you be subject to one. If you are experiencing any issues with your GBP, reach out to us and we would be happy to help you get you in good standing with Google and back on track to getting the most out of your SEO results. 

I’m screwed I need help reinstating my Google Business Profile. Contact us, we can help.

Why Add More Locations?

If you already have one, two, or three GBPs, does it make sense to add more? There are several reasons you may want to take this step in your business, so let’s run through them. 

You are a tenured client and you have seen the SEO process work on your original location. Your visibility is upwards or near 100% market share and you know that a new location can help scale your business. A new GBP will help you expand to new areas so you can further scale your business and revenue potential with more leads

Things are going well; you haven’t yet reached the top market share but everything is heading in the right direction, and you have some new markets that present great opportunities for your business. Exploring a new area is a strategic move which allows you to leverage your existing success and establish a strong presence in an untapped region. 

The location of your GBP is in an area that does not offer desirable jobs. You want to keep your base of operations but know that to start getting a higher ROI on your marketing spend, leveraging SEO, you will need to get a GBP set up in a more desirable area. This can be a very strategic way to lead to higher quality leads and more revenue. 

You’re just starting; you’re coming in with some pretty solid rankings. There’s some foundational work that we want to do to lock down your current location, but your eyes are on the prize, and the prize is a new location, new market, and new leads. For businesses in the early stages of their journey, expansion can be a key lever to pull to accelerating growth in your brand awareness, search result volume, and high quality leads reaching out to you. 

Timeline For A New GBP

All good things take time and that is no exception to GBPs. Let’s run through a timeline for your GBP setup and set proper expectations so you know roughly how long this process should take. Starting off on day 1, you will be making the decision to expand your business to a new location. This includes researching potential areas, analyzing market opportunities, and assessing financial viability. Once your location is secured you will be about 14 days into the process. This involves signing the lease, obtaining keys, and setting up the office space to ensure it meets all necessary requirements for verification. Then around day 16 you will initiate the verification process for your Google Business Profile. Make sure your office is fully prepared, with proper signage and a professional setup that Google can easily verify. Typically, Google will verify your business anywhere between 1 to 5 business days after your submission is sent. You are now about 24 days into the process. Once verified, your GBP will go live! From here you will begin collecting reviews immediately after the verification goes through. Aim for 3-7 reviews weekly to improve visibility and trustworthiness. Typically this can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. After the profile has been live for two weeks and has garnered some initial reviews then we can start our SEO work on it!

I’m In! Now What?

At Rotate Digital, we are bought in as well! But before setting up a new GBP location, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and ask a few key critical questions. Consider the median household income in the new area, analyze top competitors, and evaluate the suitability of the location for your business. Additionally, assess the travel distance between your current and new locations to estimate operational costs. We cover all this in part two of our blog post series, “Part 2: How to choose a GBP location and office space”, so be sure to read that next!

We believe utilizing Google Business Profiles is a game-changer for local service-based businesses. If you would like to take advantage of the benefits of GBPs for your business we are here to help! Having served over 200 moving businesses and deployed these techniques, we are the leading experts on leveraging organic SERPs, optimized websites, and GBPs working synergistically to maximize your business’ results. If you would like to learn more about Rotate Digital and how we can help, reach out to us below! We would be happy to assist you with some of the more challenging questions such as: How can I get the best return on investment for a new location? How can I prepare for initial losses when starting up a location? How do I choose where my next location should be? How do I actually set up a GBP and get it verified? This process worked for me once, how can I repeat it again and again to continue surpassing my revenue goals this next year?

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