How to Optimize your Google Business Profile

search bar with a man on a phone in the background

Are you paying enough attention to your Google Business Profile (formerly known as “Google My Business”)? If you’re sleeping on this increasingly important page, it’s time to wake up – your GBP is one of the most important gateways to your website that can help you generate leads and grow your business. Without a GBP profile, you could be missing out on 55% of traffic that comes from searches with local intent.

What is the Google Business Profile?

Also known as the “local pack” or “map pack,” your GBP is a mini-website for your business on Google. This business profile on Google includes information like your business name, contact information, address, phone number, services offered and customer reviews.

Why is the Google Business Profile so important? Do I really need one?

A Google Business Profile is essential to generating leads for your business. More than half of local searches come through the local pack. An effective Google profile for business will make your business look more reputable in the eyes of searchers, which will dramatically increase the number of sessions you’ll get – a fully optimized profile will get you seven times more clicks than your competitors, and those clicks are 50% more likely to end with a purchase or lead.

Are there rules about what I can put in my profile?

There are. Google has guidelines that every profile must follow. All information listed must be correct and legally accurate – so if you have an “inc.” in your business name, for example, you need to include that. Some businesses were trying to increase their visibility by “keyword stuffing,” or packing as many commonly searched keywords into their business name as possible, something Google frowns upon. There can’t be anything offensive, vulgar or illegal in your content. Finally, your business listing MUST be for an actual, single physical address. No home addresses, PO boxes or virtual addresses. If you don’t meet their guidelines, Google will suspend your profile and you’ll have to work with Google Support to get it back.

How does what’s on my GBP affect where my business shows up in search results?

Many different factors go into ranking your GBP. Four of the most important are Proximity, Relevance, Prominence, and Behavioral. Let’s take a look at what these mean, why they’re important and how you can use them to your advantage.


Proximity is all about location, location, location – specifically how close your business’s location is to where the searcher is searching from and the keyword being searched and if it includes a location indicator (such as “lawn care in Raleigh”). This can be a challenge for home service businesses like pest control or lawn care – after all, you’re traveling to people’s homes to perform service, so an actual, physical office in a specific metro area might not seem as important to you. It is important to Google, however. This means that if you’re working in a major metro area where digital competition is high, it’s going to be increasingly important that you have a physical location in the actual city. Proximity is arguably the most important factor that goes into ranking your GBP especially if you want potential customers to easily find your business.


Relevance is just what it sounds like: How relevant is your profile to what’s being searched? This includes:


  • Primary business category. GBP has a “main category” section that is primarily what Google looks at when determining what searches your profile should show up in. For lawn care and pest control, this is very straightforward; it starts to get complicated if you offer both lawn care AND pest control, or pest control AND insulation services, etc. To business owners and customers, it makes sense that you’d offer both of these services. However, to Google, they are unrelated services, and they don’t offer great options for optimizing a GBP profile for more than one service. As a result, profiles usually rank well for one service and not the other.
  • Service offerings. This is where you can specify the different offerings you have under the main category – for example, bed bug treatment, termite control, and so on.
  • Keywords in reviews. When people leave reviews that say things like “Joe’s Company offered the best pest control services,” they help Google understand your offerings and increase your chances of ranking well.
  • Keywords in your business name. While they do help improve rankings, as we mentioned earlier, Google frowns upon this practice – you could run the risk of having your profile suspended.


This one’s about how prominent your business is in your community – both online and offline. Having a strong brand image and being a known, reputable company are important here – think Terminex or Orkin for pest control. You can influence this factor by adding reviews to your profile, getting backlinks to your site from other reputable sites, and integrating your paid and organic efforts for one holistic digital marketing strategy.

Reviews also contribute to your business’s prominence. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of good reviews. Focusing on getting consistent reviews over time is one of the best things you can do for your company’s success. Not only do they provide necessary social proof – 91% of people read reviews for local businesses, and 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions – but they are an important ranking factor for Google. If three similar local companies are showing up in a local pack along with you, reviews could make the difference between the searcher going with your company over the others. For many businesses, it can be worth investing marketing dollars in a review generation software that makes it easy for your happy customers to leave effective Google reviews.


Behavioral refers to click-through rates, which simply means how many people are finding and interacting with your business online. Features on your profile that can influence this ranking factor include pictures, Google Business Profile posts, webchat features, booking features and – once again – reviews. Many of these are holdovers from Google’s failed Google+ social media platform, which they added to Google Business Profile in 2014.

Posting regularly to your GBP is a relatively easy way to help your ranking while also helping convert leads by answering questions, providing information about your company and its services, showcasing special offers and generally putting a face behind your company – similar to your social media accounts. Your best strategy:

  •   Post regularly, but no more than once a week
  •   Include high-quality photos or videos
  •   Keep it short, like a tweet
  •   Include a strong call to action with each post
  •   Link to your most relevant landing page

·  Be sure to follow all of Google’s guidelines: no vulgar or offensive language, no spam, and no “phone stuffing” – posts that include phone numbers will be rejected

Booking features are a newer option for field service companies; this allows potential customers to book a service appointment with you directly from your GBP, without ever having to visit your website (similar to how you can book a restaurant reservation right from a Google search). However, the Booking feature requires a third-party integration with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or scheduling program to have it live and working on your profile. Features like this and webchat also can take traffic and leads away from your website.

Your Google Business Profile is a powerful tool that can help you gain essential visibility with customers who are looking for exactly what your business offers. Creating, maintaining and optimizing your GBP is crucial to your ongoing success! Not sure where to start? The digital marketing experts at Coalmarch are here to help. Contact us today to see how we can help you take your business to the next level.