If you're a cozy bistro tucked away in San Diego or a seasoned painter operating in San Jose, do you really care if someone in Miami stumbles upon your online listing?
For the vast majority of small to mid-sized businesses, the answer's a resounding "no.” National SEO won’t move the needle for businesses that depend on local clientele. But local SEO will.
Picture a hungry family on a road trip, searching for "top Mexican restaurants near me." Or, a homeowner in distress looking up "emergency plumbing in Redondo Beach." These scenarios underline the essence of local search—it's immediate, relevant and essential for businesses that cater to local communities.
So, how do you show up in local searches and reviews?
For that, the best strategy is to set up a Google Business Profile and become Google verified. Today, we’ll walk you through this setup process, and then show you how to leverage this powerful local SEO tool to get more reviews and revenue.
What Is a Google Business Profile?
Your Google Business Profile serves as your digital storefront or service area. This free, interactive profile serves as the virtual bridge that connects your business to local customers who are actively searching for products or services related to your company.
With a Google Business Profile, you're not merely discoverable—you're granted a host of tools that enable you to easily connect with customers. You can create attention-grabbing posts, showcase your products and services with photos, gain invaluable insights into performance metrics and engage with customers by responding to their reviews.
But there’s a catch.
The search giant’s goal is to connect searchers with results that are relevant, accurate and trustworthy. To ensure that your business is who it says it is, your profile won’t show up in search results until it’s been Google verified. Without verification, you won’t be able to unlock the full suite of tools and visibility that Google Business Profile offers.
How to Become Google Verified
To get Google verified, your first task is to claim your business listing on Google Maps and then fill out its profile. For that, follow these easy steps:
- Sign in to Google Maps on your computer.
- Add your business in one of three ways:
- Enter your address in the search bar. On the left, in the Business Profile, click Add your business.
- Right-click anywhere on the map. Then, click Add your business.
- In the top left, click Menu and then click Add your business.
- Follow the provided instructions to sign up.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have one of five ways to verify the business, including:
- Phone or text
- Video recording
- Live video call
For the first four methods, simply go to your Business Profile, select Get Verified and then follow the given directions.
Verification by Mail
One of the common ways a business can receive Google verification is via a postcard. Google will send a postcard—typically within 14 days—with a unique code to your listed address. During this waiting period, it’s important not to make any changes to your business details or request a new code since the code is specifically tied to the provided business address and set to expire in 30 days.
Upon receipt, you’ll return to your Business Profile, input the 5-digit code and click Submit.
Garnering Reviews for Your Google Business with SMS
Setting up and verifying a Google Business Profile lays a solid foundation for your local marketing efforts. But it’s just the beginning. To reach the top echelons of local searches, you’ll need to receive positive, verified Google reviews that are tied to real customer transactions.
In today's interconnected world, consumers lean heavily on reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. For practically any business, there are myriad benefits of Google Reviews. For evidence of this, just look at some of the key findings from a recent Brightlocal survey:
- 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.
- 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022.
- 49% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members.
Put simply, getting authentic Google Business reviews from paying customers is paramount. But here’s the rub: while disgruntled customers are more than happy to leave an unprompted negative review of a bad experience, contented customers are far less likely to do so voluntarily.
So, how do you encourage happy customers to leave a positive review?
For businesses seeking to raise their Google Business Profile, the strategy is two-fold: ask and incentivize. In that regard, SMS marketing serves as a potent tool that every business should leverage. It's direct and frictionless, enabling businesses to reach customers easily. With an automated SMS reminder, businesses can prompt and even reward customers for sharing their positive experiences, bridging the feedback gap effectively.
Get Google Reviews with Textedly
Local search is pivotal for small-to-midsized businesses, with a verified Google Business Profile being its cornerstone. Once you’ve successfully verified your profile, you’ll need to start getting Google reviews to boost your visibility and rankings on local SEO.
For that, SMS messaging from Textedly can be your secret weapon. Our platform makes it easy to create, solicit and automate your review-gathering efforts. With Textedly, your business can seamlessly engage customers, fostering trust and bolstering your online presence.
Want to learn more about the world’s leading SMS platform?
Sign up now for your free 14-day trial.