Working with Clients on Google Business Profile Listings
Jennifer Cornwell joins the SEO Rant Podcast to share her experience working with clients on their Google Business Profile listings:
The importance of giving your clients the right outlook on Google Business Profile
Helping clients navigate bad reviews
Giving the client the tools to sort out Google's contradictory messaging
When working with a client on their GBP listing nothing is more important than them having the right mindset. If your client has a warped understanding of what GBP is and what it's all about then their expectations of you might be similarly misaligned. That's why we dive deep into how to set the right expectations with your clients around their GBP listing.
Here's a summary of what we discussed...
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Informing Clients About Google Business Profile Best Practices
It's important for clients to understand what Google Business Profile is fundamentally about so that they understand why certain practices are OK while others are not. Businesses need to understand that GMB is essentially a way for people to find your business so that they can either procure your services or visit your store.
Without a business understanding this you as an SEO will get questions like, "Why can't I set my GMB listing to my PO box?". While it may seem simple if not overly obvious that a GBP listing is about either a physical location or service area it can actually be confusing to business owners. A business owner can look at GBP and all of its bells and whistles and options and elements and walk away thinking that GBP is more of a marketing platform than a business finder. If your clients have such an outlook their expectations of how you should be managing their listing might lead to a bit of "unhappiness" for everyone involved.
When Clients Make Mistakes With Google Business Profile
Clients, who have attempted to set up their own GBP listing, can create a bit of a mess for you to untangle. Say you have a doctor's office where the practice has a GBP listing... and then the 25 doctors who work there have their own GBP listing. That can be a big project for any SEO. In such a case you might not even know who has access to all of these various and repetitive accounts.
This is not as uncommon as you might think. Imagine our medical practice here buys another practice and wants to take over their GBP listing and keep the reviews. Getting that done is not always as simple as you might think and if something goes wrong, getting GBP support to handle it quickly is a crapshoot.
If you run into a scenario where you will have to untangle a very large mess you need to be upfront with the client and help them understand the road ahead. Again, it all comes back to expectations.
Helping Businesses Deal with Bad Google Business Profile Reviews
Despite the fact that a business might think an SEO can remove all of its 1-star reviews it obviously doesn't work that way. It does behoove you to understand where a business is coming from, no matter how silly the notion of removing every bad review might sound. As an SEO professional bad reviews are just part of life, to a business they're a threat to revenue and are downright daunting.
Think of it like this, a business owner might not know how to even start dealing with a negative review. Haven't you ever been flustered when someone criticized you? Remember, the business owner is "in it" - they don't have the advantage of "perspective."
Also, they might very well feel they don't want to even respond to negative reviews. Why engage? It's part of your job as an SEO to walk them through this. To help them see that a negative review is not the end of the world and that not responding at all is a bad look to future consumers who might see a lack of response.
Google's Messaging Can Confuse Business Owners
Another important thing to consider when working with a client on a GBP listing is that they might be legitimately confused. Google sends out mixed messaging. On the one hand, they give the business owner the power to customize their listing to a very large extent. On the other hand, Google often decides on their own what to show and what not to show. That can be very hard for a business to understand.
Imagine a competitor carousel that appears within your client's Local Knowledge Panel. It can be very hard to explain that to them. The listing feels like it's their property but at the same time, Google retains ultimate control. That dynamic can be very confusing to a business. It's worth being transparent about this at the outset of your work together so that expectations are properly set.
Help Your Client Understand Their Gooogle Business Profile
One of the most important things you can do is to help your client understand the "why" behind Google and GBP. As mentioned, it's easy for a business owner to get stuck on all of the bells and whistles GBP offers. However, it's important for them to understand why Google includes all of these options and what Google's intent is.
Having a client understand what Google is intending to do in GBP and with the features available to them in GBP can help give them the right mindset. It's all about approach. Having your client approach GBP with the right mindset means getting them on board with why Google does what it does in GBP.
Moreover, it's easy for a business owner to get stuck in the options presented by GMB to the detriment of doing what's best for the user. As an SEO it pays to help your client keep their eye on the prize... helping their current and potential consumers.