Optimizing Your Google Business Profile: A Comprehensive Guide
Google Business Profiles are free business pages from Google that help promote your physical location. If you’re an ag lender, optimizing your profile will make it easy for customers to find your contact information, reviews, website, and the nearest branch locations. When your profile is optimized, it also means your branch is more likely to pop up on the first page of search results when someone searches relevant keywords — for example, “ag lender near me.”
Claiming and verifying your bank’s Google Business Profile
Search your address
Your ag bank may already show up in Google Maps results. If your business does not appear when you search your address, there will be an option in the listing to “add your business.”
If your business does appear in the search results, there will be an option in the listing to “claim this business.” But the better option is to claim using a Google My Business account.
Claim your bank’s profile
In order to claim your ag bank’s Google Business Profile, sign into your business’ Google profile. If there is no existing information there, you will need to add your bank’s name, physical address, and phone number.
Verifying your bank’s location
Google’s verification process involves sending a postcard through the regular mail to your physical address (not a P.O. box). This postcard usually arrives within 14 days and will include a verification code y.
Once you have that code, log into your Google Business Profile account and verify your bank’s listing. You will need to complete this step for each branch location.
Claiming and verifying your bank’s Google Business Profile is tedious But making that information easily accessible to people searching online will drive customers to your location. Now when a customer searches your bank’s name or relevant keywords for your services, your bank will show up in the results.
Completing your bank’s business information
Once your bank’s profile is claimed, it is time to build it out with important business information. For each location you verify, be sure to fill in:
- Business category
- Service area
- Operating hours
- Contact us links or appointment page
- Accessibility information
- A description of your bank, including specifics about your location
- High-quality photos
- Website link
Showcasing your bank with high-quality visuals
Potential customers will usually gravitate to photos on your Google Business Profile before copy, so make sure to include original images — not stock photos.
Start by taking high-resolution photos and videos of your physical location, including entrances, exits, parking lots, drive-thrus, signage, interiors, and exteriors. Then include photos of your team in action and happy customers. And finally include photos that represent your bank’s services. For ag lenders, these could be images of farms or land you’ve helped your customers purchase.
Phones, drones, and professional photographers can help you get high-resolution images for your bank’s profile.
Photo tip: Add “alt text” to each of your Google Business photos. Alt text allows Google to better understand the image and will help with searches.
Crafting a compelling bank description
Businesses often make the mistake of making their profile descriptions either too vague or too complex. You should not assume people know what your ag bank provides, nor should you expect them to understand complex descriptions.
A compelling description is clear and representative of your business. A well-optimized description includes relevant local keywords that will help your location appear in search results. Here are a few steps for writing an informative and engaging bank description:
- Be accurate and relevant
- Keep it concise
- Mention the primary business category (such as ag lending)
- Mention high-value products or services (like land or equipment loans)
- Specify a service area (if you only service certain counties, for example)
- Include unique selling points (do you offer a certain type of farm operating loan no one else in the area does? Have other farmers on staff?)
- Use natural, simple language
Relevant keywords — words or phrases people might search for online — should be incorporated throughout your description. Avoid “keyword stuffing” and only use the phrase if it fits naturally into the text. .
The Google My Business description character limit is 1500, so stay within this limit.
Managing and responding to customer reviews
Your Google Business Profile will make it easy for customers to see and leave reviews of your bank — and will help potential customers decide whether or not to visit your bank. Positive, 5-star Google reviews will boost your bank branch’s online reputation. But negative reviews can stop customers from coming in.
It can be extremely valuable to encourage your customers to leave reviews. You can do this either by simply asking them or incentivizing them. Just be careful when offering incentives. It goes against Google’s policy to offer discounted products or services in exchange for reviews.
Responding to reviews professionally
Good or bad, it is imperative that you respond to all customer reviews on Google. Your willingness to start a dialogue will show potential customers you take your business,services, and customer satisfaction seriously. When professionally responding to reviews, try to imagine you are speaking to the customer face-to-face. Be respectful of their opinion and make your case honestly.
Avoid common mistakes responding to reviews
It is important not to take customer reviews personally. There are many reasons a customer will leave a bad review, and not all of them are the business’ fault. Still, it is important to approach each bad review as valid and respond to it as honestly and respectfully as possible while also defending your bank’s reputation. Often, if a business is willing to work with the customer and right the wrong, that customer will change theirreview.
Leveraging Google Posts for banking updates
Google Posts are a feature that allows businesses to share messages directly with their customers. These messages show up directly in the local panel on Google Search and Google Maps.
Google Posts help advertise your brand, products, sales, special events, and offers to customers.
Creating informative and engaging Google Posts about banking services
When writing Google Posts, use the same principles you used to write your bank description. Use natural language you would use in a face-to-face conversation. To drive Google Search traffic, use relevant local SEO keywords here too.
Add high-quality visuals, such as photos and videos, to your Google Posts to help encourage customers to visit your location. Relevant links to event pages or service pages will also help customers get the information they need.
Scheduling timely Google Posts
If your bank is holding a local event, such as a BBQ or a sale, learn how to schedule Google Posts so they are released in a timely manner. To schedule a Google Post, go to your dashboard and select “Update, Event, or Offer”. Enter the relevant information, preview your post, and then schedule it.
Monitoring performance and gaining insights into your business profile
Google allows you to track the performance of your business profile for a selected period of time. This is a powerful tool because you can see how your optimization techniques are working. You can also see how Google Posts improve traffic to your business profile.
Here are the steps to track your Google Business Profile performance:
- Go to your Business Profile
- To find your report:
With Google Search, select Performance
With Google Maps, select Promote >Performance
- At the top, select a date range for your report and select Apply
Key metrics to monitor
Key metrics to monitor depend on your goals. You should always track clicks and impressions because they show how many people are exposed to your bank’s location and information, and how many of them click links. If the goal of a Google Post is to drive traffic to a specific service page, like agribusiness capital loans, you can track how many clicks the promotion received during a certain date range.
Ag banks should pay close attention to metrics because they will help you shape your marketing strategy. If your audience responds to a particular post, or if they respond to content that posts at a particular time, repeat that strategy. If a certain page or service is not receiving the traffic you hope, consider revising its description or create a different post to drive traffic.
Implementing local SEO strategies for banks
You want your bank to rank for local search results relevant to the services you offer. This is where you need local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.
Optimizing for local ag banking keywords
The best local banking keyword strategy is to focus on keywords that are most relevant to what your bank offers. If your bank offers agriculture loans in Lubbock, TX, then focus on keywords relevant to that search (like “Texas ag loans” or “ag lender in Lubbock”).
A good way to discover a local keyword’s value is by searching for it on Google: are there a lot of results? Are they relevant? . This is also a good way to see how you rank for certain keywords.
Keeping your bank’s Google Business Profile up to date
Customers find it frustrating when a business’ profile is incorrect or out of date.
Updating your profile information is a great way to inform customers of positive changes in your business. For example, have you opened a new branch? Are you now offering land improvement capital loans in addition to the regular land loans you’ve always offered? Always change basic information, such as open hours and days, with up-to-date information to avoid confusion from customers.
Refresh visual information and posts
It is important to refresh the visual materials (photos and videos) on your Google Business Profile. This keeps your business from becoming stale in the customer’s mind. If a customer sees the same photos over and over, they are going to think your bank has not updated its appearance or service offerings.
Have an employee or professional take new, better photos of your interior, exterior, landscaping, and any cosmetic changes your bank makes.
Optimize your Google Business Profile, earn more customers
For ag banks, a Google Business Profile is like a digital location. 92% of online users use Google to find businesses — so meet those customers where they’re at. When establishing your profile, focus on these areas:
Choosing an ag lender is a hard decision. If a customer searches for an ag bank in their region and gets out-of-date, incorrect, or incomplete information about your location, they’re probably not going to want to trust you with such a big choice in their life.
But a complete, optimized Google Business Profile will help customers — both current and future — find your branch bank using Google Search and Google Maps. When they can easily see your services, information, and previous satisfied customers, they’re more likely to stop by your location. And your staff can take it from there.