Google Business Profile Updates to Prepare for the Holiday Season

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Local digital marketing in holiday seasons

We’re fast approaching the peak holiday season. In fact, for many, it’s already in full swing.

E-commerce sales for November 2021 to January 2022 are forecasted to rise 11%-15% to between $210 billion and $218 billion this year. In-store shopping is also anticipated to rebound to a 33% share in 2021 from 28% in 2020, coming close to the 36% estimated for 2019.

An economic forecaster at Deloitte Daniel Bachman said consumer spending is expected to be strong during the upcoming holiday season as vaccination rates rise. As consumers are more comfortable being outside of the home we are likely to see increased spending on services, including restaurants and travel, while spending on goods will continue to hold steady. 

To keep up with the surge in sales expected this holiday season, local businesses must prepare their Google Business Profile (GBP, formerly Google My Business) to help shoppers in their searches by presenting the most updated, accurate and detailed information possible.

Our web experts have shared 8 Google Business Profile optimisations to bring your profiles up to date, stand out from the competition and improve local visibility in time for holiday shoppers.

1. Update Special Hours

If your business hours differ from your regular hours during the holiday season, we recommend setting Special Hours in your GBP.

Your business might stay open later on weekdays to accommodate shoppers after work for the month of December. Setting Special Hours to notify shoppers of this change to your operations would be beneficial. By setting Special Hours, you provide shoppers with the information they need to shop in-store. 

Follow these steps to set Special Hours:

  1. Sign in to your Google Business Profile.
  2. Click on Info then Special hours.
  3. Click Confirm hours to set hours for an upcoming holiday (such as Thanksgiving or Christmas). If it is for a different date, click Add new date.
  4. Type in the opening and closing times for the date.
  5. Click Apply to save changes once you’ve updated your dates/times.
  6. Special Hours vs. More Hours
  7. Use More Hours if your business plans to provide specific services at different times during the holiday season.

advertising marketing tactics

If you plan to provide specific services at different times during the holiday season, use More Hours rather than Special Hours. Perhaps you want to open an hour earlier for senior hours to keep senior shoppers safer this holiday season?

Don’t forget to mark your business as Temporarily Closed when you decide to close for any reason. A business may temporarily close for a number of reasons, such as if a COVID-19 outbreak happens at a business location and needs to be closed for cleaning. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, may also cause a business to temporarily close down.

 As Google shares,

“If your business is closed for 7 or more days in a row, or will be closed for an unknown period of time, you should mark your business as Temporarily closed.”

2. Check information of your location

 local marketing location infoThe holiday season is a great time to review your location information. This is especially important if you have multi-location businesses. You need to regularly audit each of your location’s business information.

Google users can suggest an edit for your business. The edit can be accepted by Google and you may not even be aware the change has been made. This can lead to false information being published, such as the wrong physical address or phone number for your business.

But consumers expect accuracy. In fact, one of the primary drivers of frustration for local consumers is inaccurate information in search. And remember, nobody needs to deal with 

A recent study by Rio SEO finds that 84%of respondents said they expect a brand’s website and listing on Google to have accurate business information. So it’s crucial that your listings across all directories contain accurate business information to drive conversions and build trust this holiday season. This includes hours, addresses, phone numbers, business names and website links.

3. Optimise product descriptions

If your products only appear on your website, you are missing out on conversion opportunities.

Google Product Editor allows brands to showcase their product catalogue on desktop and mobile. By adding your products to Product Editor, searchers will see what you have available and at what price when they see your Business Profile.

Once your product feed is set up on your Business Profile, make sure you optimise your descriptions for your holiday deals to be found for text searches as well as long-tail searches. Say you are offering a special discount on TVs this holiday season, you may want to add “Christmas TV sales near me” to your product description.

Or, for long-tail searches, you may want to add “the best Christmas TV sales in Burwood, VIC” in your description. Additionally, when writing product descriptions, consider the following:

  • What will a consumer want to know about this product?
  • Is this product in stock at this location?
  • How soon can the customer expect this product to ship?
  • What date should the customer place their order to receive this product in time for the holidays?
  • How will this product benefit the consumer?
  • What keywords am I trying to target and should I include in this product’s description?
  • How can I use my keyword without compromising the quality of my content and avoiding keyword stuffing?

4. Keep your images current

Review these stats:

  • When analysing 580,853 images across 15,191 GBP listings, BrightLocal found that businesses with more GBP photos got more clicks, phone calls and driving direction requests.
  • Businesses with more than 100 images got 520% more calls than the average business while those with just one image got 71% less.
  • Businesses with more than 100 images got 2,717% more direction requests than the average business while those with just one got 75% fewer.

yop4 - google business profile photo

This means having many high-quality images not only correlates to more conversions but can also provide the visual stimulation needed for a customer to consider your brand. Your images on your GBP also act as a representation of your digital storefront–showing customers what they can expect when they visit your store. Keeping these images current can also more accurately portray the in-store shopping experience your customers can expect to have this holiday season. If your business redecorates for the holidays, take a picture of the inside of your location and different aisles and share these images on your GBP. This helps your customers know what to expect when they visit your stores.

5. Manage reviews, messages and Q&A

Overall, holiday sales in November and December have averaged about 19% of annual retail sales over the last five years. With nearly a fifth of all sales occurring during the holiday season, this likely leads to an influx of customer service requests. Customers will ask questions, leave feedback and seek assistance from your brand this holiday season. Prepare to meet them wherever they’re asking questions and have the staff available to accommodate the rise of requests to come.

In GBP, searchers can reach out to your business in three places. These places are your reviews, messages and Q&A.

Google Reviews provide you and your customers with pertinent information about your business operations. Reviews appear prominently next to your Business Profile in Maps and Search.

The aforementioned research shows that 50% of consumers feel more confident in a business when they see the brand actively responding to reviews. Your business should have a team in place to respond to both positive and negative reviews. But responding to your negative reviews should be at the top of your priority list to encourage customer retention and loyalty.

Google Messaging lets customers reach your business in real-time. To enable messaging you must first turn on chat. Customers will then be able to see a “Contact us now” button on your Business profile and can message you at any time. Both messages and photos can be shared when messaging customers.

Google Q&A allows users to ask your business any question. Additionally, any Google user can also leave an answer to questions. These questions and answers appear on your Business Profile. Often, a user can leave a wrong answer. By actively monitoring the questions and answers that come in for your business. By taking the time to answer questions, your business is better able to maintain the voice of authority. Answering questions also allows you to build relationships with current and prospective customers.

6. Holiday FAQs

Drafting responses to frequently asked questions and publishing these to your Business Profile is a great way to address common questions your customers might have. These questions might include what time you stay open until on Black Friday if you’re open on Christmas Eve, or what your policy is for holiday returns.

Preemptively answering popular questions your customers might have will also ease the burden on your support team, allowing them to focus their efforts elsewhere and on different platforms. To add questions and answers your customers may ask this holiday season to your Business Profile, take the following steps.

How to Add Holiday Q&A to Your Business Profile

  1. Log into Google using a personal account.
  2. Click the “Ask a Question” button on the Business Profile.
  3. Enter your question and hit “Post”.
  4. Repeat the process for all the questions you’d like to answer.

How to Answer Q&A

  1. Sign in to your Google Business Profile.
  2. Select “See All Questions”.
  3. Find the question you’d like to answer and click “Answer”.
  4. Type your response and click “Post”.

7. Leverage Google Posts

Google Posts can help you share COVID-19 shopping safety information, holiday offers, discounted products, holiday events and more. Posts show up in the local panel on both Google Search and on Google Maps. They can include text, photos, or videos (depending on Post type).

Google posts

Here’s a scoop for you: Google Posts are often underleveraged by businesses. This means optimising your Posts will help your listing stand out from your competitors. When examining 2,000 different businesses in 100 markets, a little more than half of the businesses have posted a Post on their GBP.

To create a Google Post:

  1. Sign in to your Google Business Profile.
  2. From the menu, click Posts.
  3. Choose the type of post you want to create and the elements you want to add to your Post (ex: text, photos, button, etc.).
  4. Choose to publish or preview your Post.
  5. To publish your Post, click Publish in the top right.

On a related note, per Google’s Post guidelines, all uploaded media must meet the following size requirements:

  • Minimum: 400×300 pixels and 10 KB size limit.
  • Maximum: 10000×10000 pixels and 25 MB size limit.

8. Review your attributes

Attributes provide searchers with more details of what they can expect when visiting your store as well as the safety measures you’ll have in place this holiday season.  If a searcher is concerned with avoiding in-person contact while shopping, for example, you can share your socially-distanced service offerings or the safety measures you have in place.

Attributes also allow you to showcase ownership information such as identifies as women-led or Latino-owned. The attributes available to your business will depend on the primary category you’ve selected. An in-depth list of attributes by category can be found here.

To review the attributes available to your business, follow the following steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Business Profile.
  2. Open the location you’d like to manage and review attributes for.
  3. From the menu, click Info.
  4. Find “Add Attributes” and click Edit.
  5. You can then search for the attribute/s you want to add or scroll through all the available options for your business.
  6. When you’re finished updating your attributes, click Apply.

We recommend selecting all the attributes that are applicable to your business and continuously monitoring for new attributes as they become available.

How We Can Help

During the holiday season and beyond, businesses across every vertical can benefit from keeping their Google Business Profiles accurate and up to date. By doing so, your business ensures consistency of information, encourages more conversions and builds a positive user experience. Starting your efforts today in time for the holidays builds the foundation for future milestones and seasonal events to come.

But we understand how busy businesses get during the holiday season. Why not let us help you? With our Google Business Profile Management Service, you will get a custom review strategy that aligns with your business. This helps establish a connection, builds brand loyalty, and skyrockets your rankings as reviews grow over time. Your Project Manager will answer all of your new Google reviews, engage in conversations with customers and compel searchers to convert into clients

Take advantage of Google Business Profile extensive features and functions. From business categories, attributes, descriptions, precise map pin location and many more. Our local SEO experts will optimise your Business Profile from major details to the finer points. We will create compelling content, share videos/images, events and offers for you. We’ll help increase your website traffic and conversions with direct calls-to-action to grab your audience’s attention.

Our Google Business Profile management service builds positive relationships with your customers to keep them coming back for more. Let our team respond to reviews and questions, showing them that you’re listening and that you care, especially during one of the busiest times of the year.

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To find out how we can help you with your Website + Marketing, using our unique location marketing platform called Top4, get in touch today at www.top4marketing.com

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