Industry • Best Practice

Tips for Optimizing Your Self-Care Google Business Profile


By Boulevard

Work your local SEO magic with these helpful tips

If you’re running a self-care business, you need a Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business). 

This listing is Google’s window into your operation and will likely be the first thing a potential client sees when they go online to search for a local salon or spa. In fact, 70% of clients are more likely to visit your business if you have an updated Google Business Profile, making it one of the most essential tools at your disposal for enhancing business discoverability and client acquisition efforts.

If you don’t have a Google Business Profile or want to enhance one you’ve already claimed, we’re here to help. We’ve laid out some helpful tips explaining how your Google Business Profile affects search results and how you can get the most out of it.

Understanding how local SEO works

Before you get into the optimization weeds, it’s important to understand how Google determines what information it will present to people searching for a self-care business — and how you can get Google to pick yours over the competition.

Google relies on “local SEO” to surface relevant results for users looking for businesses nearby. SEO is short for “search engine optimization,” which is a fancy way to describe the criteria that Google feeds into its algorithm to provide better search results. While the specific details of how this is done are guarded deep within its secret underground volcano lair (or within its data centers, which is basically the same thing), Google does lay out three general criteria for how it manages local search results:

  • Relevance: How closely does your business match the search terms?

  • Distance: How far is your location from the user?

  • Prominence: How well-known is your business compared to others? 

Sometimes, the closest business to the user isn’t actually the most relevant to their needs or is less prominent within the local community. That’s why the best way to ensure your self-care business optimizes its presence within Google’s search results is through the Google Business Profile.

Tips for making your Google Business Profile stand head and shoulders above the rest

Create or claim your Google Business Profile account

You have to walk before you can run, and you have to create a Google Business Profile before you can reap its algorithmic rewards.

Before you do so, you need to check and see if a listing for your business already exists. To help your clients find what they’re looking for, Google often creates unverified Google Business Profiles based on information it can gather automatically. These profiles are usually very basic and sometimes contain outdated or inaccurate information. 

If a Google Business Profile already exists for your business, do not create a new profile, as it can mess with how Google handles search results. Instead, you can click the link that says “Own this business?” to claim it for yourself. Once you’ve verified ownership, Google will hand over the keys and grant you complete control of the listing so you can work your marketing magic. This process can take up to seven business days. 

If a profile for your business doesn’t already exist, you can create a new one

Once you're all set up, it’s time to fill out your profile.

Strut your stuff in the description, but follow the guidelines

The business description is where you can lay out exactly what your self-care business does and how it stands out from the competition. It’s a great place to list services and specialties, your mission and history, and show off your stylish flair. However, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you craft the perfect profile.

  • Avoid prohibited content. Google has a few rules about what you can and can’t do with a Google Business Profile. Things like impersonating other businesses or posting offensive content are obvious no-nos. You’re also not allowed to list personally identifiable information, like a home phone number or personal social media profile, so be sure your business has separate contact information. Using your Google Business Profile description to advertise sales or post links is also forbidden, so keep those to other channels.

  • Represent your business as clients would find it in the real world. Use branding and language you would use at your business and in physical advertising to keep your profile consistent.

  • Be concise. Your profile is a snapshot of your business, not a novel. Use your profile to give potential clients a glimpse into what your business is all about, and let your website and social media presence do the rest of the heavy lifting. Plus, irrelevant or distracting content could negatively impact your search ranking.

  • Use SEO keywords, but don’t go overboard. You’ll want to use words and phrases potential clients might search for, as Google will use them to present relevant listings (like yours) to its users. However, you don’t want to sacrifice readability, so avoid cramming endless strings of keywords into your description in the hopes that Google will find them. This is called “keyword stuffing,” and Google’s pretty good at sniffing it out, which can negatively impact your search ranking. Instead, choose a few of the most important keywords you want to rank for and organically work them into your description. 

Don’t forget the other details, and keep them up to date

In addition to your profile, you’ll also want to fill out as many of the other fields within your profile as possible. These include:

  • The business address

  • Contact information like phone numbers, email addresses, and your business’ website

  • Hours of operation

  • Products and service menu items

  • Business categories

Most of these are self-explanatory, but be sure that what you’re listing is accurate to the current state of your business. If your operating hours change or you’ve got a new service available, you’ll want to update your Google Business Profile to reflect them.

Google will use the categories you’ve chosen to list your self-care business for relevant search requests, so there are a few extra considerations here. Google’s general advice for categories is to describe what your business “is” rather than what it “has.” Be as specific with your categories as possible while choosing as few categories as possible. Google is pretty good about including general categories that relate to more specific ones in search results, so don’t add more than you have to. 

Upload your beauty business glamor shots — and videos!

Eye-catching photos are a crucial part of your profile. According to Google, businesses that attach photos to their profile see more engagement than those that don’t. Your profile will allow you to add three types of photos:

  • A logo that matches your current branding.

  • A cover photo that will live at the top of your Google Business Profile. Choose one that best represents what your self-care business is all about.

  • Business photos for providing more information about what your business offers. These could be exterior or interior shots, pictures of your team at work, or images showing off the results of their handiwork. Prospective clients will often look for results photos, so use this opportunity to get creative! Flaunt the latest haircuts or tantalize clients with a relaxing massage. If you run a medspa, using before and after photos is critical for highlighting the transformative services your business offers. Also, be sure to get permission from anyone featured in a photo you display on your Google Business Profile.

Photos should be in JPG or PNG format, between 10kb and 5MB, and at least 250px (pixels) tall by 250px wide — though Google recommends 750px by 750px. Google also prefers accurate representations of your business throughout your listing, so avoid using those retro Instagram filters or making unnecessary alterations.

You can even add videos to your profile! This is less of an opportunity for lengthy walkthroughs or advertisements and more for quick highlight reels, so get in, dazzle them, and get out.  Keep videos under 30 seconds in length, less than 75MB, and with a resolution of at least 720p, and you should be good to go.

Encourage reviews and engage with your community

In addition to having a well-detailed profile, Google will also take the reviews clients post to your listing into account when determining relevance and prominence. A high number of five-star reviews proves to Google that your business is delivering exceptional quality to its clients.

While some of your clients will leave reviews on your Google Business Profile without prompting, try to remind each of your clients to leave a review when they get a chance. Google recommends avoiding offering incentives for leaving a review. Still, you can use signage, include a reminder on payment receipts, and leverage your email marketing tools to nudge clients in the right direction. 

You can even reply to reviews to provide that extra personal touch. While replying seems to have little to no effect on your search ranking, it does show that you’re responsive to feedback and is a great way to build a deeper connection with your clients.

Google also offers built-in chat services so clients can reach out to you directly, ask questions or even book appointments. If you do end up taking advantage of this feature, be sure to reply promptly to any messages that you receive.

Add online booking to your Google Business Profile

You’ve spruced up your profile and clients are discovering it when they Google for self-care services. Now, it’s time to reduce the number of clicks between your client’s desired service and their first booking.

As you currently have it set up, you’ve likely got a phone number or a link to a website with an online booking form listed on your profile — meaning your clients have to jump through a few extra hoops to set up an appointment. Luckily, you can eliminate this friction by relying on Google integrations to create a seamless experience from initial search to booked appointment. 

Boulevard’s self-booking platform can link directly to your Google Business Profile, giving clients more flexibility for where and how they book while allowing you to leverage the same Precision Scheduling features Boulevard uses to optimize your schedule. Plus, your clients will automatically receive Google Calendar reminders for their upcoming appointment. 

Boosting your local SEO presence isn’t an instant process. But with these tips in hand, your self-care business will be well prepared to rise in the search ranks, providing huge boosts to your visibility months — and even years — down the road.

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