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Optimizing Your Bank’s Google Business Profile

Digital Marketing

Optimizing Your Bank’s Google Business Profile

Elle Humphries by Elle Humphries

Director of Marketing

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Elle has been involved with the WSI Team and has been helping them simplify the internet since 2016 when she came on board as a marketing intern. Elle became a full-time digital strategist in May of 2017, in which she focuses her talents on Project Management and Digital Marketing for the WSI team.

Elle is now the Director of Marketing for WSI as she brings many attributes to the table, such as social media marketing, email marketing, display/search marketing, search engine optimization, content creation, customer relationship management, project management, and more!

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Summary:

Well, it happened again. Google has changed the name of yet another service. What used to be known as Google My Business is now Google Business Profiles! If you’re wondering what some of the things are that you should be doing on your bank’s Google Business Profile(s) you’re in luck. Here at WSI, we specialize in helping community banks navigate the digital landscape - and that includes Google Business Profiles. In this article, we’ll talk about what Google Business Profiles are and how to get started. We’ll also provide tips on how listings can build interest in and grow traffic to your bank. 

What is a Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profiles are free business pages available through Google to promote your physical location(s) and make it easy for people to find you, leave reviews, and more. It allows those who are Googling key phrases for local businesses (“banks near me,” “community banks near me,” etc) to quickly and easily find information about your business and the services you offer. 

Your profile can be personalized with photos, special offers, hours of operation, and even posts. You can add special attributes about your bank that set you apart from the competition as well as receive (and respond to) direct messages to stay in touch with customers. Plus, when someone leaves a review you can reply and thank them for their kind words - or respond and resolve low-star reviews and preserve your reputation. 

Google will also show you insights so you can discover more about what keywords people search to find you and understand your customers better. 

Still not convinced that you need to spend some time improving your Google Business Profile? 

  • Forbes: “It’s an essential part of any business’s online presence and often the first place customers look.”
  • SocialPilot: “Google search remains the favorite go-to for making vital buying decisions. One of the first things (online) customers will do is an in-depth Google Search.”
  • Hootsuite: “Google is the world’s most-visited website (and) holds more than 92% of search engine market share. Creating a Google Business profile is an important way to attract new customers.”

How to Get Started with GBP

To get started with Google Business Profiles, you need to add it through Google Maps if you don’t already see it listed. If it’s already there, all you’ve got to do is claim and verify it. We’ll walk you through each of these steps so you know exactly what to do. 

Add Your Bank Through Google Maps

Sign in to Google Maps. Once you’ve done that, you have three options you can use to add your bank:

  • The easiest way to add your business is to type your address in the search bar and then look below your address. (This area is called the business profile.) Click on “Add your business.”
  • Type your address in the search bar. To the left of your address, you’ll see three lines atop each other. Click on those, and then click “Add your business” toward the bottom of the list.
  • Right-click on the map marker for your business address. Click on “Add your business.”

How Google Finds Info On Your Bank

Because it’s a public service, Google Business Profiles only include the information you provided for your listing. Google gathers info from these other sources:

  • Public information. Examples include crawled web content (information from your community bank’s website)
  • Data from third parties. Third parties can be digital marketing agencies like WSI, SEO companies, affiliate network providers, or more. 
  • Google users who provide information. Google users can add info such as operating hours, and Google will verify that info and add it to the listing. They can also add reviews and photos. 
  • Info based on Google’s interactions with your bank.

Note: If you feel a local listing is inaccurate or should be deleted, you can suggest an edit or flag it for removal.

Claim Your Bank’s GBP

If you’ve not yet claimed your location, it’s pretty easy to ensure that you’re the “owner” and have control of the information. To claim your location, open Google Maps and enter your business name and address. Click on your business name and then hit “Claim this business,” then “Manage now.” Choose a verification option and follow the on-screen instructions to claim your business. If you don’t see “Claim this business” that means it’s already been claimed and you should be able to manage it (or will need to find the account that has claimed it).

Once you’ve claimed your location, Google may contact you to review the information you provided and make final changes. It can take a few weeks for this update to be reflected on your Google Business Profile. Once your info is live, you’ll be able to see your information is now publicly available. You (or anyone else, for that matter) can find it by searching for your bank’s name and city in Google Search or Maps. 

Verify Your Bank’s GBP

Every business can be verified by regular postal mail, but some can be verified by email, phone, or even via Google’s Search Console. Here’s a brief overview of how to verify your bank’s profile

  • Verify by mail. A postcard with a unique code on it should arrive in 14 days (though there may be delays due to COVID). Sign in to your Business Profile, click “Verify Now,” check the address for accuracy and request the postcard. When it arrives, keep your code secure and enter it into your Business Profile under “Verify business” or “Verify now.” 
  • Verify by phone. Sign in to your Business Profile, choose your bank and click “Verify” to enter your phone number. Make sure you can answer the call/see the text before you do. Once you receive the code, enter it into your Google Business Profile account. If calls are routed to a central service area of the bank, be sure to let them know “Google will be calling” so they won’t think the call is spam - and they write down the code they are given and then get it to you to complete the verification process.
  • Verify by email. First, make sure you can access your email address on the verification screen. Then sign in to your Business profile, choose your bank, and “Verify.” Select “Email” from the list and follow the steps in the verification email. 

Note: if you have over ten locations, you can take advantage of bulk verification

Banks and Google Business Profiles

In this section, we’ll cover the unique ways that banks can optimize their Google Business Profiles. We’ll talk about why you should use it and how to make the most of it. Finally, we’ll talk about ATM listings. Read on!

Why Your Bank Should Use GBP

The goal of any community bank is to be there for their community, and a Google Business Profile is one of the ways you can ensure you stay highly visible to potential customers. Because 92% of online search traffic is conducted via Google and four out of five consumers use search engines to find local info, it’s important to get yourself out there. 

So how can your customers find you via your Google Business Profile? By typing in one of the many phrases below: 

  • “Credit unions near me” - 60,500 monthly searches 
  • “Local banks” - 3,600 monthly searches 
  • “Banks near me” - 90,500 monthly searches
  • “Local credit unions” - 3,600 monthly searches
  • “Closest bank” - 2,400 monthly searches

Although these numbers reflect nationwide search volumes, your bank will benefit from having a full-bodied Google Business Profile. 

Making the Most of Google Business

As you develop your Google Business profile, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Double-check your listings. Make sure your listings are 100% complete and accurate, so make sure that you check them regularly to ensure all the information is up-to-date. 
  • Get people to review your bank. If you solicit reviews from loyal customers, those reviews will help convince potential customers of how awesome your bank is. 
  • Hunt down other citations. Get listings on other website directories (ie: Yelp and the YellowPages) too. By being consistent, you’ll rank higher for Google. 
  • Classify your bank using categories. Categories help people make better decisions on which bank to go with. Make sure you only choose the categories relevant to your bank, but here are some ideas: Bank, Credit Union, Federal Credit Union, Money Order Service, Check Cashing Service, Bank or ATM, Savings Bank, Investment Service, Investment Bank, Financial Institution, Financial Consultant, Money Order Service.
  • Showcase your bank’s local focus. Use a local phone number on your listing and mention town names. Link back to the location page on your website, too.

Don’t Forget to Include ATMS!

Although Google Business profiles require that a business makes in-person contact with customers during their stated hours, there are a few exceptions to the rule. One of these exceptions is ATMs - which means you can maximize your visibility by adding any of your off-site ATM locations to your profile. 

There are a few best practices you should be aware of, though: 

  • Be careful how you name your ATMs. Google is very specific about how ATMs should be named. Make sure your ATM location names are simple: just your bank name and “ATM.” Otherwise, it can be flagged by Google. 
  • Customer support numbers are required. There’s mixed guidance on how to do this. Some banks like to use their local branch (although that can sometimes cause a listing merge), while others like to use the toll-free customer support number. 
  • Cite your bank information consistently. You can quickly do this using a free tool like Moz Check Listing. Type in the name and zip code of your ATM and the tool will show how consistent the listings are across 15 major platforms. It’s a lot faster than manually hunting down all iterations of your ATM names!

Sounds Overwhelming? We Can Help! We are GBP Experts…

As much as our banking friends want to do it all, we know that most bankers are far too busy to ensure they are staying on top of all the changes in digital marketing - in addition to everything else they do to run their bank. If that’s you, we’ve got a solution. With 30 years of experience in both banking and digital marketing strategy, we’ve got a keen understanding of how to help banks like yours reach their goals. We’d love for you to get in touch so we can take care of the marketing side while you take care of everything else - contact us today for more info! 

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