Google Business Profile offers a wealth of conversion opportunities for brands. One area that a business can utilize is the website area. This helps guide customers through the sales funnel and through the click move to the website of their choice. However, when a business has multiple different locations, we often get the question how a business with multiple locations can best use the Google Business Profile website link for each of their locations.
Brands want to know if they should list their business website or a local page as local searchers click to visit the website.
In this post, we take a look at why the website field is important in a local listing and the pros and cons of linking to a brand or local page. We’ll also explore how your business can use this option to improve the local customer experience, increase relevant organic traffic, and convert more searchers into customers.
Why the “Website” field is so important in Google Business Profile
Consumers are far more likely to seek more information on their own than to call and ask.
A website is one of the most frequently searched pieces of local business information for consumers using Google Search and Google Maps. In fact, 54% of consumers say a company’s website is what they search for most. Additionally, your audience is looking for local reviews, driving directions, hours of operation, local photos, and more.
When a local consumer clicks the website option on a listing, they’re looking for additional location-specific information.
The website listed in the Google Business Profiles of your locations is the next step in the journey of a local searcher. This important step takes the end consumer from discovery to consideration – and hopefully further to a booked appointment or table, confirmed order or in-store visit.
The reason for adding a local landing page for your website link
Imagine you are looking for a dentist in the neighborhood you just moved to.
You probably start with a Google search. This is the business discovery method that 83% of local consumers use every day.
The Map Pack deals give you several great options. You spend a few minutes browsing each profile, reading reviews, seeing what’s open and if your preferred payment method is offered.
But you still have questions.
These questions can include:
- Do you offer sedation?
- Is this business address near the university where I work?
- Are the offices clean and bright?
- Does this company value diversity as much as I do?
You can look through the Questions and Answers section on some posts and see if others have asked questions like yours. You can even use the messaging feature to ask questions to the company. If this company is citing their local marketing, you may receive an automated response with your reply.
If a consumer’s question can’t be answered directly from the listing, the next step is often to click the “Website” link in the listing to learn more. This happens hundreds of times each month for each business location.
Data-driven website link click analysis
In our recent analysis of local consumer behavior across 165,000+ business locations using the Rio SEO Local Experience platform, we found that different types of businesses get the following click-to-website conversions from each location’s GBP:
- Retail and hospitality: 400 clicks to the website per month
- Hotels: 250 clicks on the website per month
- Healthcare, Apartment Buildings, and Fast Food Restaurants: 75-125 visits to website per month
These numbers are approximate averages per location as of late 2022. The downward trend you’re seeing is due to consumers’ greater need for information during the pandemic, when business disruptions and closures were more frequent.
Each of these clicks is from a nearby consumer who is actively searching for a product or service that your business offers.
For a retail store with 500 locations, that’s 200,000 motivated local consumer interactions every month.
Regardless of the industry, there is ample opportunity for clicks to a website.
Why link to a branded website from Google Business Profiles?
There are a few reasons why you would link to the company website from each location’s GBP instead of a local landing page.
They don’t have local pages
Maybe you’re a startup, or the problem could be that you’ve acquired a chain that hasn’t had a coherent local strategy in the past. You may find duplicate local listings, ownership issues caused by franchisees doing their own marketing, etc. This is common in the early stages of local search engine optimization.
If you don’t have local pages to direct searchers to, the company website is better than nothing.
You need to rank for a very specific technical term.
Sterling Sky conducted an experiment suggesting that linking to a specialist page increases the GBP’s relevance to that term, thereby improving local rankings.
In one of their examples, they changed the “website” URL in a lawyer’s post from the company’s home page to the law firm’s landing page for “bus accidents.” As a result, the listing saw an increase in the local rankings.
In the example above, the lawyer needed to make his listing stand out and distinguish it from many other similar listings in the same place (his office).
Special pages are also a great strategy for businesses located elsewhere. For example a spa in a hotel. In this Four Seasons example, the spa at the hotel drove 84% more calls and 30% more spa bookings via a specialty page.
The use of local and dedicated pages built right into the corporate website ensures a cohesive local experience for searchers. It also allows your brand to rank for specific terms.
Literature recommendations: The value of specialty pages for multi-site businesses
Why link to a local page from each location’s GBP listing?
In most cases, this is the best strategy in terms of both local SEO and customer experience.
Linking to a local page offers a number of important advantages:
- It offers local searchers a logical next step to get broader and deeper information about the place they are interested in.
- You can add more detailed and engaging local content. This meets the consumer’s need for information. It also helps the page rank alone to improve the presence of that location in local search results. Using schema markup also helps ensure the page ranks on the right terms because it helps Google understand the content and relevancy of the page.
- It’s a great place to showcase personalized offers and deals that can help convert the searcher into a paying customer.
- Local pages can contain interactive elements that consumers won’t find on the company’s homepage. These elements include store-specific embedded reviews and a map, photo albums, in-store offerings, menus, appointment or dining reservations, and more.
Literature recommendations: 16 strategies for personalizing the customer experience in local search
Best practices for your brand’s GBP website strategy
These tips will help you seize the opportunity to improve your brand’s search visibility while delighting customers with an exceptional local experience. Remember, search is often a new customer’s first interaction with your brand!
Use a local marketing platform with publishing permissions
This allows you to support local managers and franchisees with templates and editorial branding controls, while empowering them to create the rich, descriptive local content that searchers (and search engines) crave.
Look for a solution with built-in schema markup
This helps search engines understand the page and automatically optimize for rich snippets.
Embed local reviews on your local pages so consumers don’t have to search for social proof
The average person reads six reviews before visiting a business, and 63% of consumers say initial reviews on the brand’s website are likely to influence their purchasing decision.
Make sure local pages are a cohesive part of the brand site
Redirect searchers to a mobile-friendly page where they can click further if needed to learn more about the brand’s offerings and values.
Use a dynamic locator to help consumers continue their search when needed
A location may not have the product they need in stock, or they may be looking for a special service that is only available at select locations. A dynamic locator ensures they search within your brand’s portfolio instead of returning to search results to browse for competitors.
Make sure you can access the local insights the brand needs
An integrated reporting solution helps you understand the myriad of consumer activities across all location listings and pages. You need access to insights for all entries in one dashboard to manage scalable reports.
Support local managers, owners and franchisees with deals, offers and promotions
With brand control over local listings and pages, you can distribute relevant promotions to all locations or specific segments based on region, specialization or other parameters.
Make sure your “website” link target can serve customers in the languages relevant to that region
In Los Angeles alone, your locations may serve customers who speak English, Spanish, Korean, Filipino, Armenian, Chinese, and Persian — easily the most commonly spoken languages in the city. When you have not only a translation but also a localized language, you show potential consumers that you really understand their needs and want their business.
To deliver an exceptional local customer experience, you need to anticipate the needs of each searcher and meet them in their decision-making moments with engaging, compelling next steps. Redirecting a person from each location’s GBP search listing is an integral part of this experience!
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