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Should a Google Business Profile Website Be Your Small Business’s Only Site?

We took a look at the data for more than a million Google Business Profile (GBP) websites to answer the question:

Should a GBP website be your small business’s only site?

While the site you are now reading is mainly focused on B2B businesses, our hope is that some of the information in this post will benefit local B2C businesses — such as restaurants and takeout places — that almost all of us love to visit.

A Primer on Google Business Profile Websites

Any business that has a Google Business Profile can create a free website within their GBP profile.

For many small, local businesses, a GBP website is the business’s only website.

A GBP website is a one-page website that practically builds itself. A GBP website auto-populates from your business profile’s recent photos, videos, posts, and reviews. The page also displays your address, phone number, and business hours in the footer. Above the footer is a clickable map.

If you owned a taco shop in Sonoma, you could select a URL such as the following when you enable your GBP website:

https://sonomatacos.business.site

A custom domain for your GBP site

Alternatively, you could order a custom domain, such as sonomatacos.com, from Google Domains — and then point that domain to your free GBP website. Custom domains start at $12 per year.

Having this custom domain may put your business higher in the search results when people search for “Sonoma tacos.”

Google Domains: SonomaTacos.com

What’s available in the website editor

The only items that can and should be set up manually within the website editor are as follows. Technically, these are all optional — but it is worth addressing each.

  1. Define what the top button does
  2. Edit the headline
  3. Edit the description
  4. Add a Summary header
  5. Add a Summary body

Current options for the top button are Call Now, Contact Us, Get Directions, Get Quote, Message Us (SMS), and Message Us (WhatsApp).

Google Business Profile Website Data

We looked at data from Ahrefs.com in order to give you an idea of how GBP sites perform in terms of organic search traffic.

Ahrefs.com data is ever-changing (since the web is in constant flux), but here’s what we observed as of February 18, 2022.

The Number of GBP Websites By Country

Here are the top 10 countries by the number of Google Business Profile websites. These countries alone account for almost 1.5 million sites.

Top 10 Countries By Number of GBP Websites

GMB Website Traffic in the United States

Ahrefs reported that there are 705,500 Google Business Profile websites in the U.S.

The organic search traffic across all sites was reported to be 1,400,000 visitors per month. That’s an average of only 2 visitors per website per month from organic search.

Only 38 of 705,000+ pages had 1,000 or more monthly visitors from organic search.

Only the top 2,150 pages (0.03% of all GBP sites) had over 100 visitors per month from organic search.

Top 100 U.S. GBP Websites by Traffic

What this all means is that GBP sites, on average, get very low organic search traffic. But, keep in mind that organic search is only one way for people to get to a business’s website.

What may be more important for your local business is the direct traffic that you get when people click on the website button in your Google Business Profile (Ahrefs does not report on this type of referral traffic).

If your business appears in the Local Pack for a number of different searches, people may not need to visit your website. They may simply call you or drive to your place of business.

Can you get more people to find your GBP site through search?

A one-page website means that you cannot add product or service pages. It also means that you will not have a blog.

Therefore, the website’s one (and only) page has to rank well in search if your goal is to create more awareness via your website.

Ranking factors for the top GBP websites may include the following elements.

1. A brand and/or a keyword contained within the headline

If your business has a strong local brand due to longevity, word of mouth, promotion, and other factors, the inclusion of that brand in the headline is likely important.

For less well-known brands, using a relevant keyword instead of your brand appears to be important.

2. High quality, relevant images, and videos

Your nine most recent GBP photo/video uploads are displayed on your GBP site.

If you are in the retail appliance business, make sure to have quality photos of refrigerators and ovens that display the brand name or logo.

If your business is a restaurant, upload quality pictures of your menu and of some of your delicious dishes.

It’s important to know that Google can “see” objects and read any legible text within images. Drag and drop a picture that’s related to your business and that also contains some text onto Google’s Cloud Vision API page to see what Google sees.

Google Cloud Vision API: Restaurant Menu

3. A list of services and prices in the Summary body section

The summary body section is your only greenfield text area. Make sure to include relevant messaging for your audience that includes your brand or keyword. You can also link out to your other web properties, such as your social media pages.

Some restaurants add their entire menu to this section. Your menu is a local keyword opportunity.

4. Backlinks

As with any website, you can increase organic search traffic by getting links to your GBP website from related websites.

What if you still don’t get enough traffic to your GBP website?

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to meet your traffic goals with a one-page website.

To get the level of organic search traffic you’re targeting, you might have to set up a traditional, multi-page site in addition to your GBP site.

With a multi-page site, you can create separate product or service pages. You can also start a blog to help more people become aware of your business.

A free multi-page website platform is Google Sites. You can create and publically share a Google Site via either your Gmail account or your Google Workspace account.

You can also point a custom domain, such as sonomatacos.com, to a Google Sites website.

With Google Sites, you don’t need to hire a web designer (although you could). If you spend the time to learn the point-and-click tools of Google Sites, you’ll be able to assemble a website on your own.

If you create a Google Sites website for your business, you can keep your Google Business Profile website active, but you would revert its URL to https://sonomatacos.business.site (in our above example). This would effectively give you two websites — one that more or less self maintains, and one that you can proactively update.

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