Why your Google Business Profile website link matters for your customer’s experience

Google Business Profile offers a plethora of conversion opportunities for brands. One field that a business can leverage is the website field. This helps guide customers down the sales funnel and click through to your website of choice. However, when a business has multiple different locations a common question we receive is how can a multi-location business best use the Google Business Profile website link for each of its locations.

Brands want to know if they should list their corporate website or a local page as the website local searchers will click to visit.

In this post, we’ll take a look at why the website field on a local listing matters 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, drive relevant organic traffic, and convert more searchers to customers.

Why the ‘website’ field in Google Business Profile is so important

Consumers are far more likely to seek more information on their own than to call and ask.

A website is one of the most searched pieces of local business information among consumers who use Google Search and Maps. In fact, 54% of consumers say a business’ website is what they’re most commonly looking for. Additionally, your target audience is looking for local reviews, business directions, hours of operation, local photos, and more.

When a local consumer clicks on the ‘Website’ option on a listing, they’re looking for additional location-specific information.

The website listed on your locations’ Google Business Profiles is the next step in a local searcher’s journey. This key step navigates the end consumer from discovery to consideration – and hopefully on to a booked appointment or table, confirmed order, or in-store visit.

Google Business Profile website link example
Where the website link is located on a Google Business Profile

Imagine you’re looking for a dentist in the neighborhood you’ve just moved to.

You likely start with a Google Search. This is the business discovery method 83% of local consumers use every single day.

The Map Pack listings give you several great options. You spend a few minutes browsing each profile, reading reviews, seeing what’s open and seeing whether they offer your preferred payment method.

But you still have questions.

These questions may include:

  • Do they provide sedation?
  • Is this business address close to the university I work at?
  • Are the offices clean and bright?
  • Does this business value diversity as much as I do?

You might check the Q&A section on a few of the listings and see if others have asked questions like yours. You may even use the Messaging feature to submit questions to the business. If that business is on top of their local marketing game, you might get an autoresponse with your answer.

Often, if a consumer’s question can’t be answered directly from the listing, their next step is to click the ‘Website’ link on the listing to learn more. This happens hundreds of times each month for each business location.

In our most recent analysis of local consumer behavior across more than 165,000 business locations using the Rio SEO Local Experience platform, we found that different types of businesses get the following conversions to “Click to Website” from each location’s GBP:

  • Retail and restaurants: 400 clicks to website per month
  • Hotels: 250 clicks to website per month
  • Healthcare, multi-family residential, and fast food restaurants: 75-125 clicks to website per month

Those figures are approximate averages, per location, as of the end of 2022. The downward trend you see is due to the higher informational needs consumers had during the pandemic when business interruptions and closures were more frequent.

Each of these clicks is a nearby consumer actively looking for a product or service your business provides.

For a retail store with 500 locations, that is 200,000 motivated local consumer interactions every month.

The opportunity for clicks to website is abundant, regardless of industry.

Rio SEO's proprietary Google Business Profile research

There are some reasons you might link to the corporate website from each location’s GBP, instead of a local landing page.

You don’t have local pages

Perhaps you’re a startup, or the issue could be that you’ve acquired a chain that hasn’t had a cohesive local strategy in the past. You might find duplicate local listings, ownership issues caused by franchisees doing their own marketing, etc. This is common in the initial phases of local SEO.

If you don’t have local pages to direct searchers to, the corporate website is better than nothing.

You need to rank for one very specific, specialized term.

Sterling Sky performed an experiment that suggests linking to a specialty page increases the GBP’s relevance for that term and improves local rankings as a result.

In one of their examples, they changed the ‘Website’ URL on a lawyer’s listing from the corporate homepage to the firm’s landing page for “bus accidents.” The listing experienced an increase in local rankings as a result.

In the above example, the attorney needed to stand out and differentiate their listing from many other, similar listings at the same location (in their firm).

Specialty pages are a great strategy for businesses within another business location, as well. For example, a spa inside a hotel. In this Four Seasons example the spa inside the hotel drove 84% more phone calls and 30% more spa bookings with a specialty page.

Using local and specialty pages that integrate directly with the corporate website ensures a cohesive local experience for searchers. It also enables your brand to rank on specialized terms.

Recommended reading: The Value of Specialty Pages for Multi-Location Businesses

In most cases, this is the best strategy in terms of both local SEO and customer experience.

Linking to a local page provides a number of important benefits:

  • It gives local searchers a logical next step to dig into richer, deeper information about the location they’re interested in.
  • You can add more in-depth, engaging local content. This fulfills the consumer’s need for information. It also helps the page rank on its own to enhance that location’s presence in local search results. Using schema markup further helps the page rank on appropriate terms as it helps Google understand the page’s content and relevance.
  • It’s a great place to showcase personalized offers and deals that can help convert the searcher to a paying customer.
  • Local pages can contain interactive elements consumers won’t find on the corporate homepage. Some of these elements include store-specific embedded reviews and a map, photo albums, in-store deals, menus, appointment or table booking, and more.

Recommended reading: 16 Strategies to Personalize the Local Search Customer Experience

Local landing page example
Example of a local landing page

Best practices for your brand’s GBP ‘website’ strategy

These tips will help you maximize this opportunity to improve your brand’s search visibility while delighting customers with an exceptional local experience. Remember, search is often the first interaction a new customer has with your brand!

Use a local marketing platform with publishing permissions

This enables you to assist local managers and franchisees with templates and brand editorial controls while still empowering them to create the rich, descriptive local content 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 go looking for social proof

The average person reads 6 reviews before visiting a business, and 63% of consumers say first-party reviews on the brand’s website are likely to influence their purchasing decision.

Ensure local pages are a cohesive part of the brand website

Direct searchers to a mobile-friendly page that enables them to continue clicking to learn more about the brand’s offerings and values, if they choose.

Use a dynamic locator to help consumers continue their search if needed

Maybe one location doesn’t have the product they need in stock, or they’re looking for a specialized service that’s only offered in select locations. A dynamic locator keeps them looking within your brand’s portfolio versus returning to the search results to browse competitors.

Ensure you can access the local insights the brand needs

An integrated reporting solution will help you make sense of the myriad consumer activity happening across all location listings and pages. You’ll need to be able to access insights for all listings inside one dashboard to manage reporting at scale.

Support local managers, owners, and franchisees with offers, deals, and promotions

Having brand control over local listings and pages enables you to push relevant promotions to all locations, or specific segments based on region, specialization, or other parameters.

In Los Angeles alone, your locations may be serving customers who speak English, Spanish, Korean, Filipino, Armenian, Chinese, and Persian – and those are just the most common languages in the city. Having not only translation but localized language tells prospective consumers you truly understand their needs and want their business.

Providing an exceptional local customer experience means anticipating each searcher’s needs and meeting them in their decision-making moments with engaging, compelling next steps. Where you direct a person from each location’s GBP search listing is an integral part of that experience!

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