Google Business Profile (GBP) is a platform that can help you dominate local SEO in a big way.
In November 2021, Google changed the name of “Google My Business” to “Google Business Profile” and made a few changes to help you manage your listing in search and Google Maps.
You can decide what Google says about your business on your website and maps, and you can tell Google directly what your business is about by filling out your listing and making regular posts.
With this guide, you’ll be able to make the most of your Google Business Profile.
You will show up higher in search results when people in your area search for things that are related to your business.
Google Business Profile helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and its growing collection of tools, such as Google Maps.
Creating a Google Business Profile is the first step in making a good location-based strategy for your local business.
A) Google Business Profile: Basic Review
B) Claiming your Google Business Profile
C) Verifying your Google Business Profile
D) Publishing your Google Business Profile
E) Adding Photos & Videos to your Google Business Profile
F) Monitoring Insights on your Google Business Profile
A) Google Business Profile: Basic Review
GBP gives customers a quick list of nearby businesses that might be relevant to their search keywords. This makes it easier for them to find a specific business that might meet their search criteria and goals, such as:
- Business Name
- Business Website
- Business address.
- Business hours.
Information from verified Google Business Profiles is also used by Google’s Knowledge Graph. It helps it find relevant information about businesses and other related entities to add to its database.
After a new profile is made, Google Maps makes a location for it.
Google Business Profiles add to a brand’s existing website(s) by giving it a public presence and identity on Google.
When a business fills out a Google Business Profile, the information about it can show up in Google Search and Google Maps.
No matter what kind of device is being used to search, Google Business Profiles will be shown on any third-party platform that uses the Google Maps API.
If you’ve used Google tools for your business before, like Google+, or if your business has been around for a while, it’s likely that it’s already listed on Google Business Profiles.
B) Claiming Your Google Business Profile
Doing a Google search to make sure your business doesn’t already have a Google Business Profile is the first step to getting yours up and running.
To find your business in GBP, you can also use Google’s built-in search.
Once the information has been successfully claimed, you can handle it as if you had started the GBP yourself.
If your business profile hasn’t already been made, it’s easy to do so.
Verification takes a little longer, but most of the time it can be done in a week.
Start by putting in your official business name and then add other important information. Then enter the main category of your business.
You can change and add to this later, but this is a key part of completing (and optimizing) your GBP brand page.
Make sure to find the best relevant category for your business.
There are a lot of options to choose from, but there should be at least one that describes your business best and most accurately.
You will then be asked if you want to “add a place that customers can visit, like a store or office.”
This is helpful information since many businesses are service-area businesses and don’t need or let customers come to their brick-and-mortar locations.
Google Maps won’t show the exact location of the business in these cases.
But the business will still show up for relevant searches in its service area.
For businesses that only work in a certain service area and don’t want their physical location to show up on Maps, choose the service area(s) that apply.
Then you can add the business’s contact information, like the phone number and the current website address (URL).
Next, add the business address for businesses with a physical location that people can visit during business hours.
Google Business Profile will ask if you “also serve customers outside this location” once the address is set.
It lets you tell the business where and how far it is willing to go to deliver goods or services.
If yes, you’ll be able to walk through the same service-area business details.
If you don’t serve customers outside of your store, choose “No.” Then, at the next prompt, enter your contact information.
After that, you can verify the profile by clicking Next.
C) Verification Of Your Google Business Profile
You must verify your Google Business Profile.
This is done by mailing a postcard, which takes up to five business days.
It shows Google that you can run a business and do represent that business.
It’s important to know that Google won’t show your business or edits until the business is verified.
Without verification, you can’t get to page insights/analytical information or business reviews from the back end.
Usually, verification takes less than a week.
Google will send you a postcard with a verification code that you’ll use to confirm your profile. Then, your business will be officially open for business.
After you confirm the verification method, you can add more information about your business, such as business hours, messaging options, a business description, and photos.
D) Publishing Your Google Business Profile
After you finish this step, you will be taken to Google Business Profile Manager, where you can manage your business profile and change your information.
Here are some simple but important ways to improve your profile:
1. Enter Correct & Complete Data for Your Profile
The most relevant search results are given more weight in local search results.
Businesses with the most accurate and detailed information will be easier to find when people search.
Don’t let anyone guess or assume anything.
Make sure your profile tells people what your business does, where it is, and how they can get the products or services it sells.
2. Include Relevant Keywords
Google’s search results are similar to “traditional” website SEO in that they are based on many signals.
Adding important keywords and search phrases to your business profile will help a lot, especially since your business website is listed right in your GBP.
Use these in the description of your business and every time you send out a Local Post to your customers.
3. Accurate Business Operating Hours
It’s important to put your business hours on your website, but it’s just as important to keep them up to date when they change.
Google lets you change its hours for holidays and other special occasions.
It should always be updated to make sure that your site is correct and that users are happy.
4. Add Relevant Photos & Images
Most business owners and marketers don’t know how much photos help the performance of business profiles.
Google says that GBP profiles with photos get 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks to their websites than profiles without photos.
5. Manage & Respond to Customer Reviews Promptly
By responding to customer reviews, you show that your business cares about its customers and the feedback they leave about it.
When people look into your business, positive reviews will make them more likely to buy from you.
They also help people find your business in search results.
Get customers to leave comments by creating a link they can click to write their reviews for your business.
6. Enable Customers To Message & Communicate with You
Messages to and from customers can only be sent and received through the Google Business Profile app. This can be a little inconvenient at times.
Tap Customers, then Messages, and then Turn on through the app to do this.
Once it’s turned on, customers will be able to send messages to businesses through their Business Profiles by clicking the “Message” button.
Messages can have automated responses that customers can customize to greet them when they come in.
This helps the business be more responsive and visible because response times won’t be as bad.
For the GBP to work and be seen as well as possible, it’s important to keep message response time under 24 hours.
But faster is better.
Customers don’t want to have to wait for answers, and a quick answer is often what makes the difference between a customer and someone who doesn’t buy from you.
7. Use Local, Meaningful Posts
Through posts on Google Business Profiles, you can send offers, events, products, and services straight to Google Search and Maps.
With posts, you can talk to your audience and keep your Google presence fresh.
They can be sent on the go from a computer, phone, or tablet.
Businesses can also influence their Knowledge Panel breakouts with direct feedback about their business operations and the employees and staff that represent them.
Some tips from Google on how to get the most out of Local Posts are: Make sure each post is high-quality, with no spelling mistakes, broken characters, gibberish, or useless information.
And they should be polite and not hurtful.
The best posts have pictures and links, but the links should only go to trusted sites.
Links that lead to malware, viruses, phishing, or pornographic content are not allowed.
Businesses that sell regulated goods and services can use posts, but they can’t post anything about the products themselves.
These industry categories typically include:
- Adult services.
- Alcohol and tobacco.
- Pharmaceutical products and recreational drugs.
- Health and medical devices.
- Gambling-related services.
- Financial Services.
Since these posts can and will be found on Google, they should not be controversial.
8. Use the New Special Attributes
Newer features to GBP allow you to provide more information about your business including Accessibility, Health & Safety, Payment options
9. Use the Product Catalog Section
Most types of businesses can show off their products, as long as they are small or medium-sized and belong to a few business verticals.
Local Inventory Ads are the best way for larger businesses to show off their products.
Customers can learn more about a business’s products and interact with them more if it gives them information about them, like prices, details, and photos.
Google can also learn more about a business from these product details.
E) Photos & Videos for Your Google Business Profiles
The logo is the most important picture on a GBP.
There probably won’t be a picture that gets more attention or has a bigger effect.
Google suggests that businesses use a square-shaped image of their logo to help customers find them.
You should also add the following kinds of digital assets to your GBP:
GBP Cover Photo
Your brand page’s personality should come through in your cover photo.
The cover photo is the big picture at the top of the brand’s business profile. It will always be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Interior Photos of Your Business
This helps customers know what to expect when they go into a store.
It lets business owners show off how the inside of their business looks and feels, so makes a good impression!
It also gives potential customers a visual idea of what the store looks like, how it is set up, and any problems it might have.
Videos of Your Business
Videos are one of the most-watched types of media on the Internet.
This is because they are very good at telling a story or explaining something that might be hard to explain in other ways.
Additional Photos of Your Staff, Products, Office
Other kinds of photos can be used to highlight things about your business that customers look at when deciding whether or not to buy from you.
Depending on the kind of business you run, these photos will be different from the rich media we’ve already talked about.
There may also be other photos that show the business in general and what it can do for customers.
These photos or images can be:
- Products and/or services that your business offers.
- Staff and employees of a business working and/or helping customers.
- The outside of the business and where you can park.
All photos should follow Google’s best practices:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
- Minimum resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide
- Quality: The photo should be in focus and well-lit and have no alterations or excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.
Google also gives you the option of a Virtual Tour, which will make your brand profile even more visible.
It can also bring people to the business by giving them an interactive 360-degree experience.
F) Monitoring Insights for Your Google Business Profile
Google has made a lot of progress in the last few years when it comes to the analytical data that is available for Google Business Profiles.
Now called “Insights,” Google gives businesses a new way to find out how customers interact with their business profiles.
- How customers find your profile.
- Where customers find you on Google.
- Customer actions.
- Direction requests.
- Phone calls.
How Customers Find Your Profile
This section of Insights shows how customers found you in a “Direct” search (they searched for your business name or address) versus a “Discovery” search (they searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your profile appeared).
These sections have the following labels in bulk insights reports:
- Total searches.
- Direct searches.
- Discovery searches.
Where Customers Find You on Google
This section shows how many customers found you via Google Search or Google Maps.
Besides Listing on Search and Listing on Maps, you’ll see the number of views your profile received from each product in the timeframe you’ve selected.
According to Google, “views” are like “impressions” on other analytics platforms.
To see how many people found you on a particular product on a particular day, place your cursor over the appropriate segment of the graph on the day you’re interested.
These sections have the following labels in bulk insights reports:
- Total views.
- Search views.
- Maps views.
This section shows what customers did once they found your profile on Google.
Total actions This number tells you how many of each type of action a customer took on your profile:
- Website visits
- Direction requests on the map
- Call your business
- View photos and images
The following labels are available as reports in this reporting section:
- Total actions.
- Website actions.
- Directions actions.
- Phone call actions.
- Direction requests.
This section of Insights uses a map to show where people who want directions to your business are.
On the map, your business’s location is marked, and some of the most common places from which people ask for directions to your business are shown.
It even breaks down the number of requests for directions by city or neighborhood.
Phone Calls To Your Business
This part shows when and how often people who found your business on Google called you.
At the top of the section, under “Total calls,” you can see how many phone calls were made during the time frame you chose.
The graph shows trends in phone calls based on either the day of the week or the time of day.
This lets marketers and business owners know when people who have seen your GBP are most likely to call.
Lastly, the Photo views graph and the Photo quantity graph in GBP let you see how often photos from your business are being looked at.
On the graphs, some lines compare the photo data for your business to the photo data for other businesses like yours.
Part of this part of the report is made up of bulk insights for:
- Total owner photos.
- Owner photo views.
- Total customer photos.
- Customer photo views.