Every local business owner should use Google Business Profile to improve their local search presence. Essentially, your Google Business Profile is a community profile, not just yours and it deserves the attention. Before you start you’ll need a few pieces of information to get started on the platform. Read through this checklist and make sure everything is set up correctly for your business.

In 2021 Google announced they will be renaming Google My Business (again) and it means that business owners need to learn a new process all over again. However, it only takes a few minutes and one or two days of practice to get the hang of the new Google Business Profile. We all know how sensitive Google can be, specifically with certain keywords or images, and therefore it is important you follow their guidelines first. 

We compiled a list of tips you should consider when you’re setting up your Google Business Profile as well as maintaining your local listing. 

Is Local SEO important for Search Ranking? 

The short answer is yes! Local SEO for small business is one of the easiest ways to improve your trust score as well as your search ranking to local customers. Having your business listed with Google on their own platform is a great way to improve your SEO efforts. When you set up a Google Business Profile you will have to prove your business is legitimate, this means Google will trust your business (and website) more. 

12 Tips for the Best Google Business Profile

  1. Create your FREE Google Business Profile
  2. Verify your profile to prove your business is legitimate
  3. Share the profile with the people who would need access
  4. Include as much business information as you can (name, address, phone, hours, categories, etc.)
  5. Add graphic content: Images, Photos and Virtual Tours
  6. Add what you sell! Products, Services, Menu as appropriate
  7. Add FAQs in the Q&A section
  8. Regularly update your listing with new content
  9. Learn about Google Business Profile Analytics
  10. Link your GBP listing to Google Ads and /or Google Merchant Center.
  11. Reviews: Encourage reviews & respond to them all.
  12. Get support for Google Business Profile questions, problems or suspensions.
  1. Create your FREE Google Business Profile 

Google has made it very easy to list your business across their platform by providing a FREE tool. Yes, that is correct, Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is free to set up and use. 

It is simple to set up, visit their website and simply start filling in the form with your information. Follow the very easy step by step process and list your business online now. Google will assist you when you need to know if your business can be listed. Some businesses are not eligible for Google Business Profile, these include eCommerce or online-only companies or any rentals or for-sale properties.

  1. Verify your profile to prove your business is legitimate

Make sure you are the owner or representative of the company and you use an already registered Google account profile to set up your listing. Once you have started the procedure and set up your profile, then you will need to verify your business listing. Google gives you a few options:

  1. Postcard: sent to your listing address within 14 days with a verification code.
  2. Phone: a phone call with a verification number to verify your listing
  3. Email: Google will send you a link to verify the email address associated with your Google Business Profile listing
  4. Google Search Console: if you have a Google Search Console listing that uses the same email as your Google Business Profile then this verification method is simple
  5. Video Chat: A Google specialist will video chat with you through the Google Hangouts app for iOS or Android.
  6. Bulk Verification (10+ locations): chains or franchises with more than 10 locations, you may be eligible for bulk verification. See Google’s FAQ.
  1. Share the profile with the people who would need access

Most businesses have other employees in the team that may be responsible for Google Business Profile information. The marketing department may want to regularly keep an eye on the listing, and customer support employees may be tasked with attending to reviews. Another option would be to grant access to a digital marketing agency to optimise and update your Google Business Profile. 

There are various access levels available:

  • Primary Owner – All permissions. Always keep this as the main business owner’s details. 
  • Owner – Permissions which include managing users and deleting the Google Business Profile listing.
  • Manager – All the permissions but excluding managing users or deleting the Google Business Profile listing.
  • Site Manager – A few permissions that include editing a little info, creating posts and photos, responding to reviews, and viewing analytic insights.
  1. Include as much business information as you can (name, address, phone, hours, categories, etc.)

When setting up your profile listing, you should list as much information about your business as possible. Ensure the information is updated if it ever changes too. When a potential customer views your profile they will have several options in which to view more information about your business, and how to contact you. Here are our suggestions:

  • Business Name
  • Business Location
  • Service Areas
  • Business Hours
  • Business Category
  • Phone Number (Contact details) 
  • Website Address and other relevant URLs
  • Service/Menu/Products
  • Business Attributes (for example; Woman Owned, Outdoor Seating etc)
  • Business Description (The description section can contain up to 750 characters, but only the first 244 characters will be displayed on your listing unless a viewer clicks ‘more’)
  • Photos and Videos 

There is some valuable information in this article.

  1. Add graphic content: Images, Photos and Virtual Tours

Your potential customer is a visually stimulated learner. The popularity of social media sites proves how we like to view photos, videos and all the other options. Thinking back to MTV’s Cribs, we also do appreciate a good tour of your property. 

Images can show your establishment, your services and products and encourage visitors to your company to post their own too. Photos from yourself or as part of a review on Google Business Profile increase your credibility, trust and boosts your listing to more potential customers. 

A virtual tour is a great way to introduce your establishment to potential customers. Not many businesses use this option and there is a great opportunity for companies to take advantage of Google’s Business Profile algorithm. 

  1. Add what you sell! Products, Services, Menu as appropriate 

Google Business Profile is open to a range of businesses from all types of industries. From restaurants and cafes to transportation and hairdressing studios. With so many categories available, there is also the option to add in ‘What do you sell?’. 

You can add your entire menu (with photos too), or a list of hair dressing options, or perhaps your transport and logistic price list. This means that customers are able to see what you offer and immediately call you to place an order, ask for a quote, or place an appointment for a haircut and colour. 

  1. Add FAQs in the Q&A section

Google search users love to ask a question. If you don’t know the answer to a question then just “Google it”. So when someone has a question that needs to be answered, and it’s about you or what you sell, then best add the answers to your Google Business Profile. As part of the customer journey, if you hold the answer to their question then your credibility increases and their trust in you also increases. This then improves customer retention and loyalty. 

  1. Regularly update your listing with new content

If you change a contact email address, migrate your website, improve your working hours or perhaps simply change a phone number then do not forget to update your Google Business Profile. If there is a bank holiday planned, or staff training booked which means you’re closed then update your listing. 

You may also go through a minor (or major) decor renovation, a repaint, or perhaps added new items to your service offering. Update the relevant information section and add in new photo or video content. By being consistent with updating information Google will be pleased, and customers are not left disappointed when they view incorrect information. 

  1. Learn about Google Business Profile Analytics

When you take the time to understand your analytics then you can draw inspirational insights from the trends. Google Business Profile Insights allow you to view how your listing is performing, how many times someone searches for your business, when someone asks for directions to your address, how many times a person calls from Google Business Profile or from other sources if you’re tracking those in Google Analytics and so much more. 

Knowing these metrics, you can see your efforts perform, your business grow and the awareness surrounding your company, all of which is an essential part of marketing and measuring your success. Establish your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on whatever campaign you want to set. 

  1. Link your GBP listing to Google Ads and /or Google Merchant Center

There are several tools from Google that can help your business. Your digital marketing efforts can all be assisted by making use of the software that is available. Increase your leads using different forms of digital marketing. If you run Google Ads and have a Google Merchant Center account, these can be linked to your GBP listing. Increasing the effectiveness of the campaigns you have running with each of these tools. 

  1. Reviews: Encourage reviews & respond to them all.

Third party applications like Trustpilot capitalise on the effect reviews can have for business. This is also true when your listing receives reviews on Google. When customers are searching for a business near them, as part of your local SEO, the viewer will see reviews and base their decision on the reviews from other people. This is another form of ‘word of mouth’ and we all know how powerful the act of ‘word of mouth’ can be. 

Ask previous visitors to leave a review. Add place cards strategically in your content marketing asking for reviews and encourage photos with an honest opinion. Whenever someone leaves a review, always go and reply – the good and the bad. A potential consumer will be swayed by your engagement with reviews (essentially customers) and view your company in a positive light. 

  1. Get support for Google Business Profile questions, problems or suspensions.

If there are any parts to setting up or maintaining a Google Business Profile that you are struggling with then Google itself has a whole section dedicated to answering your questions. Another option is to find a digital marketing agency near you that can take on this responsibility for you. Peace of mind while you take care of the other important aspects of your company. 

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