Google is the most visited website in the world. Google currently holds 92% of the search engine market share. A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is a great way to get new customers through Google search and Google Maps.
Bonus: Download the template for free to create a detailed profile about your ideal customer or target audience.
What is Google Business Profile (also known as Google My Business)? Google My Business
Google Business Profile allows you to list your business for free on Google. You can upload photos and details about your business including your location and services.
This free profile can help you increase your visibility on Google services. Google Search, Google Maps and Google Shopping may display information from your Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile is available only to businesses who have had contact with customers. This applies to businesses that have a physical location, such as a store or restaurant, and businesses that offer services by meeting clients in another location (such as consultants or plumbers).
You will need to use Google Analytics and Google Ads if you are an online-only company.
Why you need to have a Google My Business account
Find your way to Google (and Google Maps).
Google is the best search engine for web traffic and foot traffic. Google Business Profiles help ensure that local customers find you business when they search for similar products or services in their area.
Google My Business listings show searchers where and when to visit your business. Your local SEO is also improved by a Google Business Profile. A listing for a local business will be more likely to show up when someone searches for it using Google Maps.
You can control your online business information
You can manage and update your Google My Business profile to change your contact information and business hours as necessary.
Post updates to let others know that you have expanded or temporarily closed services. This is especially helpful during emergency situations like COVID-19. Google Business Profiles are strong in local SEO. This means that the information you share will be ranked above any third-party sites with out-of date details.
Reviews build trust
Reviews are an important element of social proof and can be used to build trust and credibility.
Google’s star rating combined with space for detailed reviews allow customers to share as much information as they wish about their experience with your company. It all helps potential customers choose which businesses and products they want to purchase.
It can be frightening to consider the reviews that will be posted on such a public platform. This is especially true when you don’t have control over which Google My Business reviews you share. (You can still respond to all reviews as we’ll show you later.
Google has found that positive and negative reviews are more trustworthy than pages after pages of glowing recommendations.
How to create a Google Business Profile
Step 1: Sign up to Google Business Profile Manager
You’re automatically logged in to Google Business Profile Manager if you already have a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, log in to your existing Google account or create a new one.
Step 2: Add your company
Enter the name of your business. Click Add your business to Google if it doesn’t appear in the drop down menu. Select the right category for you business, then click Next.
Step 3: Enter your location
Select Yes if you have a physical address that customers can visit. Next, enter your business address. A marker may be needed to mark the location on a map. You can also list the service areas of your business if you do not have a physical location that customers can visit, but offer in-person delivery or services. Click Next.
Google will ask you for your location if you don’t have a physical address. Select from the drop-down menu, and then click Next.
Step 4: Fill out your contact information
So customers can reach your business, enter your website address and phone number. You don’t need to enter a number if you prefer not be reached by telephone.
Once you have completed your information, click Next.
Step 5: Verify your business
Your actual physical address is required, not a postoffice box. This information is used only to verify your business. It is not visible on your Google Business Profile and is not shared with the public.
Enter your address, then click Next. The appropriate options will be presented to verify your account. To verify the physical location of a business, they will need to send a postcard to their address. An email address can verify service-area businesses.
Once you receive your five-digit code, enter it on the next screen (or go to https://business.google.com/) and click Verify or Verify business.
A confirmation screen will appear confirming that you have been verified. Click Next on that confirmation screen.
Step 6: Personalize your profile
Please enter your business hours, messaging preferences and business description. (In the next section, we’ll discuss how to optimize your profile content.
Once you are satisfied, click Continue. The Business Profile Manager dashboard will open.
You can view your company profile, view insights and manage messages and reviews.
How to optimize Google My Business profiles
Google uses three factors to determine local search rankings:
Relevance: How closely your Google My Business listing matches the search query. Distance: How far you are from the search engine or searcher. Prominence: Based on factors such as reviews, links, and SEO, how well-known your company is.
These are steps to increase your score on all three factors.
Completion of all components of your profile
A complete Google Business Profile will increase the likelihood that customers consider your business trustworthy by 2.7 times. Customers are also 70% more likely than others to visit your business.
Google explicitly states that businesses with accurate and complete information make it easier for them to be found in the right searches. This will improve your relevance score. Google visitors should know “what you do”, “where you are”, and “when they can visit you.”
Keep track of any changes in your business hours that occur during holidays or other seasons.
Verify your location(s)
Verified business locations are more likely to appear in local search results across Google Products, like Maps and Search.
If you skipped over verifying your location in the account creation steps above, request your verification postcard now at https://business.google.com/.
Real images and videos of the business you are interested in
Google Business Profiles include a logo and a cover photo. To make it easy for people to recognize your brand, use images that are similar to those found on your social media profiles.
Don’t stop there. To showcase your work environment and team, add images and videos.
Post photos of your restaurant’s menus and dining rooms if you own it. They should look professional, appealing, and not be too low resolution. Google says that businesses with photos get more directions requests and more clicks to their sites.
How to add photos to your Google profile:
Click on Photos from the dashboard. Add your logo and cover image. Upload an image, select one from your Business Profile albums or pick a photo that is already tagged with your business.
In your profile, include keywords
Relevance can be improved by using the right keywords. Are you unsure where to begin? Google Trends and Keyword Planner are great resources.
Google Analytics, Hootsuite Insights and other social monitoring tools can help you find terms people search for when searching for your business. These terms should be incorporated naturally into your business description. Search engine ranking can be hurt by keyword stuffing or using irrelevant keywords.
Encourage others to answer questions and reviews
People trust people more than businesses. Good reviews can make a difference in the favor of potential customers. Google also ranks reviews higher.
After providing an excellent experience, it is the best time to ask for reviews. Google gives you a link that will allow customers to leave reviews about your business.
Send a review request link
1. Scroll down from the dashboard to the Share review form button.
2. Copy the link and paste it into a message for customers or in your autoresponder.
Google My Business pages cannot be disabled from reviews. It wouldn’t be in your best interest to do so, since reviews will show customers that you are legitimate.
However, you can report and flag inappropriate reviews.
You can also respond to reviews, which you should! You can and should respond to negative reviews as well. A survey conducted by Google and Ipsos Connect found that businesses who respond to reviews are 1.7 times more trusted than those who don’t.
Represent your brand professionally and respond in a professional manner. Respond honestly to negative reviews and offer an apology if necessary.
Click the Reviews tab on the left menu in your Business Profile Manager to view and respond.
Keep your business information current
If you have changed your contact information or hours of operation, make sure to update your business profile. Customers are more annoyed than finding out that you’re closed during business hours. Make sure you include any holiday hours or special times that are unique in your Google Business Profile.
Google My Business posts can be created to share updates, product news and offers, as well as events.
Edit your company information
At business.google.com, you can return to the dashboard and make edits. Your business information can be edited directly via Google search and Maps. To access the editing panel, search for your business name using one of these tools.
To share and create Google My Business posts
Click Posts from the dashboard. Choose the type of post that you wish to create. You will need to fill out different types of posts.
Special features and attributes
Google Business Accounts offer special features depending on which category you have chosen.
Here are some examples of the category-specific features that are available:
Hotels can display class ratings, sustainability practices, highlights, check-in and out times, and amenities.Restaurants and bars can upload menus, dish photos, and popular dishes.Service-oriented businesses can display a list of services.Healthcare providers in the U.S. can add health insurance information.Businesses also have access to different types of buttons based on their category, such as appointment bookings, reservations, and orders.
You may not be eligible for these features if you believe your business is. Your business can select from up to 10 categories.
To share additional information with your customers, you can add factual attributes. You might want to mention that your shop is wheelchair-accessible or has outdoor seating. It’s possible to share the fact that your company is owned by women and LGBTQ+.
How to add and edit attributes
Click InfoUnder from the dashboard and click Add attributes. Click InfoUnder From the business to open the dashboard. Next, click Add attributes.
Add your products
If you are a seller of products, ensure that your Business Profile contains an updated inventory. Your products may appear on your profile, as well as in Google Shopping.
To manually add products to your Business profile:
Click Products from the dashboard and then click Get Started.
Pointy can automatically upload products to your Business Profile if you own a retail store in the U.S. or Canada.
Google offers free marketing tools
Google provides a free marketing kit for businesses that includes stickers, social media posts and posters. You can even create a custom video. The link will not work until you have created your Business Profile.
How to manage Google My Business with Hootsuite
After you have verified your Google Business Profile, your Google My Business account can be integrated with Hootsuite.
Instead of managing your Google Business Profile individually, you can manage your Google My Business page and create posts. You can also respond to reviews or questions from within your Hootsuite dashboard.
This integration allows Google to be managed as a social platform within your social network, so that your messaging is consistent, up-to-date, and on-brand.
How to manage your Google Business Profile using Hootsuite
Install the Google My Business App. Select whether you wish to add your Google Business Profile streams into an existing tab or create a new one, and then click Finish.
Click on the appropriate Board in your Hootsuite dashboard and click Login Google My Business.
After logging in, you can create and reply to Google My Business reviews or questions from your Hootsuite streams.
Hootsuite allows you to communicate with customers through Google Business Profile and other social media channels. You can schedule and publish posts to all networks, access demographic data, performance reports and more. Get it today for free.
How to use Google My Business to get more customers in 2022