How to Set Up a Google Business Profile + Optimization Tips
Creating and managing your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is free and easy. Head to Google’s Business page, create or claim your Google business listing, and add your company’s address, contact information, and business photos to help Google categorize your business correctly. Then make sure to keep your information up to date and respond to customer reviews quickly to boost your visibility among local Google users.
1. Create a Google Business Profile Account or Claim Your Listing
To create an account, go to the Google Business Profile page and click on “Manage now” at the top right-hand corner. You will be asked the name of your business on the next screen.
Enter your business name under the “Business name” tile and then find and claim your listing or create one for your business. Next, add your business information, including your business category and service locations, and finish signing up by providing your business’ contact information.
You will also be asked if you serve customers outside your business location. This refers to the immediate area surrounding your address. If you only serve customers locally, click “No.” But if you also serve customers outside your location, you’ll want to specify where so people searching for your business in those areas can also find you.
Pro tip: Hibu makes managing your Google Business Profile and other business listings a breeze. They will create and update your listings to ensure your information is accurate and consistent wherever it’s displayed on the internet, monitor your brand’s reputation online, and even enable you to manage replies to all your reviews from a central dashboard.
2. Verify Your Google My Business Listing
The next step is to verify your business via U.S. postal mail. Alternatively, some businesses are also eligible to verify via phone, email, video recording, or Search Console. Once your business is verified, your Profile goes live.
We will show you how to verify your business via mail because all businesses are eligible to verify in this way. To do so, simply request a postcard be sent to your business address (which takes around 14 days to arrive).
Once you receive your postcard in the mail, sign back into your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) account. Click “Enter Code” from the left-hand dashboard menu. In the code field, enter the five-digit verification code from your postcard. Click “Submit.” With this, your account will be verified.
3. Add Hours of Operation & Description
Next, add more details about your company by inputting things like your hours of operation and a business description. To add hours, visit your dashboard’s home tab and click the + next to “Add hours” under the “Complete Your Business Profile” option tile.
To add a business description, click “Add description” on the same tile. Adding your hours of operation lets people know when they can visit your store or call your business, while the description allows you to introduce people to your brand and products.
Add Hours of Operation
Click the “Add hours” link from your Google My Business dashboard home tab. Then, use the toggle button next to each weekday to indicate if your business is open or closed.
When you toggle the button to “Open,” you will be given lines to input the times you open and close. If you are open during a couple of set times during the day (like 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.), you can click “Add hours” next to each day to add more hours. Once done, click “Apply.”
Add a Business Description
Next, go back to the Home tab on your Google My Business dashboard and click “Add description” under the “Complete your Business Profile” tile. Add a 750-or-fewer-character description that includes the most compelling information first, as Google only displays the first 250 characters in search results.
To make your description as effective as possible, incorporate keywords customers use to find your business or products online and include your mission statement as well. To assemble this information, conduct search engine optimization (SEO) keyword research and outline your business’ unique value proposition (UVP). After completing the description, click “Apply.”
This business description is reviewed by Google before it is approved and published. To ensure your description gets published, follow Google’s best practices when writing it. These include avoiding sounding overly promotional, editing for typos and grammatical errors, and excluding any hate or other offensive speech.
4. Add Business Photos & Videos
After verifying your account, you can begin uploading content—including media. Some of the options for including visual elements in your Google Business Profile include a logo, videos, a cover photo, and business interior photos, in addition to the default Google Maps 360-degree images.
To upload these types of elements, simply click “Photos” from the left-hand dashboard menu. Then click “Choose photo” under the type of photo or media file you’d like to add.
Here are the types of visuals you can add to your Google Business Profile and how to add them:
- Logo: Your logo is your avatar when you post photos or respond to reviews. Click “Choose photo” in the Logo tile to add a logo.
- Cover: Choose a cover photo that best showcases your business’ unique brand and value. This photo will appear when people see your business’ listing in Google search pages and Google Maps. Click “Choose photo” in the “Cover” tile to add your cover photo.
- Videos: The video feature allows you to add a short video of up to 30 seconds. Videos appear on your listing page and are great for showcasing why your business is unique. To add one, click on “Add videos” in the “Video” tile.
- Interior photos: These photos display the inside of your business’ store or offices, thereby highlighting its atmosphere and offerings. Like videos, interior photos appear on your listing page. Add interior photos through the “Add photos” button in the “Interior” tile.
- Exterior photos: These photos should clearly show your location’s exterior, thereby helping your customers find you in real life. These are also shown on your listing page. To add exterior photos, click on “Add photos” in the “Exterior” tile.
Google recommends you add photos in JPG or PNG format with a minimum resolution of 720 x 720 pixels and between 10KB and 5MB in size. Videos should be no longer than 30 seconds, have a 720 pixel or higher resolution, and be no bigger than 100MB in size.
5. Confirm Business Attributes
Attributes describe the key features, characteristics, or offerings of your business. These include options such as Wi-Fi, women-owned, pet-friendly, and wheelchair-accessible, among others.
Based on the category you chose when creating your account, Google Business Profile (GBP) automatically offers attributes for you to confirm. When you do, your business listing includes a badge telling users that attribute applies. Access, review, and confirm these from the “Info” tab on the GBP dashboard.
To add a business attribute to your listing, simply click the “Info” tab from your Profile’s left-hand menu, then “Attributes.” Click the plus sign next to the already-set attributes you’d like to confirm for your business. Then, click “Apply.”
Tips to Optimize & Manage Your Google Business Profile
Even after your Google Business Profile goes live, you still need to actively manage it to keep your business relevant to Google. Encourage and respond to reviews, answer customer questions, and update your Profile as needed with new business information and posts.
Here are six key ways to can optimize and manage your Google Business Profile:
You can add events, products, services, and offer posts as well as newsy updates to your Google Business Profile. Posts disappear after seven days, so it’s important to post frequently. The content you post appears alongside your business listing in Google search engine results pages.
To add posts, click “Posts” from your dashboard’s left-hand menu. Next, choose your post type by clicking “Create your post,” then clicking a post type from the top of the pop-up screen. You can choose a COVID-19 update, a regular update (also known as “What’s New”), event, offer, or product post.
These are the types of posts you can add to your Google Business Profile account:
- COVID-19 update: A COVID-19 update lets customers know of any changes to your store, such as mask mandates, curbside pickup options, and so on.
- Update: Update, aka “What’s New” posts, allows you to add a description, a photo or video, a link, and a call to action button. Call to action buttons include “Book,” “Order Online,” “Buy,” “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” and “Call Now.”
- Event: Promote an upcoming event by posting a time, date, photo or video, description, event title, and any of the call to action (CTA) buttons listed above.
- Offer: If you choose the “Offer” post option, you can create a post that includes a photo or video, a description of the offer (20% off in-store, for example), start and end dates, a coupon code (if you have one), a link to redeem an offer, and a terms-and-conditions link.
- Product post: This type of post allows you to showcase a product name, type, price, and CTA button, including a “Book,” “Order Online,” “Buy,” “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Call Now” button. You can either set a dollar amount as the price or a price range.
Once you’ve chosen a post type, fill out the subsequent form and click on “Publish” at the very bottom of the pop-up page. Posts will show on your Profile in search results and Maps.
Encourage & Manage Your Google Business Listing Reviews
Once your Profile is live, it’s important to encourage user reviews. According to BrightLocal, 77% of users regularly read reviews for local businesses. While Google doesn’t require you to set up reviews for your Profile, it’s best to encourage them and respond to them for the benefit of your business.
Google also determines quality based on user reviews. This means that Profiles with lots of happy customer reviews will be displayed in search results more often than competitors with few reviews or a significant number of negative reviews.
To get more Google reviews, share a link to your Profile with customers asking them to leave a review. Note that you can’t solicit Google reviews by offering anything in exchange for them—including goods or services as well as monetary or non-monetary incentives like booth space. Doing so can get your reviews deleted or disabled, or even get your entire account suspended or deleted. Instead, copy your page link and share it.
To share your review link with customers, simply search for your business on Google, then click “Write a Review” once you’ve found it. Copy the review page URL from your browser’s address bar and paste it into content asking for Google reviews, including on your website, in emails, and on social media pages.
Respond to Google Business Profile Reviews
To read and reply to reviews, sign in to your Google Business Profile account and click “Reviews” from the left-hand menu. For each review, click “Reply” to respond to it. Once you’ve written your response, click “Post reply.”
Replying to customer reviews sends a message that your company is attentive to its customers and cares if they are satisfied. Thank positive reviewers and respond to negative reviews with appreciation as well as resolutions. This will build trust in your brand.
Respond to Questions & Post Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Located at the bottom of your business listing, the questions section is essentially a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) area. Be sure to answer all questions posted here by customers and post ones you feel are missing. You can also delete incorrect answers others have posted. Check in on these questions often and post, answer, and correct answers to ensure accuracy.
To access the questions surrounding your business, search for your business’ listing on Google. Find your Profile, then scroll down to the middle of the listing box where you will see the section “Questions & Answers.” Click it to see what questions and answers people have posted. You can comment on or answer questions in the given response boxes or post your own by clicking “Ask a question.”
To delete questions you have posted, click the three dots on the right-hand side of the question on your listing and click “Edit” or “Delete.” If you click “Edit,” simply edit your question or response in the pop-up text box, then click the right-facing arrow next to the text box to repost it.
Keep Your Profile Updated
Now that you’ve perfected your listing, check it often to ensure all information is correct. Keep in mind that Google may change information on your listing that it believes contradicts business details offered elsewhere online, so it’s important to keep your information consistent across all channels. Additionally, ensure you’re making the most of your listing by reviewing Google Insights to learn about customer interaction with your GBP page.
Keep Your Business Listing Up to Date
Many small businesses make the mistake of creating a Google Business Profile and then forgetting about it. What they don’t realize is that anyone can edit their Profile, swapping it out for incorrect or less-favorable information. Even Google will change the information if it discovers conflicting information elsewhere.
To avoid this, log into your Google Business Profile account at least once a month to review and edit your information to ensure it’s still correct. In addition, as you create a marketing plan each year or quarter, update your business description and posts to reflect it. Likewise, make sure any changes you make are also updated on your website and other online business pages.
Optimize Your Listing Based on Google Business Profile Insights
Google Insights show how people find and interact with your listing. Reports include data like how people find your listings (e.g., business name searches or “near me” searches) and actions they take, like clicking your website link, requesting directions, or viewing posts or photos. Access these reports through the “Insights” tab, analyze them to identify customer preferences, and use what you learn to inform future Google Business Profile updates.
You can locate Google Insights on the left-hand side of your GBP dashboard. Simply click on “Insights.”
Here are the reports you can find in Google Insights:
- How customers find your listing: This report shows the number of people who found your Google Business Profile by searching for your business name or address (direct searches); searching for a category, product, or service you offer (discover searches); and searching for your brand or a related brand (branded searches). It also shows the total number of searches combined.
- Search queries: The search query report shows you the search terms people used to find your business listing, both on local search and Google Maps. You can see search terms used in the last week, month, or quarter.
- Where customers find you on Google: This report tells you how many customers found your business via Google Search and Google Maps, respectively. It includes your listing’s views on Search and Maps, as well as the total views for Search and Maps combined.
- Customer actions: This report tells you how people interacted with your listing, including how many clicked through to your website, requested directions to your business, clicked your phone number to call you, and the total number of all actions combined.
- Direct requests: Here you can see where customers were when they asked for directions to your business. The map displayed shows your location and the popular places people are when they ask for directions to your location represented by location pins.
- Phone calls: This report indicates how many and how often people called your business through your Google Business Profile listing. Using the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner, you can also see phone calls placed in the last week, month, or quarter.
- Photos: The photos report allows you to see what listing photos people viewed and the total number of photos they viewed. In all, graphs show the total number of owner-posted photos and their views, and the total number of customer-posted photos and their views.
- What your business is known for: This report displays what your business is known for, including commonly used descriptive words of its atmosphere, products, and services based on customer reviews.
Benefits of Having a Google Business Profile
Google is the most popular search engine and is thus a very useful tool to generate leads and sales, including for local businesses. According to BrightLocal, 81% of customers use Google to evaluate local businesses.
Here are other advantages of having a Google Business Profile:
- Exposure through Maps: 86% of people look up the location of businesses through Google Maps. That’s a huge amount of potential customers—especially since Maps has a feature called Google Local Pack (GLP). The GLP is the multiple business locations a searcher sees that are related to their original Google search.
- Connect with customers: Your Google Business Profile allows you to interact with prospects and customers by answering questions and responding to reviews. 89% of customers are more likely to use a business that responds to its reviews.
- Cost-effective way to get more visibility: Unlike digital or traditional advertising, which often costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars, creating and maintaining your Google business listing is completely free. This makes it a very efficient way to boost local search engine optimization (SEO).
Who Google Business Profiles Are Right For
A Google Business Profile is best for any and all businesses wanting to increase exposure in Google search results. However, it’s also particularly helpful for local businesses wanting to ensure nearby customers find them via area-specific Google searches. Because Google Business Profile allows you to add multiple locations you serve, it can also be a good option for franchises or service organizations that travel to meet customers’ needs.
Here are the types of businesses that benefit from setting up a Google Business Profile page:
- Local brick-and-mortar stores: Google Business Profile offers features for showcasing a brick-and-mortar business (including location photos, videos, and customer reviews) and showing local customers how they can contact and visit the business (via directions to the business, phone and address information, and hours of operation).
- Franchises: Franchise owners can set up multiple locations for stores so that when people within the vicinity of one of their stores search for their products, brands, names, or services, the closest business location is listed.
- Service businesses: Business owners can specify the areas they service by inputting states, cities, and ZIP codes. This allows them to accurately target all the potential customers who could benefit from what they offer.
- Client-based businesses: Your Profile can be optimized for online search with SEO keywords. A well-optimized Google business listing will often be shown alongside organic search results, making it easy for customers to find your business whether you have a brick-and-mortar location or take your services to your clients (e.g., real estate agents, business and marketing consultants, and contractors).
- Media-forward businesses: The images and videos you add to your Google Business Profile enrich your listing (which Google loves) and are more compelling than text alone when people discover your Profile in online searches. This makes it a must for local photographers and videographers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does every business need a Google Business Profile?
Any business trying to boost and maximize visibility online or locally should create a Google Business Profile. However, companies that don’t have a presence locally (e.g., 100% ecommerce stores or software providers that fully operate online) are prohibited from creating Google Business Profiles (GBPs). See if your business is eligible (or ineligible) for a GBP.
How do I get my business on Google Maps?
You can get your business on Google Maps by creating a Google Business Profile account and following the prompts to provide your business contact information, including the address. After setting up a Profile, you will be prompted to verify it, and this is required before a business can be featured on Google Maps.
Is a Google Business Profile free?
Yes, it’s free to have a Google Business Profile (formerly branded as Google My Business). Using the platform, you can showcase your business description, photos, contact information, reviews, questions and answers, and posts. You also get analytics reports that show you how your customers interact with your listing. All these features are free to set up and use.
Google Business Profile (GBP) is an online business directory where companies publish business information, announcements, and updates. Creating and managing a GBP is completely free, and is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost visibility in online search. Find out more about the benefits of getting found on Google in our article detailing 11 key Google statistics.
You Might Also Like…
- Need more visibility? Learn how to rank higher on Google.
- Still looking for ways to market your business? Try some of these easy website marketing strategies.
- Find out how to set up local service ads to generate leads and sales on Google.