In this day and age, all local businesses should have a Google Business Profile (GBP). Formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), this profile is key for your online marketing strategy. Essentially, it gives you a detailed business profile on Google, ensuring that your customers can find you.
To learn more about the GBP and how to get one, keep reading this complete guide.
What Is Google My Business? 🤔
A Google Business Profile lets you provide details of your business, including photos, location information, and more. It’s a key part of your online marketing strategy, increasing your visibility across Google services.
Notably, the Google Business Profile is only available for businesses that have contact with customers. This includes local businesses like stores and restaurants, or those that meet with clients in other locations, such as electricians and consultants.
How to Get Started With GMB on Google
If you want to create a Google Business Profile, you’re in luck. It’s really easy; just follow these step-by-step instructions.
1. Create a Google Business Account
First, create a Google account. Anyone can create an account, and they’re easy to use. Chances are that you already have a business account to use tools like Google Analytics; the same account lets you access GBP.
If you don’t have one, go to accounts.google.com, and click ‘Create an account.’ Then, you’ll need to add your business. You can do this with a free Google account, but you’ll need to verify your business.
2. Manage Your Account
Next, head to google.com/business. Click ‘Manage now’. In the Google My Business dashboard, you can view your business information and start setting up a listing for your company.
3. Seek Out Your Business
Add your company by entering the name in the drop-down box. If your company is listed, you can click on it and add it automatically. Otherwise, click ‘Add your business to Google.’
The name you choose should be identical to the official company name. Do not be tempted to stuff in keywords, as this is against Google’s rules. After adding your name, add other information about your business, such as the category.
With this information, it will be easy for nearby customers to perform a local search for your business, ensuring it’s easy for people to find you.
4. Add Your Location 📍
One of the major advantages of a GBP is appearing in Google Search and Maps. For this to work effectively, you’ll need to list your location. Google requires you to validate the location by placing a pin on Google Maps. 🗺
Make sure the address you provide is exact, or customers might end up confused. 86% of customers use Google Maps to locate a business, so providing correct information is essential.
If you do not have a physical location, but you serve customers by attending their homes or doing deliveries, you can add your service locations instead.
5. Include Your Contact Information
When creating a business profile, it’s important to add your contact information. This allows customers to get in touch to ask questions, make reservations, and so on.
You can provide a phone number, but you don’t have to. However, it’s advised to add a website, email, or other contact method.
The methods you include will appear in your Google My Business listing, so customers can get in touch in just a few clicks.
6. Keep Up To Date
Before you verify the business, you’ll be asked if you want to receive helpful advice and recommendations from Google. You don’t have to opt in, but you might find it useful.
7. Verify The Company
Google requires you to select a verification technique to prove the company is running and that you own it.
Typically, physical businesses will receive a postcard in the mail 📩. Service-based businesses will receive an email. Whichever method you choose, you will receive a 5-digit PIN from Google. Enter this through your Google dashboard under Verify or Verify Business.
8. Add Your Working Hours 🕐
Another crucial aspect of local SEO is adding your business hours so that potential customers know when they can come to see you or contact you.
Make sure your hours are correct. If your operating hours change, make sure you update them so that they’re accurate, or you risk disappointing your customers. This includes for a temporary change.
9. Add Your Company's Description
Your customers also need a description of your company so that they can understand what you do. Google allows a maximum of 750 characters, so keep it short and sweet.
You don’t need to include tons of information, just provide a brief description of your services. For example, a restaurant could write: “Cozy Italian restaurant specializing in small plates and local wines.” It’s concise, easy to understand, and to the point.
10. Insert Photographs 📸
Using photos can assist searchers in visualizing the business and give them a sense of the brand. Customers can upload their own photos to the site when leaving a review, but it’s a good idea to leave some more professional pictures on your profile, too.
11. Respond to Customers
Google profiles allow you to accept messages from potential customers. This is a great way to engage your audience, answer questions, and increase sales. However, you should only use this feature if you’ll use it, because unresponsiveness creates a negative user experience.
Speaking of which, it’s also recommended to respond to reviews and show customers that you care. Don’t be rude to negative commenters, and, instead, make an effort to address the feedback.
3 Advantages of GMB for Your Business
If a customer searches for you on Google and you don’t have a business profile, you only have search results to rely on. And guess what? If someone looks for your business and can’t find it, they’re going to click on another result.
That’s just one of the reasons why you should create a GBP:
- It helps you communicate with local customers to show what you’re selling and when.
- It helps you answer questions potential customers have quickly and effectively.
- It helps customers find you with a listing on Google Maps.
Only 16% of searches for businesses are direct searches. 84% are discovery searches, which means being visible is key. Thanks to GBP, local businesses are visible in over 1000 discovery searches each month.
Best of all, Google Business Profile is a free tool; there’s no reason not to use it!
Final Thoughts on Google My Business
Even if word of mouth is working well for your business, you may still be missing out on new customers. Using Google My Business does not cost you a penny, so it’s worth setting up.
However, it’s only as useful as you make it. Try to craft a profile that’s inviting and informative, and always be on the lookout for and respond to client feedback and updates on your website.
With a strong Google Business Profile, you’re ready to find new customers and grow your company.
On the lookout for more business tips and advice? Check out the MyTommy blog!