Disclaimer: Google changed the name of their free listing from Google My Business to Google Business Profile in November 2021.
Google Business Profile is one of the most powerful tools available for your business. It helps you rank higher in local search results and reach more potential customers. However, to take full advantage of this opportunity, you must claim and complete your Google Business Profile and make sure it’s optimized to be found by customers who are searching for businesses like yours.
In this article, Manta provides a 29-point guide that provides all the tips, answers, and insights you need to build a dynamite Google Business Profile, boost your SEO efforts, add your location to Google Maps, and rank higher in local search. Let’s get started!
29 Google Business Profile Tips and Answers
1. What is Google Business Profile?
Previously known as Google My Business, Google Business Profile is Google’s listing platform for companies. Millions of small, medium and large businesses have Google Business profiles that help them boost search rankings and help them get in front of local customers.
2. Why Should Your Business Use a Google Business Profile?
Setting up a Google Business Profile for your business will help your company show up in Google search engine results, Google local search results and Google Maps results. Listing your company on Google will:
- Helps you show up and rank in search results
- Helps you be present on map results
- Provides a place where customers can review your business
- Give your customers answers to questions they might have about your business
- It’s the quickest way to find business information
When your Google Business Profile is optimized and has all of the correct information, the better opportunities your business has to be found by current or potential customers.
3. What Do Google Business Listings Look Like?
This Google Business listing for DC Cupcakes shows what a great small business listing looks like:
4. How Much Does a Google Business Profile Cost?
It costs absolutely nothing to create a Google Business Profile! There’s no charge to add your company information to Google My Business. It’s free to use for businesses to help manage their information.
5. How Does a Google Business Profile Work?
Listing your company on Google ensures that your small business name, address, phone number, hours, and descriptions are listed correctly and consistently across all Google platforms, including:
- Google SERPs
- Google’s Local Pack
- Google Maps
- Google Reviews
Having a Google Business Profile allows you to manage your entire business — including multiple locations — from one dashboard.
6. What Does a Google Business Profile Do?
Google Business Profiles allow you to control the way your business shows up on Google. Using a Google Business Profile you can correct or adjust your company’s:
- Name, address, and phone number (your NAP info)
- Your current business hours
- Geographic information for each of your locations
On top of these basic features, you can add photos to your profile and encourage positive customer reviews.
7. What Permissions Do I Have On My Google Business Profile?
You can manage everything you need to right from your small business’ Google Business Profile dashboard. The NAP information, photos, videos, and any other information you upload. It will automatically populate across all of Google’s platforms. You can even manage your small business AdWords account from your Google My Business dashboard.
These are Google’s basic guidelines for representing your company on a Google Business Profile:
- Represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and other branding.
- Make sure your address is accurate and precise.
- Choose the fewest number of categories it takes to describe your overall core business.
8. Do You Need to Create a Separate Small Business Listing for Google Maps?
The answer to this question is no. Your location information is automatically integrated onto Google Maps from your Google Business Profile dashboard.
9. How Much Can You Manage From the Google Business Profile Dashboard?
Everything you need to manage for your small business’ appearance on Google you can manage from the Google Business Profile dashboard. Here’s what the Google Business Profile dashboard looks like:
From this dashboard you can:
- Update your business information and have it automatically update in Google search and Google Maps.
- Get alerts for and respond to new reviews from customers.
- Use Google “insights” feature to see who’s interacting with your business online and learn how they found you.
- See the number of people that click on your website from your Google Business Profile.
- See how much people click-to-call your business from your profile.
- See how many people request driving directions from your Google My Business profile.
- See how often people see your business in their Google search results over time.
- Use AdWords Express to administer AdWords from your Google My Business profile.
10. Is My Company Already Listed on a Google Business Profile or Google Maps?
Begin by searching for your business in the Google Business Profile Manager search bar. If your company information is already in Google’s system, it will appear on your screen. Google then gives you the opportunity to claim and ask you to verify the contact email on file for the account. If it does not appear, you can add your business information in and create a new listing.
11. How to Add Your Company to a Google Business Profile
If Google has no information on your business, it will lead you through a series of steps. Follow their prompted steps to add your business information to the site. You’ll be required to verify your business with Google, which we’ll get to in the next section. As you wait for the verification process to be completed, you can begin uploading photos, videos, and log into your Google Business dashboard immediately. These won’t be published online until you’ve completed the verification process. It’s also very important NOT to correct your address or business information until you verify your business.
Watch Google’s step-by-step demo here to help claim or add your company to a Google Business Profile:
12. How to Verify Your Google Business Listing
There are three main ways to verify your Google My Business listing: by postcard, bulk verification, or by telephone.
Google wants to understand that you are the verified representative from the company that was listed. That is why they send a postcard to the address that gives a code to input. Having another verification helps protect your business and it’s information overall. With the code verified, you are able to have full control over the listing. The verification boosts your chances of ranking for local services that you offer in your business area. Follow Google’s prompts to determine the method of verification that’s right for you. Verification by postcard will take between 7-10 business days. As of March 2nd, 2022, Google Business Profile may request your business to verify by more than one method.
For more detailed instructions, learn more about how to verify your small business on Google.
13. What if Someone Already Claimed My Business on Google?
An additional step in the process of listing your company will arise if someone has already claimed your listing. To lock down ownership of your listing, you’ll need to request a transfer of listing ownership or request that person. The best thing to do is to contact the person who has ownership now and can grant you that ownership. If that doesn’t work, you can go to Google Business Profile support for more assistance.
14. What Should You Include on Your Google Business Page?
The information you include on your Google My Business profile seems self-explanatory. But there are best practices every business owner should follow in the way their information is presented on Google My Business.
Here are some guidelines your business could include on your Google My Business profile:
- Consistent Business Name, Address & Phone Number
You want to make sure that all your business details are consistent with other online listings. Google pulls your NAP from all different sources, but if you can tell them the correct information through a consistent business citation, you will increase your online visibility on search engines on local search.
- Unique Business Description
Google wants to see that your ‘about’ section is completely unique, and not just pasted from your own website. By having a unique description, your targeted keywords and business focus will be more in-tune to become more visible on the search engines. Don’t forget to include a hyperlink right in the description for maximum GMB return.
- Correct Business Category
Choosing the correct business category is vital to get found for the correct user’s searcher intent. By pinpointing your correct category (less the better), you will show up for the right types of search traffic. If you are having difficulty deciding which category, look at all your competitors and scout out the winning listings and copy their category.
15. Google Business Profile for Multiple Locations
You can manage up to 10 business locations from a single Google Business Profile. For more than 10 locations, you’ll need to use the Google My Business Locations dashboard.
16. Are Duplicate Google Business Listings a Problem?
The answer to this question is yes. Duplicate listings for a single business location can undermine the value of a Google Business listing. It’s important to search for any duplicate pages that might have been created in the past with old addresses or different versions of your business’ name. The best solution is to merge or close these locations. Having multiple Google Business Profile pages for the same location can harm your chances for ranking locally. Providing old, inaccurate information can also be an issue for the user’s experience.
17. How to Remove Duplicate Listings
Businesses can contact Google Business Profile support by phone, email, or chat to get rid of duplicate listings. Here are some recommended steps to take:
- In your “Account Summary,” click “Duplicate Locations”.
- Then, click the location(s) you want to remove.
- Finally, click “Delete This Listing.”
- If you need additional support, send a message to Google My Business support staff by starting a chat, requesting a call or sending an email.
18. How Do You Edit or Change the Information in Your Google Business Profile?
You can edit or change information on your profile directly from your Google Business Profile dashboard. If you have any difficulty making changes to hours, location, or other information, send a message to Google Business support staff.
19. Optimize Your Google Business Listing for Best Results
One of the most important things to keep in mind when optimizing your Google My Business listing is consistency. You want to make sure that things like your name, imaging, messaging, general info (such as hours of operation, business category and how people can find you) is consistent. If your Google My Business page isn’t consistent, how is Google supposed to trust your business as a credible source of information for its users?
Here are some recommended tips for optimizing your GMB profile:
- Add Content, Content, Content!
Add high-resolution images of your business including the interior, along with 360-degree photos and videos if applicable. The more great content you add, the better Google will position your business relative to the competition. When writing descriptions, write in a natural, helpful, and easy to read prose. Google loves a great user experience!
- Choose Keywords Wisely
Choose the same keywords and phrases you know your customers are looking
for and populating your profile where appropriate.
20. Adding Photos to Google Maps and Google Search From Google Business Profile
Adding photos to your Google My Business profile will also add those photos to Google Maps and search results. Remember, customers are visually motivated, and photos of your location and products or services will go a long way towards attracting new business. You want to add relevant photos of your company. This includes the interior, exterior of the building location, employees, past work, logos, and other miscellaneous photos. The images supplied will send strong signals to Google that you are indeed a real business. The photos supplied will be more easily found on the ‘image’ section of the Google search engine portion. Watch this Google demo for step-by-step instructions on adding photos to your Google Business Profile:
21. What are Google Reviews?
Customers can review your business on Google. Individuals can create reviews (that may be positive or negative) that help potential customers choose your business over your competitors. Your Google Business Profile helps keep all of your reviews in one central location with your business listing.
22. Do Customer Reviews Show Up on Your Google Business Listing?
Yes, customer reviews show up on your Google Business Profile. The 1 to 5 star rating at the top of your Google Business listing (as it appears in search results and on Google Maps) is determined by the number of positive ratings you receive from customer reviews.
Google reviews are important for potential customers who are still in the “research phase” of making a purchase. People who see great reviews are more likely to try your company instead of your competitors. And those Google star ratings are the most crucial ones.
Begin by requesting reviews from existing happy customers who have been so thrilled with their services in the past that they’d be more than willing to leave a review. These are a guaranteed way to build some momentum in getting more and more reviews on Google.
23. How Can You Get Good Reviews on Google?
The way to get good reviews on Google is to simply ask for them. Customers don’t think about leaving online reviews, even when they have really good experiences. In fact, they’re usually most inspired to go to the trouble of writing a review when they have a bad experience. That makes it doubly important to ask happy customers to leave a review.
When you have an interaction with a customer that just feels really solid and good, and they strike you as someone who is well-spoken, simply ask them, ‘Hey, would you be willing to take a couple minutes to review us on Google?’ More often than not they’ll be happy to help you out. You might also consider handing out a flier with a link to your Google My Business page and a request for a review. However, you only want to give the flier to customers that are clearly satisfied and most likely to leave a positive review.
24. Should You Pay People to Leave Positive Google Reviews?
The answer to this question is always no. Never, not under any circumstances, should you pay someone to leave good reviews on Google. It’s a violation of Google’s terms of service with regard to reviews (as is the case with Yelp). If a happy customer is reluctant to leave a positive review out of the kindness of their own heart, you might offer them a small discount on their next purchase. Don’t publicize this offer or make it part of your marketing approach. But you’re asking a customer to spend their time on your behalf, so sometimes it’s appropriate to do
something nice for them.
25. How to Respond to Good Google Reviews
Be sure to respond to your online reviews through your Google Business Profile. And don’t just write “Thank you!” Write a detailed, thoughtful response in which you address the person by their first name, thank them for being a customer and writing the review, and adding any salient points about your interaction with the customer that you think might put you in a good light.
26. How to Respond to Bad Reviews on Google Business Profile
The downside to positive Google reviews from your happy customers are the occasional bad reviews every business is likely to receive. Never leave a bad review unanswered. It’s easy to do more harm than good if you aren’t careful in your response. Be sure to respond to each negative review with care. Here are some rules when it comes to responding to a bad review:
- Be calm and courteous. Don’t write a response when you’re frustrated and angry. You need to be firmly in control of your emotions. Find your happy place.
- Don’t debate the person in public. A he-said she-said situation is get the interaction away from prying eyes. Lead off with a courteous, “I’m very sorry that you had an unsatisfactory experience with our business.” Then provide contact details where they can get a hold of you directly.
- You need to be in full-blown A+ customer-service mode. That doesn’t mean that you should be self-deprecating or apologize a million times. Rather, make it clear how your customers’ experiences should play out. What they should experience.
27. How to Use Google Business Profile to Rank Higher in Local Search Results
Google Business Profiles’ important function is that it uses your small business’ location (or locations) to determine your placement in local search rankings. Local search results show businesses in the vicinity of the customer doing the Google search based on your physical location and theirs.
The top three businesses returned in local search results show up in Google’s Local Three Pack. The local pack is a box that appears at the top of location-based Google search results.
Google’s location-based local search results are critical for helping customers find you easily. Competition for Google’s Local Three Pack is heavy, he said, and it gets harder every day for small businesses to earn that special place at the top of local Google searches. Invest the time into creating and maintaining a Google Business listing as well as the supporting local elements, and you’ll reap the benefits of higher placement and greater visibility for your small business.
28. How Can You Compete for a Place in Google’s Local Three Pack?
You can see how your company measures up on Google Business Profiles by conducting a “near me” search. Near me searches use an internet user’s location to suggest businesses nearby. To understand the local competitive landscape for your business, search for your business’ category with the phrase ‘near me’ in Google to see what type of accounts are showing up in Google Maps and the Knowledge Graph. You will more than likely see that listings with reviews show up first organically. It’s suggested to click on those top businesses to see what they’re doing differently and what you might do to improve your own near-me ranking.
29. Can You Manage Your Google Business Listing From Your Smartphone?
Strengthen Your Online Presence
There’s a lot your business needs to take on when it comes to setting up your GBP. Now that you have all of the tools to get started, start by improving your listing information. Along with creating a GBP, be sure to add your business information in different business listings to help spread your online presence. You can start by claiming your business on Manta and branching out to various directories that are relevant to your industry. If you’re needing additional assistance in building your online presence, check out our affordable small business SEO services to get started today!