A Google Business Profile (GBP) puts your company details in front of customers on Google Search and Google Maps. This free tool gives users control over how they want to showcase their company on the Google search engine. Formerly known as Google My Business, Google Business Profile displays information such as website URL, physical location, business hours, and contact information.
Setting Up Your Google Business Profile
Listing your entity on Google Business Profile is a great first step to getting your entity in front of online customers. What’s great about this tool is that it’s free. You don’t need to pay any fee or subscription to have a Google Business Profile listing. All you need to do is set up and manage your GBP account, and you’ll be good to go. This post will guide you through setting up your Google Business Profile account.
1. Sign in to Google Business Profile
Search for Google Business Profile on Google Search or access this link. Google will then prompt you to sign in with your business Gmail account or create it if you don’t have one. For professional purposes, try using your business Gmail account instead of your personal Gmail. This way, any information sent to you by Google will go to your company Gmail.
2. Search for your business name
After signing in, click the “Manage now” button to start the account setup process. Your next step will be to search for your business name in the search query box. Check if there are any names similar to your entity’s. Also, ensure you spell and capitalize your business name correctly since this is the first information your customers will see.
3. Select a business category
This step requires you to choose the category that applies to your entity. Google will automatically display suggestions the moment you start typing. If you can’t find your exact business category, choose the one closest to it.
4. Add business location
Next up, Google will ask if you want to add your entity’s physical location. This location will get displayed on Google Search and Maps when someone searches for you on these platforms.
5. Add a physical address
Once you select yes to having a business location, Google will require you to enter your primary physical address. You can add more after setting up your account. Your physical address will show up on Google Maps and search results. The details to fill in include:
- Street address
- Zip code
6. Add service areas
This step is where you select your method of serving customers. Do you prefer them to visit your storefront? If you pick “No,” Google will prompt you to add your service areas. Your service areas are areas where you offer your services, whether in person, through the mail, or online. From the Dropdown select the appropriate location.
7. Add the state or country of your business
Enter the region where your entity operates to give customers an overall idea of your location.
8. Add your business contact information
Your next step will be to add your contact information, which is your business phone number and website URL if you have one. Your contact information will also appear on the Google search results page.
9. Accept Google Alerts for business profile
If you want Google to keep sending updates and recommendations concerning your profile account, select “Yes” to receive Google Alerts.
10. Verify your mailing address
Google requires you to verify your entity via phone, email, or postcard. By entering your mailing address, Google will then send a verification letter to your mailing address.
11. Include business hours
Next up, you will be required to include your business hours. Try to be as accurate as possible since customers will use this information to decide when to call you. If you are unsure about your business hours, you can skip this section and fill it in later when managing your GBP account.
12. Add messaging
If you want to allow customers to message you, turn on GBP messaging. Activating this option will enable customers to message you directly from your GBP listing. Some customers may prefer messaging instead of calling and, therefore, will be glad to have this choice.
13. Customize a description for your business
In this section, you can add a description of your entity to give customers more details about you. Remember to include keywords in your description to increase your Google search ranking. Google Business Profile grants you a limit of 750 characters, which is between 110 to 180 words.
14. Add photos of your business
Get your Google Business Profile more noticeable by including photos. Pictures will give customers a clear understanding of your entity while allowing you to impress your online visitors.
You can add photos of your storefront, products, or service in progress. For example, if you are a hairdresser, include a picture of you cutting someone’s hair.
15. Choose whether or not to sign up for Google Ads
16. Enter your Google Business Profile Manager
Congratulations! You’ve completed all setup steps. You can now enter your Google Business Profile Manager. If you need to change or update any information about your entity, you’ll do it on your GBP Manager account.
Customizing Your Google Business Profile
Customize your business profile manager to capture customers’ interest. Doing so will also enable you to get the most out of your Google Business Profile. You can customize your listing by:
1. Create a promotion post
One way to make your Google Business Profile stand out is by creating an offer post where you give customers limited deals and discounts attainable through promotion codes. Your promotion post will show under your listing on Google search results. Remember to specify when your promotion begins and ends.
2. Promote posts or upcoming events
You can also create and promote posts regarding news about your entity, for example, telling customers about an upcoming event.
3. Add your products and services
Another way to customize your GBP listing is by highlighting your product and services. Doing so will raise your ranking on Google search results since it will make your business easy to find. If a local customer searches for the products or services you offer, your entity will most likely get featured on that customer’s results page.
4. Set up your Google Business Profile to access customer chat
Consider interacting with customers through customer chat and Q&As. You can also use the Q&A tool as an FAQs section where you highlight commonly asked questions from customers. Doing so will allow customers to learn more about you and answer any questions.
5. Collect reviews from customers
Reviews are a great way to increase engagement from customers. They encourage the customer to call or buy from you. You can collect and respond to customer reviews through your Google Business Profile account. Once you set up your account, invite customers to leave reviews.
Benefits of a Google Business Profile
In the past, your company might have been able to get by on word of mouth. Today, that isn’t the case. Here are a few reasons why you need a GBP:
1. Brand Awareness
A Google Business Profile helps customers to find you online. It increases brand awareness and search ranking within your location, a concept known as local SEO.
2. Increased Customer Trust
According to a report by Google, potential customers are 70% more likely to go for a business with a comprehensive GBP listing than one without. When customers find your entity listed on Google Business Profile, they automatically trust that your entity is genuine and professional. Having a GBP listing increases their likelihood of engaging with you.
3. Directions to Your Business
With a GBP listing, your entity can also get listed on Google Maps, essentially leading customers to your doorstep with directions to your location.
4. Added Business Content at No Cost
Google Business Profile is a complimentary service from Google. You won’t get charged for setting up a GBP listing. You also won’t have to pay to add content (photos, reviews, and promotion posts) about your entity on your GBP listing.
5. Access to Insights and Analytics
As the GBP account manager, you have access to analytics showing how many Google visitors view and interact with your listing. Simply go to the Insights tool to retrieve this data.
6. Enhanced Competitive Ability
Google Business Profiles offers you an opportunity to compete with large businesses. Since this tool is free, each entity gets displayed the same way as per a visitor’s search query. Google Business Profile levels the competitive playing field.
Who Qualifies for a Google Business Profile?
Not all businesses can set up a Google Business Profile. Here are the requirements needed to get a listing:
- The company must have a physical address or offer goods or services at a customer’s location.
- The profile must clearly and accurately reflect the business, including business hours, location, contact details, branding elements, and goods and services.
- There must only be one profile per entity.
Below are a few resources to explore more about creating a Google Business Profile.
If you prefer using books to learn about a topic, then see the ones listed on Amazon, related to creating a Google Business Profile.
If you are interested in self-study courses then you may want to see the courses available from the link below. One thing I like about self-study courses is the information is there for review anytime.
You can learn a lot about a topic from the news. Use a site like Google News, to get the latest stories covered by the media and set up an alert to get notifications anytime a new story is published.
You can use YouTube to learn more about a Google Business Profile and pick up tips and insights to create an effective one.
If your entity qualifies to set up a Google Business Profile listing, don’t hesitate to get one. What’s great about this marketing tool is that it’s free. You won’t pay a cent to create or manage your GBP listing. The setup process is also fairly straightforward. Simply follow the steps as highlighted in this article.