- If you’re looking to boost your online visibility this year, there’s an easy option: Use your Google Business Profile.
- Small business owners and local businesses can increase their online presence by utilizing and managing their Google Business Profile.
- A Google Business Profile contains your business’s information like business address, phone number, contact information, and store hours (which you can manage by claiming your Business Profile).
- Google Business Profile is a free tool offered as part of Google’s services.
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Why Is Google Business Profile (GBF) Important for Businesses?
Your Google Business Profile gives you more control over how your business shows up in a Google Search, on Google Maps, and in Google Shopping. You can do the following with a GBF.
Boost your business’s visibility to potential customers
Search engine results are one of the key ways small businesses attract new customers. If you enhance your Google Business Profile (which we cover how to do a bit later), you’re more likely to appear in search results. A local pack is a map and a list of businesses that appear for searches specific to a location. Managing your Google Business Profile can help you appear more legitimate on a local search and higher on local SEO or search engine optimization.
Control your business listing
Making sure the information listed in your Google Business Profile is accurate is one of the best steps you can take to increase customer satisfaction. You can highlight any changes, like special hours or a location change, so customers stay in the know. Keeping this information up to date helps improve the user experience for customers interacting with your business.
Increase credibility using customer reviews
Your Google Business Profile integrates with Google Reviews, which helps customers find your business across various Google platforms. Most customers use reviews to evaluate a business before making a purchase. Responding to your customer reviews (good or bad) improves your social reputation and helps to increase sales. A Google Business Profile is a key part of your online reputation management as a whole.
History of GBPs
The Google Business Profile is formerly known as Google My Business. It evolved over the years to become a vital tool for businesses to manage their online presence. Here’s a brief history of the Google Business Profile:
- 2010: Google Places was introduced, which allowed businesses to create a local listing that appeared on Google Maps. Businesses could provide basic information like their name, address, phone number, and website.
- 2012: Google merged Google Places with Google+ to create Google+ Local. This integration added social features, such as the ability for users to write reviews and rate businesses.
- 2014: Google My Business (GMB) launched as a comprehensive platform to manage a business’s presence on Google. It combined the features of Google Places and Google+ Local, offering a single dashboard for businesses to control their business information, engage with customers, and see insights.
- 2020: Rebranded to Google Business Profile: The new name emphasized the profile’s purpose, which is to provide businesses with a robust online presence on Google and help them engage with customers effectively.
The Google Business Profile has become an essential tool for small businesses to manage their online presence, interact with customers, and optimize their visibility in Google search results and maps. It started as a simple local listing and evolved into a comprehensive platform that offers various features and insights to help local businesses thrive in the digital world.
What Types of Businesses Does a GBP Support?
Any business that makes in-person contact with customers can use a Google Business Profile, including local and online businesses. You can use a Business Profile if you have a storefront or physical location or if you perform services for customers in their homes. For example, a service-area business like an electrician that goes to customers’ homes and doesn’t maintain an office can still keep a Google Business Profile.
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How Does a GBP Work?
A Google Business Profile may sound complicated, but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Once you create or verify your GBP, you can manage business description information like the physical address of your storefront, phone number, contact information, and business hours. You can also choose your business category, which can have an impact on your Google search results.
Steps to Creating a GBP Account
Setting up a Google Business Profile is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up your Google Business Profile:
1. Visit Google Business Profile
Go to the Google Business Profile website and click on the “Manage now” button. You’ll need to sign in to your Google account or create a new one if you don’t have an account already.
2. Enter your business name
Type in the name of your business. If your business name doesn’t appear in the suggestions, click “Add your business to Google” at the bottom of the list.
Pro tip: Make sure to write out your exact business name. Make sure that it’s the same as the name on your website and other digital platforms so Google can recognize your business. Google may choose to suspend your account if your name or other information is inaccurate, so pay close attention.
3. Select your business category
A business category in a Google Business Profile refers to the industry or type of business that your company belongs to. It helps Google understand the nature of your business and makes sure your profile is shown to the right audience when users search for relevant products or services. You’ll be able to choose a primary (e.g., restaurant) and a secondary category (e.g., sushi) that best describes your business. This helps Google understand your business and display it to relevant search queries.
4. Choose your location
Provide the address where your business is located. If you don’t have a physical storefront and your business provides services at customers’ homes or office locations, you can choose the option to hide your address.
5. Pick your service area (if applicable)
If your business serves customers within a specific area but doesn’t have a physical location, you can define your service area. This is useful for businesses like plumbers, delivery services, or consultants who operate within a particular region.
6. Include contact information
Add your phone number and website URL. This information will be displayed on your business profile, allowing customers to contact you easily.
7. Verify your business
Google needs to verify that you’re the rightful owner of the business before your profile goes live. You’ll be asked to choose a verification method, which typically includes receiving a verification postcard by mail. Follow the instructions provided by Google to complete the verification process.
8. Enhance your profile
Once your business is verified, you can enhance your profile by adding additional information. This includes business hours, photos, a detailed description, services or products offered, and any other relevant details. Make sure to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help potential customers find and learn more about your business.
9. Manage and update your profile
After your profile is set up, you can manage and update it through the Google Business Profile dashboard. You can respond to customer reviews, post updates or offers, and monitor insights and analytics.
Remember to keep your Google Business Profile up to date by regularly checking information, responding to customer reviews, and maintaining an active and positive online presence. This will help you attract more customers and improve your online visibility.
Check out this Google Business Profile info for more support setting up your Business Profile.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Optimizing your Google Business Profile can greatly improve your online visibility, attract more customers, and increase engagement. Here are some ways to enhance your Google Business Profile.
Completing your business information
Make sure that all the relevant fields in your profile are accurately filled out. This includes your business name, business location, phone number, website URL, business category, and hours of operation. Providing complete and up-to-date information helps potential customers find and contact you easily.
Review your business name, business address, phone number to make sure they are all consistent across the web.
Choosing the right category
Select the most appropriate primary category for your business. Be specific and choose the category that best represents your products, services, or industry. This helps Google understand your business and display it to relevant search queries.
Writing a compelling business description
Craft a concise and engaging business description that accurately represents your brand. Highlight your unique selling points, key services or products, and any other information that sets your business apart from the competition. Use relevant keywords naturally — but it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing.
Adding high-quality photos
Add photos to your Business Profile since they’re often a big part of the first impression of your business. Uploading high-resolution photos, including cover photos, that showcase your business, products, services, and team makes your business seem more legitimate.
You can include attractive images of your storefront, interior, exterior, products, or examples of your work. Visual content helps customers get a sense of what your business offers and can encourage them to choose your business over others.
Encouraging customer reviews
Positive Google reviews for business not only boost your credibility but also improve your search rankings. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews by asking them directly, providing a link to your profile, or including a review request on your website or email communications. Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, in a timely and professional manner shows that you value customer feedback.
Using Google posts
Take advantage of Google Posts to share updates, offers, events, or any other relevant information about your business. These posts appear on your profile and can help attract attention, drive engagement, and provide valuable information to potential customers. Make sure to include eye-catching visuals and clear calls-to-action in your posts.
Leveraging attributes and service features
Google lets you add attributes and service features to your profile to provide more detailed information about your business. For example, you can specify if your business is women-led, offers free Wi-Fi, or has outdoor seating. Utilize these options to highlight unique features that can attract customers looking for those things.
Keeping an eye on insights and analytics
Your Google Business Profile provides valuable insight into how customers interact with your profile. Monitor this information to better understand what customers are searching for and how customers find your business. This data can help you make informed decisions about optimizing your profile further and tailoring your marketing strategies.
Use your Google Business Profile in digital marketing
It’s a good idea to utilize your Business Profile in your marketing strategy. Highlighting your business’s reviews on social media like Facebook or Instagram or your website can act as social proof — basically as a recommendation for your products or services. You can also connect your Business Profile with Google Ads to create locally targeted campaigns.
By following these optimization steps, you can improve the visibility and appeal of your Google Business Profile, draw in more customers, and enhance your online presence.
How to Manage and Monitor Your Profile
Regularly review and update your business information to ensure accuracy. Sign in to your Google Business Profile Manager to update your hours of operation for holidays or special occasions, add new photos, and refresh your business description periodically. Keeping your profile up to date signals to customers and search engines that your business is active and engaged. It also makes sure your Google Search and Maps results are correct.
Integrating GBP With Other Tools You May Use
Google Business Profile integrates with various Google services and platforms, as well as third-party tools, to enhance the visibility and functionality of your business. Here are some key integrations:
- Google Search: When users search for businesses or services related to your industry or location, your Google Business Profile can appear in the search results, providing essential information about your business.
- Google Maps: Your business profile is also displayed on Google Maps, allowing users to find your business when they search for nearby locations or use the Maps app for navigation.
- Google Reviews: Customers can leave reviews and ratings directly on your business profile, which can influence the reputation and credibility of your business. You can respond to these reviews and engage with customers through your Google Business Profile.
- Google Posts: You can create posts on your business profile to share updates, events, offers, and news about your business. These posts can appear in Google Search and Maps, increasing your visibility and attracting potential customers.
- Google Photos and Videos: You can upload images and videos to your business profile to showcase your products, services, premises, or team. This visual content helps users get a better understanding of your business.
- Messaging: Depending on your business category and settings, you can enable messaging functionality on your business profile, allowing customers to communicate with you directly through the Google Business Profile.
- Appointment Booking: In specific industries such as healthcare or salons, you can integrate appointment booking systems with your business profile. This allows customers to book appointments with you directly from your profile.
- Google Ads: You can link your Google Ads account with your Business Profile to run local advertising campaigns, targeting customers in your area who are searching for relevant products or services.
- Google Analytics: By integrating Google Analytics with your business profile, you can gain deeper insights into user behavior and measure the performance of your profile, including website clicks, phone calls, and direction requests.
- Third-Party Services: Google Business Profile also allows integration with third-party services, such as online booking platforms, review management tools, or website builders, to further streamline your business operations and enhance customer experience.
These integrations help businesses effectively manage their online presence, engage with customers, and leverage the power of Google’s platforms and services to attract and retain customers.
Intro to Nav’s Social Health Tool
Managing online reviews is a big task for today’s small businesses. Nav is here to make your journey as a small business owner easier, and you’ll want to add Nav’s Social Health Tool to your toolbelt. The Social Health Tool is free to use and allows you to monitor negative reviews across platforms so you can respond to them quickly and efficiently — without having to log in to multiple places. Get alerts when you receive a review that needs your attention. You’ll also see a Social Health Score that rates how well you’re managing your social reputation.
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This article was originally written on December 8, 2023.
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