How to Set Up and Optimise Your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is a free online directory developed by Google providing an easy way for businesses to be found on the internet by their potential customers.
If you never heard of Google Business Profile before or if you don’t know how you could use it to get ahead of your competitors, you should read this article first!
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through all the essential steps to set up and manage your Google business profile the right way.
Setting Up Your Google Business Profile
1. Log in or create a Google account
First, sign in to the account that you will use for your business.
2. Add or Claim an Existing Google Business Profile
To ensure that you won’t have multiple listings on Google, you need to check if you have an existing listing. You may have forgotten that you have created one before. Also, there are instances when Google creates a listing automatically when Google has gathered data from directories or websites about a business. To add or claim a business profile, you must open Google Maps.
3. Setting Up Your Profile From Scratch
a. Set up a Google Business Profile.
b. Enter your business name. You can also select your business from the list of suggestions. Make sure that you enter the correct name.
c. Choose how you serve your customers, then click Next. (all the question you will have to answer should be straightforward and easy to answer)
d. Add your business category.
e. Enter the exact address of your business. When your customers are searching for your business, this location will show up in Google Maps and Google Search.
You may be asked to position the marker on the map to show where your business is located.
f. Add your phone number and website, then click Next.
Tip: If you don’t have your website, you can create a website on Google. However we highly recommend you to get your website professionally done with a CMS like WordPress to really stand out from the crowd and increase your chance to seduce your potential customers. You don’t have to add your website now, it can be done later.
h. Verify your business listing on Google
You have the option to verify now or verify later. Before verifying, make sure to review the information you entered.
Verification ensures that no one can make changes over the information that will show up on Google without your permission. It will also allow you to interact with your customers.
You can verify your profile through the following (not all options will always be available):
You will receive a postcard that contains your verification code.
- Phone or Text
You will receive a verification code through an automated phone call or message from Google.
You will receive the verification code through email.
- Video recording
You will record a video that shows your current location, your business or equipment, and proof that you are authorised to represent your business.
- Live video call
A support representative from Google will call you (make sure you are at your business location when you receive the call).
How To Manage Your Google Business Profile
You can manage it in 3 ways.
- Through Business Profile Manager
This is great to use if you manage many profiles/locations.
- Through Google Search
Choose options such as Edit profile, Messages, Read reviews, Add photo, etc.
- Through Google Maps App
In the app, click Business, so you can start managing your Business Profile.
Edit Your Google Business Profile
Make sure that your profile is verified before adding more information about your business.
To edit your profile, go to your Business Profile then click Edit Profile. For every change you make, click Save.
Update your business hours
Keep your customers updated if you change your business hours on holidays and special occasions. It will not be a great first experience if your customer drives to your company to see a closed door when it says that you are open on Google.
Manage User Access
If you don’t want to manage your business yourself, you could get some help from a team member you trust or even your marketing company. Like any other Google products, it is easy to securely share admin or limited access with others.
- Sign in to your Google Account that you use to manage the Google Business Profile.
Make sure that you are on the “Google Business Profile Manager” page.
Choose the verified business account that you will use to manage user access.
Click on the 3 dots then choose “Business Profile Settings”.
- On your profile, view the active users by selecting “Managers”.
- You can either add a new user or select a user whom you want to change their user role.
- To add a new user or manager, click “Add” and input their email address. Choose “Manager” or “Owner” and click “Invite”. Invitation will be sent through email.
- You will be notified through email once they accept the invitation.
- Click on the user’s name to edit their role. Click the pencil icon and choose the right user role for access. Click Save.
- If you are the owner of the business profile, you can remove a user through the “Remove Manager” button.
Manage Your Google Reviews
Check and Respond To Customer Reviews
- Go to your Google Business Profile account.
- Select Reviews.
- Once you see the reviews, you can now choose the ones you will reply to by clicking the “Reply” button.
Report suspicious negative reviews
- Log in to your Google Business Profile account.
- Go to Reviews.
- If you see an inappropriate review, go to the three-dot menu and click “Flag as inappropriate”.
If you are interested to learn more about Google reviews, you can read our comprehensive guide:
Add More Content To Your Google Business Profile
You can post updates, events, announcements, or new products and services that you offer on your profile. Your posts appear along with your business listing. Make sure that you only post high-quality and allowed content to avoid the post to not be approved. Posting on your Google Business profile is highly recommended if you want to reach the top of the local results in competitive industries. However, be aware that it will require a lot of content posting to see a noticeable traffic increase on your profile.
Manage Photos and Videos on Your Google Business Profile
Adding photos and videos to your profile makes your listing more appealing to your customers (especially if it is high quality content). You can add photos of your team, your store or office, your products or anything relevant to your customers.
Pictures and videos that will be used for Google Business Profile posts should be optimised at 1200 x 900 pixels for best results (recommended ratios can change anytime, you should always double check on Google before you start to optimise your images)
Google suggests the following types of photos or videos that highlight the features of your business.
- Exterior photos so customers can recognise your business
- Photos that highlight what’s inside your store or office
- Photos of the products that you sell
- Photos that showcase how you provide services
- Photos of your best selling foods or drinks (hospitality)
- Guest rooms that you offer (hotels)
- Photos of the common areas
- Photos of your team
Manage Google Business Messages
Google Business Messages allow business owners to communicate with their customers in real-time. When Google users click the messaging button, they can directly send you a message to ask for your products or services. This tool provides convenience for customers because they don’t have to navigate your website to find your email address or contact number.
For this messaging feature to work best for your business, there must be an appointed person or team who will monitor and reply to the messages so none of your customer enquiries will be missed. You can turn this feature on or off. If it is not convenient for you, just leave it off.
Google Business Profile Insights
When you access insights on your profile, it will give you data about your local search performance.
Once you generate reports on the “Performance” tab, you can check specific profile interactions like:
- Search terms people use to find your business
- Number of Google users who checked your profile
- Number of people who request directions to your business
- Phone calls made by customers to your business
- Number of website clicks
- Number of messages received
- Bookings made by customers
- Number of people who clicked your booking link
- Total number of business profile interactions
- Number of products sold through the Business Profile
- and more…
Take Advantage Of Your Google Business Profile Q&A Section
The question and answer section allows anyone to ask and answer questions. Since this feature can’t be turned off, it is important for a business to assign someone to monitor the questions. By doing this, you can answer the questions first and report inappropriate questions or responses immediately.
The advantages of using this feature are the following:
- You will know what Frequently Asked Questions to include on your website.
- You can come up with content for social media and email.
Tips: If you already know what are your most common Q&As, you can ask someone to ask these questions (or do it yourself FROM A DIFFERENT GOOGLE ACCOUNT) and then you can answer the questions. This simple strategy can help you rank on top when someone ask a similar question on Google.
Google Business Profile is free and it can be one of your most valuable online business assets. Just by spending a bit of time and effort to properly set up and manage your listing you can expect to easily and significantly increase:
- Your business online visibility
- Your notoriety within your industry
- Lead and sales from people looking for your products and services on Google in your local area