Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business – sometimes shortened to GMB) is an important facility for providing details of your business to searchers.
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a free listing for your business, that appears on Google search results and Google maps. It includes your business contact details (with location), photos, reviews, product/service information and posts (which can be used for news). In addition, it provides insights / analytics for how people find your business, what search queries are used and more.
Why Set up a Google Business Profile Listing?
For almost all businesses, having a Google Business Profile listing will help give credibility and allow both existing customers and potential new leads to learn more about you. They can use the details in the listing to call you, visit your website, get directions (if you have an address) or view news (which could link to your website). An important part of the listing is reviews and if you have these (and they are mostly good!), it can really help your business and search engine ranking.
If you don’t setup a listing, Google will often automatically create very basic listing, without much detail or contact information. This can actually be detrimental to your business as people may feel less trust and not able to contact you. The good news is that you can claim an existing listing – see below.
How to Set up Your Google Business Profile Listing
1) Log in to Your Google Account (or Sign up If You Don’t Have One)
Visit https://www.google.com and click ‘Sign in’, then enter your account details. Or if you don’t have an account, click ‘Create account’ to sign up for a new account. This account should be for your business.
2) Sign up for a Google Business Profile Account
Visit https://www.google.com/business/, click ‘Manage Now’ and follow the instructions to create a listing for your business.
Note – If Google has already made a basic listing for your business, you can view this in the Google search results and click the ‘Own this business’ link and follow the instructions.
3) Verify Your Account
As part of signing up for your account, Google will need to verify it. You will be offered a few different options for this including a phone call, SMS or postcard.
How to Complete Your Listing
Once your listing has been verified (or if you have one already), it’s time to complete all the details and maximise the benefits it can bring to your business. Please see notes on the main sections below:
- Complete as much information as possible, including category, operating hours, products/services and contact details.
- It’s particularly important to complete the details that Google show to people on the search results. This includes your website link, phone number and business description. The description is fairly short, but use this to say what you do and try to explain how you are different to others.
- Photos really help to bring your listing to life. As a minimum this should include your logo, but also other photos. Photos of your location, products, services or staff work particularly well.
- Encourage existing customers to leave reviews and after they have left reviews, ensure you reply (to both positive and any negative reviews). On the homepage of your Google Business Profile website, there is a ‘Share review form’ link that will give you a link you send to your customers – this will directly allow them to leave a review for your company.
As well as editing your listing via the website, Google also offer a Google My Business mobile app that you can use instead, if you wish.
Using Insights to Optimise Your Listing
After your listing is live, you will start to see data appear in the Insights section. This shows how people are finding and interacting with your listing. Once there is a reasonable amount of data (which may take several weeks or months), it can be useful to analyse this. There are a few bits that you can look at in particular to help optimise your listing:
Queries Used to Find Your Business
You can view these queries to see if people are finding your business using the search terms you would expect them to. If not, you may want to amend your description, products, services and/or category to include these.
This will show how many customers visited your website, requested directions, or called you. (Please note the tracking of calls may not show all, as some people manually dial the number using their phone). You can review these numbers, see if it’s what you expect and update your listing as required. If, for example, you’re a high street business and nobody is requesting directions – does it mean you don’t have your address set? Or if there are no website visitors, have you forgotten to add your website address?
Photo Views & Quantity
Photo views shows how many of your photos were viewed vs. businesses similar to yours. If you have less views or less photos, look at some of your competitor businesses to see what type of photos they have. Then upload some more suitable photos.
A Google Business Profile listing is a great, free way to gain additional exposure for your business and (for almost all businesses) should be part of their digital marketing and SEO strategy.