How to Manage Your Google Business Profile: A Guide for Beginners

Google Business Profile (or what is sometimes called “Google Business Manager” in conversation), is a free tool that allows businesses to display key information and connect with customers across Google products like Search and Maps.

Creating a Google Business Profile is easy to do and can have a big impact on your business. Let’s dive in!

What is Google Business Profile?

When you search for a business on Google, alongside regular search results, you’ll often see a sidebar with key information about the business, such as the name, location, hours, a map view, and more.

A Google Business Profile (GBP) allows you to manage your online presence across Google – including on Google Search and Maps. A business’s Google Profile is often one of the first things a user will see when searching. It’s a powerful way for you to provide customers with key information about your business.

Since more than 87% of Americans use Google Search, creating a GBP and increasing your visibility on Google is a win-win for small businesses.

Key features of Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile offers several key features to help businesses manage their online presence and connect with customers. Once created, you can use your GBP to keep updated business information at users’ fingertips, including your address, phone number, and website. You can also add photos and videos to your profile.

Additionally, you can use your GBP to track and manage customer interactions, respond to reviews of your business, or enable direct messaging to allow customers to communicate with you.

With Google Business Profile, you can also get insights into how users find you online. This information can help you hone in on keywords to emphasize in your quest for SEO domination.

GBP is a powerful tool for local businesses to improve online visibility, connect with customers, and track engagement.

What are the advantages of using Google Business Profile?

In addition to simply making it easier for customers to find key information about your business, your GBP can help you:

  • Improved local SEO. A verified and optimized Business Profile increases your chances of appearing higher in local searches on Google Maps and Search.
  • Targeted Audience Reach. You can define your service area or add categories to help your business reach relevant customers.
  • Showcase Your Business. You can add high-quality photos and videos to your profile to showcase your products, services, and location.
  • Understand Customer Behavior. See how customers are finding your business online through insights on search terms and demographics.
  • Track Performance. Monitor metrics like photo views and customer engagement to measure the effectiveness of your profile.

Who qualifies for Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profile is generally for businesses with a physical location, including shops, restaurants, salons, gyms, and more.

Service-area-businesses, like plumbers, electricians, and house cleaners, can also benefit from a GBP. Service-area-businesses can create a profile based on their central office location.

Businesses that do not qualify for a GBP include online companies with no physical location, rental properties such as vacation homes, and pop-up shops/events. For more information, check out Google’s full guidelines.

How to get started with Google Business Profile

How to get started with Google Business Profile

Getting started with GBP is a straightforward process. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Visit Google Business Profile. Head over to Google Business Profile to get started.
  2. Sign In or Create a Google Account. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one for free. Otherwise, sign in using your existing Google account.
  3. Enter Your Business Information. Provide details like your business name, address, and phone number.
  4. Choose Your Business Type. Specify whether your business has a physical location or operates as a service-based business with no storefront.
  5. Select Categories. Choose relevant categories that accurately describe your business offerings.
  6. Verify Your Business. Google will send a verification code to the address you provided. Once received, enter the code to verify your ownership of the business.
  7. Complete Your Profile. This is where you can add additional details to make your profile more informative and engaging. Add photos or videos, set your business hours, and write a short but compelling business description.

And that’s it! You now have a GBP to enable more customers to find your business. Remember to keep your profile fresh and up-to-date as your business evolves.

Tips for using Google Business Profile to Boost SEO

Here are some tips to boost SEO with your Google Business Profile.

Keep Your Business Info Accurate and Up-to-Date

  • Ensure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent, especially on local directories and citation sites. Keep your brand as well as your basic business info consistent across the web for higher search rankings.
  • Write a clear and informative description that includes relevant keywords describing your products or services.
  • Choose the most relevant categories that accurately reflect your business offerings.

Engage with Customers

  • Respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews. Thank customers for positive feedback and address concerns raised in negative reviews politely and professionally. This shows you value customer feedback.
  • Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your profile. Positive reviews can significantly boost your local SEO ranking.

Keep it Fresh

  • Regularly create and publish Google Posts. Announce new products, special offers, or events, or answer frequently asked questions.
  • Update your profile occasionally with new high-quality photos and videos showcasing your business, staff, or products.

Manage Your Google Business Profile Insights

  • Use Google Business Profile insights to understand how customers are finding you and what actions they take after viewing your profile. This can help you refine your profile and target keywords for better SEO results.

By following these tips, you can significantly improve your local SEO ranking.

Google Business Profile FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions about managing your Google Business Profile.

Is Google Business Profile free?

Yes, Google Business Profile is completely free to create and manage. You can claim your business listing, update your information, add photos and videos, respond to reviews, and access insights for no cost.

Is Google My Business the same as the Google Business Profile?

Yes, Google My Business and Google Business Profile are the same thing. In June 2022, Google rebranded Google My Business to Google Business Profile.

The tool is exactly the same – it’s still a free platform to help businesses manage their online presence across Google Search and Maps. So, if you find references to Google My Business online, it’s just referring to the older name of the same tool.

How can I improve my Google Business Profile ranking?

There are several strategies you can employ to improve your GBP ranking and become more visible.

  • Engage with customers by responding to reviews and encouraging reviews – a profile with high star ratings will rank higher.
  • Add a link to your website on your Google Business Profile and ensure your website has strong local SEO practices in place for a well-rounded online presence.
  • Update your business hours for holidays and special events to avoid frustrating potential customers.

Can I have a Google Business Profile without a website?

Though you can definitely create a GBP without a website, linking your profile to your website creates a more comprehensive experience for customers searching for you. Still, even without a website, your GBP will allow customers to find your business in local searches and in Maps.

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Is Google Business Profile better than its competitors?

Google Business Profile is a strong tool for local SEO, but customization options are limited because the profile is hosted on Google. As a result, you might need more robust tools for SEO in addition to your GBP. However, because it increases Google Search and Maps visibility, local businesses can significantly benefit from this free tool.

Additionally, Google is the most widely used search engine, so it’s helpful from the client’s perspective to ensure prospective customers can find you when they search.

Big Sea can help you optimize your business!

Wondering how you can take your business to the next level? Contact us today to get started in strengthening your SEO game on Google Business and beyond.