There are many ways to get your business recognised online, and one of them is to create and optimise your Google Business Profile. The process may seem daunting, or once you have the listing you can simply leave it, but the reality is that if you want it to work for you and help your business get found online, you need to spend time filling out and optimisng your listing.
That’s why we’ve put together this 10-step guide on how to optimise your listing for long-term results.
1. Claim Or Create Your Business
To get started, you’ll need to create a new Google business profile for your business, or claim a listing that already exists. As you input the business address, Google will suggest listings it thinks might be related to your business, which will help you determine whether you can claim a listing, or whether you will need to create a new one.
2. Verify Your Google Business listing
Once you’ve created or claimed a listing, you will need to verify that it’s a real business operating at the address you’ve provided. Typically, this means Google will send a postcard to the address, however in some cases the listing can be verified via phone call, email, or even video call. Once the profile is verified, then customers will be able to see it on Google and Maps search results.
3. Add Your Business Location Or Service Area
If you have a physical location that customers can visit, list your address for Google to display, and provide directions to customers if needed. If your business is a service area business, you can choose not to display an address – you will still need to provide an address for Google to verify the listing, but then you can select the suburbs that you provide services to for Google to display the radius of your business. It’s important to note that Google Business Profiles are focussed largely on your local area, meaning that you can only rank for areas within a certain area – though Google hasn’t confirmed, this is widely accepted in the industry as ten kilometers from the address you input when creating your profile.
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4. Update Your Details
Once you’ve created your profile, make sure to fill out all of the fields so that both customers and Google get a full understanding of what you do. This includes:
- Business Name
Make sure you add your business name as-is to keep things simple. If your business name doesn’t indicate what you do (like ours, for example), add your service or industry to the name for clearer understanding – so our Google Business Profile name is Digital Surfer SEO and Website Design, rather than simply Digital Surfer.
- Business Hours of Operation and Opening Date
Adding the hours your business is open is important, as customers know when to get in touch with you (or when not to). It’s also useful to add the date your business opened (month and year) to your profile as a way to increase trust.
- Website URL & Booking/ Menu URL
Add the URL to your website so that customers can click through and learn more information about your businesses. Additionally, depending on the industry, some Profiles are able to add a link to a menu, or appointment link for online bookings or reservations. Adding these will make it even easier for customers to take that final step and take action.
5. Add Business Categories
While creating the listing, you’re able to select your main category – this can be changed later, if your services change, but the general rule of thumb is to choose the one that best represents the services you offer. After you’ve chosen your main category, you can add additional categories for services your business provides.
6. Add Your Business Description
The business description will tell customers who you are, what you do, and how you help. The description should be between 700-750 characters, and include your business name, your location or service areas, and your main services &/or products.
7. List Your Services
In this section, you can drill down into the services your business offers. Under the categories that you selected for your business, Google may suggest services or you have the option of adding a custom service. Make sure you add all the relevant services for your businesses, including pricing.
8. List Your Products
Similarly to services, you can add the products (or even services) that your business offers. The products section allows for a longer description, an image, and a link back to your website, so it’s important that you fill out as much information as you can. When linking back your your website, it’s important to link to the page most relevant to the product you’re adding, so that customer can click through and immediately see the information that they’re looking for.
Customers will be able to scroll through both your services and products from your profile directly on the search results, so the idea is to make it easy for them to find the information they need.
9. Complete Other Relevant Sections Of Your Google Business Profile
Within the profile, there are several other sections that you can fill out in order to maximise the impact of your Google Business Profile.
- Highlights and Attributes
Within the Info tab, you can select additional suggested options to provide more information about your business, such as if there are bathrooms available, parking, wheelchair access, etc. These options aren’t like most other aspects of the profile, where you can add your own custom information – you can only select from the options Google suggests.
Adding photos and videos in different categories will help your customers know what to look for when they visit, and give them a visual idea of what your services are. When you’re adding images and videos, make sure you click into the specific category before uploading, to make sure your images are attributed accordingly. Make sure to first add your logo and a cover photo, and then add some images of your business location (inside and out), any branded service vehicles, and even photos or videos of your team completing their work.
- Messaging feature
Google has brought in a messaging feature for the Google Business Profile, allowing customers to directly message you for appointments and additional information. For business owners, the messaging feature can only be accessed through the Google Business Profile app, and can be disabled automatically if you fail to respond to the messages. If you won’t be able to return messages while you’re out on the tools all day, simply toggle this option off.
10. Continually Add Posts & Reply To Reviews
The last step once your Google Business Profile is completely filled out is to make sure you continue to interact with your profile by adding posts on a regular basis and replying to the reviews you receive.
There are several kinds of posts you can create – updates, offers, events, and even COVID-19 information posts. Each has their own benefits, depending on what you’re trying to convey to your customers. When adding your post, make sure you use an eye catching image and the content includes a keyword, a location, and a link back to the most relevant page website for the content of your post. In some cases, you can even use the posts intended for other social media as content for your Google Business Profile.
Replying to reviews is another great method of engagement and building trust. Doing this shows Google that the business is active, and shows other customers that their opinion – good or bad – is taken into account. Make sure you check out our guide to Managing Your Reviews for tips on how to reply to both positive and negative reviews.
Get In Touch With Digital Surfer
Our goal is to help you get found online. Whether you’re a new or established business, the value of being found online cannot be overstated. Get your business even further ahead and get in touch with our team today to learn more.
Want to get straight to knowing how to implement these tips? Try the Accelerate Local Leads: Google Business Profile course today.
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