Are you looking to make it easier for customers to find and interact with your business? If so, setting up a Google Business profile is the perfect way to do just that.
Google My Business, presently known as Google Business Profile, holds significant importance in terms of Local SEO and online visibility. This is mainly because more than 88% of local searches result in a call or visit within 24 hours. Additionally, there has been a remarkable increase of over 900% in localized searches that include terms like “near me” (e.g., “plumbers near me”).
Understanding the ranking factors of a Google Business profile is crucial even before creating a listing. Familiarizing yourself with the factors that influence rankings will ensure that your listing is created and optimized effectively. When it comes to searches related to products and services, Google predominantly provides localized results.
To create and set up your Google Business profile, here are the steps to follow:
✔️ Sign in to Your Google Account
To manage or create a Google Business Profile, you need to log in to your Google Account, which is essentially your email address. In case you don’t have a Google Account, you can easily create one by signing up for a free Gmail account.
✔️ Navigate to Google Business Profile Creation Page
Once you’ve logged in to your Google Account, navigate to the Google Business Profile account creation page.
Click on the “Manage now” button located in the top right corner.
This will initiate the process of creating your new Google Business profile.
✔️ Give A Name for Your Business
Next, you’ll need to provide the name of your business.
Pro Tip: This field offers an autocomplete feature to check if a listing for your business already exists. If your business name appears as a suggestion, it means there might be an existing listing (or another business with the same name). Instead of creating a duplicate, it’s advisable to claim the existing listing.
Once you proceed, you’ll need to confirm the business name.
This is a good opportunity to consider the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information, which has an impact on local rankings.
Pro Tip: For better chances of ranking your Google Business Profile, ensure that the NAP information is consistent. You can keep the data organized in a spreadsheet for easy copy and paste when creating local citations.
Next, we’ll move on to adding a business category.
✔️ Select a Primary Business Category
Google Business Profile categories are one of the key factors that determine your business’s rankings. They have a significant impact on which searches will trigger your business’s visibility in Google Search.
Selecting a primary category for your Google Business Profile is crucial, and you can also add up to 9 secondary categories.
Pro Tip: Investing time in selecting the right categories is highly recommended as they influence the keywords for which your listing will appear. Take the opportunity to research competitor categories and conduct a thorough Google Business Profile audit.
Ensure that the chosen categories accurately represent your business and its services. Remember, you can modify them whenever necessary to accommodate changes or seasonal variations.
✔️ Add An Address for Your Business
If your business has a physical location that customers can visit, choose the appropriate option.
Select “Yes” if customers can visit your physical address. If your business does not have a physical location for customer visits, select “No.”
Once you’ve made the selection, enter your business’s address.
If you choose “No” for the previous option, your business is classified as a service area business (SAB). In this case, your address will be hidden in search results. Instead, Google will display a service area on your listing based on the localities you’ve specified as your service areas.
All service area businesses are eligible to define their service areas.
✔️ Specify Your Service Area (Only for Service Area Businesses)
Providing detailed information about your service areas enhances the relevance and helps optimize your Google Business Profile.
Adding service areas can influence where your listing appears in search results, and you can list up to 20 areas. However, it’s important to note that the proximity to your verified address plays a significant role in the ranking algorithm, so areas located more than 15-20 miles away might not provide substantial benefits.
Pro Tip: Align your service areas with your business goals. Start with a broader service area and then get as specific as possible by listing additional cities and zip codes within your target region.
You can specify service areas by including counties, specific cities within a county, or specific zip codes.
✔️ Add Your Contact Number And Website
To be eligible for verification, Google requires either a phone number or a website for your business.
If your business doesn’t have a website, I highly recommend creating a local SEO landing page as part of your search engine optimization strategy. This will improve your chances of ranking and help establish backlinks from your Google Business Profile to your website.
Pro Tip: The next step is verifying your listing. To increase the likelihood of successful verification, complete your listing by following the steps and adding the business information discussed in the next section.
✔️ Finish Your Listing
You’re almost there!
On average, businesses with completed Google Business profiles receive higher visibility and customer engagement. This involves adding additional business information.
✅ Add services
If you skipped the verification process, then you’ll be prompted to add your services.
Based on the business category you selected earlier, you’ll see a list of relevant services.
This is an excellent opportunity to incorporate keywords and showcase your services on your Google Business Profile, allowing customers to view this information in Google Search.
Note: Services can be added or edited in the Services area that you can find in the dashboard of Google Business Profile Manager.
✅ Add business hours
Inform customers about your business hours by adding them to your listing.
✅ Enable messaging
Next, you have the option to enable messaging.
Enabling messaging allows customers to message you directly, and you can manage your inbox within the Google Business Profile Manager dashboard.
Note: The messaging feature can be enabled or disabled in the Messages section within the Google Business Profile Manager dashboard.
✅ Add a business description
Although business descriptions don’t significantly impact rankings, they contribute to profile completion.
Focus on writing a quality Google Business Profile description rather than solely incorporating keywords. Use this section to provide additional context about your business, highlighting its uniqueness and why customers should choose you.
Once added, the business description will be visible in search results.
✅ Add a business logo
Including a logo in your Google Business profile contributes to profile completion.
You can add a logo using the “Photos” tab.
Note: The recommended size for a Google Business Profile logo is 720 x 720 pixels, and it should be uploaded as a JPG or PNG image without excessive edits.
Then, you can see the logo on your listing in Google Search.
Upload high-quality photos that accurately represent your brand.
✅ Add a cover photo
The cover photo is another photo upload that contributes to profile completion and can be added using the “Photos” tab.
Note: The recommended size for a Google Business Profile cover photo is 1024 x 575 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Similar to the logo, it should accurately represent and showcase your business without excessive edits.
Once completed, there’s just one more step before verifying your listing.
✅ Add an opening date
Google provides a specific field for adding an opening date.
Setting this date can create uniqueness, distinguish businesses with multiple locations, and help businesses appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Completing this field also makes your business eligible to display the “years in business” snippet for local searches, which can build trust with potential customers.
✅ Add attributes
While it doesn’t contribute to the complete score, it’s important to add Google Business Profile attributes to your profile.
These attributes provide users with more information about your business and can be highly beneficial for restaurants and other businesses like hotels. Adding business attributes can also generate additional search engine results page (SERP) features for your business.
Once your Google Business profile is 100% complete, it’s ready for verification.
✔️ Verify Your Listing
Google Business Profiles that are verified become eligible to appear in Google Search results.
The most common method for verifying a Google Business Profile is through a postcard.
Simply provide your business’s mailing address. Google will then send a postcard to the provided address, usually within approximately 5 business days.
While phone or email verification is possible, it is typically not available for new listings to prevent spam and fake profiles.
Also Read: How to Add Social Media Links to Google My Business Listing?
How to track rankings?
Now that you’ve set up your Google Business Profile and it’s visible on Google Search, it’s recommended to track its performance.
This involves monitoring keyword rankings in Google’s Local 3-Pack.
One of the best tools for this is Local Viking’s GeoGrid Tracker, which offers a visualization of rankings within a specified service area. They also provide a comprehensive dashboard for managing Google Business Profile. Therefore, you can use Google Business Profile insights in order to monitor performance. However, it has limitations in terms of reporting and SEO value.
Taking the next steps…
After gathering some data, it’s time to optimize your Google Business Profile.
🔵 Regularly adding photos and videos
🔵 Utilizing the Google Business Profile questions and answers feature
🔵 Providing local justifications by adding products and services
🔵 Creating Google Business Profile posts to share updates
🔵 Saving your Google Business Profile URL for easy reference
🔵 Sharing your Google reviews link with customers to generate more reviews
If you’re still uncertain, you can use the Google Business Profile audit template to enhance your listing. Keep in mind that creating and setting up a Google Business profile is just the beginning of a Local SEO strategy. However, this step-by-step guide should help you get started on the right path.
Bonus Material: Google My Business Profile: How to Optimize Your GBP Listing?
1. Can I create my Google Business Profile without a website?
It is possible to make a Google Profile even without a website. Instead of a website link, you may supply a telephone number. It is strongly suggested that you have a website though, to allow you to provide more details about your company and bolster your online existence.
2. How much time will it take for my Google Business Profile to be verified?
The standard processing time for a Google Business Profile is about 5 working days. During this period, Google will post a card to the address that was provided for the listing, which includes a confirmation code. After you get the letter, you can enter the code into your Google Business profile to verify the listing. Verification by telephone or email might be possible in some cases, but it mostly does not apply when creating new listings.
3. Can I edit my Google Business Profile after it has been created?
Yes, you can modify the details for your Google Business profile whenever you like. Log in to your GMB account and head to the control panel, then you can alter the details, add photos, change the business hours, answer reviews, and much more. By keeping your listing up to date, people can have correct and pertinent information about your business.
4. How to track the performance of my Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile dashboard offers analytics to help you measure the success of your listing. You can see metrics such as the number of views, client interactions, and reviews. Additionally, there are third-party applications that have more precise tracking and reporting features for Google Business Profile to help you assess the effect of your listing on your online presence and customer engagement.
5. Is it possible to have numerous Google Business Profiles or distinct locations?
Yes, for multiple locations of any business, separate Google Business Profiles can be made. This will help to organize the information specifically related to each location, thus making the business more visible to local customers. However, it is imperative to ensure that every listing is associated with a real-world address, while still abiding by the guidelines developed by Google, in order to quickly resolve any issues and avoid punitive measures.
Setting up and managing a Google Business Profile account is essential for any business in today’s digital world. Through this guide, you now have a comprehensive understanding of the steps and processes involved in setting up your Google Business profile. With these effective processes, you can now easily build your business profile and start engaging online with potential customers. Don’t forget that with a successful Google Business profile, you can be a part of Google’s Local Pack listings, be seen by local customers, and find success online.