NOTE: As of December 2021, Google My Business (GMB) is now Google Business Profile (GBP). This article has been updated from the original postdate of March 30, 2021 to reflect this new name change and relevant information.
Google Business Profile is a free tool you can use to improve your results on Google Search and Google Maps, interact with your customers, and see how they interact with your website. Because it’s free to use, it’s only to your advantage to create a business profile.
See How People Find You on Google Search
Learning what methods people use to find your local business can help you form more effective marketing strategies. Google Business Profile provides search data including keywords used, type of queries, devices used to search your business, and what customers do on your website. You can use this data to draw more customers to your business website by targeting popular keywords and advertising products that people search for when they find your site.
Local SEO targeting can get your listing in front of more people, but understanding what keywords people are actively using helps you to be more readily seen in local search results. Business reviews are another way people will find you. Customers are more likely to gravitate toward businesses with reviews and engagement.
Google Business Profile also shows when customers are most likely to call you or show up at your storefront. This makes it easier to plan ahead for busy periods, and to know whether your hours should be shifted to accommodate customers.
Setting Up Your Business Listing
Google Business Profile is completely free to set up and use, so all you need to do is visit www.google.com/business to set up your free business profile. You can choose to sign in with your personal Google account or create a separate one just for managing your business profile. Once you’re signed in, follow these steps to get your business profile set up.
Search for Your Business Name
It may already be listed in the drop-down menu. If it’s not, that’s okay. You can create a new business profile by entering your business name and what type of services and products you offer.
Enter Your Local Business Address so that People Can Find You via Google Maps
If you have multiple locations, you can set up a business profile for each address. This allows people searching for you on Google Maps to find the location closest to them.
Fill Out Other Contact Information Fields
Include your business phone number, website, and email address. This helps people find your business location and contact you with questions.
You can decide if you’d like to receive updates or notifications before you finish the process.
After you click “Finish,” your business profile will be accessible, and you can make changes as you see fit.
Complete the Verification Process for Your Business so that You Can Engage with Your Customers
Unverified business profiles can’t do things like reply to reviews, for example.
What to Include in Your Google Business Profile
You want to make sure that customers can find your location on Google Maps and search for directions to your store. Review all your business information to make sure it’s accurate. You can even compare your business profile with other business listings in your area to see what others are doing and which business listings are seeing more success.
Some of the things you want to include in your listing are as follows:
You can stand out in local SEO searches if you provide relevant pictures of your business. Uploading a logo and a picture of your location adds professionalism, and helps people find your store when they’re driving by it. Don’t just stop there though. Feature pictures of the inside of your building, highlighting popular products and displays. This way, people can see your variety of offerings and might find something of interest.
Google data reveals that 42% more people request directions on Google Maps for businesses with multiple photos. That same data reports a 35% increase in website click through rate when compared to business listings that exclude logos and photos.
Updates and News
Whenever you change your hours, you should indicate on your listing that you’re extending your hours or closing on certain dates. You should also take the opportunity to advertise the arrival of new products that customers might be interested in.
You can also use business listings to advertise sales and other promotions that provide customers product or service offers they won’t find elsewhere. Offering an occasional discount is a good way to build name recognition and customer loyalty.
You should ask people to leave reviews on your business profile and engage with reviewers regularly. Businesses with reviews and engagement are more likely to get a click-through from a Google Search and/or a request for directions from Google Maps than businesses with few reviews and no interactions.
The Bottom Line
Setting up a business profile with accurate business information on Google Business Profile drives more traffic to your website, allows you to adjust your marketing strategies, and helps you interact with your customers. This tool is invaluable to local business owners who want people to discover their local business.