Google is the world’s most-visited website. It currently holds more than 92% of search engine market share. Creating a Google Business Profile (formerly known as "Google My Business") is an important way to attract new customers to your business through Google search and Maps. And, it's FREE to set up!
What is Google Business Profile?
(formerly known as
Google My Business)
Google Business Profile is a FREE business listing from Google. It allows you to provide details and photos of your business, including your location, services, and products.
Creating this free profile is a great way to increase your visibility across Google. Information from your Google Business Profile may appear in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping.
Google Business Profile is available to businesses that have contact with customers, (which is almost all businesses, in one way or another.) This includes businesses with a physical location (like a restaurant, store, or office), and businesses that provide services by meeting with clients in other locations (like consultants).
If you have an online-only business, it will be important to utilize other Google tools, like Google Ads and Google Analytics, to drive traffic to your website. However, if you are a small business that provides services to your local community, it's important to have a Google Business profile which will drive local searches to your website. (See the examples above.)
Why You Need a Google Business Account
(besides, it's free!)
1. Get discovered in Google (and Google Maps)
Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referrer. A Google Business Profile helps ensure that people find your business when looking for products and services like yours in their local area.
Your Google My Business listing shows searchers where and how to visit your business. A Google Business Profile also improves your local SEO. In particular, a listing for a local business is more likely to appear when people search for a nearby business using Google Maps.
2. Control your online business information
Your Google My Business profile allows you to control and update your contact information, business hours, and other essential details as needed.
You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened (an especially useful feature during emergencies like COVID-19). Google Business Profiles have strong local SEO, so the information you share will rank above third-party sites that might have out-of-date details.
3. Build trust through Reviews
Reviews are a key element of social proof, and a meaningful way to build trust and credibility.
Google’s combined star rating and space for detailed reviews allows customers to share as much or as little information about their experience with your business as they like. All of it helps future potential customers decide which businesses to visit and products to buy.
It can be scary to think about reviews coming in on such a public platform, especially since you can’t pick and choose which Google Business reviews to share. (Although you can respond to all reviews, as we’ll explain later.)
But don’t panic: Google finds that a combination of positive and negative reviews is more trustworthy than page after page of glowing recommendations.
How to Set Up a Google Business Profile
Step 1: Sign in to Google Business Profile Manager
If you already have a Google account (free to set up) and are logged in, you’re automatically logged into Google Business Profile Manager. Otherwise, enter your usual Google account login details or create a new Google account.
Step 2: Add your business
Enter your business name. If it does not appear in the drop-down menu, click 'Add your business to Google.' Then select the appropriate category for your business and click Next.
Step 3: Enter your location
If you have a physical location customers can visit, select Yes. Then add your business address. You may also be asked to position a marker for the location on a map. If your business does not have a location customers can visit but offers in-person services or deliveries, you can list your service areas. Then click Next.
If you didn’t enter a physical address, Google will ask you to specify which region you’re based in. Choose from the drop-down menu and click Next.
Step 4: Fill in your contact information
Enter your business phone number and website address so customers can reach you. If you prefer not to be reached by phone, you don’t have to enter a phone number.
When your info is complete, click Next.
Step 5: Verify your business
Enter your real physical address, not a post office box. This information is only used to verify your business and is not displayed on your Google Business Profile or shared with the public.
Enter your address and click Next. You’ll be offered the options for verifying your account. Physical businesses will need to get a postcard by mail to verify their location. Service-area businesses can be verified through an email address.
Once you receive your five-digit code, enter it on the next screen (or go to https://business.google.com/) and click Verify or Verify business.
You’ll get a confirmation screen showing you’re verified. On that screen, click Next.
Step 6: Customize your profile
Enter your business hours, messaging preferences, business description, and photos. (We’ll get into the details of how to optimize your profile content in the next section of this post.)
When you’re ready, click Continue. You’ll find yourself in the Business Profile Manager dashboard.
From here, you can manage your business profile, view insights, manage reviews and messages, and create Google ads.
Now that you've set up your Google Business profile, it's time to OPTIMIZE it to ensure that Google has all the info it needs about your business. The more you optimize, the better your search rankings will be! Learn more here »
- Original article by Hootsuite: https://blog.hootsuite.com/google-my-business/
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