If you’re a business that operates from a physical premises or within a specific service area, you’re going to want to set up a Google Business profile if you’ve not done so already. It’s an SEO no brainer!
In this article, we’re going to be talking about all things Google Business - we passionately believe that it’s a huge part of the online success of your local business, and we don’t want you to miss out.
What is a Google Business profile?
Your Google Business profile, formerly known as Google My Business, acts as your shop window in the SERPs, claiming your business and giving those who are searching for you and what you do all the vital information they need to become a customer. Gone are the days of telephone directories; for local visibility, a Google Business listing is an absolute must.
Why is a Google Business profile good for SEO?
A Google Business profile is enormously beneficial for local SEO. A well optimised Google Business profile has a much higher chance of appearing first to searchers close to you whose query matches what you do.
When you see a Google Business profile, you’ll see that the address, contact details, and openings hours are available at a glance. Then, in a couple of clicks (if that), you can be on their website, calling the business directly,or browsing their reviews in order to make an informed choice.
In addition to this, Google Business Profiles also show up on Google Maps through your Google Business profile, allowing customers to navigate to you, and capturing the attention of people in your area, even if they’re not actively searching for you at the time.
How do I set up my Google Business profile?
Create or login to Google
Head to Google Business and either create a Google account for your business, or log into one you already have.
Find or add your business
Search your business when prompted, selecting it if it comes up - this means that you’ll ‘claim’ your business. If not, it simply means you need to set it up, so follow the process of selecting this option, ensuring that the information you enter is up to date.
Follow the verification process
Whether you’re claiming a business that already exists to Google, or you’re adding anew one, Google will want to make sure that you are who you say you are by verifying you. The Google business verification code could be sent in a variety of ways, including a postcard sent to the business address, an email, or a phone call.
Once you’ve input this code, you’ll need to wait for a notification to say it’s all gone through, which could take up to 7 days. If Google needs further verification, you’ll have the ability to click ‘get verified’ again.
How can I optimise my Google Business profile?
Once you’re verified, it’s time to get optimising! You want to maximise how hard your Google Business profile works for you in the local SEO arena; here’s how to optimise your Google Business profile for both Google, and your user.
Populate your profile
Google looks for how closely a website (or, in this case, a business) matches a search query; this is known as relevance. How will Google know if you’re relevant to a searcher if you haven’t included all the information?
Make sure that you fill out every section of your business profile, paying special attention to checking that your location, business name and phone number are correct. Then, once you’ve chosen your category, you'll be able to assign attributes to your profile. For example, if you run a cafe, you may choose attributes such as wheelchair accessible, WiFi, and/or takeout.
Update your opening hours - and keep them current
The last thing you want is for a lack of opening hours to put off a potential customer, or to let outdated opening hours mean that your customer misses you, causing frustration for them, and lost business for you. Ensure that your opening hours are input correctly, and update them if they change - even if they’re temporarily altered for public holidays.
Describe your business
Whilst this does fall under populating your profile, we want to draw your attention to this section specifically. Google gives you 750 characters in which to describe your business, so make the most of them! Introduce your business, include some information about its ethos and/or history, and explain what you do, what you offer, and what sets you apart from the competition.
As with anything, this is no time to keyword-stuff - those days are gone! However,you’ll find that some naturally occur within your text, and these can also help you to be found.
Use your reviews
Google reviews for your business will appear on your Google Business profile, and you’ll earn extra brownie points with Google if you respond to them - yes, even the negative ones. Showing your appreciation for a positive review or apologising in light of a bad one shows Google that you're active and therefore a business to prioritise on the SERPs.
Add some images
Google allows you to attach photos to your Google Business profile, allowing users to get a feel for your business visually. Maybe you include photos of your premises, your team, the products you sell, or an in-action shot of the services you offer; photos are a great way to appeal to potential customers.
Google Business Quick-Fire FAQs
Is Google Business free?
Yes, Google Business is free. The only thing you need to invest to get found locally is a little bit of time.
Do I need a Google Gmail account to use a Google Business Profile?
Yes, you do. You can use a personal Gmail account, but we’d recommend a dedicated business account, so that nothing gets missed.
Can Google Business replace a website?
Absolutely not. While Google Business is an important part of your strategy if you offer products or services locally, it cannot be the only basket in which you put your eggs - a website is essential as your main online platform.
I don’t have a physical business - can I still have a Google Business Profile?
Providing that you have in-person contact with customers, you can have a business profile, even if you don’t have a physical premises, these are called 'service area businesses'. For example, a self-employed plumber is unlikely to have a commercial premises, but they do go out to visit customers, so they’d be a good candidate for a Google Business Profile.
How can I get help with my Google Business profile?
If you need further help and advice with your Google Business profile, we can help optimise it in a way that puts you in front of local eyes - does that sound like something that would benefit your business? We thought it might, so let’s have a chat.