Director of Marketing
- The basics
- First steps to create your Google Business Profile
- How to make a successful profile
Your Google Business Profile (GMB) is a listing that you create on Google (the world’s most popular search engine!) for your local business. These listings are often the first time that a searching customer will learn of a local business, and first impressions matter. They’re also an anchor point for your business’ SEO strategy. Let’s make sure your Google Business Profile meets the mark!
Google My Business was the name of Google’s local business listing service until November 2021, which is why the acronym ‘GMB’ is still used to refer to its current name, ‘Google Business Profile’. Why this change? Well, lots of reasons, but the only thing that you need to know is that having a Google Business Profile is a necessity for your local business.
Your GMB puts the power back in your hands. It is a free listing service that lets you be in charge of creating and optimising your own profile so that customers see your local business as you want them to. In that way, you can direct customers to take action in the way that you want. Also, as it’s a Google service, GMB is a fundamental part of SEO strategy. When someone searches for a business online, Google can easily sort through GMB listings to find accurate results. You want your GMB to be Google’s first choice!
When someone searches on Google for businesses near them, the top three Google Business Profile listings will show up in search results, and a Google Map will appear to show the locations of those businesses. This is ideally where you want your local business to be featured. Here are the Google Business Profile results for the searched keyword “Perth florists”:
These listings make life a lot easier for people who are searching for products and services. They’re easy to find and understand, and people can trust that Google is showing them the most relevant results to their search.
We can see in the image above that the top three listing results (Flower Delivery Perth, A little Bunch Perth, Lilypilly Florist) are followed by a button that says ‘More places’ . Clicking this button will bring you to Google’s Local Finder, which is a page that features the rest of the local business listings that match your search criteria, as seen below:
These days, customers and other people searching online are expecting to see these Google Business Profile listings. If they search your business and a GMB listing does not appear, that could be a big problem. Not only does it mean that your competition has a better chance of being found than your business, but it also means that your business could be seen as less legitimate, inactive, or worse yet, untrustworthy.
If you already have a Google account for your local business, you can skip ahead in this guide to Step 2.
Google has made it simple to create your business account, with organized, easy to fill forms. This link will bring you to the main business sign-up page, where you can start creating your account by adding your local business’ information. You’ll need to enter your name, create an email address for your business, and create a password. Once you’ve finished all that, click “next” to move forward with your Profile creation.
If your local business already has an email address associated with it, don’t worry! You can always click “Use my current email address instead” and input your email address there. Google will accept an address from any other email provider!
Security and permissions
The next forms will ask you to add a phone number and alternate email address for account security. Make sure to use real information here, as you will be sent a code by text to verify your account. You will also be given the opportunity to read and agree to personalization settings and Google’s Privacy and Terms agreement. Once you have completed all of these steps, Google will create your account!
Now, it’s time to get to the good stuff! Get your local business seen by heading to the Google business page. If you’ve just created your business account, you should now be signed in and be brought to this page automatically upon pressing “Continue.” Next you will click the blue “Manage now” button to proceed, and can enter your business name.
If you’re not signed into your business account already when hopping onto the Google business page, you will need to click the “Manage now” button, input your email address, and then enter your business name.
Google is smart. If your business has existed for quite some time and it is referenced several times online, Google may have already created a local business listing for you. Pretty cool, right? It sure can be IF you notice it right away. You can check to see if a listing exists by typing your local business’ name into the “Find and Manage your Business” searchbar. If your business is listed in the drop-down menu, great! Click on it and claim it.
You will run into trouble down the line if you don’t follow this step and go straight to creating your own listing. This will result in duplicate listings, which Google does not like, and what Google dislikes, it hides from search results. Don’t let your business be invisible. Double check that no previous listings for your business exist!
Once you’re certain that no listing exists for your business, you can click “Add your business to Google” to create a new one. Here is a great screenshot from a Ranking Academy tutorial video:
The next few steps are simple: Fill in as much accurate information as possible in the forms that Google shows you. When choosing a category for your business, be as specific as possible, as the category you choose will help Google decide if the keywords that people are searching relate to your local business or not. If you have a brick and mortar store, enter the correct address so that customers can easily find you, and your business will appear in the right spot on Google Maps. For businesses that don’t have a physical address (such as locksmiths), you can input which areas your business operates in so that the whole area will show up on Google Maps instead of a red location pin. Again, Ranking Academy has a wonderful example:
Verifying your Google Business Profile is the only way to publish it and make it visible to your searching customers. So yeah, it’s a pretty important step. Different types of businesses need to verify their accounts in different ways, but Google will automatically bring you to the appropriate verification method for your business type. Every method requires you to input accurate contact information, and will give you a numerical code to use at a later time to verify your account.
By Mail (The most common method)
If this is the option that Google provides to you, then in about 4 days you will receive a postcard containing a verification code in it by post.
By Business Video
Click ‘Start recording’ on the verification screen and a QR code will be shown to you. You must scan this code with a mobile device to take one continuous recording of the following:
Your video should not include people’s faces or any type of sensitive information. Once your video is complete, you’ll have the chance to schedule a meeting with a Google representative to receive your verification code.
By phone call or email
This method will provide you with a verification code by either a phone call or an email. Simple!
This section tells Google and your customers how your local business stands out. You’ll be able to specify which services your business offers, and while Google will have some suggestions for you already, you’ll have the chance to deselect them or add your own.
This is also the place where you’ll choose your business hours, post photos of your business, and write your local business description. Remember: Honesty is the best policy. There’s no use in lying about your hours to impress customers, or in using fake (or stock) photographs. Your Google Business Profile can only work for you when it’s accurate and helpful to the people searching for you
The next page you’ll be brought to is the dashboard of your Google Business Profile Manager, which shows different cards, each one containing different options and pieces of information. This is the place where you have the control to change and update all of the information and settings for your local business’ listing. Google suggests other services here that could also be helpful to your listing.
One of the most important cards can be found right at the top of the page: Now manage your Business Profile directly on Google Search & Maps. Clicking on this card will bring you to Google search, with all of your business controls available to you under the search bar. For those with only one local business listing, this area below the search bar will be the only place to manage your profile. Those who have more than one listing can use the full Google Business Profile Manager.
At this point in your GMB journey, it’s time to further customize your profile. Add your logo and morephotos, make sure your business details are correct, add secondary categories and an opening date, and any other pieces of information that you possibly can. As long as that information is accurate, you’ll help your local business get found!
Hopefully by now you’ve received your verification code. You can head to the Google Business Profile Manager and find the ‘Pending Verification’ section. Here you can enter your verification code and ta da! Your listing is now live and viewable on Google!
No Google Business Profile guide would be complete without some tips and advice, so here they are!
Creating and using a Google Business Profile is one of the best ways to give your business credibility online and can be used as part of your SEO strategy to get your business noticed. GMB listings are a completely free service that give you the power to define your local business as you see fit, with tons of customization options. The added bonus- Google makes every sign-up and profile-building form easy to use. It’s a no-hassle way to make your local business stand out.
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