Welcome to an in-depth look at the powerful online tool, Google Business Profile (GBP). In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to equip you with the skills and knowledge to boost your company’s local online presence by owning and maximizing your GBP.
And if you still refer to your Google Business Profile as your “Google My Business’ profile (GBPs old name), you’re not alone! We often have to correct each other on team calls. If it makes you feel any better, even Google themselves slip up and still call it ‘Google My Business’ sometimes, see below! Whoops!
Whether you are new to the Google Business Profile environment or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you make the most of your online presence. While easy to use, GBP packs a punch and can substantially strengthen your business’s profitability — but only if it’s harnessed properly.
To offer a brief visual, imagine GBP as the digital equivalent of prime real estate — a virtual storefront and a centralized information hub where you have control over your business’s image on the world’s top search engine — 83.49% of internet users opt for Google when they’re searching for results! When GBP is used properly, it can entice potential customers and keep your regulars coming back for more.
We’re always eager to help brands grow their virtual presence, which in turn can impact foot traffic. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner, a marketing enthusiast, or you’re a new business owner who wants to increase their business’s local visibility, GBP can help.
Today, our mission is to equip you with the expertise and resources so that you can enhance your local online presence, foster connections within your community, and usher more customers through your doors, all by using GBP effectively.
There’s no fluff here, we promise — just results.
Let’s dig in!
Understanding What Your Google Business Profile Is, and What It Does for You
As mentioned above, think of your Google Business Profile as the online version of a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, only along Google’s busy virtual streets. And just like a physical window display, your GBP listing can give browsers a quick and easy understanding of your business.
You can share crucial details, showcase what your business offers, and engage directly with your audience and post photos. Simply speaking, it’s a practical platform that lets you take control of your online presence and shape and manage it so that it represents you best.
Your GBP will often be found by users through Google Maps, especially if you’re a local company or service based business that operates within a set geographic location. To give you some context, using ourselves as an example: If you searched for an ‘seo consultant toronto’ within Google Maps, you can see a direct listing of the various GBP accounts for their respective consultants (just make sure that you look below the paid listings!).
If you want to learn how your company can rank at the top of Google Maps, be sure to get in touch with us today!!GET IN TOUCH
And much as you wouldn’t leave a physical storefront window sitting empty or half-dressed, you don’t want to leave your GBP listing empty or looking lackluster, either. Doing so is a missed opportunity; a well-optimized GBP profile can attract online visitors and convert them into loyal customers.
Here’s just some of the essential information you can include.
Control Over Your Business Information
Your GBP puts you in charge of your business’s essential and practical details. Think of it as having the master key to your virtual storefront — a key that lets you fine-tune how your business shows up on the world’s most popular search engine!
- Your Open Hours: With GBP, you can set your business hours, ensuring potential customers always know when they can find you. Whether you’re open around the clock, follow a traditional schedule, or if you’re closed on holidays — you’re in control of your hours.
- Your Contact Information: Your contact information is vital, and GBP gives you the means to keep it current and accessible. Phone numbers, email addresses, and physical locations are all in your hands.
- A Quick Overview of Your Business: Just as a book’s cover can catch a reader’s eye, the brief business summary on GBP introduces your offerings. This brief but powerful description acts as a virtual handshake, making that crucial first impression and hooking potential customers off the bat.
Connecting with Customers
Your GBP isn’t just a one-way communication channel or a space for you to share logistical details; it’s also a dynamic bridge connecting you with local shoppers.
We’re all for the visuals, think of Google Business Messages as a welcoming service counter at your physical establishment, allowing you to engage, assist, and help your shoppers. Here’s how GBP can help you build ties and entice customers in your community.
- Engaging Responsiveness: On GBP, you can provide real-time help and guidance, answering customer queries on the spot. If you have the capacity, timely responses can help secure sales and lure in business. Quick and friendly virtual service can truly enhance the online experience, fostering trust and loyalty.
- Handling Inquiries: On GBP, customers can ask questions, seek clarification, or request more details about your products or services. You can demonstrate your expertise by providing concise and helpful responses. By addressing inquiries promptly, you offer valuable information, demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction, and are more likely to secure the sale!
- Acknowledging Feedback: Your customers’ opinions are invaluable, and GBP offers a platform for them to share their experiences. Whether that’s a glowing review or constructive criticism, recognizing feedback shows your dedication to improving and appreciating your customers. Your responses to GBP feedback convey that you value and care about your customers’ voices.
In a case study by Google, retail giant Footlocker reported that within just three months of launching their messaging, it became the most preferred contact method for their customers. They also reported a 10 point uptick in their Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Your Google Business Profile isn’t a static listing — it’s a friendly smile, and a listening ear. It’s a vital tool to help you forge solid and long-lasting relationships with your most important audience: your customers!
For Businesses of Every Size
One of the greatest parts of GBP is that the basic profile is free! With that simple accommodation, GBP levels the playing field for businesses of all sizes. It celebrates your commitment to sharing accurate and engaging info, no matter your budget.
Here’s why this affordability is so fantastic.
It Levels the Marketing Field
GBP tears down the old barriers in marketing. From small local businesses to international global giants, it empowers everyone to showcase their unique value and customer connections. Everyone has the same opportunities for exposure, regardless of their size.
It Maximizes Your Efforts
Your dedication to GBP goes beyond finances; it’s about delivering an exceptional customer experience. By regularly improving your GBP, you nurture a digital asset with great potential. Think of it as tending to a thriving garden — the more care and attention you give, the richer the rewards.
You’ll Get the Most from Your Time
We get it; your time is precious! However, with GBP, the time you put in can yield impressive returns. You cultivate trust and customer loyalty. The rewards? Boosted visibility, improved search rankings, and, most importantly, a thriving customer base.
Setting Up Your GBP: Crafting Your Digital Identity
So how do you set up your Google Business Profile? Let’s kick things off! If you haven’t already done so, you need to add or claim your business on Google. This is really easy.
You can add or claim your business through Google Maps. Once you’ve signed into your business’s Google account, search for your business then click ‘Add’ your business. Follow the onscreen instructions.
To claim a business, again, search for your business in Google then click ‘Claim this Business,’ then ‘Manage Now,’ and again follow the onscreen verification prompts.
Once you’ve added or claimed your virtual storefront, it’s time to start shaping it into something special. As we mentioned, GBP not only allows you to impart logistical knowledge (like opening hours) and connect with clients and customers in real-time, but it also helps you represent your brand, creating an accurate and compelling digital identity that leaves a great lasting impression.
Building Your Digital Presence: Think of your GBP as the foundation of your online identity. Your choices during this process will shape how potential customers perceive your business.
Crafting Your Digital Image: Every aspect of your GBP contributes to a vivid portrait
you present to your audience. From high-resolution images displaying your products or services to a concise yet compelling business description, each element should communicate professionalism, authenticity, and a dedication to excellence.
Highlighting Your Unique Brand: Your GBP is a canvas to showcase what makes your business special. Whether it’s your exceptional customer service, innovative products, or a history of excellence, it’s your chance to stand out and set yourself apart from the competition — just like an artist with their signature style.
Connecting with Your Audience: When it comes to your GBP, it’s not just about looks.It’s about creating an engaging experience for your audience: making sure your contact info is spot-on and easy to find, your operating hours are crystal clear, and you’re quick to respond to customer questions and reviews. It’s all about offering a warm digital welcome and top-notch service.
Choosing the Perfect Profile Picture
You wouldn’t post a photo of a grainy, cropped, or misleading photo on a dating profile, so you shouldn’t do so on your Google Business Profile. Images are so important here!
A carefully selected profile pic should immediately convey your business’s personality and character. Whether it’s the friendly faces of your team, your company logo, a mouth-watering dish for a restaurant, or a neatly arranged product lineup, your profile picture should accurately reflect what you do, and resonate with your audience.
Crafting a Compelling Business Description: Your Digital Elevator Pitch
This one is tricky. What would you say if we asked you for a 30-second elevator pitch for your business? Remember to keep your business’s mission or mantra in mind.
In this brief window of text (750 characters to be precise), your goal is to encapsulate the essence of your business, leaving potential customers intrigued and hungry for more information. This is your opportunity to narrate your story, articulate what sets you apart, and ignite curiosity — phew!
Contact Information and Essentials: Accuracy Is Paramount
In the digital world, accuracy is vital. Your contact information serves as the crucial link between you and your customers. Mistakes or outdated details can be frustrating for potential customers and could mean missed opportunities for your business.
Your contact information is the virtual doorbell. Let’s make sure it’s ringing loud and clear.
Organizing Your Digital Storefront
Think of your GBP as an online store with various offerings. It’s a bit like organizing items on physical shelves where precise categorization makes it easy for users to find what they need while instantly boosting the chances of potential customers discovering your business.
Pick the Right Categories
Think of categories as labels for your business. Choose the ones that best describe what you do so that customers can easily find you, paying close attention to your ‘Primary Category.’ This can be a little overwhelming, as there are 3,000 categories to choose from, with Google adding new categories constantly. That said, some categories will only be available to you based on your niche.
Show off with Attributes
Use attributes to proudly display what makes your business special. Whether it’s free Wi-Fi, women-owned, veteran-owned, dog friendly, outdoor seating, or curbside pickup, let folks know what to expect and remember to check these semi-frequently. Much like categories, new attributes are added regularly.
Keep up the quality from your profile picture when you share your best pics and videos. It’s like giving customers a sneak peek into your place or products. High-quality visuals can be a real eye-catcher!
Show Your Wares
If you sell products, show them off with pictures, descriptions, and prices. If you don’t have set prices, a ballpark cost, or a starting price is a good place to start.
For service-based businesses, create a menu of all your services on display, with all the details.
This bullet is super important. Make sure your profile looks great and works smoothly on mobile phones. Lots of people search on their phones, so don’t let these potential customers slip through the cracks.
Pro Tip: Just like in a physical store, don’t forget to put your bestsellers at eye level!
To access and manage your Google Business Profile storefront:
- Go to the Google Business Profile website.
- Sign in with your Google account.
- Click on your business location in the dashboard.
- Use the menu on the left to edit your business info, add posts, respond to reviews, manage products/services, check insights, and more. Don’t worry, we’ll get into this in a bit more detail shortly.
Hours of Operation: Your Virtual Open Sign
Your hours of operation are like your online ‘Open’ sign. Keeping this information accurate and current is essential for letting customers know when they can visit or contact you.
The hours section isn’t just limited to your regular scheduling, either. You can add special hours for one-time events, update extended hours over the holidays, and easily reflect unanticipated closures.
Even though it might seem like a small detail, it can significantly impact whether potential customers choose to connect with your business.
Say a customer is looking for jewelry; they look up your business and a rival. The customer will likely go straight to your rival if it shows its open hours on its GBP and you don’t. Basically, failing to add your open hours adds a hurdle for your customers that does not need to be there.
Appointment Booking and Service Options
If your business offers appointments or services, GBP can be an excellent help. It makes things smoother for your customers and removes the number of clicks between searching your company and locking down an appointment. Basically, it shows you’re all about convenience and professionalism.
- Booking Made Easy: GBP lets you integrate booking systems right into your profile. It’s like having a 24/7 receptionist who takes care of appointments online so your customers can book without the hassle of making calls or visiting other websites.
- Pick Your Slot: You can set up specific appointment times on your GBP profile, and customers can choose what suits them best. No more overcrowded schedules!
- Service Info at a Glance: Your GBP can provide all the details about your services, like what they are, how much they cost, and how long they take. This is the menu for your business.
- Stay in Touch: You can chat with your customers on GBP, answering their questions, responding to inquiries, and even addressing reviews, having friendly and engaging conversations along the way.
- Super Convenient: With your GBP, your customers can easily book and manage appointments. Offer them a comfy, stress-free chair in your virtual waiting room.
Know that if you don’t currently use a booking app or platform, Google has recommended partner scheduling apps that will integrate seamlessly with your Google Business Profile.
One important note here is that if you use a booking plugin on your site, which ‘talks’ to your GBP and allows customers to make bookings through your business profile, the scheduling provider may charge you a fee.
Navigating the Dashboard
Ultimately, envision the GBP dashboard as the central command hub for business — your control center in the online world, or a digital cockpit through which you steer your virtual business’s interactions.
But it doesn’t stop there — it also acts like a live dashboard, giving you up-to-the-minute data on how your business performs online. The GBP dashboard is a window into how your audience interacts with your profile, a journey of sorts, helping you make informed decisions to provide better customer service and build stronger relationships with them.
We promised this was a comprehensive guide. We’ve included some steps below so you can easily navigate your Google Business Profile dashboard.
Sign In: Start by visiting the Google Business Profile website and sign in with your Google account (the one linked to your business, of course).
Checking Your Info: Your business details will be right there, like your name, address, phone number, and what you’re all about. You can tweak and update these as many times as you like.
Sharing Updates: Here, you can share news about your business or promote an upcoming event. Just hit the ‘Posts’ tab to create posts that keep your audience in the loop.
Chat with Customers: Head over to the ‘Reviews’ tab to read and respond to what your customers are saying.
Show off Your Stuff: The ‘Photos’ tab lets you upload pics and videos — perfect for showing off your products, your awesome space, and more.
Check out Insights: Click on ‘Insights’ to see how folks are finding your business, where they’re from, and what they’re doing. This is your peek behind the online curtain.
Chat Away: If you’re using messaging, hop into the ‘Messages’ tab to have direct conversations with customers.
Info Management: Need to change your business hours, add your website, or update some details? Just head to the ‘Info’ tab.
Teamwork: If you’ve got a squad helping out, invite them to the dashboard under ‘Users.’ With trusted employees involved, you have another great way to spread the responsibility and maximize the potential for replying to customer questions rapidly.
Multiple Locations: If you’re running numerous locations, you can easily switch between them with the dropdown menu.
In the digital age, online reviews hold immense power.
They shape perceptions, sway choices, and leave a lasting mark on your business. Navigating customer feedback can turn criticism into a chance to boost trust and credibility. Handled correctly, you can flip challenges into opportunities for growth.
- Online Reviews Have Impact: Picture online reviews as the digital scales of justice, where each review represents a customer’s experience. They have the power to influence potential customers and shape your online reputation.
- You Can Turn Criticism into Growth: When handled well, negative reviews aren’t just critiques — they’re opportunities to learn and improve. Responding thoughtfully shows your commitment to customer satisfaction. We highly recommend responding in some capacity; leaving a negative review unanswered can raise red flags for potential customers. In fact, 94% of customers say that a bad online review has made them avoid a business.
- Boost Your Trust and Credibility: Your responses to reviews showcase your professionalism. Like a skilled diplomat defusing tension, your diplomacy in addressing reviews can resolve conflicts and reinforce credibility.
- Have Meaningful Engagements: Reviews go beyond perception management — they foster engagement. Engaging with reviews, positive or negative, shows you value feedback and relationships, just like a face-to-face conversation.
Maximizing Google Posts
Think of Google Posts as your digital megaphone in the online crowd. These posts are like mini-ads, helping you directly share event info, special offers, and essential updates on Google Search and Google Maps. It’s an incredibly effective way to get your message out there!
Here’s a quick rundown on how you can share a post to your Google Business Profile.
- As always: Sign in to Your GBP.
- Find the ‘Posts’ Tab: Once you’re in your dashboard, look for the ‘Posts’ tab on the left-hand side and click on it.
- Create Your Post: To begin, click the ‘+ Create Post’ button.
- Pick the Post Type: Choose the post type that fits your content: ‘What’s New,’ ‘Event,’ ‘Offer,’ or ‘Product.’
- Add Your Content: Write an attention-grabbing title, include an engaging image or a video (videos can be up to 30 seconds long at this time), and keep the description brief. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action button.
- Set the Time: Decide if you want your post to go live immediately or schedule it for a specific time.
- Preview and Publish: Review your post, use the preview to check how it looks, and when you’re ready, hit ‘Publish.’
- Stay Engaged: Keep an eye on your post after it’s live. Respond to comments, interact with users, and encourage likes and shares.
- Track Performance: Google provides insights into how your posts are doing. You can see views, clicks, and other engagement metrics to understand your audience’s likes. Once you know that your audience likes X, Y or Z, you can take time to do more of these things, increasing engagement and growing your audience in the process.
We told you that this was a really powerful tool!
In the digital world, visuals are everything. You’ve heard the saying, ‘A picture’s worth a thousand words.’ Videos are worth even more.
To connect and leave a lasting impression, you’ve got to master the art of using compelling images and videos to paint a vivid picture that tells your business’s story.
To really up your GBP game, you’ve got to take a deep dive into the Insights and Analytics tools. That’s where the magic happens, and where you turn raw data into smart decisions. Don’t worry if you’re a newer business or you don’t usually look into your business insights; as with all things Google, the process here is straightforward!
- Access Your Dashboard: Log in to your Google Business Profile account.
- Find the Insights Section: Look for the ‘Insights’ tab on the left-hand menu.
- Check the Overview: Start with the ‘Overview’ section. It gives you a quick summary of your business on Google.
- Dig Deeper: Explore other tabs like ‘Customer Actions,’ ‘Calls,’ ‘Directions,’ and ‘Photos’ to see how people are engaging with your business.
- Spot Trends: Watch for any changes over time. Are more people calling or asking for directions? If this is the case, update your business description, integrate chat and check your Google Maps for accuracy.
- Know Your Audience: The ‘Audience’ section tells you who’s looking at your business. Use this info to tailor your content.
- Connect with Google Analytics: Using Google Analytics can provide even more data about website traffic from your GBP.
- Set Goals: Define what you want to achieve based on your insights. For example, if you see more ‘Direction Requests,’ aim to get even more.
- Optimize Your Profile: Use your insights to improve your profile. This could mean updating hours, adding more photos, or creating better posts.
- Keep Learning: Insights are most valuable when you use them regularly. Keep an eye on your data and adjust your strategy as needed.
- Get Expert Help: If all this sounds too much, consider consulting an SEO expert. They can help you make sense of the data and plan smart strategies.
Remember, it’s all about keeping an eye on what’s working and making smart changes and pivoting and adapting along the way.
It’s worth noting here that Google themselves don’t advise including keywords in your GBP. However, we recommend including your primary keywords, the ones you feel accurately represent your business, for both your branding and for your consistency!
It’s all about making it easy for people to find you online. After all, how can you thrive online if people can’t find you in the first place?
- Keyword Magic: Pick the words consumers might use to find your business. Think like your customers — what would they type into Google?
- Give Your Google Business Profile Some Love: Fill out all the details in your GBP, like your business name, address, and phone number. Don’t forget to sprinkle in some of those keywords naturally.
- Picture Perfect: Show off your business with some high-quality pics. People love visuals, so put your best foot forward.
- Reviews Matter: Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews. And when they do, take a moment to respond — it’s like a virtual high-five.
- Keep It Consistent: Make sure your business info is the same everywhere online — from your website to your social media profiles.
- Website TLC: If you have a website, make sure it’s mobile-friendly and fast. Fill it with useful info and elevate it with carefully selected keywords.
- Local Links: Get some reputable local websites to link to yours. This is like getting a vote of confidence or a virtual thumbs up from the digital neighbourhood!
- Stay Fresh: Update your Google Business Profile with current info, like business hours and any cool deals or events you have going on.
- Speak Your Mind: Use Google Posts to share what’s happening in your world. It might just catch the eye of someone searching.
- Track and Tweak: Keep an eye on your stats with Google Analytics and GBP Insights. Numbers don’t lie, and they’ll help you make smart moves.
- Code of Trust: Add a special code on your website (it’s called schema markup) to help search engines understand your business better.
- Local Flavor: Write blogs or content related to your area or field. Show your expertise and give folks something to munch on, remember to take time towards refreshing blog content when the time is right.
Local SEO is like growing a garden. You plant the seeds, give them some TLC, and watch them bloom over time. Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your online presence. Be patient, keep it real, and in time, you will see results.
If you want to learn more about how your company can benefit from a curated SEO strategy, why not get in touch with us today?GET IN TOUCH
Problem-Solving and FAQs
Got questions or facing challenges? We’ve got answers. We’ve compiled a list of common GBP issues and solutions to keep you on the right track.
Q1: How can I claim ownership of my GBP listing?
A1: To claim ownership of your GBP listing, follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Account.
- Go to Google Business Profile.
- Enter your business name and address.
- Select your business if it appears in the search results.
- Verify your ownership through a verification code sent via postcard, phone, or email.
Q2: How do I add or change my business information on GBP?
A2: To add or edit your business information on GBP:
- Sign in to your GBP account.
- Select the location you want to edit.
- Click on ‘Info’ in the left menu.
- Update your business details such as name, address, phone number, and hours of operation.
- Click ‘Apply’ to save your changes.
Q3: Help! Why isn’t my GBP listing showing up in Google Maps?
A3: Several factors can affect your GBP listing’s visibility in Google Maps.
Ensure that your business information is accurate, your GBP profile is fully optimized, and you have positive reviews. Also, check if your location settings are correctly configured.
Q4: How can I improve my GBP ranking in local search results?
A4: To boost your GBP ranking:
- Ensure your business information is accurate and complete.
- Encourage customer reviews and respond to them.
- Post regularly with relevant content and do keyword research.
- Use high-quality images and videos in your profile.
- Build local citations and backlinks to your website.
- Keep your business hours up-to-date.
Q5: What should I do if I receive a negative review on GBP?
A5: Address negative reviews by:
- Responding professionally and courteously.
- Apologizing for any legitimate issues and offering solutions.
- Encouraging the reviewer to contact you directly to resolve the problem.
- Reporting any fake or inappropriate reviews to Google for removal.
Q6: Can I use Google Posts to promote events and offers on GBP?
A6: Yes, you can!
Google Posts are a great way to promote events, offers, and important updates. Simply log in to your GMB account, click on ‘Posts’ in the left menu, create a post with a title, image, and call-to-action, and share it with your audience.
Q7: How often should I check GBP Insights and Analytics?
A7: It’s advisable to check your GBP Insights and Analytics regularly.
At least once a week or month is ideal. Monitoring these metrics helps you understand your audience’s behaviour, track the performance of your posts, and make data-driven decisions to improve your GBP strategy.
Q8: How can I optimize my GBP profile with keywords?
A8: To optimize your GBP profile with keywords:
- Include relevant keywords in your business description.
- Use keywords naturally in your posts and updates.
- Ensure your business name, categories, and attributes reflect relevant keywords.
- Use location-specific keywords if applicable to your business.
Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile isn’t just another marketing tool — it’s a game-changer that can transform how your business connects with the local community and the online world. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve ditched the jargon to provide a straightforward approach to unleashing GBP’s full potential.
Has all this talk about improving your SEO and keyword integration piqued your interest? Have you seen a dip in organic traffic to your site? Maybe you’d like more information on boosting your local Google Business Profile with SEO? We can help!
We can work with you to create a customized plan that can directly benefit your SEO. Click the Call Now button at the top of the screen, or hit the Book a Free Consultation button to learn more.