Setting Up & Optimizing Your Google Business Profile [2024 Guide]

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Search Engine Optimization

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business/GMB) is a free gateway to establishing a robust digital presence on the world’s most influential search engine. 

But with the modern competitive search landscape, your business needs more than just a simple listing. You need a profile that captures attention, engages audiences, and drives growth. 

Shockingly, nearly 40% of profiles remain unclaimed, resulting in countless missed opportunities to connect with local customers and enhance online visibility. 

By learning how to leverage this platform, you’ll be able to elevate your online presence, engage your target audience, and surpass your competitors. 

Whether you’re setting up Google Business Profile for the first time or looking to optimize an existing one, this guide will walk you through the essential steps to maximize your online visibility and reach your target audience effectively.

Why You Need a Google Business Profile (GBP) 

Your business listing serves as a central hub on both Google Search and Google Maps, allowing you to showcase vital information about your business and connect with your target audience

A robust Google Business Profile isn’t just an option anymore, it’s a necessity for any business working to thrive.

Get ready to elevate your online presence and unlock new growth opportunities.

1. Set Up a Google Account For Your Business

To begin, create a Google account dedicated to your business. This account will serve as the foundation for managing your GBP and accessing a range of valuable tools and features offered by Google. Sign up for a free Google account and proceed to the next step. 

2. Claim or Add Your Business

Next, you must claim your business’s profile, or set it up if it’s not yet created. Not sure if your business if your business is already has a Google Business Profile? Find out here

If you can’t find your business on this page, you’ll want to click on “Add your business to Google” and navigate through the prompted steps to get your profile set up (using our suggestions throughout this guide!)

If you have issues claiming your listing, refer to this Google Help Center article, or contact Google Business Profile Support. Now, let’s proceed!

3. Fill Out Business Information

Consistency in your basic information, including your business name, address, hours, and phone number (NAP), is crucial for local ranking. 

Ensure uniformity across platforms to reinforce your brand identity and improve local search visibility.

Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Navigate to the ‘Location’ section in your Google Business Profile Manager.
  2. Click on the edit button (depicted as a pencil icon).
  3. Fill in your correct business address.
  4. Click Apply to save your changes.

Maintaining accurate and consistent business information not only boosts visibility in Google search results but also instills confidence in potential customers.

If you’ve recently moved your business location, promptly update all citations to maintain credibility and prevent customer confusion. 

RELATED: Why SEO Citations Are Vital to Ranking in Local Search

4. Write a Business Description

Crafting an effective business description is crucial for showcasing your brand identity and communicating your offerings properly to a potential customer. 

Your business description should provide insight into who you are, what you do, and why you do it, allowing your brand voice to shine through authentically.

Here are a few dos and don’ts of writing business descriptions:

Do

  • Use high-value keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords that align with your business and target audience to enhance visibility in search results. 
  • Include business history: If pertinent, share the history and background of your business to add depth and authenticity to your description. 
  • Write a unique and accurate description: Ensure your description accurately reflects your business, like your service area, while highlighting its unique aspects and value proposition. 
  • Follow Google’s Guidelines: Adhere to Google’s guidelines to maintain compliance and avoid penalties.

Don’t

  • Stuff with keywords: Avoid overloading your description with keywords, as this can come across as spammy and detract from its readability. 
  • Make it a sales pitch: Refrain from turning your description into a blatant sales pitch; instead, focus on providing valuable information about your business. 
  • Include URLs or links: Avoid including URLs or links in your description, as this can be perceived as spam and may violate Google’s guidelines. 
  • Write anything prohibited by Google: Steer clear of including any content that violates Google’s policies, as this could result in penalties or suspension of your Google Business Profile.

Google gives you 750 characters for your business description, however, only the first 250 characters will show on your GBP page. The rest gets cut off and is available for users when they click “More.” 

Be sure to include the most important part of your description in those first 250 characters, or just limit the description to 250 characters entirely.

Tip: For further guidance on optimizing your online presence, check out our related guide: How Do I Get My Business on Yelp?

5. Select Business Categories

Choosing the right business category is essential for maximizing your visibility in local search results. When chosen thoughtfully, these categories can effectively connect you with potential customers seeking your products or services.

Here are some tips for selecting the best category for your local business:

  • Be Specific: Opt for categories that accurately reflect the core offerings of your business. Avoid generic categories that may not accurately represent what you do.
  • Avoid Redundancy: Refrain from selecting categories that overlap or are redundant. Google values specificity, so choose categories that distinctively describe different aspects of your business.
  • Say No to Keyword Stuffing: While it may be tempting to select categories based solely on keywords, this approach can backfire. Focus on relevance and accuracy rather than keyword density.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Choose as few categories as necessary to describe your small business effectively. Selecting too many categories can dilute your relevance and confuse potential customers.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can optimize your business categories to accurately reflect your offerings and improve your visibility in Google search results. Here’s an example:

6. Include Links to Your Website and Social Media

Your website is the face of your business, and at the very minimum needs to be up-to-date, modern, and well-designed. 

You only get one first impression, so make sure it’s a good one. 

If not, visitors will bounce from your site like a beach ball at a Nickelback concert.

Your Google Business Profile listing is the best way to direct traffic toward your website. The more links you can include to your website the better. 

There are 3 options for website links on Google Business Profile:

  • Website – example.com
  • Appointment – example.com/contact
  • Menu – example.com/menu –OR– example.com/services

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to track your web traffic on a platform like Google Analytics, you can track the visitors arriving to your website from your Google Business Profile page by adding UTM parameters to the end of the URL.

RELATED: The Shelf Life of a Website

7. Upload Photos & Videos

Perhaps the biggest influence on engagement with your GBP listing is your photos and videos. 

Depending on your industry, these are super important as more and more searchers are interacting with businesses with high-quality photos.

Taking your own high-quality photos and videos is essential to controlling the online image of your business, and preventing unflattering customer photos from rising to the top. 

Bonus Tips:

  1. Don’t use stock photos! Users can smell these a mile away.
  2. 360-degree photos are great for customers to view the inside of your restaurant or retail space. Invest in getting these photos done at least once, and then every time your interior changes.
  3. Upload new photos regularly, at least once a month if you’re a business that relies heavily on images.

8. Add Products & Services

Filling out the products and services section for your business is a great way to tell customers exactly what you offer.

Products

These are very easy to add to your business’s profile. If you have lots of different products, use the categories feature to group them into relevant categories. Each product will need to have:

  • Product Name
  • Price (Fixed or Price Range)
  • Product Description
  • Link to Buy
  • Product Photo

On your GBP listing, your products will be displayed in a carousel-like section. It’s important to use high-quality images to showcase your product and keep your product titles to under 58 characters.

Make sure you write up an accurate and compelling product description to entice users to click. Also, don’t forget a link to your website or users will have no way to buy your product!

Services

For service businesses, this section is great for explaining the range of services you offer to your customers and clients. The services on your listing must remain accurate and up-to-date. 

For example, a digital marketing agency can list all the different types of services it provides and go into detail about each:

The service details also offer you the ability to add a price for your services. Some businesses may choose to leave this blank as the cost of services depends on a case-by-case basis. 

Others with fixed pricing can include that here, along with a 300-character description of your service. Be sure that your information is accurate and honest – you don’t want to mislead potential customers!

9. Review & Publish

Once you’re done, review all your edits and updates to make sure they are correct, then go ahead and publish! 

Check your business details one final time, make sure your business description is all set, make sure you’ve included photos (including a business logo), and make sure your products and services are all polished.

It’s important to note that you can change, edit, or update any aspect of your business profile at any time. 

Regular updates to store hours for holidays, sharing new photos, Google posts, and responding to each new review are all best practices for your Google Business Profile account.

RELATED: Is Your Marketing Strategy Complete? Find Out Here [Digital Marketing Checklist]

Advanced Google My Business Features

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to level up your profile! 

Explore some of the advanced features you can use to monitor your listing performance and engage with your audience on a deeper level. 

From setting up Google Business Profile messaging to sharing posts, there are numerous opportunities to enhance your online presence and attract local customers.

Enable Messaging

Make it easy for customers to connect with you directly. Enable messaging on your Google Business Profile and show your responsiveness and accessibility. You can access your messages from both the Google Business Profile app and directly from your desktop – making it easy to stay in contact with your customers. 

Google My Business Posts

Share updates, promotions, and events directly on your GBP listing to generate excitement and attract local customers. Google Posts are a fantastic, and easy, way to take a branded search and turn it into commercial intent.

Google Review Responses

Engage with your audience and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction by responding to your Google reviews in a timely and professional manner. 

Reviews are the #1 factor in a searcher’s decision whether or not to interact and ultimately buy from your business. 

Part of a successful reputation management campaign involves not only acquiring new customer reviews but also proactively engaging with them as they are posted, demonstrating your active involvement and genuine concern for customer feedback.

RELATED: Best Practices for Managing Your Online Reviews

Performance & Insights

The “Performance” section of Google Business Profile offers valuable insights into how your listing is performing, including the keywords you are appearing for and levels of engagement such as phone calls, direction requests, and website clicks. 

Continuous monitoring of rankings, queries, and performance takes time and an active local SEO strategy to see improvements. 

Unlock the Power of Local SEO With Our Expertise

Setting up your Google Business Profile listing is the first step to improving your local search performance, but it’s not the last. 

Intuitive Digital specializes in digital marketing services for businesses that want to get the most out of their online presence. 

Ready to take your Google search results to the next level? 

Maybe interested in starting Google Ads or a web design project? Let’s talk!

If you have additional questions about how you can optimize your GBP, drop them in the comments below. 

About the Author

Haley Patton

Haley Patton is a Digital Account Manager at Intuitive Digital. She is a passionate advocate of all things digital and enjoys helping others grow their businesses online! When Haley isn't answering emails, she's probably spending quality time with her pets or working on a new house project.

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