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Google My Business Set Up and Optimize 2024

What is Google My Business (now Google Business Profile)?

Google My Business, now called Google Business Profile, is a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google’s various platforms, including Search and Maps. It enables businesses to create a profile that includes important information such as their address, phone number, business hours, website URL, and photos.

By creating and verifying a Google Business Profile, businesses can increase their visibility in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find them when searching for relevant products or services in their area. Additionally, businesses can interact with customers by responding to reviews, posting updates, and sharing photos directly through their profile.

Overall, Google Business Profile is a valuable tool for businesses looking to enhance their online presence and attract more customers through local search.

The 3 most important benefits of Google Business Profile

The three most important benefits of Google Business Profile are:

  1. Increased Visibility: Google Business Profile helps businesses appear in local search results and Google Maps, making it easier for potential customers to find them when searching for relevant products or services in their area. This increased visibility can lead to more website visits, phone calls, and foot traffic to the business’s physical location.
  2. Trust and Credibility: Having a verified Google Business Profile adds legitimacy to a business, as it provides essential information such as the business’s address, phone number, and hours of operation. Additionally, customer reviews and ratings visible on the profile can build trust and credibility with potential customers, influencing their purchasing decisions.
  3. Engagement and Interaction: Google Business Profile allows businesses to engage with customers directly by responding to reviews, posting updates, and sharing photos. This interaction not only helps businesses address customer feedback and concerns but also allows them to showcase their products, services, and promotions, ultimately fostering a stronger connection with their audience.

Manage your online google business information

Managing your online business information on Google My Business involves several steps to ensure accuracy, visibility, and engagement. Here’s a guide on how to effectively manage your Google Business Profile:

Claim and Verify Your Business: If you haven’t already done so, claim ownership of your business on Google My Business. Verify your ownership through a verification process, which may include receiving a postcard with a verification code or instant verification through other means if eligible.

Update Basic Information: Log in to your Google My Business dashboard and ensure that your basic business information is accurate and up to date. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, business hours, and business category.

Add Additional Details: Provide additional information about your business to enhance your profile. This can include attributes such as outdoor seating, free Wi-Fi, wheelchair accessibility, and more, depending on your business type.

Upload Photos and Videos: Showcase your business with high-quality photos and videos. Include images of your storefront, interior, products, services, team members, and any other relevant aspects of your business. Visual content helps attract potential customers and gives them a better understanding of what to expect.

Manage Reviews and Ratings: Monitor and respond to customer reviews and ratings on your Google Business Profile. Engage with customers by thanking them for positive reviews and addressing any concerns or issues raised in negative reviews. Timely and professional responses demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Create Posts: Use the Posts feature to share updates, promotions, events, and other relevant information with your audience directly on your Google Business Profile. Posts appear in Google Search and Maps and can help drive engagement and conversions.

Utilize Messaging (if available): If messaging is enabled for your profile, respond promptly to customer inquiries and messages. Messaging provides a convenient way for customers to communicate with your business directly through your Google Business Profile.

Monitor Insights: Use the Insights tab in your Google My Business dashboard to track how customers find and interact with your business profile. Insights provide valuable data on views, clicks, calls, and direction requests, helping you understand your audience better and make informed decisions.

Stay Consistent Across Platforms: Ensure consistency by maintaining consistent business information across all online platforms, including your website, social media profiles, and other directories. Consistency helps build trust with customers and improves your online visibility.

By actively managing your online business information on Google My Business, you can optimize your profile for maximum visibility, engagement, and customer satisfaction. Regular updates and interactions with customers help build a positive online reputation and drive business growth.

Build trust with Google Reviews

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Building trust with Google Reviews involves several key strategies to encourage positive feedback, respond effectively to reviews, and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Here’s how to build trust with Google Reviews:

Provide Excellent Products or Services: The foundation of trust is delivering exceptional products or services that meet or exceed customer expectations. Consistently providing high-quality experiences will naturally lead to positive reviews from satisfied customers.

Ask Satisfied Customers for Reviews: Actively encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile. Politely ask customers for feedback after completing a purchase or service, and provide clear instructions on how to leave a review on Google.

Make it Easy to Leave Reviews: Remove any barriers to leaving reviews by making the process as simple as possible. Provide direct links to your Google Business Profile in follow-up emails, on your website, and on social media platforms to facilitate the review process.

Respond Promptly and Professionally: Monitor your Google Reviews regularly and respond promptly to all feedback, both positive and negative. Express gratitude for positive reviews and address any concerns or issues raised in negative reviews with empathy and professionalism.

Personalize Your Responses: Personalize your responses to reviews whenever possible. Address reviewers by name and reference specific details from their review to show that you value their feedback and are genuinely engaged with your customers.

Be Transparent and Authentic: Be transparent and authentic in your responses to reviews. Acknowledge any mistakes or shortcomings and take responsibility for addressing them. Transparency builds trust and demonstrates your commitment to accountability and improvement.

Highlight Positive Reviews: Showcase positive reviews on your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials to reinforce trust with potential customers. Positive testimonials from satisfied customers can help build credibility and encourage others to do business with you.

Engage with Customers: Engage with customers beyond just responding to reviews. Participate in conversations on social media, respond to inquiries promptly, and provide excellent customer service at every touchpoint. Building genuine relationships with customers fosters trust and loyalty over time.

Monitor and Improve: Continuously monitor your Google Reviews and use feedback to identify areas for improvement. Take proactive steps to address recurring issues and enhance the overall customer experience.

By implementing these strategies, you can build trust with Google Reviews and demonstrate your commitment to delivering exceptional products or services and prioritizing customer satisfaction. Building a positive online reputation through genuine interactions and feedback helps attract more customers and drive business growth.

How to set up a Google My Business listing

You need a Google account to use Google Business Profile, so go ahead and create one if you haven’t already.

I recommend not using your personal Google account to set this up, as you may want to give others access to your Google Business Profile later and that’s better to do from a dedicated work account

Step 2: Add your business information

Once signed in, click on the “Manage now” button. You’ll then need to enter your business name. If your business doesn’t appear in the dropdown list, select “Add your business to Google.”

Step 3: Select your business type

You can sign up for Google Business Profile as long as you either sell directly to customers online, have a physical location, or provide a service in-person to your customers. You can select all options that apply to you.

Click Next when you’re done.

select your business type

Step 4: Enter your location and/or location targeting

If you’re an online-only business, Google asks for your website.

enter your location

For both online and offline businesses, you’ll need to enter the country you’re registered in. This may or may not also be the country where your location is.

If you have a physical location, you’ll enter that instead (with the ability to add your website URL and more information later). You may also be asked to position a marker for the location on a map for accuracy. 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 5: Add contact information

You can add either a website, phone number, or both. These are publicly viewable on your profile.

Step 6: Verify your business

Even if you don’t have a physical business location, you need to enter a mailing address to become verified.

After that, you can choose to receive a verification code via email or the exciting option of recording a short video showing you working in your business and basically proving that you have a business. I’m not sure why anyone would choose that over a simple email code but sure, more power to ya.

I chose the email code. Wait for it to arrive, enter it, and click Verify.

Becoming verified allows you to publicly reply to customer reviews, use messaging features, and more.

The time it takes to verify your business on Google My Business can vary depending on the verification method you choose and your location. Here’s a general overview of the verification methods and their typical timeframes:

  1. Postcard Verification: If you choose to verify your business by mail, Google will send a postcard to the address you provided. The postcard typically arrives within 1-2 weeks. Once you receive the postcard, you’ll need to enter the verification code on the Google My Business website to complete the verification process.
  2. Phone Verification: Some businesses may have the option to verify their business over the phone. If eligible, Google will call the phone number associated with your business and provide a verification code. This process usually takes a few minutes.
  3. Email Verification: In some cases, particularly for service-area businesses, Google may offer email verification. If eligible, you’ll receive an email with a verification link. Clicking on the link will verify your business. This process is typically instantaneous.
  4. Instant Verification: If you’ve already verified your business website with Google Search Console, you may be eligible for instant verification. In this case, Google will automatically verify your business without requiring additional steps. This process usually happens within a few minutes to a few days.

It’s important to note that these timeframes are general estimates and may vary based on factors such as your location, the volume of verification requests, and any potential issues that may arise during the verification process. If you encounter any delays or issues, you can contact Google My Business support for assistance.

Step 7: Optimize your profile

Now, add all the extra details that will get the most out of your profile. All of these are optional, but if they apply to you, be sure to fill it out.

You can add:

There are many more ways to optimize your Google My Business profile than the options you get in the setup screen. The next section covers everything else you should optimize.

How to optimize your Google My Business profile

Filling out your profile information isn’t a fast track to the top of search results. But, completing your Google Business Profile makes it much more likely you’ll stand out — 2.7 times more likely actually. Plus, people are 70% more likely to visit a business with a complete profile vs. an incomplete one.

Google determines local search ranking based on three factors:

  • Relevance: How well your profile matches search intent.
  • Distance: How far your location is from the user.
  • Prominence: How well-known your business is (based on factors like number of reviews, review score, and other SEO ranking factors).

Use special attributes, if applicable

Using special attributes on your Google My Business profile can provide additional information to potential customers and help your business stand out in search results. Here’s how to use special attributes:

  1. Access Your Google My Business Dashboard: Log in to your Google My Business account and navigate to your dashboard.
  2. Select Your Business Profile: Choose the business profile you want to manage if you have multiple locations.
  3. Click on “Info”: In the menu on the left-hand side, click on “Info” to access your business information.
  4. Scroll Down to “Add Attributes”: Scroll down to the “Attributes” section, where you can add various attributes to your business profile.
  5. Choose Relevant Attributes: Click on the pencil icon next to “Attributes” to edit this section. Here, you’ll find a list of available attributes that you can add to your profile. These attributes may include options such as “Outdoor seating,” “Wheelchair accessible,” “Free Wi-Fi,” “Curbside pickup,” and more.
  6. Select the Appropriate Attributes: Review the list of attributes and select the ones that apply to your business. Choose attributes that highlight unique features or amenities that may be important to potential customers.
  7. Save Your Changes: After selecting the relevant attributes, click “Apply” or “Save” to update your business profile. Your selected attributes will now appear on your Google My Business listing for customers to see.
  8. Regularly Review and Update Attributes: Periodically review your business attributes to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. If your business introduces new features or services, be sure to add relevant attributes to your profile to keep customers informed.

By using special attributes effectively, you can provide valuable information to potential customers and improve their experience when searching for businesses like yours on Google.

Businesses in certain industries, such as restaurants, hotels, and services, often have access to special features on Google My Business that cater to their specific needs. Here are some examples of special features available to these business types:

  1. Restaurants:
    • Menu Integration: Restaurants can add their menu directly to their Google My Business profile, allowing potential customers to view their offerings without leaving the search results.
    • Online Reservations: Some restaurants can enable online reservations through third-party booking platforms like OpenTable or Resy, directly from their Google My Business listing.
    • Food Attributes: Restaurants can highlight specific food attributes, such as vegetarian options, vegan options, gluten-free options, and more, to cater to different dietary preferences.
  2. Hotels:
    • Booking Integration: Hotels can integrate their booking system with Google My Business, allowing customers to book rooms directly through their listing.
    • Room Amenities: Hotels can highlight room amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast included, pool access, pet-friendly accommodations, and more, to attract potential guests.
    • Hotel Attributes: Special attributes like “Luxury,” “Budget-Friendly,” “Family-Friendly,” and others help hotels communicate their unique selling points to customers.
  3. Services:
    • Booking Integration: Service-based businesses like salons, spas, and fitness centers can enable online booking through third-party scheduling platforms, making it convenient for customers to schedule appointments directly from their Google My Business listing.
    • Service Catalog: Businesses offering various services can create a service catalog on their profile, providing detailed descriptions, pricing information, and availability for each service they offer.
    • Service Attributes: Businesses can highlight specific service attributes, such as “Women-led,” “Black-owned,” “Veteran-led,” and others, to showcase their diversity and inclusivity.

These special features are designed to enhance the visibility, accessibility, and engagement of businesses in these industries on Google My Business, ultimately helping them attract and serve customers more effectively.

You can also add attribute “labels” to your listing to communicate key information about your business, like if you are open by appointment only. Or, to ensure everyone feels welcome. For example, you may want to share information about wheelchair accessibility, free Wi-Fi, or outdoor seating. You can even share that your company is women owned and/or 2SLGBTQI+ friendly.

To edit these labels, visit your dashboard and click Edit profile. Scroll down to the More section to find these attributes.

Add real images of your business

Adding real images of your business to your Google My Business profile is essential for providing potential customers with an authentic and compelling representation of what to expect when they visit or engage with your business. Here’s how to add real images:

  1. Access Your Google My Business Dashboard: Log in to your Google My Business account and navigate to your dashboard.
  2. Select Your Business Profile: Choose the business profile you want to manage if you have multiple locations.
  3. Click on “Photos”: In the menu on the left-hand side, click on “Photos” to access your business photo gallery.
  4. Choose the Type of Photo to Add: You can add different types of photos to your gallery, including:
    • Exterior Photos: Showcase the exterior of your business, including signage, storefront, and any unique features.
    • Interior Photos: Highlight the interior of your business, such as the layout, decor, ambiance, and seating areas.
    • Product or Service Photos: Share images of your products, services, menu items, or offerings to give customers a glimpse of what you provide.
    • Team Photos: Introduce your team members and staff to personalize your business and build trust with customers.
    • Atmosphere Photos: Capture the atmosphere and vibe of your business, including any events, activities, or special occasions.
  5. Upload Your Photos: Click on the “Upload” button to select photos from your computer or mobile device. You can upload multiple photos at once.
  6. Add Descriptions (Optional): You can add descriptions to your photos to provide additional context or information. Descriptions can help customers understand what they’re seeing in the images.
  7. Organize Your Photos: Arrange your photos in the appropriate categories to ensure they are displayed effectively in your business photo gallery.
  8. Preview and Publish: Review your uploaded photos and make any necessary adjustments. Once you’re satisfied, click “Publish” to make your photos visible on your Google My Business profile.
  9. Regularly Update Your Photos: Periodically review and update your business photos to keep your profile fresh and engaging. Add new photos to showcase seasonal offerings, special promotions, or recent updates to your business.

By adding real images of your business to your Google My Business profile, you can provide customers with an authentic and visually appealing representation of what your business has to offer, ultimately helping to attract more customers and drive engagement.

Or add or edit photos anytime from your Google Business Profile dashboard:

Add a custom description

You can create a compelling description for your business using the existing fields available in your profile, such as the “From the business” section or the “Introduction” field. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to Your Google My Business Account: Access your Google My Business dashboard by signing in to your Google account.
  2. Select Your Business Profile: Choose the business profile you want to manage from your dashboard.
  3. Navigate to the “Info” Section: Click on the “Info” tab in the menu on the left-hand side to access your business information.
  4. Edit the “From the business” Section: In the “From the business” section, you can provide a brief description of your business. Use this space to highlight key features, unique selling points, and what sets your business apart from competitors.
  5. Craft Your Custom Description: Write a compelling description that accurately represents your business and resonates with your target audience. Focus on communicating your brand personality, values, and what customers can expect when they choose your business.
  6. Utilize Keywords: Incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into your description to improve your visibility in search results. Consider the terms that potential customers might use when searching for businesses like yours and integrate them naturally into your description.
  7. Keep it Concise and Engaging: Aim for a concise and engaging description that captures the essence of your business in a few sentences. Avoid using jargon or overly technical language that may confuse or deter potential customers.
  8. Preview and Save Your Changes: After crafting your custom description, preview it to ensure it looks and reads as intended. Once you’re satisfied, save your changes to update your Google My Business profile.

Include keywords in your profile

Finding relevant keywords to add to your Google My Business profile can help improve your visibility in local search results and attract more potential customers. Here are some of the best places to look for keywords:

  1. Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that allows you to research keywords and see their search volume, competition level, and other metrics. You can enter relevant terms related to your business and location to discover popular keywords that potential customers are using in their searches.
  2. Google Autocomplete: When you start typing a search query into Google, you’ll notice that Google suggests autocomplete suggestions based on popular searches. Pay attention to these suggestions as they can give you insights into common search terms related to your business and location.
  3. Google Search Results: Perform searches on Google for terms related to your business and location. Take note of the “People also ask” section and the “Related searches” at the bottom of the search results page. These can provide additional keyword ideas that you can use in your Google My Business profile.
  4. Competitor Analysis: Look at the Google My Business profiles of your competitors to see what keywords they are using. This can give you ideas for relevant keywords that you may have overlooked.
  5. Customer Feedback and Reviews: Pay attention to the language used by your customers in their reviews and feedback. They may use specific terms and phrases that can be valuable keywords for your business.
  6. Your Website Analytics: If you have a website, review your website analytics to see which search terms are driving traffic to your site. These terms can also be used as keywords in your Google My Business profile.
  7. Industry-Specific Directories and Forums: Explore industry-specific directories, forums, and communities where people discuss topics related to your business. Pay attention to the language used in discussions and look for common keywords.
  8. Social Media Listening: Monitor social media platforms for discussions related to your business and location. Look for common keywords and phrases that people are using in their posts and comments.

By leveraging these sources, you can discover relevant keywords to add to your Google My Business profile, ultimately improving your visibility and attracting more customers.

Encourage and answer reviews

Getting reviews for your business on Google My Business is essential for building trust and credibility with potential customers. Here are some effective strategies to encourage customers to leave reviews:

  1. Provide Excellent Service: The most effective way to get positive reviews is to provide excellent products or services and exceptional customer experiences. Happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews voluntarily.
  2. Ask Satisfied Customers: Don’t be afraid to ask satisfied customers to leave a review. After completing a purchase or service, politely ask customers if they would be willing to share their experience on Google. You can include a direct link to your Google My Business profile in follow-up emails or on your website to make it easy for customers to leave a review.
  3. Make It Simple: Remove any barriers to leaving a review by making the process as simple as possible. Provide clear instructions on how to leave a review and consider creating a step-by-step guide or video tutorial for customers who may be unfamiliar with the process.
  4. Incentivize Reviews (Ethically): While you cannot offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews on Google, you can encourage reviews by offering a small incentive to all customers, regardless of whether their review is positive or negative. For example, you could offer a discount on their next purchase or entry into a prize draw.
  5. Follow Up: If a customer expresses satisfaction with your product or service in person or via email or social media, take that opportunity to ask them to leave a review. Send follow-up emails or messages to remind customers to leave a review after they have had time to experience your product or service.
  6. Respond to Reviews: Show appreciation to customers who take the time to leave a review by responding promptly and professionally. Thank customers for their feedback, whether positive or negative, and address any concerns they may have raised. This demonstrates that you value customer feedback and encourages others to leave reviews.
  7. Promote Your Google My Business Profile: Make sure customers are aware that you have a presence on Google My Business and encourage them to check it out. Display signs or stickers at your physical location, include a link to your profile on your website and social media profiles, and mention it in your marketing materials.
  8. Monitor Your Reputation: Regularly monitor your Google My Business profile for new reviews and respond promptly to all feedback. By staying engaged with your audience, you can address any issues quickly and maintain a positive online reputation.

By implementing these strategies, you can encourage more customers to leave reviews for your business on Google My Business, helping to build trust and attract new customers.

For positive reviews, take the time to thank your customer for sharing their experience. For negative reviews, also thank your customer and address their issue in a tactful, honest way and try to offer a solution or fix, if warranted.

Afraid of troll reviews from fake people? Don’t worry, you can report inappropriate or malicious reviews and have them removed from your profile.

Why is it important to Regularly update your information

Regularly updating your business information on platforms like Google My Business is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy: Keeping your information up to date ensures that potential customers have access to accurate and reliable information about your business. This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, business hours, and any other relevant details. Inaccurate information can lead to confusion and frustration for customers and may result in lost business.
  2. Visibility: Search engines like Google prioritize businesses that provide fresh and up-to-date information. By regularly updating your business information, you signal to search engines that your business is active and relevant, which can improve your visibility in search results. This can help attract more potential customers to your business.
  3. Customer Experience: Providing current information helps to enhance the overall customer experience. Customers rely on accurate information to make informed decisions about where to shop, dine, or seek services. By ensuring that your business information is always current, you can help customers find what they need quickly and easily, leading to a positive experience.
  4. Trust and Credibility: Keeping your business information updated demonstrates professionalism and reliability, which can help build trust and credibility with potential customers. When customers see that your business information is accurate and regularly maintained, they are more likely to trust your brand and feel confident in doing business with you.
  5. Adaptation to Changes: Businesses evolve over time, and your business information may change as a result. Whether you’re updating your business hours, adding new services, or relocating to a new address, regularly updating your information ensures that your online presence reflects these changes. This allows you to adapt to evolving circumstances and effectively communicate with your audience.
  6. Compliance: Certain platforms and directories may have specific guidelines or requirements regarding the accuracy and timeliness of business information. Regularly updating your information helps ensure that you remain in compliance with these guidelines and maintain a positive reputation on these platforms.

Overall, regularly updating your business information is essential for maintaining an accurate, visible, and trustworthy online presence, which ultimately helps attract and retain customers.

Import your products

Last but not least, if you sell physical products via your website, add those products to your Google Business Profile. In addition to appearing on your profile itself, your products can appear in Google Shopping, the most popular price comparison portal.

To manually add products to your Google My Business profile, click on Edit products from your dashboard.

From here, a popup will appear where you can add your first product, including its title, category, price, description, URL, and a photo.

If you only sell a few products, it may be easiest to add them this way. But for anything more than a dozen or so items, there’s an easier, automated way with the delightfully named Pointy app.

You can either connect Pointy to your point-of-sale (POS) system or scan products with the Pointy scanner. Then your products will show up in Google search, Shopping, and on your Google Business Profile.

However, there are certain eligibility criteria to use Pointy, including requiring UPC barcodes on your products.

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