Google Business Profile - also known as Google My Business - is an indispensable tool for small and medium-sized businesses that want customers online. Find out in this guide to Google My Business in 2023. I'll give you all the tools you need to create and optimise a business profile that performs and gets seen on Google.
Want a basic introduction to Google My Business? Then you might want to read our previous blog post "Google My Business - how to set up your online business card".
First of all, it's important to check if your company already has a business profile on Google. The easiest way to do this is to search for your business name in the search results.
The next steps depend on whether your company already has a company profile or not. If you already have a business profile on Google, any new one will be entered as a "duplicate". You really want to avoid that - otherwise you can look forward to a very long conversation with Google support. Trust me, you'd rather be forced to watch an entire season of Paradise Hotel in one sitting than go through that.
If no profile appears when you search for your company name, you can immediately start creating a new one.
Search for "Webamp" on Google. Here you will immediately see a company profile on the right side of the screen if you are using a computer. If you search on your phone, the profile will appear first on the page.
If your business profile is already on Google, try to access it instead of creating a new one. To do this, tap "Do you own this business?" You will then be redirected to a new page where you will be given a bit of information that may indicate who the current owner of your business profile is.
You must now press request access. If it is your own email address, you will immediately receive an email that you can use to gain access. If you do not know the email address, you will be able to claim the company after 3-7 days, during which you will need to reconfirm via. postcard, telephone or e-mail address. I'll get into the confirmation methods in a bit.
Your new company profile isn't worth much if you don't get it verified. In fact, it won't show up in Google's search results at all.
There are several ways to verify your Google Business Profile - but you may not be in control of which method to use. In fact, it's a rare sight that you're given multiple choices.
There are the following ways to confirm a GMB
In some cases, you will need to confirm your ownership of the company profile via a postcard sent to the address you have provided. The postcard will arrive within 14 days. Confirmation by postcard is a good method, although you may have to wait a while for the postcard to arrive at your address. This is often the method to use when setting up a new business profile - although it seems somewhat slow and analogous, given that we are dealing with online marketing.
In other cases, you can confirm the profile via an email sent to the email address you have provided. This is definitely the easiest method and works perfectly most of the time. However, it's not often that you're lucky enough to get this option - but if you do, choose this confirmation method.
You may also find that you can verify your company profile through a phone call. However, past experience shows that this is not the best method, as it is often difficult to hear the first few numbers that are listed. You can certainly try, and possibly choose another option afterwards if it fails.
SMS verification is the last option to be able to verify your company profile. It is a good solution if the phone number you have provided can receive SMS messages.
Having created and verified a number of company profiles over the years, I've gathered some good advice for you to take with you.
More people choose to add a personal phone number that can receive SMS messages if the number that should be on the company profile cannot. This can be quite appealing as it's a quick confirmation method - but for goodness sake, don't. Remember what I wrote about Paradise Hotel earlier?
Once you have confirmed via that phone number, you can't just change it afterwards. Your GMB is as linked to that number as Patrick Swayze is to 'Baby' in Dirty Dancing.
If this happens, after a lengthy email correspondence with the Google support line, you will be asked to reconfirm via postcard - and the number will remain visible until you receive the postcard. In other words, you risk being called on your home number until the error is corrected.
Google cares about security and they don't like it when you don't follow their guidelines. If you submit the same changes over and over again, hoping that Google will accept the change, you're sadly mistaken.
In most cases, this will only result in your company profile being suspended. You will then need to contact Google support again and prove that your business profile complies with all guidelines.
All companies are looking to appear in the wonderful "local 3-pack", and if you work with SEO, you know that those with the most relevance will appear first. Several therefore try to create a business profile with the name of the service they want to rank on.
For example, you have a carpentry business, so you choose to create a GMB and call it "roofing", "extensions" or "total contracting".
It's not a good idea - Google is constantly updating their algorithms and they're getting smarter. If you get caught "cheating" like this, you risk being blacklisted.
Fortunately, if you take some of my advice, you can easily get to the top in an honest way.
If you already focus on SEO on your website, it can add value if you're really sharp when filling in the points above. Most of the points we've elaborated on in our previous blog post about GMB, and those not mentioned we'll get to later in the guide.
Why have a company profile? There are several reasons, and you'll find some of them right here.
The ultimate purpose of a Google My Business is to appear in the famous "local 3-pack". Google selects and displays the 3 most relevant business profiles when you make a search.
Does your company profile appear on one or more keyword combinations? Then potential customers have a great chance of discovering your business.
Webamp is displayed in Google's "local 3-pack", for example, when you search for "seo".
If you want to be visible in your local area, it's essential that you have a Google My Business. Business profiles are one of the first things that pop up when you do a search, and of course your business needs to be listed there.
A 2019 study found that 81% of respondents needed to trust a brand to make a purchase - and that happens through visibility and brand awareness.
Is there anything more important than a good customer experience? Good results are important, of course, but you'll be putting yourself at risk if you don't put the same emphasis on customer satisfaction.
If you have a business profile on Google, your customers can quickly find all relevant information about your company. If you've spent countless hours trying to find a company's opening hours or address, you know how frustrating it can be.
If you want to get the most out of your Google Business Profile, it's important that you remember to give it love. It's not enough to simply update your opening hours every now and then. As mentioned earlier, Google rewards active business profiles - and one of the best ways to keep a GMB active and relevant is through posts.
Google has announced that the listings will enable customers to make better purchasing decisions by having access to more business information and updates.
In addition, the benefits of creating listings include the ability to:
Read more about Google's post on local business listings.
What types of listings can you create on your Google My Business? Well, you have 3 different options. Your listings will both appear at the bottom of your business profile.
You have the option to create the following listings:
The main difference between the general status updates for offers and events is that you need to enter the date on which the offer/event starts and ends. The good thing about this feature is that the listings are automatically removed from your profile once the listing has expired. The general updates will not be removed.
Most people are captivated by images and videos, and that's also the case when we talk about Google My Business listings. Posts with photos and videos of great products or friendly people simply get more views and clicks.
You can read much more about Google's guidelines on image and video uploading here.
Google recommends the following when creating a listing:
Having trouble filling in your company profile? Here are 8 tips for a great Google My Business profile that creates value for you and your current and future customers.
Each month, Google sends you an efficiency report that shows you the number of phone calls, website clicks from the business profile, messages, profile views, searches and the number of people who asked for directions.
You will also see your top 3 search terms - when and by which searches your company profile is typically viewed.
The efficiency report compares the last month with the month before.
If you want to keep up to date on how your company profile is performing during the month, you can also access all the information through "Performance".
Here you will be able to retrieve data from several months and see how many people viewed your business profile through Google Search and Google Maps - and not least whether they used a phone or computer. You can also see all the search terms that have been used to view your business profile.
If you start creating listings, you'll also get a separate "status email" for each listing, so you can see how they're doing.
These are just a few of the questions you'll get when you start the conversation about the synergies between Google My Business and SEO. You can read more about the others below.
A Google My Business is your company's online business card. If set up correctly, it contains all the information about your business that is relevant to users. This includes opening hours, contact information, services and/or products, customer reviews and a direct link to your website.
Your online business profile will appear in more places on Google.
Your profile will be visible:
While there are many reasons to have a Google My Business, the biggest ones are to make your business visible, to create brand awareness in local search results. Every business should have an online business profile.
Most people use their phone to search, and the 3 most relevant company profiles will be displayed - taking up most of the screen. If you already have a focus on SEO, a good GMB can also have a positive impact on your rankings. In the SEO world, Google My Business belongs under off-page SEO.
If you need to sign in to your Google My Business, simply sign in via this page: https://www.google.com/business/. You will need to sign in with the google account that manages the business profile.
After a major update in 2022, in most cases it will only be possible to update your business profile directly on Google. You will be automatically redirected when you log in via the link provided.
I hope my guide helped you understand how Google My Business can add value to your business.
Does it all seem a bit extensive? Don't worry, at Webamp I or one of my talented colleagues are ready to help you. You are more than welcome to contact us by phone at 70 60 50 28, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form.
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.