Google Business Profile – what is it, and does your small business need it? The short answer is – YES! Google Business Profile (GBP) is essential for small businesses to increase their visibility online, interact with customers, and take control of the way their business appears in Google Search and Google Maps.
Best Part? It’s Free!
Setting up GBP (formerly known as Google My Business) is for service based businesses, or businesses with a physical location that customers can visit. If you are an online only product based business, then you are not eligible for Google Business Profiles.
GBP is one of the best ways to increase your reach, especially with local customers. Think of it as a kind of social media profile designed just for local businesses where you can update business information, interact with customers, and display customer reviews. Local SEO is enhanced with a well optimized Google Business Profile – your business will show up on a Google Map if someone is searching for nearby businesses.
A Google Business Profile has other features too! Message directly with customers, post a menu or pricing list, display and respond to reviews, post photos of your business and updates on latest offerings. Customers can even shop directly through your Google Business Profile. Although it sounds comprehensive, it’s not meant to replace your website, but instead think of it as a complement to your site, another way for potential clients to find you.
How do I create a Google Business Profile?
- Head over to the GBP website and sign in with your business Google account (create a free account if you need one first!). Click on Manage Now and click on “Add Your Business to Google”
2. Add your Business Address and Service Area
3. Choose your Business Category – really take the time to review the choices and pick the category that is most relevant to your business. This is crucial for the search terms that people will use to find you on Google
4. Add your Business Details – your website & phone number details so customers can easily reach you.
5. Verify your Business – most businesses do this by having Google send a postcard to their physical address. The postcard has a code on it used to verify your business once received.
What should I add to my Google Business Profile?
This is the fun part! Once your GBP is set up, you can customize and optimize it to truly showcase the best of your business.
- Add a business description. Here’s your chance to use your Brand Voice to communicate to your visitors what your business is really all about. Keep it short & sweet, readable and relevant!
- Add photos and videos. Anything from pics of your storefront, photos of you in action doing what you love, recent events or even peeks of your website. Make sure the photos tell a story about who you are as a brand and let your true brand essence shine through.
- Add your logo. Add your business logo and branding to bring customers into your brand identity even from this first touchpoint.
- Start requesting or collecting reviews. Add a link to your website or include in marketing materials, and if appropriate, ask former customers if they would provide a review based on their past experience with you. Social proof gives you instant credibility and increases customer confidence in your biz!
Nurture your Google Business Profile Over Time
Once you are verified, you are up and running and your business will be easily found on Google. But it’s not a set it and forget it solution! Revisit your profile regularly to add new photos and updates, respond to reviews, or update your business hours. Keeping your GBP up to date and fresh will keep the Google Gods happy too.
Setting up a Google Business Profile is a free, easy, and essential way to increase your local SEO, enhance your online visibility, and increase customer confidence in your small business.
Need help setting up your Google Business Profile or integrating it with your website? I specialize in helping small businesses increase their online reach and have helped many set up and maintain their Google Business Profiles! Click here to inquire and set up a free discovery call.