The Ultimate Guide to Google Business Profiles

GBP (formerly known as Google My Business) is a valuable marketing tool for local small businesses that want to be found online by prospective customers – and who doesn’t want that in this day and age?

Why You Should Claim Your Google Business Profile

Believe it or not, some of the best things in life ARE free, and in the digital landscape for local business owners one of those gifts is a Google Business Profile (GBP).

Before we delve deeper into how to claim and optimise your GBP to attract as much business as possible (which is very easy, by the way), consider why it’s worth doing so:

Put Your Business on the Map

A GBP listing quite literally puts your business on the Google Map. It’s a sure-fire way to be found by users looking for your goods or services in a geographically specific location. It’s the best way to stand out in local Google search results.

Improve Your Business Credibility

A GBP listing – particularly one that is complete and up to date – builds trust with potential customers, who can be assured of your credibility and legitimacy by the reviews, photos and detailed information you share on your profile.

Customer Engagement

A GBP is a great way to engage and interact with your customers by passing on information, sharing reviews and news about your company.

Analytics & Insights

A business with a verified GBP can access associated analytics via a dashboard to find out about their local search performance. You can even download insight reports for different date ranges. You can then leverage these metrics to assist with making informed business decisions.

It’s not bad getting all this digital marketing help without having to pay for it!

Are all Businesses Eligible for a Google Business Profile?

Not all businesses qualify for a GBP. Generally only businesses with a physical location or service area are eligible, so businesses that solely operate online or have restrictions on where they serve customers typically wouldn’t qualify.

That leaves a vast majority of businesses like shops, restaurants, sole traders, pubs, hotels, small manufacturers and service providers of all sorts able to benefit from a GBP.

Google’s Help page on “Business eligibility and ownership guidelines” is the best resource to use if you want to check whether your enterprise is able to have a profile listing.

How to Claim and Verify your Google Business Profile

You may be surprised to hear that your business already has a GBP which is just sitting there, waiting for you to “own” it. If you find you don’t have one, never fear, its easy to create a listing.

The listing won’t become searchable until you claim it, however, so to start making it useful, the first step is to find your profile and get it active.

The easiest way to achieve this is to have Google help you to Add or Claim Your Business Profile on Google. The instructions are clear and self-explanatory, so you shouldn’t have any problems getting your GBP up and running, and if you don’t have one you can follow the instructions for how to add your business through Google Maps.

Once your GBP is claimed it will show up in the search results. For example, if you are an electrician working in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, and someone searches for “electrician near me”, your profile will show up in the list of “Businesses” in the search results, and on a map.

You can increase your chances of having Google select your business profile for a prominent spot in the search results by verifying it. Google will do this via a phone call, text, email, video or postcard through the mail using the contact details you provided.

Once your listing is verified (and this could take up to 7 business days) you’ll be notified.

It could then take a few weeks for your active profile to show up across Google.

Google might ask you to verify your listing again at some stage if you significantly change your business information, but this is an easy process managed through your verified Business Profile.

Optimise Your Google Business Profile

Increase your chances of Google raising your profile to the highest ranking position by making sure it is fleshed out with as much accurate and detailed information as possible.

You get loads of features to work with to showcase your business on a GBP, so make the most of these, and keep everything up to date, especially things like contact details and hours of operation.

Here are some tips for making full use of the GBP opportunity:

  • Take care writing your business description (which is limited to 750 characters). This is an overview of your business and should be clear, concise and to the point, using SEO keywords (without stuffing). Mention the type of business, any USPs, the target location or service area, how long established and any special products or services.
  • Take advantage of the facility for publishing posts (text, photos or videos), which are a great way of promoting events, new products, special offers and the like. Note that phone numbers and links are not allowed, and nor is offensive language.
  • Encourage your customers to leave Google reviews, especially after you’ve had a positive interaction with them. And make sure you respond actively to both positive and negative reviews. Reviews can be a powerful trust signal.
  • Make use of the Q&A section by enabling it, and promptly answer customers’ questions.
    Turn on messaging so customers can contact your business directly through Google – a convenient way for them to make an enquiry or schedule an appointment.
  • Make use of GBP’s analytics to understand how your customers behave and what your demographics are. All the insights you can get enable you to refine your strategy so you can optimise your profile even further.

If you’re running a local business and haven’t yet harnessed the power of your free Google Business Profile, do it today! If you need some help or have any questions about claiming and setting up your GBP get in touch with our experts at Dentons Digital – the five-star rated Google Partner agency based in Wiltshire – and we’ll put your business on the map.

Want to grow your business online?

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Fill in the form below, and one of the Dentons Digital Team will be in touch.

If you would rather, you can ring up for a chat, or drop in for a coffee. We can help and advise you on how to improve your digital presence. There are no catches.

About The Author

Lucille Parker

Lucille Parker

Lucille is Dentons Digital content writer, crafting SEO friendly content for clients’ websites and blogging for the company. She’s been writing for the web for more than 20 years after switching to digital from a career in print journalism.

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