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What is Google Business Profile?
Google refers to Google Business Profile (which used to be called Google My Business) as "your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps."
It allows you to post photos and offers to your business profile to show customers what makes you unique. It also provides your contact details, so people know how to reach you and your opening hours.
It can also show any Google reviews customers leave about their experience with your business.
When people search for a business by its exact name on Google, it will show up on the first page if they have a Google Business Profile.
The benefits of using it
Having Google Business Profile is exceptionally invaluable for bringing awareness online of your business to local customers. In some cases, having a Google Business Profile listing will help you show where it counts locally over other search results that are not local to the user searching.
Let's elaborate on that.
Google uses local packs, which you may have noticed when searching for goods or services. They list a few select businesses that are local to your area. And they generally show up just after paid ads at the top and right before the rest of the search results on page one.
Google gets these businesses in their local pack from, yup, you guessed it, Google Business Profile.
Let's put this into practice. Suppose a user is looking for Pizza. They happen to live in Joondalup. In this example, Google will show towards the top of the search results a local pack containing what it deems are a few of the most relevant pizza stores in Joondalup that have a Google Business Profile.
So, for this reason, you can see why having a Google Business Profile can be extremely useful if you have a LOCAL business accessible to a portion of the population in your business area.
Is Google Business Profile free to use?
Yes, Google does not charge for you to use Google Business Profile, even more of a reason you should get one if you don't already as a business owner.
How to set up a Google Business Profile page
We'll go through this in steps.
Step 1 - Go to the 'Google Business Profile create page'
You can visit their website here. From there, search to see if you already have a Google Business Profile listing in case you set one up in the past and could not remember.
If you don't find a pre-existing listing, you can then either click on the pop up box or click the link below that which says 'Add your business to Google'
Step 2 - Filling out your business information
This is where you will need to enter your business name and your business category. Use your real business name and don't jam-pack it with keywords; otherwise, Google will suspend your listing.
Step 3 - Specify your location
If you have a physical location where customers can come to you (eg, an office or shop), you can add your address, or if you don't have a place customers can visit, you can list what areas you serve (with the option of adding more than one area if, for example, you serve multiple suburbs).
Step 4 - Fill out your contact details
Next, fill out your contact details, such as your phone number and website address. If you don't have a website, you can check the checkbox that says 'I don't have a website' (but if you don't have a website, contact us for a quote!).
Step 5 - Entering a postal address
This address won't be shown to the general public but will be used to verify your business is real.
After this, Google will ask you for additional information such as your business opening hours, a description of your business, and an opportunity to add any photos to your Google Business Profile listing.
Google may also prompt you along the way with the offer to advertise your business using Google ads, at this point however you can skip that as it is not required in order for you to create a Google Business Profile listing.
Step 6 - Verification
Eventually, you'll reach your Google Business Profile. Depending on what information you entered, the type and nature of the business, you may be asked to verify your business.
Verifying by postcard
They may post you a postcard. If you stated you don't have an address customers can come to, Google would most likely use the address they asked you to fill out earlier that isn't made available to the general public. This is so that they can verify real businesses with real people (as opposed to someone creating fake business profiles with false address details).
While you're waiting to have the postcard sent, don't change your information while you're waiting for it to arrive, or you'll likely have to restart the process over again.
When you get this postcard, it will have a code you'll need to enter, and this will then verify your business as real, and the business listing will become live.
Verifying by phone or email
Google may, in some cases, allow a business with a service-area-business to verify their business by phone or email.
Verifying by google search console
Businesses with a service-area business model may also possibly verify their Google Business Profile listing using the google search console. As google search console is a whole topic in itself, we won't be covering this option in detail in this blog.
How to claim a Google maps listing
Sometimes a business is already listed on Google maps. If you find this, and you haven't yet set up a Google Business Profile listing, you'll be able to claim this Google map business listing by following the steps below:
- Open Google maps and search for your correct business name at the location in question
- Click the business name when you find it
- Look for the link that says 'Claim this business' and click it; that'll give you the option to manage the business
- You'll then need to verify the listing location is yours by having a postcard sent by Google to that business location
How to claim a Google Business Profile page that already exists
If there already exists a Google Business Profile, you've either set up one in the past or someone else has.
Follow these steps if you need to reclaim your Google Business Profile from someone else:
- Go to Google Business Profile's creation page and search for your business
- Click the 'Request access' button - note it will show a partial hint as to what the email address is; if it's not yours or you don't recognise it, you'll want to use the request access button
- Google will then ask you to fill out some information which it will then share with the current owner of the Google Business Profile
- Wait - You should expect to get a response from Google in seven days; if you have been denied access, you'll have an opportunity to verify your association with the business again to gain access
By mastering your own Google Business Profile, you'll improve your online presence and your SEO, not to mention giving your customers another way to reach your website and get in touch with your business.
And if you're hesitant about getting a Google Business Profile, look at it this way: If your competitors have a Google Business Profile, they'll have one practical step ahead of you, so you may as well embrace being as digitally visible as possible.