Ranking higher on Google search results is more important than ever. With almost every search happening on Google, building, nurturing and optimizing your Google Business Profile can result in tons of long-lasting, locally-focused, free traffic for your business. 

A recent Birdeye study shows that: 

  • 64% of businesses have verified their Google Business Profiles.
  • A verified Google Business Profile receives about 200 interactions per month.

These strongly demonstrate the importance of having reviews that are easy to find. And without an active Google Business Profile, how would customers write reviews for your business? 

Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) can help you accurately make your case to your clients, showcase the locations you serve, and boost online visibility for your business.

Show up Where Your Customers Search

Want to see the impact of Birdeye on your business? Watch the Free Demo Now.

Chapter 1: Getting started with Google My Business

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

Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use Business Profile for companies to provide business information, attract customers, and rank higher in Google search results. The profile controls how your company appears in Google search and Google Maps results.

The search giant currently has millions of Google My Business accounts across nearly 4,000 business categories. Mastering this Google feature can help businesses reach customers and build a stronger online reputation. 

It is important to note that in 2021, Google rebranded this product and it is now officially called Google Business Profile. However, people still commonly refer to it as Google My Business.

What are the benefits of Google My Business?

Organic marketing is one of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing. If you are wondering what a Google Business listing can do for you, the answer is plenty. You can transform it from a simple business listing to one of the most effective revenue-generating tools for your local business.

Here are some ways having a Google My Business profile can benefit your business.

1. Google searchers want to shop local

More and more people are choosing local businesses over large brands. In fact, a Birdeye survey reveals that 67% of consumers purchase products or services from a local business in a typical week. And they use search engines like Google to decide which local business to go with.

The bottom line: If you want potential customers to find your local business online, the first step is to have a Google My Business account.

2. Get discovered on Google

According to Google experts, 91% of business searches occur on Google. Most of these searches are made by people looking for:

  • The best product
  • The best price
  • Nearby products or services

They turn to Google for social proof in the form of reviews, and they trust the search results to lead them to the products or services they need. Because of this, local businesses must establish a presence and try to outrank their competitors on the platform. A Google My Business profile will help you become visible in those searches and drive growth for your company.

A major benefit of having a Google Business Profile is that it will boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Your Business Profile helps Google’s algorithm understand the type of services your company offers, which translates to a higher search ranking. Higher rankings help your prospects find the information they need about your business in order to become customers.

“Top four local ranking factors are – accuracy in business information, data visibility, availability of local-intent content, and Google Business Profile optimization."
- Steve Wiideman, Wiideman Consulting
Invictus auto group google reviews

3. Ensure NAP (Name, Address, Place) consistency

Ensuring potential customers see accurate and consistent business information (especially for NAP) is vital to building trust. When they run an online search, they might come across multiple listings across various websites, including the Google Knowledge panel for your business. 

However, most customers hold Google as their primary source of truth. 

Example of a free Google knowledge panel.

Therefore, having an updated and accurate Google Business Profile ensures that the Google knowledge panel shows up first and provides all the necessary information to your potential customers. 

Other industry-specific listing sites also create profiles for your business based on online information. An updated Google Business Profile ensures that the correct information is shared globally and strengthens your online reputation. 

Pro tip: Updating business information across various platforms can be tedious. Tools like Birdeye make it easy to update all of your listings from a centralized dashboard — so no information falls through the cracks and all of your listings are up-to-date and accurate. 

4. Allow prospective customers to book appointments from Google Search

Customers searching on Google for service providers have a high purchase intent—they want to do business with you. And you can help them close the loop on booking transactions right from your Google Business Profile. 

By integrating appointment booking solutions with your Google My Business account, you can avoid waiting around for your customers to call and let them confirm appointments directly from the search results page. This increases customer convenience — they don’t have to switch to another platform (your business website) or call your store/office. This especially comes in handy for healthcare, legal, and restaurant businesses where customers need to book appointments quickly with ease. 

As a business, allowing people the option to book appointments right from the Google Business Profile means reducing the lead time between considering and booking. If customer find everything they want in your profile (like business hours, contact information and appointment booking facility), they’re far more likely to book a service instead of continuing their search. Having that influence on prospective customers and reducing friction in the overall sales process is great for your bottom line.

5. Promote products and events via posts

Do you have a new product launch or a sale coming up? Updating this information on your Google My Business account can help you promote this to everyone who does local searches every day. 

You can create content, post updates, share images, answer FAQs, create events, and so much more with your audience with just a click. 

Google displays these prominently under the Updates section and “From the Owner” sections. You can generate a lot of views for your content by promoting them via Google Posts. 

Adding promotional content for your business in your Google My Business account also ensures that they get picked under the Google Shopping tab and generate views.

6. Gain credibility with reviews 

An active Google My Business account makes it easy for your business to generate and respond to customer reviews, as well as handle review management effectively. When a business consistently generates reviews and responds to them promptly, it shows customers that they care about the feedback and their online reputation. Customers are more likely to trust such businesses over businesses without any social proof on the internet.

Tips to use your Google Profile for SEO

Google reviews help your SEO

It’s not just customers who value reviews. Google’s search engine algorithm values them, too. Hundreds of great reviews show that your company provides great services and Google aims to provide the best results for every user search. Lots of glowing reviews mean you have a better chance of ranking high for relevant search terms. This is especially important for local SEO where reviews can boost your credibility and convince people to choose your business over the other businesses in the search results. 

For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to Google reviews.

Post regularly on Google My Business

Google cares about user experience and constantly looks for signals to see how people interact with a business via link clicks, bounce rates, and time spent on a website. 

By posting regularly on Google My Business, you can improve the exposure rate for your content, increase website traffic, and get more link clicks on your content. This, in turn, improves your authority in Google and boosts your SEO efforts.

Chapter 2: Create or claim your Google My Business Profile

How to claim your existing unverified Google listing

As we mentioned earlier, many businesses have a Google My Business but fail to claim it. Claiming your Google Business Profile is crucial because it allows you to control and manage the information that appears about your business on Google.

So before you consider creating a fresh account for your company, check to see if the profile already exists. If it does, then claim it. 

You can claim your Google My Business account by accessing it via the Search page or on Google Maps. We’ll walk you through how to do it both ways.

How to claim your Google Business Profile from Google (step-by-step process)

  1. Go to Google and search for your business name with the location — “Example: Starbucks California Garden Square.”
  2. Scroll down to see the Google knowledge panel and click on “Own this Business?”. 
  3. A screen offering to help you “Manage the business” appears.
  4. Verify the business (steps in the next section) to claim the Google My Business account.
Process of claiming your Google Business Profile from Google search

How to claim your Google Business Profile from Google Maps (step-by-step process)

You can also claim your Google Business Profile via Google Maps. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Open Google Maps and type your business name with the location in the search bar.
  2. Click the button that says ‘Own this business?’
  3. If the listing hasn’t been claimed, you can click the button that says “Manage Now.”
  4. Once your profile is claimed, Google will ask you to verify your business before proceeding.
Process of claiming your Google Business Profile from Google Maps

How to verify your Google Business Profile

The last step in claiming your existing Google My Business account is to verify your business on Google. To do so:

  1. Click the “Get Verified” option in the Google My Business dashboard. 
  2. Select your desired verification method. You can receive verification codes via text, email, video, or phone. Keep in mind that some listings require multiple verification processes. 
  3. Complete the process per the instructions on the screen. 
  4. Wait for Google to verify your credentials and hand over the Profile to you. This can take a few days to a couple of weeks.

According to our latest study, a verified Google Business Profile sees an average of 200 monthly interactions. 48% of those turn out to be website clicks, significantly improving the conversion rate for your business.

For detailed information on verification, check Birdeye’s detailed blog article on verifying your business on Google.

Verification notice on Google Business Profile dashboard
Google Business Profile Dashboard

How to request access to a GMB account managed by someone else

What if the Google My Business account for your company already exists but is managed by someone else? This happens if an ex-employee or consultant holds the credentials for your account. It’s also possible that a new party has taken over the business and the previous owner hasn’t shared the Google Business Profile credentials. 

According to Google, there are two ways to handle this dispute:

1. The current owner or the employer can reach out to the person who holds the credentials and ask them to hand over ownership.

How to request access to Google Business Profile managed by someone else

2. File a dispute claim with Google and wait for a resolution. Once you’ve filed an access request with Google, the current Profile owner has three days to respond. If they don’t, your request will be accepted and you will get a notification enabling you to manage the listing. If the request is denied, you can contact Google to submit an edit to the profile or appeal the decision.

Request access to an existing google my business profile.

Request access to Google Business Profile using the Create page on Google

You can also request access to your Google Business Profile via the Create page on Google. To do this: 

  1. Go to the Google Create page
  2. Type your business name on the first page. If there is an existing listing, it will show up here. 
  3. Select the listing from the dropdown. 
  4. You will see a page that informs you that someone else is managing the listing. Click on “Request Access.” 
  5. On the next page, add your details and submit the request.

How to set up your Google Business Profile from scratch

If your Google Business Profile doesn’t exist, you may have to create it from scratch. 

In such cases, you have two options. You can add your business on Google via:

  • Google Maps
  • Google Create page 

We’ll walk you through how to do it both ways below. 

How to set up your Google Business Profile via Google Maps

  1. Open Google Maps on your mobile device. 
  2. Choose the location of your business on the map.
  3. Right-click and then click on “Add your business.”
  4. Follow the instructions to complete adding your business.
How to set up your Google Business Profile via Google Maps

How to set up your Google Business Profile via the Create page

How to set up Google Business Profile from scratch
  1. Sign into your Google account and go to the Create page.
  2. Click “Add your business on Google.”
  3. Enter your business name and the business category.
  4. Click “Next” and choose whether you want to enter your store’s location.
    • If you choose yes, add your location details.
  5. Click “Next” and add the service area of your business. 
  6. Click “Next” and enter your website URL and phone number.
  7. Click “Finish” after all the information is filled. 
  8. Proceed with verifying the listing based on the verification code options available.

Chapter 3: Optimizing your Google Business Profile

Google My Business Profile Mobile View

Why is it important to optimize your Google Business Profile?

Optimizing your Google Business Profile ensures that:

  • Your profile shows up for the right keywords and your business is discovered by your target audience. 
  • Your potential customers are able to locate all relevant information about your business easily from your profile.
  • You can increase brand awareness organically. 
  • Your sales team is able to convert leads faster by leveraging the trustworthiness the Business Profile creates.

Leverage BirdAI to generate SEO-friendly business descriptions

The description of your Google Business Profile plays a vital role in your local SEO ranking. It also helps convince customers to choose you over your competitors and work with you. 

However, getting it exactly right can be a challenge. This is where Birdeye’s AI-powered listing management comes into play. 

With Birdeye Listings, you can generate SEO-friendly and attractive business descriptions with a click of a button. 

Boost your business’s online presence and connect with more customers using our AI-generated descriptions, specifically designed to align with Google’s search algorithm.

Image shows how Birdeye can help businesses generate SEO-friendly business descriptions

How to optimize your Google Business Profile: 10 best practices

Optimizing your Google business listing includes updating branding material in the profile picture and cover photo section, publishing news articles, and maintaining consistency with all other listings. 

To modify, edit or optimize your Google My Business listing, you can start with a quick Google search.

If you’re already signed in to your business google account, you will see the Google My Business dashboard right above the search results. 

The ultimate Google Business Profile checklist for Google My Business success

Here are a few optimizations that can boost the performance of your Google Business Profile. 

1. Edit and update business information

Your Google My Business account is your digital storefront. Potential customers will base their first impressions on this profile. To make the most of your efforts, make sure your Business Profile stays up-to-date at all times. It is very important to keep your name, address, and phone number up-to-date for customers to find you. 

Whenever you switch business hours, delivery options, phone numbers, or product offerings, remember to update your Profile simultaneously.

How to edit business information from Google Business Profile dashboard

To edit business information on your Google My Business account:

  1. Sign in to your Google account linked to the business and click on “Business Profiles” from the App launcher icon.
  2. A screen pops up with five tabs: About, Contact, Location, Hours, and More.
  3. Based on what you wish to update, choose the appropriate tab. 
  4. If you’re editing basic business information, choose the “About” tab and enter all necessary information in detail. You can edit business name, category, and business description within this section.
  5. To edit phone number, website URL, and business short name, choose the Contact tab and make the edits.
  6. If the location of your business is inaccurate, you can edit that in the Location section along with the service areas.
  7. Edit business hours, holidays, and related details in the Hours section.
  8. The more section allows you to add details on amenities, dining, payment, and service options so that customers can make an informed decision. The more details you have, the higher your chances of lead conversion are.

2. Add photos and videos to your Business Profile

We strongly recommend adding photos to your Google My Business account. Use professional business photos that show products, services, store layouts, interior shots, exterior shots, and so on. These can clarify customer queries and motivate people to choose you over your competitors.

According to Google, companies with photos get 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to their website than companies with no photos. 

Google recommends having three relevant business photos for each of the following categories:

  • Exterior photos
  • Interior photos
  • Product photos
  • Photos at work
  • Food & drink photos
  • Common areas
  • Rooms
  • Team photos

You can also add video to your Business Profile on Google. While people don’t often take the time to read a lengthy article (you are the exception), they’re more than happy to watch a quick video. It can be a great way to show off your brand’s personality through video. 

To add photos:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account. 
  2. Choose Add photos from the Google My Business dashboard. 
  3. Choose the type of photo you wish to upload: Choose Photo option to add photo posts, event updates, product photos, and more. Logo and cover photo options allow you to upload your branding material to your Google My Business account. 
Google Business Profile dashboard
How to add photos from Google Business Profile dashboard

Here are Google’s recommendations for adding Google My Business photos and videos to your Google My Business account. You can use free tools to edit the photos and videos to make them compliant to these standards. 

Google My Business photo recommendations: 

  • Format: Either JPEG or PNG.
  • Image size: Between 10KB and 5MB.
  • Recommend profile photo size: 720 x720 pixels (minimum 250 x 250; maximum 5,300 x 5,300).
  • Recommended cover photo size: 1,080 x 608 pixels (minimum 480 x 270; maximum 2,120 x 1,192).
  • Quality: Google says that photos on your profile “should represent reality.” That means it is better not to use filters or alter images while uploading.

Google My Business video guidelines

  • Length: Up to 30 seconds long
  • Resolution: At least 720p
  • Video size: 100 MB or lower.

3. Update the list of services you provide

People usually look for specific service providers on Google. Having an exhaustive list of services on your Profile can help you show up for relevant Searches and improve your click-through rate to your website as well. 

Use Google’s service editor to add or edit services on your profile. 

Edit service option on Google Business Profile dashboard
Service list available for Google Business Profile

You can choose relevant services from the dropdown or add your own if the service isn’t available.

4. Add detailed information about the products you offer

Google’s Product editor and Product catalog options are available for small and medium-sized businesses. You can showcase your products via the Product tab on your Google Business Profile. 

To make sure people can navigate easily, include detailed descriptions, use cases, and other information about the products in the “business description” section. 

How to add products from Google Business Profile dashboard

5. Leverage Google posts

Google offers many solutions for businesses to interact with customers and keep them updated on latest happenings. Businesses can use Google posts to:

  • Post information on past, current or upcoming events.
  • Promote discounts and special offers that are available for a limited time.

This is a great way for businesses to reach out to their customers and entice them to take action. 

To create Google posts:

  1. Sign in to your Google Business account.
  2. Select the option “Add update” from your business dashboard.
  3. Choose the update type from the next screen and proceed. 
How to add update from Google Business Profile dashboard
Update options available on Google Business Profile

6. Answer questions in the Q&A section

If a customer has a question about your company, they have the option to ask a question on your Google Business listing. These questions can be answered by a representative within the company or answered by the public.

Q&A section on Google Business Profile

We recommend that business owners stay on top of questions in your Business Profile. Otherwise, it’s possible that people will get misleading or incorrect answers to their questions, which can have an impact on your reputation. 

If you feel someone is abusing your Q&A section and spreading false information about your company, you can flag the question and report it to Google.

To answer questions from your Google My Business account:

  1. Sign in to your Google account linked to the business. 
  2. Go to your business profile by clicking on the nine dots or app launcher icon on the right. 
  3. Click on the “Q&A” option on the Google My Business dashboard.
  4. The questions appear on the screen along with any answers people may have submitted. You can then add answers from this screen and clarify any doubts customers have. 
How to edit Q&A from Google Business Profile dashboard

7. Request and respond to reviews

Google reviews boost the visibility and authority of your Google Business Profile. You can generate review requests for your customers right from the Google My Business dashboard by using the following steps: 

  1. Sign in to your Google account linked to the business and search for your business profile.
  2. Your business dashboard will open. 
  3. Click on the “Get more reviews” option on the dashboard. 
  4. Copy the URL that shows up.
  5. Send this link to customers with a message asking them to review you on Google.
Process to request reviews from Google Business Profile dashboard

Once your Google reviews start trickling in, you can also respond right from the dashboard. It is important that your business responds quickly, professionally, and concisely to every review. It shows customers that you care and signals to Google that this is an active business profile. 

To respond to Google reviews:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account. 
  2. Click on the Read Reviews tab on the dashboard.
  3. You will be able to see all reviews here and can respond to them directly. 
  4. You can also see the “X new reviews” section in the second part of the dashboard and respond to the ones that came in recently.
How to read reviews from Google Business Profile dashboard

8. Respond to messages from your Google Profile

The chat option within the Google Business Profile account enabled businesses to interact with potential customers. This feature allowed them to answer queries, promote products, and track messages directly from the dashboard. 

Important update: As of July 31, 2024, the chat and call history features in Google Business Profile are no longer available. Google announced the changes saying that customers would still be able to find and contact businesses via Google Search and Maps. For more information about these changes, read our detailed blog post.

9. Set up and manage bookings

If you are a business that books appointments, you can greatly benefit from the “Reserve with Google” feature available via your Google Business Profile. Google allows businesses in the service industry to book appointments directly from their Business Profile. 

How to manage bookings from Google Business Profile dashboard

Google has made this feature available to local businesses in select industries in the United States. With the “Reserve with Google” feature, restaurants, beauty salons, automotive businesses, home service companies, massage centers, gyms, fitness centers, and training centers can offer their customers the ability to request appointments with them easily. 

Your customers can now discover, evaluate your business, and instantly book time to avail of a service right from your Google Business Profile. This makes sure that businesses can instantly convert search users into leads and customers, significantly boosting their revenue from this channel. 

With the booking request feature, local businesses can capitalize on the lead-generating capabilities of this powerful marketing channel. 

Businesses can currently avail this from trusted Google partners like Birdeye.

With Birdeye Appointments, businesses can:

  • Add a “Book online” button to their Google Business Profile to collect booking requests from customers
  • Manage all appointment requests, reminders, and related conversations from a unified inbox
  • Send reminders to customers and avoid no-shows
  • Get instant updates on appointment requests on the web and mobile applications
  • Scale appointments for their business with a custom widget for their website 

10. View insights from your Google My Business profile

Understanding how customers interact with your business profile is crucial for enhancing your online presence. By accessing insights from your Google Business Profile, you can gain valuable data to inform your marketing and operational decisions.

How to access insights

To view insights about your profile, sign into your Google Business Profile and navigate to the “Insights” section. This area provides a dashboard where you can explore various metrics, including: 

  • Searches: Discover the search terms people use to find your business. This helps you understand what your customers are looking for and how well your profile matches these queries.
  • Customer actions: Insights reveal customer actions taken on your listing, including metrics like:
    • Website clicks
    • Direction requests
    • Phone calls
    • Messages
    • Bookings
  • Views: The dashboard shows how many people saw your business listing on Google Maps and Search. This metric is split into “Direct” (searching directly for your business name or address) and “Discovery” searches (finding your business through related categories, products, or services).

Frequently asked questions about Google My Business

How to get my business on Google?

To get your business on Google, you must create a Google My Business account. You can add your business on Google or claim an existing Business Profile and then add details so customers can find you easily online. 

Is Google My Business free? 

Yes, a Google My Business account is free. All you need is a Google account to create a Business Profile. 

Why is my business not showing up on google? 

If you haven’t completed the verification process for your Google Business Profile, your business will not show up on Google. 

Can I change my Google business name? 

Yes, you can change your business name on Google by using the Edit option on your Google My Business account if you are the business owner or manager of the listing. Make sure that you complete the verification process once the name change is complete so that the new name will appear on Google. 

How to make my business show up on Google search?

To improve the visibility of your business in Google SERP(search engine result page), make sure all information listed in the Google My Business account is accurate, updated, and the Profile has a steady flow of customer reviews. 

How do I log into my Google Business account? 

To login to your Google business account, simply go to Google.com and sign in to the Google account linked to your business. Then you can either type your business name in the Google search bar or click on the App Launcher icon (9 dot square) and select Business Profile from the drop down. 

How to add keywords to google my business?

You can add keywords to your Google My Business account via:
Service categories 
Business description
Google Posts 
Google Products listing 
Q&A section 
The GMB website 
Business category

How to add a second location to Google My Business?

You can add multiple locations to your Google My Business account by creating a business group in the Google Business Profile Manager. Once you’ve done that, you can add another location in the existing group and manage them from the same Google My Business account. 

How to hide the address on Google My Business?

Go to your Google My Business account and choose the Edit profile section. Next, move to the Location tab and toggle the “Show business address to customers” option to off. Now your business address is hidden from customers. 

How to promote my business on Google for free?

To promote your business on Google for free, start by asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile. This boosts your reach on the platform. You can also publish updates via Google Posts and promote events, discount offers, and new product launches for free on Google. 

How to remove my business from Google?

You can remove your business from Google by logging into your Google My Business account and choosing Business Profile settings. Click on the “Remove Business Profile” and choose “Remove profile content and managers.”
Beware that all current information will be deleted and this cannot be undone.

How to transfer ownership of a Google My Business account?

To transfer ownership of your Google My Business account, go to your Business Profile and then select “Business Profile settings.” Click on “Add Managers” and enter details of the person you wish to transfer ownership to for your business account. Select the user’s role as primary owner. The ownership is now transferred. 

How to fix suspended Google My Business?

Login to your Google My Business account and edit the Profile to ensure it follows Google guidelines. Apply for reinstatement using this form. You can appeal if your reinstatement request gets denied, it usually takes 2 weeks for Google to respond.

What are the verification options for businesses with 10 or more locations?

Businesses with 10+ locations must upload a spreadsheet with details on locations within the same profile and send a bulk verification request. They must submit a form and wait for Google to respond via email on the verification status.

How do I access my Google business page?

Login to your Gmail account with the email address linked to the business.
Click on the App launcher icon on the right hand side top corner.
Click on “Business Profiles.”
Your Google My Business Dashboard will appear.

What is Google shopping?

Google shopping is a feature from the platform that allows customers to discover products across all brands. The products listed in your Google Business Profile are featured here based on the keywords added in the title and description. 

Get the most from your Google My Business account with Birdeye

Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business account is an important first step in the digital marketing process. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. 

Birdeye offers a suite of integrated solutions to help you manage and optimize your Google My Business profile.

When we look at the larger Google ecosystem it can be quite difficult for individual businesses to navigate that entire ecosystem. And I think that’s why Birdeye plays such an important role in the middle. So it’s definitely one of the most integrated partners we have.

Uday Ghatikar, Field CTO and Google Cloud

Thousands of companies like yours use Birdeye to: 

  • Streamline customer communication: Birdeye Messaging enables real-time communication directly through your Google Business Profile. Customers can message your business with questions and get prompt support without leaving the platform. 
  • Schedule appointments via GMB: Birdeye’s appointment scheduling software integrates booking functionality into your profile. Customers can schedule appointments at their convenience, driving higher conversion rates and revenue.
  • Manage listings with ease: Birdeye Listings automatically syncs your business information across platforms to maintain accuracy and consistency. Correct Google My Business details improve local SEO and help customers easily find updated hours, contact info, and more.
  • Collect and manage Google reviews: Birdeye’s review management tool helps you collect and manage Google reviews from one convenient dashboard for efficient moderation and response. This aids reputation management and gives customers valuable social proof. 
  • Analyze insights: Birdeye Analytics analyzes your Google Business data and reviews to reveal customer sentiment patterns around service, products, and operations. The insights empower data-driven decisions to boost loyalty and experience.

Watch a demo today to learn how Birdeye can help your company boost its Google Business Profile and drive growth.