Google Business Profile, how to optimize & manage your profile

Jody Mayers

20 min read Last Updated Jun 29, 2022

Your Google My Business profile is key to both getting discovered in search results and getting chosen by potential customers. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can create a Google Business Profile that attracts attention and optimize it for the best results.

Google Reviews

Chapter 1: Getting started with Google My Business

New to Google My Business? Here’s what you need to know to get started with a new profile.

Google My Business vs. Google +

There is some confusion between Google My Business and Google+. Let’s go through the difference between the two.

Google My Business:
Google My Business controls how your business appears in Google search and Google Maps results. Your Google My Business profile is not related to the discontinued Google+ in any way.

Google+ was Google’s social media network that launched back in 2012. Just like Facebook, Google+ had personal and business profiles. However, the platform shut down due to low user engagement. As of 2019, Google+ is no longer available.

Google My Business SEO benefits

Google My Business helps your prospects see the information they need to actually become customers. But that isn’t the only benefit. Google My Business also helps your business rank higher in search results.

Google My Business helps Google’s algorithm understand the services that your business offers. That translates to a higher search ranking. According to the marketing website Moz, Google My Business is the #1 factor determining your local search ranking. That means without a Google My Business profile, it’s going to be really difficult for your business to rank higher than the competition.

Despite all of the benefits of Google My Business, businesses have not been taking advantage of the service. Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business profile. This means that the majority of businesses are making it unnecessarily more difficult for customers to find the information they need to pay them a visit.

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How to claim or create a Google Business Profile listing

Most existing businesses will already have a Google My Business page, but if you’re starting a new business, you might need to create a Google my business profile from scratch. Let’s talk about how you can do both.

How to claim an existing Google My Business profile

Here’s how you can claim an existing Google My Business profile.

Step 1 Find your business on Google Maps. Typing in your business’s name and the city you’re located in usually does the trick.

Step 2 Click the button that says ‘Own this business?’

Red square box indicates own this business?

Step 3 If the listing has already been claimed by someone else, you’ll see this screen. Maybe someone else in your company has already claimed it earlier. You have the option to either request access from the owner, or if you don’t know who the owner is, to appeal to Google.

Business listing has already been claimed

Step 4 If the listing hasn’t been claimed, you’ll see this screen. Click the button that says “Manage Now”.

Manage your business on Google My Business

Step 5 Once your profile is claimed, Google will send you a PIN to verify that you are actually the owner of the business. Most business owners choose to receive the PIN by postcard, which takes a few days depending on location. Email and phone verification are also available for select businesses.

How to create a new Google Business Profile

Here’s how you can create a new Google My Business profile from scratch.

Step 1 Go to Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business).

Step 2 Visit Google Business Profile and click the button “Manage now”.

Step 3 Enter the name of your business.

Step 4 Type your business name, if you are unable to find your business name you will be able to add your business to Google manually.

Find and manage your business name

Step 5 Start building your business profile by adding your business name and the category in the drop-down menu that best describes your business.

Select a business name and business category to start building your business profile

Step 6 If your business has a physical location such as a retail store you will add the location. If you have a business without a physical location such as a plumbing business or HVAC company you will check the “no” box.

Add your location on Google Business Profile Manager

Step 7 Add the address of your location.

Select region where business is based

Step 8 If Google detects your Business Profile has been created, this prompt will ask you to verify. Check the box of your business to improve your profile.

Check is this your business?

Step 9 Drag and zoom with pinpoint accuracy using the + and – buttons at the bottom right of the window to zoom in and out to the exact spot where your business is located.

Drag and zoom the google maps marker position on exact spot where your business is located

Step 10 If your business delivers to customers you can let them know where you are willing to go using this step.

Deliveries and office visits

Step 11 Add your contact information, website, or both to your Google Business Profile.

Add contact information including contact phone number and current website URL

Step 12 Choose a way for Google to verify your business. The traditional method is by receiving a postcard in the mail with a verification code you will have to enter once it’s delivered. Make sure you add a contact name to your verification so the postcard is delivered directly to you. Most postcards arrive within 14 days. To avoid delays do not request a new code or edit your business name, address, or category.

add contact name to verify business

Step 13 Next, you will need to add your business hours. If this changes you will be able to edit your hours in your profile once it’s verified and your profile has been created.

Add Business Hours

Step 14 Next, you’ll be able to add the option of allowing your customers to message your business on Google for free. Simple toggle back or forth depending on your preference for this feature.

Blue right tick says accept messages

Step 15 In this section you will be able to add a description of your business within 750 characters. This description will help your customers better understand what your business is about, so take your time with this section to write a description with relevant details, a history of how your business was created, or even your mission statement.

Add Business Description

Step 16 A picture is worth a thousand words so try not to skip this step. This is your chance to showcase your products, your business location, or events.

Add Photos of your business

Step 17 Once your Google Business Profile has been verified you’ll be able to make updates and edits at any time. Regular updates help ensure Google can share the most accurate information about your business with your potential customers.

Google Business Profile Verification

Google Business Profile for multi-location businesses

If you’re running a business with multiple locations, consider creating a location group. This will allow you to easily manage all of your different locations. Here’s how you can get started.

Step 1 Sign in to your Google My Business account.

Step 2 Click “Manage locations”.

Step 3 Then, click “Create location group”.

create location group and verify

Step 4 Enter the name of your new location group.

Step 5 Click ‘Create’.

Chapter 2: Managing your Google My Business profile

Now that you’ve created your Google My Business profile, let’s talk about how you can manage
it for better results.

Google My Business Profile Mobile View

How to edit your Google Business Profile

If your business goes through a change in operations, like moving locations or getting a new phone number, you should update the information in your Google My Business profile in order to prevent any potential confusion. Here’s how you can edit your information.

Step 1 Sign in to your Google My Business Profile.

Step 2 Click “Info” in the menu.

Birdeye Google Business profile

Step 3 Here, you’ll be able to change information like address and hours of operation.

If your changes aren’t visible right away, don’t worry. In rare cases, it can take a couple of weeks for the changes to actually show up on your Google My Business Profile.

Google Business Profile insights

Google Business Profile insights help you understand how customers are interacting with your profile. Here’s what you can see in Google My Business insights.

  • Search queries- See the exact search terms that customers are typing in to find your business. Consider adding commonly-used search terms to your Google My Business description to help with SEO.
  • Where customers view your business on Google- Google Business Profile shows detailed analytics about what Google services customers use to find your business, primarily your listing in Google’s search engine vs. Google Maps.
  • Customer actions- This section shows the most common actions that customers take on your listing like visiting your website, requesting directions or calling you.
  • Direction requests- Customers can request directions to your business from your Google My Business listing. Google Business Profile shows you what ZIP codes these requests are coming from. This allows you to target your advertising accordingly.
  • Phone calls- Want to know which hours your customers are calling you the most? Google My Business shows what time customers are calling the number on your Google Business Profile.
  • Photo insights- Not sure if anyone’s actually viewing the photos that you or your customers post on Google Business Profile ? There is a way to check. Google shows you how many views the photos posted on your profile have.
  • Want to know more? Check out this article on Google My Business insights.

Google Business Profile photo guidelines

We heavily recommend putting photos on your Google Business Profile. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a great high-definition photo showing off business services, including interior and exterior shots, can motivate customers to come to your business.

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

Here are Google’s requirements for a Google Business Profile photo.

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 no using filters or altering images in order to present an image different than what your business actually is.

What kinds of photos can you add to your Google My Business profile?

Google My Business supports different types of photos. Let’s go through them.

•    Logos: This helps customers immediately recognize your brand on Google.

•    Cover photos: Uploading a cover photo tells Google that this is your preferred first image that you want to show to your customers. However, setting a cover photo does not guarantee that it will be displayed in this first position.

•    Other photos: These photos are meant to help potential customers recognize all of your unique products, services, and business locations.

Google recommends that businesses have three of each one of these different photo categories, provided that they are relevant to your services.

  • Exterior photos
  • Iterior photos
  • Product photos
  • Photos at work
  • Food & drink photos
  • Common areas
  • Rooms
  • Team photos
Google My Business supports different types of photos

Google My Business video guidelines

As time goes on, more and more Internet users are turning to video. While people often don’t want to take the effort to read a lengthy article (you are the exception), they’re more than happy to watch a video. It can be a great way to show off your brand’s personality. Here are Google’s recommendations for a Google My Business video.

Length: Up to 30 seconds long

Resolution: At least 720p

Video size: 100 MB or lower

How to track your traffic from Google My Business

Want to know how many website visitors are coming to you through Google My Business? Here’s how you can figure it out.

Consider using a UTM parameter. A UTM parameter is meant to help you understand where your website traffic is coming from if you use Google Analytics. Add the following parameters to your business link on the Google My Business dashboard: ?utm_source=google_my_business

Once you do this, you’ll be able to identify how much traffic came from Google My Business within your Google Analytics dashboard.

Google Business Profile reviews

There’s one other important piece of information on your Google Business Profile: your Google reviews. These can help your business in two ways.

Google reviews help build credibility

When trying out a new business, every customer has a fear that the experience they’re going to get might not live up to their expectations. Social proof can help a worried customer get past their fears. If 500 people tell them a business is great, chances are the business is serious about providing fantastic customer experience. If 500 Google reviews give a business 5 stars, the customer will get the same impression.

Google reviews help your SEO

It’s not just customers who value reviews. Google’s search engine algorithm also values reviews for the same reason. Hundreds of great reviews show that your business 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.

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

Dani park and michelle lynn share 5 star positive google reviews

Google Business Profile posts

Google Business Profile gives businesses the ability to make posts and promote products, offers, events and sales. Here are four types of Google My Business posts.

Birdeye Google My Business Profile Manager Overview

COVID-19 – Provide an update about changes related to COVID-19, which can include: Hours of operation and temporary closures.

What’s New- This is a place for you to share general business updates, news about your company, content, new team additions etc..

Events- Got an event coming up? Virtual or in real life? You have the opportunity to add your event to your Google My Business profile with all the details.

Offers- Promote upcoming sales, discounts and promotions. If you wish, you can make a discount solely for Google Business Profile.

What’s New, Events, and Offers posts are temporary and will only be on your profile for 7 days.

How to generate leads through Google My Business

Want to allow your businesses to make reservations and bookings through your Google My Business account? Google My Business integrates with different partners that allow potential customers to book directly from your Google My Business profile. Here is a list of Google My Business booking partners.

Want to set up Google My Business bookings? Here’s how you can get started.

Step 1 Sign in to Google My Business. If you have a multi-location business, click on the relevant location.

Step 2 From the menu, click Bookings. If you don’t see this option, it’s possible that Bookings is not yet available in your area.

 Google My Business profile

Step 3 Sign up for the service with one of Google Business Profile booking partners.

Step 4 It takes less than a week for the service to be set up on your Google My Business listing. Once this happens, your customers can start making appointments through the tool.

Consider getting a custom Google My Business short link (vanity URL) to make it easier to share your profile. While most Google My Business URLs are long strings of numbers and letters, a short link takes this form:

Once you get a custom short link, it’s easier to share your Google My Business profile with your customers both in person and on marketing materials. Here’s how you can create your own custom short link.

Step 1 Sign in to Google My Business.

Step 2 If you have a multi-location business, open the location you wish to create a short name for.

Step 3 From the menu on the left, click Info > Add profile short name (the @ section). You should see this in the box under your phone number.

Peter Gray DDS Google My Business Overview

Step 4 Enter your unique short name. Your short name can be anywhere between 5-32 characters.

Enter profile short name

If your name isn’t available, you’ll receive an error message and have to choose a different name. Try abbreviating your name or adding other descriptions, like your location. You can also pick another word that describes your business or brand.

Step 5 Click Apply. Your short name will show as pending. It will show on your business profile when it’s approved.

Google My Business App

Want to manage your Google My Business listing on-the-go? The Google My Business app allows you to do that. The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play. Here are a few things that you can do within the Google My Business app.

  • Update business information
  • Respond to reviews
  • Visit insights
  • Share posts

However, there are some actions on Google My Business that can only be taken on desktop.

  • Deleting your Google My Business account
  • Changing settings

For more information, check out this article on the Google My Business app.

 Google My Business App

Chapter 3: Optimizing your Google Business Profile

Here’s how you can optimize your Google My Business profile to make
sure that you’re attracting new customers and ranking high in search results.

Smiley man working on how to edit photo in GBP

Google My Business description

Google gives businesses the ability to add descriptions to their GMB profile. This is a 750-character summary of the services your business provides. Adding a description is a great way to help customers better understand the value that you provide.

Here’s how you can add a Google My Business description.

•    Sign into Google My Business.

•    Go to the “Info” tab. Scroll down to the description tab below ‘Highlights’.

Birdeye information on Google Business Profile Manager dashboard

•    Add your business description then click “Apply”.

Tips for writing a great GMB descriptions

Google Business Profile categories

It’s also important to set Google My Business categories. These categories show Google and prospective customers what kind of business you are so you can rank higher in relevant search results. Google allows you to select up to 10 categories for your business. A realtor that also does appraisals can choose categories like “real estate agency” and “real estate appraiser”.

Here’s how you can make edits to your Google My Business categories.

Step 1 Sign in to Google My Business.

Step 2 If you have multiple locations, go to the location whose category you want to change.

Step 3 Go to the “Info” tab.

Step 4 Change the category. It should show up under your business name.

Step 5 Click the pencil to change your business categories.

 Google My Business profile

Google My Business marketing kit

Your Google Business Profile can contain a treasure trove of valuable marketing materials. Glowing reviews from customers are a great way to promote your own business.

The Google My Business marketing kit allows you to promote your reviews through posters, stickers, and social posts. The materials are customizable and are designed to help you show off the opinions of your happiest customers. Click here to get started with a GMB marketing kit.

Google Business Profile Q&A

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

Google My Business Questions & Answers

We recommend that business owners stay on top of these questions. Otherwise, it’s possible that they will get misleading or incorrect answers to these questions.

It’s possible that somebody might be abusing your Q&A section and using it to spread false information about your business. In this case, you do have the option to flag the question and report it to Google.

Removing your Google My Business listing

If for whatever reason, you need to delete your Google My Business profile or location, you do have the option. In order to delete a Google My Business listing, you need to be the owner of the account. Here’s how you can make sure that your listing is removed.

Step 1 Sign in to Google My Business.

Step 2 If you own a multi-location business. You’ll need to take care of the individual locations first. If you’re a single-location business, skip to step 5.

Step 3 From your list of locations, select the locations that you want to remove.

Step 4 Click “Actions”, then “Remove locations”, and then “Remove”.

How to manage locations in GBP

Step 5 Click the three-dot menu icon and click “Delete”.

Step 6 Click “Okay”. You may be asked to sign in again to make sure that you are actually the business owner.

Step 7 Review the information on the screen. Check the boxes to confirm that you want to delete your Google My Business account.

Step 8 Click “Delete Account”.

Google My Business suspended?

We’ve seen that some businesses have gotten their Google My Business profile suspended. Here are a few reasons why this might happen.

  • Falsely claiming to be open 24 hours a day
  • Information within your profile has recently changed
  • Having your address linked to a virtual address or PO Box
  • Actual business name is different than Google My Business name
  • Having a primary category in a high-risk industry (plumbing, locksmithing, home services)
  • Having multiple listings from the same address

For more information, check out our full guide to Google My Business suspension.

Google My Business alternatives

While Google My Business is the most prominent reviews site out there right now, it isn’t the only listing site on the Internet. It’s important to make sure that your business has correct information across multiple different sites. You never know where a potential customer can discover your business. Plus, the more accurate your listings on different sites, the better chance you have of ranking high in search results.

  • Facebook
  • Yellow Pages
  • Birdeye
  • Foursquare

Frequently asked questions

Is Google Business Profile free?

Yes, Google Business Profile is 100% free. Google does not charge businesses for their listings.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is an easy tool businesses can use to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Your Google My Business profile includes information such as business name, address, phone number, a short description, hours of operation, map, photos, customer reviews, questions & answers, popular hours and more, making it easy for customers to see what your business is about and how to get in touch.

How Birdeye can help your business scale

Claiming your Google Business Profile is just the first step in the journey. Birdeye helps you handle every aspect of the customer journey. With Birdeye, businesses can get more reviews, manage and respond to reviews from over 200 sites in a single dashboard, rank high in search results, manage listings across hundreds of sites, add webchat to communicate effectively, send mass text messages, and receive actionable insights through Natural Language Processing.

Find out how Birdeye can help your business drive growth with a free demo.

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