Formerly known as Google My Business, the Google Business Profile is as simple as:
- Find it
- Claim it
- Verify it
- Get more search results
Sounds perfect, right…whoa buddy, not so fast. Many small businesses haven’t even HEARD of Google Business Profiles (GBP let alone learned about the tools available there. So let’s start with the basics – a Google Business Profile.
Google is the world’s No. 1 search engine (followed by YouTube – the No. 2 search engine) so why wouldn’t you want to use their tools made specifically to help small businesses? Especially since the bulk of the tools are absolutely free to use!
Let’s get started with setting up your Google Profile. Here’s what you do:
- Search for your business on google.com/business/. What pops up? If your business shows up as a listing, you’re on your way. Login to your google (gmail) account, then go in and fill in all the blanks and upload your photos and logos. If you don’t find a listing, or you find a listing with a blue sentence that reads “Own this business?” click on that. If enough people have tried to find your business, and you did NOT have a GBP page, google will have created one for you and you will want to Claim it. If it’s already claimed you will see a partial email address of the owner; if it’s not you, you’ll have to find out who has claimed it and get access from them.
- Once you find and ask to Claim (or successfully claim) your business, you’ll be allowed to enter your business information and services, but you won’t be able to create your first post until you receive a verification letter from google and enter the code.
- To Verify the page, supply your address and phone (exactly as it reads on your DBA or LLC, etc.).
- You will get instructions on when your verification postcard will be delivered. WATCH FOR IT – it looks like junk mail, but will contain a code which you will enter into your GPB page to complete the verification.
- Now you can put in photos, make your first post, and fill in all the blanks, and ultimately show up in more search results on google. Post weekly with updates, events, and special offers.
- You CANNOT put your URL or phone number in a google business post – use the dropdown (optional) button.
Once you have found, claimed and verified a google business profile, you can start to maximize it to your advantage by filling in all the spaces!
Start with Business Info section.
In here, you’ll add your name, address, phone, email, website, hours – be SURE to use the exact same address as what appears on your business license to make google happy.
GBP is like Facebook in that you can post, check analytics, add business info and photos, but – and this is important but – unlike Facebook you don’t have to post every day to get engagement! Nope, in fact, google will send you an email every 6 days or so to remind you to post again.
GBP posts have much more longevity than FB or Twitter and can contain a specific call to action (call now, order online, learn more, buy now). When you add an Update (post) you can attach an image, links, and select a Call to Action button (optional, but why wouldn’t you use it?)
Note: If you’re a brick and mortar business, you’ll be able to add your address, phone, email, services, and links to menus, order online, and your homepage. If you are a home-based or service-based business, you can verify your official business address then hide it from your profile – but you have to verify it first.
I can’t emphasize this enough:
Your name, address, phone (NAP) MUST be identical and written identically across every single channel you use to make google happy. So 1234 Road Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49048 is NOT the same (in Google’s eyes) as 1234 Road St. Kalamazoo, MICH., 49048…Yes, it’s that picky! Check your DBA or LLC and use that information exactly as it is presented.
Finally, if you don’t have a GBP account, you won’t get to run Google Ads! And where’s the first place YOU look for reviews about a business you’re considering visiting or making a purchase from? Google, right?
A GBP page is a free, valuable, and powerful tool you can add to your marketing arsenal in a matter of minutes, but which will carry your brand farther and wider than many other similar free tools. If you don’t claim yours, google will continue to use it and may even present incorrect information – if you aren’t updating it! It doesn’t cost anything, it’s not a daily drain on your time, and probably most important, it will greatly increase your chances of being found when someone types in a search like “Marketing Consultant near me.” I’m at the top of this list. And that’s where all the best reviews live too!
Oh, and by the way, Google+ has been dead and buried for a few years – be sure to take that icon off your website and update it with your new GBP link!
Watch a recorded webinar I did on this topic to help you get started: https://youtu.be/IFGP1isPcUU.
If you need a little help getting started, email Cheri Bales Hannah/Gold Communications to help you get your google business profile launched and returning you search results.