How to Set Up a Google Business Profile

Everything a small business needs to know to perfect a Google profile.

Setting Up Google Profile Blog Featured Image
May 12, 2022
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 12 min

As you learn more about managing and marketing your small business on the internet, you’ll likely discover that it’s a bit like spinning plates. It’s a balancing act and you must keep multiple elements running at the same time if you wish to achieve an epic overall performance. Sure, spinning one or two plates at once might look cool, but it’s only when you have several spinning simultaneously that you really make a lasting impression.

For example, if you’re currently doing keyword research and optimizing your blog posts to improve your search rankings, those are great practices, but they’re not going to move the needle much on their own. That’s why you need to combine them with other tactics, like creating a strong SMS marketing strategy and building a Google Business Profile.

In fact, managing your Google Business Profile (also often referred to as a Google My Business account) is one way to enhance your local business marketing strategy and help make your small business more visible in search results. Below, we’ll cover what a Google Business Profile is, why it’s beneficial, how you can create one, and how to optimize it. We’ll also discuss how it relates to your SMS marketing strategy.

Stand out on Google

What Is a Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is a free tool that helps you get more eyes on your business via Google searches and Google Maps.

When users type in relevant search queries into the Google search engine, your listing will appear with information about your business, such as your website, telephone number, and hours of operation. It will also connect to Google Maps, so users can see your location on the interactive map and conveniently get directions to your business.

Your business profile will also appear if a user types your business name, address, or other relevant search queries into the search field within Google Maps. The results will pinpoint your business location on the map and include your listing.

This profile places your small business at the top of the search results, making it more visible and helping to attract more visitors. But with that said, you can only create a profile if your small business has a physical location or offers services in a specific area. For instance, you can create a listing if you have a brick-and-mortar boutique or provide landscaping services in a certain neighborhood, but not if you are a strictly online company.

Let’s look at an example to show how this all works in practice. Let’s say you own a pizza restaurant in San Francisco. When a potential customer is craving pizza, they might type in the name of your business into the search bar and conveniently find all the details about your restaurant right in your Google Business Profile.

But what happens when a potential customer doesn’t know about your specific business? In this case, they might type in “pizza place near me” or “pizza delivery in San Francisco.” You will want your business listing to appear at the top of the results. And if you have an informative, descriptive business listing with all the info this customer is looking for, you could be the first place they call.

This all funnels into what is called a local business marketing strategy, which targets and attracts customers who are within a certain radius of your business location. We’ll dive more into this later, though.

 

Pizza Places Near Me

Benefits of Creating a Google Business Profile

You’re probably eager to figure out how to set up Google My Business (aka Google Business Profile), but before getting into the nitty-gritty of creating your profile, it is important to understand all the positive results that come along with such an effort.

Creating a profile can benefit your small business in several ways. For example, it:

  • Provides valuable information to your customers that you get to control
  • Makes your business more visible, helping you reach more customers (particularly those searching for your goods or services)
  • Allows your customers to quickly find your business based on proximity
  • Lets your customers see your business location on the map and get directions to it
  • Helps you get noticed over your competition
  • Gives you more real estate on the search engine results page

What’s more, your profile can help improve your small business’s local search ranking. This is because Google takes into account:

  • Your prominence. This includes your SEO efforts, review volume, average ratings, and website links.
  • Your distance. How close is your business location or service area physically located to the consumer?
  • Your relevance. This looks at how well your business listing matches the search query.

 

Side by side comparison of two business profiles

How to Set Up a Google Business Profile

Now that you better understand the benefits associated with creating a Google Business profile, it’s time to set up an account of your own. Follow these four simple steps to get started:

 

1. Add Your Business Profile

First, you will need a Google account to complete the process of adding your business profile. You can use an existing account or create a new one associated with your business.

With your Google account ready to go, simply enter your business address into the search bar in Google and click “add your business.” Alternatively, you may also type your business address into Google Maps. If you go the Google Maps route, right-click anywhere on the map and choose “add your business” from the dropdown menu or click on the menu icon and pick “add your business.”

If you’d like to try a different approach, you can visit business.google.com/add. From here, type in your business name and choose the correct one from the results. If your business doesn’t show up, click on the “add your business to Google” link, and follow the on-screen steps.

Note: You will need a Google account to complete this process, so use one you already have or create a new one associated with your business.

 

Business profile manager

2. Claim Your Business

Now that you’ve added your business, it’s time to claim it! Again, you can do this by either typing your business name or address into the Google search bar or into Google Maps. Once your business pops up, click “claim business” and then, “manage now.”

What's the name of your business

3. Add Your Business Information

Now that you can access your Google Business Profile account, you can start customizing your profile. Fill in as many fields as you can, making sure not to miss details like your business name, business category, physical location, phone number, and hours of operation. You will also want to include a link to your website, a description of your business, a Q&A section, booking information (if applicable), your menu (if applicable), and even a few photos. You won’t have reviews yet, but you can encourage your customers to leave them in this section.

The more information you can provide, the better. But above all, you want to make sure you accurately represent your business. In fact, your page could get dinged—or even removed—if you’re dishonest in the way you’re portraying your services. As a general rule of thumb, always provide quality, up-to-date information and follow these guidelines for additional help.

Start Building Your Profile

4. Verify Your Account

Before your Google Business Profile will appear in the search results, you must first verify your account with a PIN. Depending on your business, you can usually request for Google to provide you with this PIN by:

  • Calling your business phone number and leaving an automated recording with the PIN.
  • Texting the PIN to your mobile phone.
  • Sending a postcard with your PIN to your business address.

Once you’ve received the PIN, enter it into the required field to verify your account. From here, your business listing should begin appearing in the Google and Google Map search results.

Verify Account

Ways to Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Now that you’ve figured out how to set up a Google My Business profile and verify your account, it’s time to optimize it.

Just like optimizing your website, optimizing your business profile helps you make your listing as valuable to your customers as possible. And as you know, the more valuable Google thinks your business is, the more likely it will rank your page favorably, which means more potential customer views. To optimize your profile, follow these recommendations:

 

Keep Your Business Hours Up to Date

Your business profile should be a convenient and valuable resource for your customers, but that won’t be the case if you don’t keep it current. Take extra care when listing your business days and hours, considering holidays and special occasions where you may close early or for an extended period of time. And if you decide to change your hours of operation, be sure to reflect these changes on your business profile.Having a customer travel to your location and find out it is closed or call and receive no answer is easy to avoid by keeping your hours of operation current.

Small Business Listing Hours

Add the Messaging Feature

This feature lets you sync up your mobile device so that these messages go straight to your cell phone, making them easier to monitor. Beware: Ignoring messages could harm your brand reputation, so focus on replying in a timely manner.

Write a Description of Your Business

Your business description allows you to give a short synopsis of the goods or services your small business offers. Do you specialize in a certain product? Or provide a specific service? Write a brief description describing your small business, but avoid including promotional information in this section.

Fill in the Products and Services Section

Much like the description of your business section, this area lets you go into more detail about your particular products or services. For example, if you own that pizza place, you could use this section to highlight some of your most popular menu items. You can even add pricing and photos, too. This helps your customers better understand your offerings.

Include Photos of Your Small Business

Adding images and videos to your Google Business Profile is another great way to attract customers. The platform allows you to include a photo for your logo, a cover photo, and business photos, which may include shots of your physical location, products, or services. Of course, you want your photos to make a good first impression and entice customers, so avoid using low-quality or blurry images. Before uploading your images, consult these guidelines for more information regarding Google’s content policies and recommendations.

Also, keep in mind; your customers can add their own images to your profile. While this is a solid way to generate some user-generated content, you don’t want irrelevant, poor-quality, or inappropriate images on your profile. To remove them, click the “flag” option, which signals to Google that you’d like the specific image taken down.

Small Business Listing Photos

Respond to Customer Questions

In your business profile, you’ll notice a Q&A section. This is where your customers can go to ask questions about your business—and read the answers to questions other customers posted. Remember, maintaining good customer service and engaging with your customers are good tactics for increasing interest in your business and boosting your authority, so stay on top of these questions and promptly respond.

Also, because anyone can respond to these questions, monitor them closely to ensure the correct information is being relayed about your business. After all, you don’t want others answering with false information. In the same way that you can flag unwanted images, you can also flag irrelevant questions for removal.

Ask a question

Encourage Your Customers to Leave Reviews

When you’re looking up a new product or business, you’re likely to make a bee-line for the reviews section to see what others are saying about their experience with the brand. And let’s face it– you’re not the only one who does this. That’s why it’s essential to have a reviews section of your own. And if you recall, review volume falls under the prominence category, which Google uses to rank your content.

Your business listing offers a space where your customers can leave reviews and feedback. Reviews can help boost the trustworthiness and authenticity of your business, so it’s always a good idea to encourage your customers to do so. That said, in the name of trustworthiness and authenticity, never buy fake reviews.

Google Review Summary

Create Informative Posts

There’s a place on your profile where you can make posts and share updates with your customers. For example, maybe you’re running a special promotion or hosting a contest. Keep these posts up to date so your consumers can access the latest happenings about your business.

Incorporate Special Features

Finally, take advantage of the special attributes on your profile, such as buttons for scheduling reservations, making appointments, and placing orders. You can also add helpful information regarding check-in times, hotel amenities, or even menu items.

Above all, the goal is to make it easy and hassle-free for consumers to interact with your local business and gather the information they need after doing a simple Google search.

How Does My Google Business Profile Relate to My SMS Strategy?

So, where does SMS marketing come into play? Well, it all goes back to your local business approach. You see, setting up a Google Business Profile and sending out small business SMS marketing messages are essential components of any viable local business strategy. They work together to attract consumers located within close proximity of your business.

Your Google Business Profile gets you on the map—quite literally—while your SMS messages can target members in your local community to help raise brand awareness.

Sample Message

For instance, let’s go back to the small pizza joint in San Francisco example. You’d want your SMS messages to reach customers within your area, like Union Square and SoMa, who are more likely to request delivery services or visit your pizza shop in person. But it doesn’t make sense for your SMS messages to go to people living in San Diego or D.C., where you don’t have restaurant locations or delivery options available.

Your business profile works in the same way. Your listing will appear when consumers in the San Francisco area search for pizza-related queries, but it shouldn’t show up in the results when New Yorkers search for local pizza places.

Together, with your SMS texts going to local consumers and your business listing showing up on the results page, you significantly increase the chances of your small business being found locally.

Sign up for EZ Texting Today

Your local business strategy is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Once you’ve learned how to set up a Google Business Profile, it’s time to add another marketing puzzle: SMS text marketing campaign messaging.

Here at EZ Texting, we offer a free trial with no strings attached. Sign up today to get your mobile marketing & SEO strategy off the ground.

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