Having an optimized Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is essential for local businesses who want to get found and connect with customers searching online. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to set up, manage, and optimize your Google Business Profile for maximum visibility and engagement.
Why You Need a Google Business Profile
- 46% of searches have local intent – people look for businesses in their area.
- Ranking in the Local 3-pack exposes you to these ready-to-buy searchers.
- An optimized profile helps you outrank competitors in local SERPs.
- Detailed business info builds credibility and trust with prospective customers.
How To Get Started With Google Business Profile
- Search for your business on Google to see if you already have a listing.
- If so, claim it through Google Maps. Just search, click your listing, and select “Claim this business”.
- If not, create a profile by signing up for a free Google My Business account.
- Fully complete your profile – name, address, hours, description, photos, attributes like WiFi or delivery.
- Choose a category that accurately describes your business.
- Verify your listing to access insights, analytics and reviews.
Local Ranking Factors for Google Business Profile
Google ranks local listings based on:
- Relevance – how closely your profile matches the search query.
- Distance – how far you are from the searcher’s location.
- Prominence – your reputation, reviews, links, overall web presence.
How To Optimize Your Google Business Profile for Rankings
Follow these tips to improve your local SEO and rankings:
- Fix duplicate listings by merging into your main profile to avoid competing with yourself.
- Add detailed business info and attributes. Helps Google match you to relevant searches.
- Post photos and videos to bring your business to life and build familiarity.
- Engage customers by responding to reviews, answering questions, and enabling messaging.
- Publish weekly posts about offers, events and announcements to stay top of mind.
- Monitor insights to see your Google Business Profile traffic and performance.
Making Changes and Fixing Issues
- Edit your profile through your GMB dashboard or directly on Google Maps. Changes take ~48 hours.
- Set special holiday hours so customers have accurate business info.
- Mark as closed if shutting down for an extended period.
- Manage user edits – Google allows anyone to suggest changes to your listing. Review and accept/reject changes.
- Fix suspensions by identifying and removing any guideline violations, then request reinstatement.
Maintain Your Optimized Profile
- Regularly update your business information and photos.
- Post and engage with customers weekly.
- Monitor insights to see what’s working and pivot as needed.
- Stay on top of new features Google adds to improve profiles.
Optimizing your Google Business Profile provides tremendous visibility and connects you with ready-to-buy customers in your area. Follow these best practices to outrank competitors and maximize your local search presence.