If you run a small business in the home services field, you’ve probably heard about the fantastic free tool called Google Business Profile. It’s like having a bright, neon sign for your business on the internet’s busiest street.
This guide will help you understand what Google Business Profile is, whether you qualify to use it, how to set up your profile, and the best ways to make it work for you. So, if you’re ready to learn the Google Business Profile guidelines that can bring in more customers, keep reading.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile (previously known as Google My Business) is an invaluable tool for local businesses, and the best part is, it’s completely free! With this tool, you can easily manage your online presence on Google Search and Google Maps.
Now, why is this so important? Well, here’s the thing: Google processes over 8.5 billion daily search queries. So there are countless potential customers out there searching for businesses like yours. By having a GBP, you ensure that your business shows up in search results.
It makes it easy to find important business information, such as your operating hours, contact details, and location. And it also acts as a digital storefront, showing what your business has to offer.
But that’s not all. Having a GBP also boosts your credibility. It helps showcase your reviews and ratings, which can have a huge influence and make your business stand out.
And here’s the cherry on top — a GBP provides valuable insights and analytics. This helps you see how potential customers are interacting with their business online.
Are you eligible for a Google Business Profile?
Now to be eligible for a business profile, your operations must meet certain criteria set by Google. First, you must have some form of face-to-face interaction with your customers. This doesn’t mean you need to have a physical storefront. You could be a service area business, like a plumber or landscaper, that visits customers on their premises.
Service area businesses can create a GBP, but their office or home address will not be published; instead, the areas they serve will be shown. This ensures that potential customers in those areas can find and contact the business.
The information on your GBP must be accurate and up-to-date. This includes the business name and business hours. Google will not approve profiles with false or unverified information.
We recommend checking Google’s official page on Google Business Profile policies. Follow their guidelines and stay on Google’s good side, which is always a good thing for your business.
Ensuring Compliance with Google Business Profile Guidelines
Google has established guidelines to ensure a reliable and consistent experience for users. Businesses that don’t follow these guidelines can end up getting penalized by Google. This includes having your GBP suspended or removed from the platform.
So how do you make sure that your business complies with these guidelines? A good rule of thumb is accuracy. Describe your business in detail with correct and up-to-date information.
Another great tip is to be authentic. Google encourages businesses to represent themselves as they are in the real world. So avoid misrepresenting your business, like using a different business name.
Creating your Google Business Profile
In this section, we’ll go over the process of creating your Google Business Profile step-by-step. The good news is that it’s a fairly straightforward process:
- Go to the Google Business Profile page, and click on the “Manage Now” button.
- Log in to the Google account you want associated with your business.
- Enter your business name in the provided space. Make sure you select a name that accurately represents your business. You will need one profile for each business location.
- Choose Your Business Category: This is crucial as it helps Google decide which searches your local business belongs in. It is advised to choose a category that best matches your business. If you feel none of the categories fit your business, pick what you think is the closest match. You can always adjust this later.
- Add Your Location: If you have a physical location customers can visit, type in your business address here. If you don’t have a physical location, but you offer delivery or mobile services to customers, you’ll fill out the service area(s) instead.
- Provide Contact Details: Provide your business’s phone number and website link.
- Finish Your Business Listing: Finally, you will be asked to verify your association with the business. Once you’ve completed this, Google will review your profile.
Optimizing Your GBP
Now let’s say that you have registered your business with Google. How can you make the most out of your profile to attract potential customers? Here’s what you can do to make the most out of your Google Business Profile:
Use High-Quality Images on your GBP
Have you ever heard of the popular saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Having high-quality photos in your profile can make your business stand out. These could include your staff in action, your office, and your fleet.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Positive reviews can boost your business’s reputation and build customer trust. To get more reviews, ask your customers after serving them and send follow-up messages.
Make good use of Google Posts
Have you tried Google Posts? They let you easily share updates, deals, events, and more on your Google Business Profile. By regularly sharing interesting and useful content, you can connect with your audience.
Leverage Google Q&A
Google Q&A (Question and Answer) allows users to ask questions about your business. Responding to these questions shows your commitment to excellent customer service. This can improve your brand’s image and build trust with your audience.
Respond to Customer Messages
You can enable the Chat feature on your business profile. This allows potential customers to message you directly. Don’t forget that fast and helpful replies can leave a great impression.
Encourage Bookings and Appointments
If your business needs appointments or bookings, use the Booking feature on GBP. This feature lets potential customers easily schedule appointments directly from your listing. Use this to offer a simple booking process and draw in more customers!
Use “Insights” for Better Understanding
The Insights tool in GBP gives important details about how people find your business online. Using this, you can learn more about your audience’s actions. This includes search habits, where they’re from, and how they interact with your listing.
With that information, you can improve your marketing, increase your visibility, and reach more people. Stay competitive by checking these metrics to make optimal decisions for your business.
Final Thoughts on Google Business Profile
Indeed, using GBP can greatly enhance your business’s online visibility. By giving correct details, interacting with your audience, and using all the features, you can get the most out of this free tool. An optimized Google Business Profile is vital for any business wanting to succeed online.
We get that this can be a lot to take in, but we’re here to help! From optimizing your GBP to better visibility, our SEO services will elevate your business presence. Contact us today for expert SEO help and let’s achieve great results together.
About the Author
Kim started her design journey in 2013 as a freelance graphic designer. She continued expanding her skills and started focusing on web design and development. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations all over the country. She is passionate about creating designs that are not only visually stunning but also efficient and accessible.