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The Basics of Google Business Profile for Small Business Owners

Getting your business noticed in the current cutthroat competition is crucial as a small business owner. When business owners think of this, they assume all it takes is setting up in the right location then advertising their business on a few platforms before clients start streaming in. Though these steps are essential, they will not guarantee the highest amount of clients to maximize your profits.

With most clients now looking for solutions online, you need an excellent online marketing strategy for your business to show up among the best solutions for your target market’s needs. Another way to ensure this happens is by getting a Google Business Profile (GBP) account. GBP was previously called Google My Business.

GBP is a free multi-layered platform that allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Maps and Google search results. Below are a few basics to help you understand this tool and what it can do for your business.

What Is GBP?

Google is currently among the most visited search engines worldwide. Having a presence on this search engine assures your business of visibility among the highest number of clients. GBP allows you to upload crucial details on your business, including its products, services, and location. You can also manage interactive features like questions and reviews or publish media like videos or photos on GBP. The information you upload may be seen on Google Shopping, Google Search, and Google Maps.

GBP is only available for companies that have contact with clients. This means businesses with physical locations and those whose services involve meeting customers in other places like plumbers or consultants. Purely online companies can use tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads to get noticed on digital platforms. There are many online guides to help you understand your data, and how to turn it into actionable insights.

For your business to be eligible for listing on Google, it should meet the guidelines set out by Google for the same. The policies are periodically updated, so consult them now and again to avoid any penalties that might cause the removal or suspension of your GBP account.

Why Do You Need A GBP Account?

Below are a few reasons to create a GBP account for your business today:

1. Get noticed on Google.

Whether you are looking for increased online or foot traffic, Google is your best search referrer. A GBP will ensure that people in your area know about your company when looking for the products and services you offer. It shows clients where you are and directs them on how to get to you. Moreover, a GBP profile will improve your local SEO. This is because your business is highly likely to pop up on Google Maps when people search for nearby businesses.

2. Control the online information on your business

With GBP, you can control or update your contact information, operating hours, and other crucial details on your business as needed. You can also share whether you are fully open or temporarily closed and any safety measures, like masking or sanitizing in the face of COVID-19, that you are undertaking in your physical location. The information available on your profile will place you above your competitors, who might have left out the crucial details that make a difference to clients. This significantly boosts your local SEO.

3. Enhance credibility using client reviews

Reviews are among the crucial elements of social proof. They are meaningful options for building the credibility of your business. The combined space for detailed reviews and star ratings on GBP allows clients to give as much or as little information as they want about your business. This can sway potential clients to choose your company. Though you might be scared of negative reviews on GBP, don’t panic. Clients find pages with positive and negative reviews more credible than those with purely positive reviews. Moreover, you can respond tactfully to any negative reviews to reduce their impact on your business.

How Do You Set Up A GBP Account?

Here are simple steps for creating a GBP account:

1. Sign in to the Google Business Profile Manager. You will be automatically locked into it if you are using a Google account. Alternatively, you can get a new Google account to access the GBP Manager.

2. Enter your business name. If your business is not in the drop-down menu, you can click ‘add your business’  button and select the appropriate category.

3. Enter your business address if you have a physical location. You might be asked to place a location marker on Google Maps. If you have no physical location but offer in-person deliveries or services, list your service areas.

4. Fill in your contact information, including website address and phone number.

5. Verify your business using a real physical address so that Google is sure it is not a simple post office box. The information you give will not be displayed to the public and is only used for verification.

6. After verification, you will get a five-digit code that you enter, then click on ‘verify business’ to get a confirmation screen.

7. Customize your profile. Finally, you can customize your business profile by including:

Operating hours

  • Photos
  • Product or service description 
  • Specific messaging preferences 

You will then find your business on the Business Profile Manager dashboard from whence you can manage ads, messages, reviews, and insights.

 

Next Steps

With the information above, your business is ready to get a GBP account and maximize its online visibility to potential clients. Remember to keep optimizing your GBP profile to ensure your business remains at the top of Google pages so that clients choose you. You can optimize your profile by completing all the details of your profile and keeping business hours always updated.

Verifying your business’ location and adding real videos or images of your business will also go a long way in boosting your GBP rank. You should also encourage clients to leave reviews on your profile and respond to them professionally to boost your online image. When handled correctly, a GBP account will propel your business to the highest profits. With your business profile optimized, you can start looking at how to further market your business.

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