Digital Marketing

How to optimise your Google Business Profile

min read

Claiming your Google Business Profile listing is just the first step to get ranked high on local search results on Google.

To get the most benefits out of your Google Business Profile listing you must make sure your listing is optimised.

Let’s talk about how you can make sure your profile is complete.

Business information

You want to make sure that all of the information is filled out completely. First, make sure your business name is correct – you must use your legal business name.

Do not add any additional words, like descriptor words, your city name, or other keywords. If you include those types of words your listing will likely get suspended.

If you are a practitioner, like a solicitor that practices at a law firm or a consultant that works at an agency, you can only use your first and last name as your business name.

Selecting the best categories for your business is super important because that directly impacts rankings.

Google Business Profile information section includes contact phone numbers and a description
the Business information section in Google Business Profile

The primary category has more ranking weight, but secondary categories are also important. Make sure your first category is very specific to the products or services you offer.

You could then can select other categories if they apply. Make sure your address is not a virtual office or co-working space.

Make sure you’re not using a PO box, businesses running from those addresses are not allowed to claim Google Business Profile listings.

Additionally, your employees must be at your place of business during stated business hours.

If you run your business out of your home you’ll not likely want to display your home address on your Google Business Profile listing, instead, you can choose a service area business, or SAB type listing.

Services and Products

If you have a physical storefront that also delivers or goes out to customers, like a restaurant that has indoor dining but also delivers, you can select up to 20 service areas.

Typically, you’ll want to select service areas that are within a 2-hour drive from where you’re located.

An example of how your details could display in Google

Now make sure your hours are correct. These must be the hours that employees are staffed and working at your location. Don’t select 24/7 unless you actually have employees that are at your location 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Phone number should typically be a local phone number – Google generally wants to see a local area code phone number in this field. However, you can use a tracking phone number if you’d like.

You can add additional phone numbers, you just want to make sure that one of your phone numbers listed is a local phone number. Only the primary phone number will be displayed to the public.

Short Names

Choose a short name for your listing; a short name is basically a vanity handle. Google will recommend one for you, but you want to choose carefully because you can only change your short name three times every 12 months.

The main benefit of short names is you’re able to give customers an easier way to get to your company’s knowledge panel and leave reviews for you. Use this URL pattern to link directly to your business’s knowledge panel.

You can also easily ask customers to leave a Google Business Profile review for you by sending customers to this link. Simply replace the word short name with your short name.

Website links and short name can be updated

Generally, you want to link to your homepage because that typically has the highest authority. Do not enter redirect URLs or social media pages.

If you have a software tool or a program that people can use to schedule appointments with you you can put that URL in the Appointment section.

And you can also set up products or services so potential customers can see what you have to offer.

Categories and Attributes

Attributes are certain features about your business or things that pertain to your business. Now, these are category-specific so not all attributes are going to be available.

You may see some completely different ones just because you’re in a different category – in the screenshot Google thinks “Accountancy Services” is relevant, so we’d have to uncheck this category as it is not related to our business.

Google Business Profile - edit services lists tags you can apply to your business
an example of Services you can tag your business in Google Business Profile

In the example above, we have “Web Designer” as our primary category, as most customers would refer to us as that, even when we offer a variety of other services.

Last, you can go ahead and enter the day you started your business or opened your location.

Adding your opening date for your location can help build trust and could determine whether or not a customer chooses your business over a competitor that hasn’t been in business as long.

Now you have added the basic information to your Google Business Profile profile.

Boosting your Google Business Profile listing

Having a complete and updated listing shows Google that you care about providing content to searchers. It also makes your listing stand out.

A non-optimised listing shows just a Google photo of the outside of the building and the Google maps location, there’s no business hours, website, or any other information about this business.

Whereas an optimised listing has a ton of information, you can find their website, photos, find answers to questions, read reviews and more.

Visit the link to see a live example of our website Blueocto listing in Google Maps

Let’s talk about some of the most important features you should focus on when optimising your Google My Business listing.

Using the Google Business Profile App

First, you should download the app which is available for Android and Apple devices. Having the app alerts you to real-time updates like when you get a new review or when you get a message.

Creating a post is another great way to show off products, services and events you have going on at your business.

There are several different types of posts that you can create, explore the various posts and see what type of post is best for your business, and have fun sharing information with potential customers.

Whenever you create a post, be sure to include a call to action. Here’s the examples of some of the calls to action that you can choose from.

Also in the body of your post, do not include a phone number, website, URL or email address, that can cause your post to get rejected.

Customer Reviews

Here’s another tip, getting reviews from happy customers is one of the best ways to build trust and help your rankings.

87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.

Whenever you get a review, click on reviews and respond to those reviews. It’s important to respond to every review, even the negative ones.

However, if you get a review that blatantly violates Google’s reviewed guidelines, you can click on the three dots next to the review and flag the review is inappropriate.

Keep in mind however, that Google rarely takes down reviews.

Photos and Videos

Uploading photos and videos is a snap, you just click on the plus sign and select photos from your computer.

Anyone in the general public can upload photos and videos to your Google Business Profile listing.

According to Google, 90% of customers are more likely to visit a business that has photos on search results.

That means customers or even your competitors can upload photos. So be sure you check your photos and videos often to make that nobody has uploaded photos that aren’t appropriate.

Questions & Answers

Q&A’s are not accessible in the Google Business Profile dashboard, to get to Q&A, you must search for your knowledge panel in Google Chrome.

You can answer questions directly in your knowledge panel. Any one in the general public can ask questions and anybody can answer questions.

Google Business Profile - Questions and Answers which you can reply to
the Questions and Answers modal in Google Business Profile

Instant Messaging

People can also send you text messages directly through your Google Business Profile listing.

The easiest way to get started with messaging is to go to the info section via your desktop and click on the messages section.

When you get a message, you will receive a notification in your Google Business Profile mobile app.

Google tracks how quickly you respond to messages so you want to reply as fast as you can. You must reply within 24 hours or you may lose your messaging privileges.

Bookings

Bookings are another great feature, depending on your category, such as massage therapy or hairstyling, you may have the booking options available to you.

If you use one of Google’s booking partners to schedule appointments, you can connect directly to your Google Business Profile listing and then customers can book appointments directly through your listing.

Google Business Profile - booking modal where you can add a link
the Booking modal in Google Business Profile

Now go to your Google My Business dashboard and see what features are available to boost your listing!


Caroline Hagan

Caroline brings over 15 years as a Designer and Developer; featured in .NET magazine, the only woman in the UK accredited for Google Mobile Sites. A business mentor with Enterprise Nation, STEM Ambassador and Google Women Techmaker Ambassador Previous client projects include Blackberry, FIAT, Clark Shoes and Sky.