When customers search on Google, they can gain more information about local businesses from the Knowledge Panel or within the Local Map Pack. These areas typically feature local listings – commonly referred to as Google My Business profiles. An optimized Google My Business ensures your profile is up-to-date on search engines. This article provides some key definitions and a comprehensive Google My Business checklist. Let’s jump in!
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile) is a free service that lets you create a Google listing for your business. It gives you the tools you need to manage your information, and helps you find new customers by making sure your listing appears in Google search results.
With GMB, business owners have the ability to claim their listing, customize with rich information and connect with customers on Search and Maps. The information on your business profile can include a description, photos, contact information, customer reviews and more. Google My Business has now been rebranded as Google Business Profile, but the intention of this platform has not changed. Essentially, it is designed to make it easier for people to find your business online.
Why Is GMB Important?
It is estimated that 90% of local searches start on Google Maps (not Google Search). A Google My Business listing helps you increase visibility, attract new customers and drive foot traffic. Your profile should include business location, contact details and review ratings.
If someone searches for a local business, they are often going to see GMB listings before any other website or social media profiles. That means you have one shot to make a good impression and convince them to contact your business. The more complete and accurate your Business Profile, the more likely it is that customers will find you when they search for your business online. Optimizing your GMB profile is a critical step in building an online presence for your business.
There are many benefits of having a Google My Business Checklist for optimization. A checklist is a resource you can reference as you manage your local SEO strategy.
Visibility: An optimized Google Business Profile makes it easier for potential customers to find your business online. If they can find your business easily, they will be more likely to make a purchase.
Conversion: It can also help increase your conversion rate and sales. When people see that there are reviews and helpful details on Google, they will feel more confident about buying from you. This instills trust – knowing other consumers have had positive experiences.
Google My Business Checklist: 10 Things to Check When Managing Your Business Profile
1. Verify Ownership of the Business
The first thing you will want to do is ensure verification of the business through text message, phone call, or postcard. This will allow Google to verify your location and that it is really you that owns the business. An unverified profile runs the risk of the business being removed from Google Search and Maps, hurting your online reputation.
2. Input Accurate Contact Information
Fill out all fields in the “Contact Info” section of the GMB profile, including a physical mailing address if possible (avoid PO boxes). Include the business name and phone number exactly how you want it to display to your customers. Filling out each of the relevant sections ensures customers can find your business and the proper information.
Note: These fields may vary depending upon whether or not you have claimed your business listing.
3. Select the Appropriate Business Categories
Make sure you have an appropriate category selected for your business type (e.g., restaurant vs mechanic shop), as well as geographic location within each category if applicable (e.g., city or state level). It may take some trial and error to find the right fit for your business type and location. Choosing a secondary category can also help as you list your business. Overall, you want your profile to show in as many areas as possible.
4. Add Products or Services
If you own or manage a local business that sells products, add your listings or merchandise to the “Products” section. With a service-based business, you can add what you offer to customers in the “Services” section. For example, if you manage a law firm, you can list your areas of practice, like “family law” or divorce attorney”. List all of the products or services that your business offers to improve your visibility for those keywords.
5. Fill in Business Hours
People make decisions based on what they read, so make sure you provide accurate and consistent hours on your GMB. You can update your business hours at any time – but it’s good to show consistency. Remember to update your hours for holidays, events, or special occasions.
6. Use Complete Address
One of the most important pieces of information you need to include in your Google My Business Checklist is an actual address (street number and street name). This helps Google know exactly where your business is located so that users can find it more easily when searching by location via their mobile devices or computers.
If you do not have a physical address for your business, consider obtaining one just for Google Maps so that users can easily find your business more easily. These details help customers get in touch with you, find directions to your store or office, and learn more about what you offer before calling or visiting.
7. Add Your Website URL Link
Adding a link to your website helps with SEO and increases customer trust. Google will also give you credit for driving traffic to your site, which can help boost your rankings in search results. Include a link to share on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This helps people share their experience with others within your local area. It’s typically best to use your home page URL as the primary website link.
8. Update Your Business Description
In the business description section, highlight the best features and benefits for your customers. Use keywords that customers would be likely to look up when searching for businesses like yours — e.g., if you sell products online, include keywords like “online shopping” and “buy online”. If you offer services like graphic design or photography, include keywords related to those services (e.g., “graphic design”). This will help people find you when they search for services like yours on mobile devices or desktop computers alike.
9. Add Photos
Photos help people remember what they saw when they visited your business. They should showcase the quality of your products or services. Take advantage of photos that are already available on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Yelp. Customers want to know more than just what your business does — they want to know what it looks like too! Make sure that each photo has a clear focal point (so we know exactly what we are looking at) and that there are not any distractions (like people).
You may think that all images are the same, but that is not exactly true. Google likes high-quality over low-quality images. So, if you have a choice between using a small thumbnail or a larger image, choose the larger one. Check out our Google My Business Image & Size Guidelines for more guidance and information.
10. Gather Reviews
Reviews are one of the top ranking factors for Google Search and Maps. Quality reviews also help potential customers feel confident about choosing your business. Gathering quality reviews has its challenges but persistence is key. You could try offering incentives for customers to leave a review. The more 5-star Google reviews you have on your business profile, the higher your business will rank amongst the competition.
These Google My Business checklist items will help you as you manage your local SEO strategy. This will help you identify the most important elements of your business profile and ensure they are set up properly. Use this checklist frequently to make sure your business information stays updated and optimized.
Whether you’re just starting or have been in business for a while, Google My Business can be an incredible tool to help you grow. It is important to stay on top of your business profile and make sure it is up-to-date with the latest information, so that customers can find you easily when they search for your products or services. We hope this Google My Business checklist helps you get started and keeps you on the right track.
Boostability’s Google My Business Services
As a leading white-label SEO provider, Boostability offers Google My Business optimization services to business partners and their clients. Learn more about Boostability’s SEO partner program and how it can help your client’s business succeed online. With the development of local SEO, it’s critical to ensure that your client’s business profiles stay up-to-date. Get in touch with our team of experts today to learn how local SEO fits into your digital marketing strategy.