- What is Google Business Profile?
- Why you need a Google My Business account
- Setting up your Google My Business account
- How to create a Google My Business account
- Adding your business information
- How to add photos and videos to your listing
Google has been the most popular search engine in the world with about 8.5 billion searches per day and 88.6 billion searches per month. It has been used and is still used by many people to search for locations, get tips on products, get recommendations and reviews on products, etc. One of its tools, which is Google My Business, is a free, powerful, and important tool used by many business owners to improve their visibility in Google search results and increase the number of visits to their sites.
Google My Business makes it easier for businesses to promote their store and products, and manage their store effectively. It's like a virtual phone book, it increases your chance of reaching potential customers thereby making your business easier to be found on Google search results.
Setting up a Google My Business Profile is one step to success for a business owner, it increases your chance of appearing in local search results thereby boosting your online visibility, and credibility. It's a tool that allows you to effectively manage and communicate with your customers, which helps to build trust and loyalty between you and your customers.
In this article, I will be showing you how to use Google my business for your business advancement. This article contains a step-by-step guide to setting up your Google My Business Profile, including how to optimize it for your business. Let's dive in!
What is Google Business Profile?
Like I said earlier, Google My Business Profile is a very powerful, easy-to-use tool, used by businesses to manage their business effectively, increasing visibility and appearance on local search results. It's like an ecosystem, it comprises your opening hours, closing hours, contact details, location, etc.
It helps customers find your business online, by creating a unique profile with the interface, it allows businesses to create an extension of their website to increase visibility. This tool is worth adding to your digital marketing channels for your business. According to a survey by Bright Local, it discovered that the average business which uses Google My Business for their business expansion or visibility has a total of 1,009 searches each month, with 16% of these searches coming from direct searches, and 85% of these searches coming from Discovery searches.
Why you need a Google My Business account
There are several reasons or benefits of using this powerful tool, no matter the industry you operate in. This tool is very important if you want to boost your brand or business visibility, discoverability, credibility, etc. If you are still considering or thinking about creating a profile, let me walk you through the things or benefits your businesses can gain from creating a Google My Business Page.
1. Increase Online Presence/ Getting Found on Google search results
Creating a Google My Business Profile is the most effective strategy to increase your online presence. One reason you need a Google My Business Profile is that the world is becoming a digitally focused world and setting up your online presence is essential to staying ahead or in front of other local customers.
Your brand visibility not only provides your brand awareness but also drives more potential customers to you. Setting up your profile accurately with the correct address, business category, hours of operation (opening and closing hours), phone number, and website will make it easier for potential customers to find you online. By simply listing your business on Google My Business, you are setting your brand up to get found on Google search results thereby increasing your chance of getting found online.
2. Customer Insights
Knowing your customers gives you insights on how to appeal to them or serve them better. Google My Business, gives you insights into who your target customers are, their location, and how they are engaging with your business.
By navigating through the insights section of your Google My Business Profile you will find what your customers are doing, if they are requesting your store location if they are clicking on your website if they are checking any products out, or if they are calling your business, etc. With this information, you can know how to modify your changes, understand your customers better and improve your business.
3. Promote Your Products
Creating awareness of your products is very essential. Running ads to promote a product can be very costly but with Google My Business Profile you can run that for free.
Google My Business listing is a great way to promote your product, accurately listing your product and regularly updating your listing is very important for a successful SEO.
Ways To Promote Your Product on Google My Business Profile:
Offer Page: These are billboards in your Google My Business Profile for your product. They help bring your offers and products to the forefront of your profile. The deals or offers will appear above your reviews with the image of the products attached to them giving shoppers the urge to make an impulse purchase.
Events: Do you have any events coming up? Are deals or promotions coming up? Then with your Google My Business Profile you can schedule and set the event, providing information on the location and time of the events to enable interested persons to attend.
4. Show Up in Google Map Search
About 90% of people use Google Maps to locate a business nearby. With Google My Business Profile it makes it easier and more convenient for customers to visit your store and they will be more likely to make a purchase.
5. Boost Sales With Reviews
The majority of people love to go through the review of a product or service before making a purchase. Google My Business enables customers to be able to leave feedback on your business for other customers to see, and by doing so increases trust, credibility, and sales.
Setting up your Google My Business account
Now, it's time to take the big step. Setting up a Google My Business account is a very important step to take for the success of your business.
Here are some of the things you need to set up a Google My Business Profile.
1. Google Account
To set up a Google My Business Profile you'll need a Google account. If you have a Gmail account then you probably have a Google account but if you don't have a Google account, below is a walkthrough on how to open a Google account.
How to Open a Google Account
Creating a Google Account takes only a few minutes. To set up a Google account on a browser, you should follow the steps below.
- Go to accounts.google.com
- Click On the signup button to create a Google Account.
- Next enter your Name, Password, and Username name of your choice.
- Click on the Next button to enter your Date of Birth, Phone number, recovery email, and gender.
- Follow the next step to verify your phone number.
- Follow the remaining instructions to create your account.
To Create an account using your phone;
- Go to your phone 'Settings'
- Select 'Account' for Android phones, for IOS go to the 'Mail' option to find this setting.
- Click Add Account and Select Google to create a Google Account.
- Then Follow the instructions on the screen, provide the personal information as required, and click on 'I Agree' to create an account.
2. Business Name and Business Information
You will be requested to provide a business name, and also your business information such as Business Location, Operation Hours, Categories, Service Area, etc.
All this information will be used by Google to set up your Google My Business Profile. Make sure to provide this information because if the necessary information required isn't provided you stand a chance of losing some potential customers to your competitors.
Once you have imputed the necessary details, the last thing you will need to do is to verify your account before it can be published.
Your verification code will be sent to your provided email address or phone number you provided. Once you have completed this process, your business can now be published and seen on Google search results.
How to create a Google My Business account
Follow the steps below to create a Google My Business Profile.
Step 1: Create a Google Account
If you already have a Google Account, you can make use of it in setting up your account, but if you don't have a Google Account then you should follow the steps I provided above to create an account.
Step 2: Go to business.google.com
More information about Google My Business can be found here
Once you've created an account, you'll be able to manage your business listing, post updates online, reply to reviews, and upload photos.
With this account, you'll have access to your dashboard via the mobile app at any time, from anywhere. This means that when a review or question is made, you and your staff will be able to respond quickly, gaining a new customer right away.
Once you're on the Google My Business page, select "Manage Now" by clicking the large, green button.
Step 3. Business Name
What is the name of your business?
Provide the information as requested. This is an easy part to complete. Provide a name that will be recognized by your customers if you have multiple names.
Step 4. Business Location
Enter where your business is located. If you don't have a physical location then select 'I deliver goods and services then click on hide my address to hide your address to make sure it isn't shown to your customers.
Step 5. Area of Service
In this section, you will provide your area of Service. If you run a service-based company without any location, then choose "Specific areas" and list the areas you serve.
If you do have a physical location and only offer your services to those who live nearby, choose "Distance around your business location" and enter the desired number of miles or kilometers.
Please only use your primary location for now if your company has multiple locations, you can add that later.
Step 6. Business Category
Choose a business category that suits your business best. Tell Google what you do, start by typing in the letter, and a drop-down of suggestions of various categories you can choose from will appear. Choose one that fits your business best.
Step 7. Contact Details
Your customers can only contact you through the contact details you provided. This section is optional but if you choose to fill it out, make sure you input the correct details.
The next step is to verify your business. I will be showing you how to verify your business in the next topic.
How to verify your business
Google My Business is a very powerful and essential tool to boost your visibility In Google search results. The first step to Optimizing your Google My Business Profile is to verify your business. I have shown you steps on how to set up an account, now we are going to look at How to verify your business. Verification of your business is very important because it ensures that your information is displayed accurately to enable you to see statistics and customer reviews, and also lets Google know that you alone have access to the profile.
Here are steps to verify your business
Step 1. Sign In to your account
To get started on the verification of your account you need to start by signing into your Google My Business Account by going to https://www.google.com/business/
If you don't have a Google My Business Account, go to Google My Business website and click on the blue button that displays "Start Now", fill in the necessary details in the provided boxes. If you need a detailed guide, check out the 'How to create a Google My Business account' section above for a step-by-step guide. Once your account has been created, sign in to your account.
Step 2: Click On the Verify button
When you sign in to your account on your dashboard you will see a 'Verify' button next to your business name. Click to start the verification process.
Step 3: Choose the Verification Method
You can verify your business on Google My Business through several methods:
Email Verification: Google will send you a verification code in your email which you would confirm by entering the code on your Google My Business dashboard to complete your verification.
Postcard Verification: Here Google will mail your verification code to the business address you provided, once received, enter the code in your Google My Business dashboard to complete the process.
Phone number Verification: This is the final method of verification, here Google will call the business number you provided and then provide you with the verification code. Enter the code in your Google My Business dashboard in the space provided to verify your account.
Make sure you choose the method of verification that is convenient for you, also note that depending on your business category some verification methods might not be available or accessible.
Step 4: Wait to be Verified
Wait for your verification to be complete and approved. Once you have followed these methods of verification accurately, you will have to wait for Google to review your business and get you verified. This period might take a few days, just be patient.
Step 5: Confirmation
Once your business is Verified you will have to go through the information you provided to make sure it's accurate or correct. You won't like to provide misleading information to avoid losing some potential customers.
The verification process is very important to ensure the visibility of your business on Google search Maps and results.
Adding your business information
In this section, I will be providing ways on how you can add your business information on Google My Business Profile.
Sign in to your account
To add your business information to your Google My Business Profile you will need to sign in to your account.
Click on the info tab on the left-hand menu once you have successfully signed in to your account. Here you can edit your business information
Add your business name
If you haven't already done this, you can edit it in this section. This should be a name that is highly recognized by your customers, use something they can easily recognize. Make sure your business name is accurately spelled, and it's the same IN all your Online Presence like Facebook, Instagram, Website URL, etc.
Simply click the pencil icon next to the "Business name" field and type your business name to add your business name.
Your business category helps to attract customers who search for businesses like yours and enable Google to understand your business. Here you should add a category that best describes what you do, while typing a drop-down menu containing category suggestions from Google will be provided, and you should choose the best fit.
Basic information like your contact details, phone number, address, and website URL shouldn't be omitted. This is essential because it helps customers to find your business on Google Maps and search results and also know your location.
Make sure all this information is up-to-date. If you have a business address, you will need to enter your address including your zip code or postal code, street address, country, city or state, etc. But if you don't have an address, you can provide your services and hide your address.
After you are done adding your business address, you need to add your phone number and website URL. To do this Simply click the pencil icon next to each field and enter the appropriate information to add your phone number and website URL.
This is important information to update on your profile, it lets your customers know when to visit and when not to visit your store. To add your business section, Click On the icon on the Hours and provide your operation hours for each day of the week as well as your closing hours.
How to add photos and videos to your listing
There are several ways you can add photos and videos to your profile and I will be walking you through that in this section.
Photos and videos help you stand out from the crowd because it's a visual representation of your business. It helps customers understand what your business is all about with the photos and videos that will showcase when they search for your business online.
Photos and videos can be a great way to highlight how your products are made, what your company looks like, and what your team members look like, and also showcase the facilities in your business. It helps make a remarkably strong first impression on your target customers.
Here are some types of photos you can add to your business listing:
Cover photo: This can sometimes be the first thing a customer sees when they visit your profile. It's a photo that is set at the top of your profile that serves as a representative of your business.
Business photos: These could be anything relating to the service you offer or products. This is what aids customers in their purchase decision-making.
Logo: This helps to highlight your business on Google search results.
Exterior photo: These photos show the location of your business, making it easier for customers to find you.
Interior photos: This she's the design and interiors of your business, giving your customers the view and feels of your business atmosphere.
Product photos: Here you display the pictures of your products to give your customers an idea of what your products are like and be able to trust you.
Rooms: If your business is in the hotel industry, this photo is a selling point for your business. It showcases what your room looks like and its standard. This helps customers to plan their stay at your hotel during a vacation.
Photo of your team members: This helps customers to know that your company has a group of happy and satisfied people who work together to achieve a common goal.
Foods and drinks: For the restaurant industry, help customers choose the perfect place for dinner by showcasing your dish.
Common area: Help potential customers picture the luxuries and amenities they might be enjoying if you work in the hospitality industry.
How to Add Photos and Videos to Your Profile
1. First is to log in to your Google My Business Profile.
2. Click on the photos tab in the left-hand menu.
3. Choose the type of photos you want to add or video based on the categories I provided above.
4. It's time to click on the Add button once you have selected the photo or video you want to add.
5. After uploading you can choose to add captions or locations. This is optional, but if you choose to provide it, it's a great way to provide more information about the photos and also gives location, especially if you added an "Exterior Photo."
6. Once you are done, Click on the Publish button to publish your photo or video.
What kind of photos are best?
When uploading a photo on Google My Business Profile it's not advisable to lie about the reality of your business.
Present your photo in an authentic form do not colorize, edit, or try to enhance your photo, it does make any sense trying to do so. When uploading photos on Google My Business Profile you should upload high-quality, appealing photos that can make a strong impression on your customers.
Best photos to upload
Profile Photo: this is the most important aspect of your profile. It is the first image customers will see when they come to your listing, it appears next to your business name on Google search hence this photo should be appealing and of high quality.
Tips for Choosing a Photo
- High-quality photos: Your profile photo should be clear, sharp, with good composition, and of high quality. Don't add burly photos.
- Logo or professional photos: You can add your logo to your profile page or choose to add a high-quality professional photo. As a Freelancer a photo of yourself is approachable.
- Square format: According to Google, My Business photo requirements make sure your photo is square. All dimensions should be equal on all sides. If you don't have a square image you can crop the ones you already have.
- Avoid graphics: Your profile shouldn't include any graphics or text. It should be clear.
- Always keep it updated: If you make any changes like rebranding or changing your business image, do make sure it reflects on your profile picture.
With the above listed, in summary, the best photo to use on Google My Business Profile is your profile picture, it conveys your business Personality. Make sure your profile picture is void of text and graphic-free. It should be clear and original, not edited or enhanced. It should be a typical representative of what business brand. No matter what you choose for your profile picture, whether it be a Logo or a professional image of your team or company, make sure it is according to Google My Business photo requirement (Square). Choose your profile photo wisely, because you can make a strong impression on potential customers and also help build trust.
Tips for adding photos to your Google My Business profile
Adding Photos to Your Google My Business Profile is an effective way to show your product to potential customers. In this section, I will be giving you Tips for Adding Photos to Your Google My Business Profile. But before that, I will love to share the benefits of adding Photos to Google My Business.
Photos create trust in the mind of your customers. When they are able to see your Exterior Photos (photos of the outside view of your company or business), Interior Photos (photos of the designs and feel of your business), products photos, and photos of your team members they will feel more confident in your brand and trust you.
Although your business description is very important to your business and also to the customers, photos enable them to virtualize what you wrote down in the description and determine whether they will go ahead with your brand or not. It helps to greatly increase engagement.
Google's Photo and Videos Requirements
Use real, unfiltered photos
As I said earlier, you need to come clean to your customers and show them the reality of what you do. Make your photos a typical representative of your business in the real world, don't give misleading information through your photos.
Google's primary goal in creating the Google My Business platform is to assist in bringing the offline business world online. This necessitates only posting images and videos that accurately reflect your company's physical location, keeping in mind that more and more users are using Google My Business to research local businesses before making purchases on a daily basis.
1. JPG or PNG format
2. Size between 10KB and 5MB.
3. Minimum resolution of 720px x 720px
1. Maximum duration is 30 seconds
2. Maximum file size 100MB
3. Minimum resolution 720px
Tips for adding photos to your Google My Business profile
1. Use relevant photos
Use images that represent your business, products, and services accurately. For example, if you run a hotel industry, you should include photos of the rooms in the hotel, sit-outs, the reception, interior and exterior design of your hotel, the bathroom design, the workers or staff, etc. For the restaurant industry, you should include photos and videos of your food, dishes, menu items, the interior design of the restaurant, your staff, your cooks in the kitchen, etc. These photos give credibility and trust to your customers. Make sure it's up-to-date.
2. High-quality photos
High-quality images help your business stand out among other competitors. Make sure your image is blurry-free, well-lit, and clear. Use a camera or smartphone with high resolution. Avoid stock photos and poor image quality. They are a big turn-off for potential customers.
3. Use professional photos
Want to gain trust and credibility? Then add a professional photo to your Google My Business Profile. They make a great impression on customers and to attain this, you can use Google My Business photos or hire professional photographers to get high-quality professional photos.
4. Use different types of photo
It's important to use different photos such as Exterior Photos, Interior Photos, Products and Services photos, Common area Photos, etc. This helps customers have a better understanding of your business or what your business offer
5. Showcases your products/services
One great way to showcase what your offer is by providing or uploading videos on it. However, you need to make sure your photos or videos are of high quality. If you are a hairstylist, include photos of your salon, your teams, and most importantly your work.
6. Captions and Keywords
This is an important aspect when it comes to adding Photos to Your Google My Business Profile. Captions give more details about your photos while keywords help improve your local SEO.
Make sure the keywords and captions added are all relevant and provide an accurate description of the photo added.
For example: If you run a restaurant, you can add photos and videos of dishes you ate at your restaurant and use the name of the dish as a caption.
7. Post Regularly
Adding Photos and videos of your business regularly increases engagement and credibility. Your customers will see your business as trustworthy and credible and will also recommend it to their friends. Don't forget to add new photos whenever you have one, for example, photos of events, promotions, or new launches.
1. Make sure to add any new products or services you have on Google My Business in order to create awareness and increase engagement.
2. Take some photos and videos of happy customers in and around your business because smiles can go a long way with users who are on the fence.
3. To keep your listing on top, make sure you remove or flag images that do not accurately represent your brand and that break Google's Photo guidelines.
4. Get your business Verified if it isn't.
We'll update this guide each month over the next six months to provide a fully comprehensive guide to using Google My Business, so do check back regularly for more help and tips as we publish them.