Google Business Profile (GBP) is a must-have for every business. Having a GBP listing is the only requirement to appear in the three pack - the Google Maps snippets that appear in the search results page.
If you’ve managed to successfully verify your listing (depending, that could’ve been a painless or painful experience!) your next step should be to optimise it. This is crucial in ensuring the listing has the best chance to appear in the search results.
Log into the Google Business Profile interface and navigate to the “Info” tab on the far left menu in the interface. This tab is where you’ll fill out all relevant information:
Use your preferred business name. This does not need to be a legal trading name.
There are two types of business categories: primary and additional. A full list of available categories can be found here.
Only one primary category can be selected. This will be visible on the listing, so choose the single most relevant option that you want your customers to see. Additional categories are not visible on the listing, but help inform Google about your other product/service areas. We’ve found these to be a major ranking factor.
As such, we highly recommend adding as many additional categories as possible to maximise your chance of ranking. Just make sure they’re appropriate – don’t go overboard!
Pretty straightforward – plug in your physical address.
If your business delivers goods and services to a location, we suggest also filling in the Service Area field:
Enter your usual business opening hours.
The “special hours” field also lets you specify opening hours for particular dates. This is particularly useful for public holidays, or any other shutdown period.
It’s best to submit any special hours well ahead of the date so that the system has ample time to approve it.
Enter the phone number that you want customers to call you on. People will be able to click-to-call this number directly from your GMB listing.
Enter the phone number that you want customers to call you on. People will be able to click-to-call this number directly from your GBP listing.
As a general rule, we do not recommend using 0800 or toll-free numbers. The nature of the Google Business Profile platform focuses on “local”, so using a regional number that people can recognise is better.
Note that only the primary phone number appears on the listing.
You can submit additional phone numbers as well. However, in our experience, we haven’t yet seen any additional phone number publish to listings.
If your website uses Google Analytics, we recommend adding UTM tracking to yourURL.
This allows you to separate out the visitors coming from your GBP listing from other organic search traffic.If you’d like to know more, read about UTM tracking here.
Depending on the business category chosen earlier, you’ll have access to different types of attributes. Retail store listings offer a colourful array of options:
After being discontinued a few years back, Google revived the business description feature to listings in mid-2018.
The business description offers a section of customisable text that appears at the bottom of your listing. Write up a few sentences about your business and what you do.
The 750-character limit offers quite a lot of space. Do keep in mind paragraph formatting is not supported, so things can quickly turn into a block of indigestible text. No more than 300 characters will show by default. As such, we suggest keeping it short and sweet - 4 to 6 sentences at maximum.
A picture speaks a thousand words. Photos are an excellent way to showcase your business. Coincidentally, more photos increase your odds of ranking!
The “cover photo” is the single most important image. This is the first photo that people will see whenever your listing appears in the search results, so choose an image which best represents your business.
Below we outline the other types of photos that should also be added to the listing. Keep in mind that not all may be applicable for your business:
Profile: Best to use your business logo.
By customer: Customers can also add photos to your listing. If this is the case, any contributed photos will appear here for you. If you don’t like their photos, they can be nuisance to remove; you will have to manually report it to Google for review.
360: This is automatically generated by Google streetview. As such, there is currently no option to change or personalise this, but we’re hoping that in future Google gives us more control.
Interior: Interior photos of your store.
Exterior: Exterior photos of your store.
Product: Showcase any products you stock. If you are a service business, try using images of your team at work.
Food & Drink: Only applicable for hospitality businesses.
Team: Photos of your staff.
We did promise this article would be a 30 min guide. So we won’t keep you…….but getting reviews is incredibly important for your GBP listing! This is an on-going activity, and deserves an article in the future in its own right.
If you need help with optimising your GBP listing or general SEO, see our SEO services we offer.