Creating a Google business profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is a crucial step for any business owner looking to increase visibility and help potential customers find their business on Google search and maps. A Google business profile makes your business discoverable across Google search results and on Google Maps so customers can easily find your business name, address, phone number, website, photos, and more directly from your profile.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through all the steps you need to create a Google business profile from scratch, optimize your listing, and manage your business information so customers can easily search and find your small business.
Understanding Google Business Profiles
Google business profiles have become essential for local businesses to connect with customers on Google. According to Google, businesses with complete profiles are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers searching online.
So what exactly is a Google business profile? Known as Google My Business until recently, a Google business profile is a free business listing displayed prominently across Google services. This includes:
- Google Search: Your business name, address, and phone number can appear in Google search results related to your products or services.
- Google Maps: Your location will be shown on Google Maps so customers can find directions and information about your business.
- Google Ads: You can create Google Ads campaigns directly from your profile to attract nearby customers.
- Google Reviews: Customers can leave reviews for your business based on Google search or map searches.
In other words, an optimized Google business profile makes your small business discoverable and helps potential customers find and learn about your business across multiple Google platforms. It allows customers to see your hours, contact info, photos, and more in just a few clicks.
How to Create a Google Business Profile: Step-By-Step
Now that you understand the importance of a Google business profile, let’s walk through the step-by-step process for business owners to create one from scratch.
Step 1: Create or Sign Into Your Google Account
The first step is making sure you have a Google Account for your business. This is necessary for creating and managing your listing. If you already manage Google Ads campaigns or other Google services with an existing account, you can use that account.
If you don’t have a Google account yet, go to google.com and click Sign In > Create an account. Follow the prompts to set up your new account using your business email address.
Step 2: Search for Your Business on Google
Before setting up a new profile, you should first search for your business on Google to see if a listing already exists.
Go to google.com/business and type your business name into the search bar. You may also want to try variations, like abbreviations or acronyms.
If an existing profile comes up for your business, you have two options:
- Claim ownership if you know you created the profile previously. Click “Own this business?” below the profile photo and follow the prompts to verify ownership.
- Request ownership if someone else created a profile without your permission. Click “Own this business?” then “Manage now >” and submit a request to take over the listing.
If no listing appears at all for your business name and address, you can create a brand-new Google business profile from scratch.
Step 3: Go to business.google.com
Now that you’ve made sure there’s no current profile for your business, go to business.google.com while signing into your Google Account.
Click “Sign In” or the blue button “Manage now” if you claimed an existing listing in the previous step.
Step 4: Enter Your Business Information
You’ll now fill in important details about your business so the listing can be as complete and accurate as possible across Google.
Start by entering your:
- Business name – Official or legal name
- Location – Full business address
- Main phone number customers can call
- Business website URL (if applicable)
- Primary category that best describes your business
As you’re entering information, Google may prompt you to change inputs to meet their listing guidelines. It’s important not to optimize your listing to the point it appears fraudulent or misleading to customers searching Google.
Step 5: Add Business Details
Next, you can provide additional details known as attributes about your business to help customers learn about your products and services:
- Business hours – When you’re open during the week
- Business description – Short summary of key details
- Services – Specific products or offerings
- Photos – Images showing your business location, signage, products, etc.
- Menu links – URLs to view menus (mainly restaurants)
- COVID safety details – Health and safety measures taken
The photos attribute is especially important as Google profiles with photos tend to perform up to 42% better in local search rankings.
Step 6: Verify Your Business on Google
Once your business details are filled in, the final step is verifying your business so Google can confirm you are the legitimate owner. The main methods are:
- Instant verification – If Google can automatically verify your business immediately, you’ll get a confirmation on the spot. No additional steps are needed.
- Postcard – Google will mail a verification PIN to your business address within 14 days. Enter the PIN when received.
- Phone call – Answer an automated call and speak the 4-digit PIN to verify.
- Email – Follow the email link to verify your address in 2-3 days.
- Video – Proceed to the steps given and take a video from your device.
After your business is verified by one of the above methods, your listing will appear across Google with an official “verified” badge to signal legitimacy to search customers.
Optimizing Your Google Business Profile
With your Google business profile set up, it’s time to optimize the listing so it stands out in local search and helps drive new customers to your small business.
Here are some key optimization tips:
- Keep your business hours, phone number, address, and other details updated so customers have accurate information. You can edit these directly within your Google business profile.
- Add high-quality photos showing your storefront, products, services, staff, and customers. Photos can enhance click-through rates up to 35%.
- Update your categories and attributes as your offerings change so Google understands what your business provides. This ensures your listing appears for relevant customer searches.
- Encourage happy customers to leave 5-star Google reviews about their experience. Positive reviews boost click-through rates and conversion rates. Respond professionally to any negative feedback.
- Monitor your profile’s search appearance and Google Maps placement. Continue optimizing weak areas.
By keeping your Google business profile optimized with current, detailed information, you make it easier for interested customers in your area to find and choose your local business from search and map results.
Manage Your Profile to Attract Nearby Customers
Now that you’ve optimized all key areas of your profile, managing your listing on an ongoing basis is crucial for maintaining visibility as customers search Google for local businesses like yours.
Here are some important management tips:
- Sign up for Google alerts related to your business name so you’re notified if any unverified listings are created. You can then request ownership.
- Check profile metrics like search appearance, photo views, and clicks to see what’s performing well. Identify new areas needing optimization.
- Monitor Insights showing estimated calls, directions, clicks, and views generated by your profile. Trends indicate how well you’re connecting with searching customers.
- Keep the listing accurate and respond promptly if Google flags any data needing updates or issues warnings about guideline violations requiring fixes.
- Consider advertising options like Google Ads to further amplify your brand locally across Google search and maps.
Properly managing your Google business profile keeps customers viewing key information and helps small businesses stand out in competitive markets to win new local business.
By following this step-by-step guide, any small business can create, optimize, and manage a Google business profile to boost visibility across Google’s vast network and attract customers from search, maps, and other Google tools.