Creating the Perfect Business Profile
As we discussed in our last video, just having a Google Business Profile is a vast improvement over not having one. However, while a quick and dirty setup is a great place to start, if you really want to get the most out of this free resource, you should take some time to refine your profile.
For those following along, the following profile options are available once you click the “Edit Profile” button.
Most of the time people only select one category when they create their GBP profile – but Google allows you to select multiple business categories. Take some time to search through the categories related to your business and choose those that best fit the products or services that you provide. Be sure to select a primary category that best fits your industry.
For example, if you are a criminal defense attorney, choose Criminal Defense Lawyer as your primary category – not Lawyer. Lawyer is still a good choice to consider for a secondary category – but choosing it as your primary category may cause Google to misunderstand your service and direct the wrong sort of prospects to your listing. We recommend choosing no more than three categories. In our experience, going beyond three categories adds complexity and doesn’t usually create a more effective listing.
The description is your opportunity to quickly describe your business. You have 750 characters available – and remember that each and every character, space, carriage return, and punctuation mark counts!
Your description should mention:
- The name of your business
- Explain what services or products your business provides
- Why your customer should choose to do business with you
This field is as simple as they come and is the date your business opened. Regardless of whether or not your business is well established or brand new, Google likes to see information and you should fill this out.
Be sure that this is correct and use this opportunity to add any secondary numbers if necessary. Remember, if customers reach a disconnected number or a full voicemail box, they probably will not take the time to try again later!
If your business has a website, this is where you put its web address. If you do not have a website, this is where you’ll be able to manage the free website that Google provides you.
We will explore this option in greater detail in Part 3 of this blog series.
If your business has a physical location where customers can visit, put your address here. Be sure to include any relevant information that will help your customers find your business – particularly if your business is in a difficult to find location.
For businesses that operate within a service area it is important to have your GBP be as specific as possible, and don’t be afraid to choose overlapping descriptions.
For example, you’ll want to select the state you service, as well as the county, the towns within that county, and even the zip codes within those towns! Don’t leave any of your service areas out – giving Google this information will help your customers find your business listing.
Google caps your service areas at 20 – so be sure to prioritize your most important markets.
This section is self explanatory – with a caveat: unless you have someone answering your business phone line 24 hours a day – resist the temptation to select the option that you’re open 24 hours! Many small business owners make the argument that they have their cell phone with them at all times and thus can answer calls – but we’ve found that nearly no one answers business calls when they’re asleep in bed!
The hours you select should match the hours that your customers can expect to be able to get in contact with you or visit your shop. Remember, your GBP is setting customer expectations, and it is important to set expectations that you can live up to!
Lunches and Siestas
Does your business close for lunch? Or are you a restaurant which doesn’t offer service between lunch and dinner? Google makes it easy to put these mid-day closures in. Simply use the ‘+’ button next to the day to add another time field.
Your Google Business Profile is one of the most powerful tools for driving customers to your business, so including accurate opening hours is vital. If you know that your business is going to be closed or have different hours for a particular holiday, you can set these changes in advance. This will help you avoid unhappy customers who show up to a closed storefront!
Note: You can even add extended hours for particular holidays – holiday hours does not have to mean closures!
Google offers businesses the ability to include details ranging from “by appointment only” to “veteran owned business.” It’s a good idea to go through these options carefully and choose all that apply to your business.
Your customers will be able to see these attributes on your listing and it helps them make their decision.
Optimized GBP = More Customers & Happier Customers
Optimizing your Google Business Profile is one of the best ways to get more customers looking at your business and to make those customers more likely to choose your business. By giving Google more information, Google will know which customers to show your listing to, increasing your access to potential customers. Once customers are on your listing, having all of your relevant information like your correct business hours, holiday closures, and up to date contact information will ensure that you don’t lose prospects who call or visit your location and are unable to reach you.
In Part 2 of our Google Business Profile optimization series, we will do a deep dive into optimizing your GBP service listings. If your business is service-based you’re not going to want to miss this!