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Grow with Google helps people across the United States grow their skills, careers, and businesses by offering free tools, training, and events.

Verifying and managing your Business Profile helps local businesses be found on Google Search and Maps.

In today’s Cultivate Course you will learn the following:

  • What Is A Business Profile On Google?
  • How To Create A Business Profile
  • How To Manage Business Info
  • Resources

Speaker: Traci Bakenhaster, Founder & CEO | Design & Renew Career and Finance Coaching

FREE Download: [Handout] Get Your Local Business On Google Search and Maps.pdf

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Video Transcriptions:

Table of Contents

Introduction

Hi Everyone! Welcome to today’s workshop: Get Your Local Business On Google Search and Maps. My name is Traci Bakenhaster walking through these aspects today talk about how to get your business seen on Google. 

Grow with Google helps people across the United States grow their skills, careers, and businesses by offering free tools, training, and events.

In today’s workshop you’ll learn how to set up, verify, and manage your Business Profile on Google. Verifying and managing your Business Profile helps local businesses be found on Google Search and Maps. For any nonprofits here today, this tool works the same for you. Organizations that see local customers or clients face-to-face (in a store or by visiting a customer’s location) can benefit from having a Business Profile. Once you create and claim your Business Profile (called verification) you can manage your information as it appears across Google Search and Maps. This helps potential customers find important information, including phone numbers, hours of operation, and driving directions.

Let’s get started.

Agenda

Today’s workshop will be divided into four sections. We’ll spend the first few minutes explaining a “Business Profile on Google”—what it is, what it includes, and where it appears. Next, we’ll review the steps to creating and verifying your free Business Profile. Third, we’ll discuss how to manage your business information and show you how to make updates. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a quick recap and some suggested resources to help you learn more.

What is a Business Profile on Google?

What is a Google Business Profile? It’s a new name: to keep things simple, “Google My Business” was renamed “Google Business Profile.” A Business Profile is a free way to help your business information appear correctly on Google Search and Maps. A verified Business Profile allows you to update your address, phone number, website, open hours, plus answer reviews, and more to help customers find and connect with your business. Business Profiles can only be created for businesses that either has physical location customers can visit, or that travel to visit customers where they are. The general rule is that a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.

Some examples of ineligible businesses include rental or for-sale properties such as vacation homes, model homes, or vacant apartments. Sales or leasing offices, however, are eligible for verification. Now, if your business hasn’t opened yet, you can still create a Business Profile and let your community know that you’ll be opening soon. You can set your future opening date, engage with customers, and announce when and where you’ll be open for business. To do this, when you create your Business Profile, be sure to choose the “Verify later” option when you’re prompted to verify. Then, set your future opening date before you verify your business. That way, you’ll prevent your business from falsely appearing on Google as “open.”

Ineligible businesses also include online-only stores, booths at farmers markets, food trucks that appear at different locations on different days, fitness class instructors who teach at different places, etc, an ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.

Anatomy of A Business Profile on Google

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a Business Profile. The image on the screen shows the Business Profile of Village Tailor & Cleaners as it appears on a mobile device. It highlights various areas of the Business Profile: Photos and Videos, Names, Overview, Reviews, Quick Links, and Locations.

When a shopper discovers your Business Profile, they’ll see information about your business — your address, phone number, contact info, hours of operation, and more, including photos and videos, which help customers get a look at your store and its products. Customer reviews, which allow people to see what others say about your business. Quick links, which offer easy access to messages, your website, and more.

Business Profiles Appear On Google Search

This slide shows an example of a Business Profile. It appears on the right side of a search results page. Creating a Business Profile allows you to edit the information Google displays, so your business details are up-to-date and consistent across Search and Maps. Creating a Business Profile won’t guarantee that your business will appear in the search results, but it can help.

Google Maps

The image shows how the same business can also appear on Google Maps, pulling the information from their Business Profile. Appearing on Google Maps is important; people visit 1.5 billion destinations every month related to their Google Searches. And people are searching locally—there are billions of local searches made monthly, and more than 30% of all mobile searches are related to location. Businesses with storefronts open to customers—and those that meet with customers in local service areas—can appear on Google Maps.

There are many “signals” Google uses to determine which results to show, including relevancy, distance, and prominence. Relevancy is how well a Business Profile matches a search. If your Business Profile is detailed and up-to-date, Google is more likely to show it for relevant searches. Distance is just what it sounds like: how close is the business to the searcher, or to the area specified? Prominence is gauged by how well-known the business is, based on information Google can find across the web.

Across All Devices

Business Profiles work on all devices, so potential customers can find you no matter how they get online. The image here shows how a Business Profile appears on a mobile phone, laptop, and tablet. They all show a range of details to help searchers find the information they need about your business.

This is particularly important because smartphones have become indispensable shopping tools, and many people rely on them to do research and make purchases.

How To Get Started

Here’s how to get started if you haven’t claimed your Business Profile yet: Click the link labeled “Own this business? Claim it now.”

The image on this slide shows the Business Profile of Village Tailor & Cleaners appearing on a mobile device with a callout pointing out, “Own this business? Claim it now.”

If you don’t see this link, you can visit google.com/business to get the process started.

How to create a Business Profile

Let’s talk about creating a Business Profile on Google.

What Is A Google Business Profile?

One of the ways to access your Business Profile on Google is by visiting google.com/business. If you already have an account you can click “Sign in.” If you’re new to creating or confirming your Business Profile, click “Manage Now.” The image on this slide shows the sign-in page, with a “Manage Now” button.

Step 1: Sign Into Your Google Account

In order to use most Google products, including managing a Business Profile, you need to be signed in to your Google account. This provides a single sign-in (username and password) that lets you access all the connected Google products. For example, if you sign into Gmail (which is automatically a Google account), you don’t need to sign in again to access your calendar and docs—they’re all connected.

The GIF shows an animation of how to sign in to your account.

If you don’t have a Google account, you can set one up for free. You can choose to get a new Gmail email address, or you can use another email address you already have to register for a Google account by visiting: accounts.google.com/signup.

If your business/employer uses Google Workspace, you may have an email address that doesn’t look like a Gmail address but is still a Google account. If you aren’t sure if your work email is Google Workspace or not, check with your team at work.

The Google account you use should be one with an email address you check regularly. Google will communicate with you about your Business Profile through that email address. The email address used to verify the account is not visible to your customers.

Step 2: Find Or Add Your Business

Once you’re signed into Google, you can start the process of claiming or creating a Business Profile.

The first step is to type in the name of your business as you want it to appear on Google. As you begin typing your business name, a drop-down list may appear. If you see a list of businesses, scan the results for yours. If your business name does appear, click on it. This skips you ahead of one step.

If that’s the case, you won’t enter business details. You’ll immediately be asked to “Confirm your business.” Don’t worry if you want to make changes to your information—I’ll show you how to do that in a few slides after you’ve verified your Business Profile.

If you type in your business name and it doesn’t appear in the list—or you don’t see any options listed—just click “Next.” This image shows a search bar allowing you to enter your business name when creating a Business Profile.

Step 3: Build Your Business Profile

Confirm that your business name is spelled correctly. Then, enter a category for your business. If you can’t find the perfect category, choose something close. You can change this later, and add other categories. Click next.

Step 4: Do You Have A Location Customers Visit?

You’ll be asked to choose whether or not your business has a physical location that customers can visit. Many local service-area businesses operate out of private homes. If you have a service-area business and see your customers face-to-face, but at the customer’s location, or a local common area (such as a coffee shop), you can hide your address.

These businesses can still appear on Google Maps without displaying the address or driving directions. The areas that you service will be highlighted on the map. This screenshot shows the service area setup step. It asks, “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?” with the option to choose Yes or No.

Businesses cannot use a P.O. box as the business address for their Business Profile. (They wouldn’t want new customers driving to the post office expecting to see them there.) For businesses without a physical location and those who check they are a service-based business, during the final step of the verification process they’ll be asked to enter an address to receive their verification postcard.

If a home-based business has already been verified and has their address appearing on Google Maps, they can update their profile (under the Info tab) to remove their address and add in their service area.

If Yes, Enter The Address

If you checked yes, you’ll be asked to enter the complete, official street address for your business. Please don’t include extra details, like cross-streets or nearby landmarks. You can add suite or office numbers on the separate address line (click “Add Line”).  P.O. boxes are not considered accurate physical locations and are not allowed. This includes mailboxes at locations other than your business address, such as shipping stores. This image shows how to enter your business address when creating a Business Profile.

You Can Also Add A Service Area

If your business has a physical address but also delivers goods and services to customers, you have the option to add a service area, too. You will also see this screen if you checked “No” on the screen that asked if you have a physical location that customers can visit. If you are a service area-only business, you will see another screen that asks for your mailing address. This will NOT be public on Google Search and Maps. It will only be used to complete the verification process for your business.

Reminder: a Business Profile is available only for businesses that have storefronts or serve local customers in a service area. To add a service area, you can enter cities, postal codes, or other area descriptions like neighborhoods and districts. When you’re done, click “Next” to go to the next step.

Step 5: Enter Business Contact Info

Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your phone number or website URL. Providing current info will help customers get in touch and learn more about your business. When you’re done, click “Next” to go to the next step. This screenshot shows how to add business contact info, including a phone number and website URL.

Step 6: Choose Verification Method

Now we start the verification process, to confirm the business location and your authorization to manage the Business Profile. This slide shows two verification options: via phone number and by mail. You may not see the phone option, but everyone has the option to verify by mail.

Verifying by mail will send a postcard to the business address you entered. If you are a service-area business only and did not enter an address you will be prompted to enter an address for the postcard. This address will NOT appear on Google Search and Maps, it’s for verification only.

If you’re ready to start the verification process, click Mail. If your business isn’t yet open, or you want to wait to start the process, click “Verify Later.”

There is, on rare occasions, an option to receive a phone call verification that appears on this screen. If it appears, the person needs to make sure they’re available to answer the number they provided for the business. Recommend that they have a piece of paper and pen handy as they’ll receive an automated call that will give them a six-digit verification code.

Your Postcard Is On The Way

When you click Mail, a postcard is sent your way. It should arrive within five days but could take as long as 14 days. If anyone else at your location checks the mail (such as a family member or receptionist), be sure they know to be on the lookout for the postcard for you.

This screenshot shows the verification confirmation page indicating that a postcard will be sent to your business address.

During times of peak activity, postcards can take up to 14 days to arrive. Lookout for an envelope from Google that will have the verification code inside. The business owner must sign into their Business Profile and add the code.

Add Your Services

You may be prompted to add some additional information that can help your Business Profile stand out on Google. Depending on the business category you selected, you may be offered service options. This screenshot shows how a shoe repair shop has the option to add services such as “adhesive repair” and “heel repair.” Select the options that are relevant to your business. If you have unique services that aren’t offered to you here, you can create your own.

Add Business Hours

You will have the option to add the days and times your business is open. Later, you will have the option to add special hours, for holidays and other dates when your business may have different hours.

Turn On Messaging

You have the option to turn on messaging, which allows customers to send you messages directly from your Business Profile.

Write A Business Description

You may also see this prompt to add a business description. Describe your business: what you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know. Focus primarily on details about your business instead of details about promotions, prices, or sales. You have 750 characters. Do not include URLs or HTML code.

Add Some Photos

You can add photos of the storefront, products, and services to provide more information about your business. You can also add videos of up to 30 seconds. This image shows the add photos page.

Photo guidelines. Photos must JPG or PNG format, between 10 KB and 5 MB. Recommended resolution:  720 px tall, 720 px wide. Minimum resolution:  250 px tall, 250 px wide.

Video guidelines. Duration: Up to 30 seconds long. File size: Up to 100 MB. Resolution: 720p or higher.

Connect To Google Ads

If you’re interested in trying advertising on Google you can click “Start now.” Otherwise, click “Skip.”

Wait For Your Verification Postcard

Now you need to wait for the postcard to arrive in the mail. It typically takes five business days. Once you have the card, head back to google.com/business and sign in.

Look for the area in your dashboard prompting you to enter a pin code. Once you enter the pin, the Business Profile verification is complete and your information is eligible to appear on Google Search and Maps.

The pin code expires after thirty days; if you miss the window, you can request another postcard and restart the process. While you’re waiting for your postcard, you can add and edit the information about your business. It won’t go live before the verification is complete, but it lets you create a strong Business Profile right away.

Let’s look at how to do that.

How To Manage Business Info

Remember that your Business Profile is a way to let customers know about your goods or services, so you want to be sure that what they see is informative, accurate, and up-to-date.

Manage Info Directly From Google Search Results

Authorized Business Profile managers can edit and update business info directly on a Google Search results page. You must be signed into the Google account that manages that Business Profile – in other words, other people cannot make edits to your business.

Start by doing a Google search for your business name. You should see your business appear, with buttons that allow you to edit different types of information. The buttons are labeled “Edit profile,” “Promote,” and “Customers.” You can update most elements of your Business Profile from here.

Let’s take a closer look.

How To Edit Profile Info

The first section is called “Edit Profile.” That’s the area where you will update most of your basic business information plus Products, Services, and Photos.

Edit Profile: Business, Category, Description, & Opening Date

When you click Edit Profile and then Business information, a box opens with links at the top. The first link is “About.” That’s where you can edit your business name, category, description, and opening date.

Click on the area you want to edit and a pencil icon will appear. Clicking the pencil icon will allow you to make edits and save the changes.

If you’ve already created and verified your business, you added your business name and category. This is where you can make edits if needed. Make sure the name on your Business Profile matches with your storefront, website, stationery, and other branding—it should be the way your customers know you.

If you want to update your category or add additional categories, this is where you would do that. You can add up to 10 categories, with the first category being your primary category. It’s OK if you can’t find the perfect category—just choose something close. You can clarify your offerings in your Business Description and by adding photos, videos, and updates (posts).

Edit Profile: Contact

The next section is labeled “Contact.” From here you can enter your phone number and website. Your phone number must be either a mobile number or a landline, not a fax number. If a shopper finds your Business Profile on Google from a mobile device, they can click to call you.

Edit Profile: Location

Next, you see “Location.” This allows you to update your address and/or service area (the geographic range where you’ll visit or deliver to customers).

Keep in mind the following: If you don’t serve customers at your business address, your office is in your home, and/or you want to hide your address, leave the address field blank and only enter your service area. This will remove the pin from the maps section and create shading on the areas that you serve. If you do serve customers at your business address but also have a service area—for example, if you’re a retailer who sells to customers in-store and also delivers to their homes—enter both your address and service area.

Edit Profile: Hours

The next section under the Info tab is your hours of operation. This slide shows you how to update your hours by typing them in and clicking “Apply.

It’s important to make sure you keep your hours up-to-date because 40% of people searching for local businesses are looking for their hours of operation.1

Below the main hours, you see a section labeled “More hours.” From here you can select any options that apply to your business and enter special hours.

And, if your business has special hours on specific dates (like extended hours, or closures, for holidays), you can specify particular dates in advance. This option must be added to the dashboard, accessible at google.com/business.

Edit Profile: More

The last link, labeled “More,” takes you to the dashboard, the screen where you entered your verification code from the postcard.

You can make business info edits here, too, including a few features that are not yet available to edit on Google’s search results pages.

Edit Profile: Products

The Edit Profile section also allows you to showcase your products. Customers will see a more curated showcase of a store’s products on the Business Profile Products tab on mobile, or the Product Overview module on the computer. The Products tab is only available to businesses in categories that typically offer products.

Edit Profile: Services

The Edit Profile section also allows you to manage Services. You will see this option if your business is in a service-oriented category.

Edit Profile: Photos

The Edit Profile section also allows you to manage Photos.

Adding photos can help your Business Profile stand out on Google. You can also add videos (up to 30 seconds). Photos can tell customers more about your business.

Use photos to show how a product is made, packaged, and/or shipped. Give a tour of your space. Highlight an employee. Show an unboxing of a new product or merchandise.

Tips For Great Photos

Photos can tell customers more about your business. Use photos to show how a product is made, packaged, and/or shipped. Give a tour of your space. Highlight an employee. Show an unboxing of a new product or merchandise.

This slide shows photos from Vince’s Village Cobbler, as displayed in the Google Maps search results.

How To Promote Your Business

The Promote your business section includes options to view performance, access your Google Ads account (or get started if you wish to advertise), ask for reviews, and add posts for updates, offers, and events.

Promote: Performance

Let’s start with performance. This feature, available only for verified Business Profiles, offers insights into how people found your profile.

Insights will show you how people found your Business Profile. The reports focus on how customers use Search and Maps to find your Business Profile, and what they did once they found it. There are many different insights available, including calls, messages, bookings, requests for directions, and website clicks.

Promote: Updates

The next three options under the Promote section are “Advertise,” “Add Photos” and “Ask for reviews.” Clicking Advertise takes you to your Google Ads account (or the screen to sign up). “Add Photos” takes you back to the section found at “Edit Profile.” And, “Ask for Reviews” provides links that you can share with people so they can write reviews for your business on Google.

Let’s move on to the fourth option, called posts or updates. You can use this feature to add timely updates to your Business Profile. Posts can be seen on the “Updates” or “Overview” tabs of the Business Profile on mobile on Search and Maps and in the “From the Owner” section of the Business Profile on your computer on Search and Maps

When you edit your Business Profile in Google’s search results you will see three posts types: updates, offers, and events. Each post has slightly different fields; in this screenshot, you see an “update” post. With this type of post, you can add a photo or video, a description, and a button that can link to a page on your website.

Post Examples

Here are a few ideas for ways to use posts: Update Posts (announcements) provide general information about your business, such as a new menu item. You can include a photo/video (30 seconds or less), link, Call to Action (CTA) button, and other information.

Offer Posts advertise promotional sales or offers from your business. They require a title and start/end dates and times. A “View offer” CTA button is automatically added to these posts. You can also include a photo/video, coupon code, link, and terms and conditions with the post. This is a great option for seasonal offers.

And, event posts can help you promote upcoming events, workshops, celebrations, fundraisers, etc.

Posts (except for event posts) remain to live on the body of the Business Profile for 7 days. Event posts stay live within the body of the Business Profile until the event is over.

All uploaded media must meet the following size requirements: Minimum: 400×300 pixels and 10 KB size limit.Maximum: 10000×10000 pixels and 25 MB size limit.

How To Interact With Customers

The last section is the Customers tab. From here, you can read and respond to customer reviews and manage messages.

Customers: Reviews

Your Business Profile is where your Google reviews can be found. Once your Business Profile is verified, you have the option to read and respond to reviews about your business published on Google.

Tips For Managing Reviews

Here are a few tips: keep your responses short, sweet, polite, and professional. Don’t use responses as advertisements. Try to respond to reviews—good and bad—as quickly as possible.

When you get a positive review, thank the happy customer. If someone leaves a negative review, try to address it constructively. Business owners often ask for advice about negative reviews—usually, “How can I remove them?” Google won’t remove a review unless it violates a content policy. Instead, Google encourages business owners to respond. Responses might explain a company policy, or encourage the customer to contact you privately to resolve the issue.

If the customer does contact you and the issue is resolved, consider asking them to modify or remove the negative review.

This screenshot shows how customer reviews appear when signed into the app. The image on the left shows where reviews are located; the image on the right shows a business owner’s response to a review, which says, “Thanks for the review, Brian! We really appreciate it. Hope to see you in the store soon.”

If a business owner feels a review violates Google’s guidelines, they can go to their dashboard, find the review, click the three dots next to it and flag it as inappropriate. Google will make the final determination if the review violates Google’s guidelines.

Customers: Messages

Messages is a feature that allows customers to connect with you directly from Google Search and Maps.

In the past, you needed to provide a phone number to use this feature, but that’s no longer the case. This feature needs to be turned on; if the system detects inactivity (based on response time) it may automatically turn it off.

When a customer sends a message, it will appear here, as well as in the “Updates” tab found in the Google Maps mobile app.

Your typical response time will appear on your Business Profile, too. If you don’t respond to messages within 24 hours, Google may deactivate the messaging feature for the Business Profile.

If multiple people own or manage your Business Profile, each one can message with customers.

Some Features Are Accessed Only On The Dashboard

There are a few features that can only be updated by visiting the Business Profile dashboard. Let’s look at two of these features: attributes and managing user access to the Business Profile.

Info: Select Attributes

Attributes are optional details about your business that you can choose to highlight within your Business Profile. Some attributes are only available to certain business categories.

Some examples of new attributes are: identifies as Latino-owned, veteran-led, or women-led; Black-owned; what payment types are accepted; whether gift wrapping is available; if the location is wheelchair accessible; and much more.

You will also notice a section called “Health & Safety.” Examples include: masks required, temperature checked, appointment required, and safety dividers at checkout.

The attributes you select may be visually highlighted in search results, helping your business stand out even more.

Check back regularly to see if additional attributes are available for your Business Profile.

Managing User Access

One of the last tabs we’ll review today is the Users tab. This slide shows how to add users on a desktop or laptop computer.

The Users tab allows the Business Profile owner to invite others to help manage it. Incidentally, inviting another person only gives them access to the Business Profile, but not to any other Google products that you might use, like Gmail. In other words, they can’t read your email.

To add a manager, click “Users” from the left side navigation, then click the button labeled “Add users” in the top right corner. Now, add the email addresses of the managers you’d like to invite.

There are three access levels available: Primary owner (that’s you unless you transfer ownership); Co-owners, and managers (they can do almost everything owners can do, except delete the Business Profile or transfer ownership).

When you’re done, click “Invite” to send an email to the new page managers. Once they open the email and accept the invitation, you’ll see them listed as authorized managers.

As the owner, you can revoke access to the Business Profile or transfer ownership.

Next steps

Ok, let’s start to wrap this up. We hope you’re excited about all the things you can do with a Business Profile. Your next step is to create and verify a Business Profile for your business. Follow the steps outlined the first part of today’s presentation.

Once Your Business Profile Is Created

Once you’ve created your Business Profile, make sure you keep it up-to-date. Schedule time to update your Business Profile on a regular basis. Make it a habit, and update the information every time you make changes to your business. Add photos, videos, and posts as often as you can. Learn how customers engage on Search and Maps with Insights reports.

You should be active by adding photos, answering reviews, creating posts. The more active you are, the better opportunity your Business Profile has of appearing in a Google search.

Resources

I’d like to introduce some additional resources to help you get more from your Business Profile.

Promote With Marketing Kit

Once you create and verify your Business Profile, check out Marketing Kit. This free resource allows you to create custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and updates on your Business Profile on Google.

Visit g.co/marketingkit, and enter your verified Business Profile name to get started. In addition, there is a special marketing kit that celebrates businesses that identify as Black‑owned. You can access it by visiting g.co/marketingkit-blackowned.

This image shows examples of the free assets you can create with Marketing Kit.

Business And Marketing Lessons At G.CO/Primer

If you want to sharpen your business and marketing skills, check out Primer. This is a free app you can download to your phone. If you have an Android device, you can download it at Google Play. If you have an Apple device, you can download it from the App Store.

This has a series of short, fun lessons that are all less than five minutes each. This image shows how Primer looks on a mobile app, with the home screen for the “Tips for Building a Successful Website” course.

Continue Your Education With Grow With Google OnAir

You can also continue your education with Grow with Google OnAir.

This free resource can help you grow your digital skills, no matter where you’re located. Through online workshops, you can learn skills that can help you stay connected and productive while working or managing a business remotely.

Visit g.co/growonair to learn more. This screenshot shows upcoming and on-demand workshops available on the Grow with Google OnAir website.

Free Online Training And Tools At Google.com/Grow

Grow with Google is an initiative to help people prepare for work, find jobs, and grow their business. Job seekers can grow their skills in order to find new jobs and advance their careers.

Teachers can learn how to put the latest technology to work inside and outside of the classroom. Small business owners can build their online presence and find new customers.

Startups can learn how to get their ideas the exposure they need to succeed. Developers can sharpen their current skills and master new ones. To learn more visit google.com/grow

This slide shows some of the online training and tools available at google.com/grow

Thank you.

 

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