Google Business Profile Guide: Set up, Optimize, and Grow Your Local Audience

21 minutes read
Google Business Profile Guide

Google Business Profile (a.k.a Google My Business) is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to manage your online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It’s mainly designed for local mom-and-pop shops and small businesses.

This free listing helps your business appear in Google Maps and local search results; which makes it easier for potential customers to find your business online.

With a significant increase in mobile traffic and 93% of consumers using Google Maps to search for a business, optimizing your GBP needs to be your priority. It can lead to increased discovery, which, in turn, can result in more engagement and footfall.

Let’s learn how to set up and optimize your GBP and grow your local audience.

The Key Features of Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile offers several key features that can help improve online visibility and engagement with potential customers, especially in local searches.

Here’s a breakdown of these features:

1. Categories: This GBP feature allows you to classify your business within specific categories. Categories make it easy for everyone, including your potential customers and search engines, to find your business online.

2. Location: Another critical aspect of GBP is the location. This feature ensures your business appears in Google Maps and local searches. It helps customers find your physical storefront easily, driving more foot traffic.

3. Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words. Adding high-quality images to your GBP can significantly boost its appeal. According to GBP statistics, Businesses with over 100 images in GBP receive 5X more calls, 27X more direction requests, and 10X more website clicks than the average business. Fortunately, you can add photos of your products, services, and business premises to your profile.

4. Reviews: Customer reviews are a powerful tool for building trust and credibility because 76% of consumers REGULARLY read online reviews when browsing for local businesses. GBP allows you to view, monitor, and respond to customer reviews. In fact, you should encourage your customers to share their feedback. It can help you attract new leads.

5. FAQs: This is also a crucial feature of GBP. You can use it to address common inquiries right off the bat. FAQs help in reducing uncertainties and improving customer experience.

6. Attributes: With Attributes, you can highlight the unique qualities of your business. It may include Free Wi-Fi, Wheelchair Accessible, or Outdoor Seating, among other things. This information helps customers choose businesses that meet their specific needs or preferences.

How to Set up Your Google Business Profile

If you haven’t got a Google Business Profile, follow these simple steps to set it up. Don’t worry; you will not need any technical knowledge to set things up. You’ll need to fill out a few fields.
Here’s what you do:

manage you google business profile

  • Step 4: Enter your business name

add your business name in gbp

  • Step 5: Select your business type, Choose whether you’re a storefront or a service provider. A storefront is a grocery shop, café, or bakery. A service provider, on the other hand, is a dentist or salon. You can also hide your address if you are a service provider that doesn’t need a physical address, such as a plumber or an electrician

select your business type

  • Step 6: Choose your Primary business category. You can choose from the drop-down menu.

  • Step 7: Enter your business address

  • Step 8: Add your phone number and website.
  • Step 9: Verifying your GBP profile is a necessary step to ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date on Google. Verification also helps you access more features and tools to manage your online presence and connect with customers.

Depending on your business category, location, and public information, Google may offer you different methods to verify your local listing:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Postcard
  • Live video call
  • Video recording

The process is simple enough. Sometimes, however, you might encounter issues. In that case, you can send a tweet to @GoogleMyBiz, and Google’s support team will help you out.

  • Step 10: Finish populating your Google Business Profile listing.

How to Write a Compelling Business Description

A Google Business Profile description is a short summary of your business that appears on your listing.

It can help you communicate your unique value proposition, products, services, and mission to potential customers.

It can also help you rank better for relevant keywords and phrases in local search results.

However, writing a Google Business Profile description is not as simple as it sounds. You have to follow certain guidelines, limitations, and best practices to make the most of this feature.

Here are some tips on how to write a Google Business Profile description that works:

How to write a Google Business Profile description

  • Use 750 characters to highlight your business’s value and relevance. Write to capture the attention and interest of your audience. Avoid unnecessary words.
  • Be clear, concise, and informative. Your description should tell the reader who you are, what you do, where you are, and why you are the best. Use simple and direct language.
  • Use keywords wisely. Keywords can boost your ranking, but too many can harm it. Use them naturally and strategically. Don’t repeat them.
  • Avoid promotional or salesy language. Don’t mention prices, discounts, offers, or sales. Don’t include links, URLs, or HTML code. These are against Google’s guidelines and can result in your listing being suspended or removed.
  • Update your description regularly. Make sure it matches your current business situation and offerings. Review it often and keep it accurate and relevant.

Update Business Operation Hours

One of the most important pieces of information that you need to provide on your Google Business Profile (GBP) is your business operation hours.

This tells your potential customers when they can visit your location, call you, or book your services.

Having accurate and up-to-date operation hours can help you attract more customers, avoid negative reviews, and rank better in local search results.

How to Manage Opening Hours for GBP?

  • Log in to your Google My Business account.
  • Select the business you wish to update.
  • Go to the Hours Tab.

Update Hours

  • Click Edit Opening Hours.

Click on the pencil icon next to your hours to make changes. You can set different hours for each day. Be sure the details reflect your operating schedule accurately.

Special Hours/Holiday Hours

Your special hours are the times when your business has different hours than usual, such as holidays, events, or emergencies. It will keep your customers informed.

Go to the “Special Hours” section in the info tab. Add the dates and hours that differ from your regular schedule.

Appointment-Only Businesses

If your business operates by appointment only, you can indicate that on your GBP listing, to let your customers know that they need to book your services in advance.

You can use this feature if your business is also appointment-only. First, set your profile to display “by appointment only” in the Hours section. Next, use the “Appointment links” feature to direct customers to book an appointment.

Use The “More Hours” Feature

With this feature, you can specify operating hours for different types of services. For example, a restaurant can list separate hours for delivery, takeout, and dine-in services.

To set More Hours:

  • Go to your Business Profile.
  • Go to Edit Profile, click Business Information, and then Hours.
  • Click Add More Hours.
  • Choose the type of service (e.g., delivery, takeout).
  • Set the hours for each service.

More Hours Feature

Are Opening Hours a Ranking Factor?

Google has not explicitly confirmed opening hours as a direct ranking factor. However, many local SEO experts believe that since its major algorithm update in November 2023, Google has started considering the business’s listed hours of operation as a key ranking signal. So, make sure to keep your work hours updated.

Select the Most Appropriate Categories

As mentioned, choosing the right primary and secondary categories can help boost your online visibility. These categories will help customers find your business when they search for relevant products or services. So, it’s necessary to understand how these categories work.

1. Primary Category: This is the main category that best represents your business. It has the strongest influence on your Google search and map visibility. So, choose a primary category that best describes your business. For example, you can select Hair Salon or Nail Salon as your primary category instead of Salon.

2. Secondary Categories: These categories provide additional context about your business. This category helps you capture a broader range of Google searches related to your offerings. Select secondary categories that best complement your primary category.
Remember, you cannot create your own category. If the category you want is unavailable, choose a more general category that best describes your business.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Categories

1. Your Industry: First, consider the broad industry your business operates. It will help narrow down your category choices to the most relevant ones.

2. Products or Services Offered: Choose the core products or services your business offers. Be sure your primary category directly reflects this core offering, while secondary categories should highlight additional products or services.

3. Search Behavior: Consider how potential customers might search for your business. Understanding the keywords and search terms they use can guide you in selecting categories that align with search behavior.

4. Competitor Categories: Look at the categories your competitors are using, especially those that rank well in Google searches. This can provide insights into which categories might be most effective for your business.

5. Specificity: Choose categories that are as specific as possible. Specific categories tend to be more effective in reaching target audiences than broader ones.

6. Compliance with Google’s Guidelines: Be sure your category selections comply with Google’s guidelines. The categories must accurately represent your business. Remember, misrepresentation can lead to penalties.

How to Add Attributes to Your Google Business Profile

Adding attributes to your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a powerful way to boost your local search result ranking.

Attributes highlight unique qualities, amenities, and services your business offers. This may include accessibility features, payment options, or health and safety measures.

1. Accessibility: These attributes inform customers about the accessibility features your business offers. These may include wheelchair-friendly entrances, accessible parking, or restrooms. This information is crucial for customers with disabilities.

2. Amenities: These attributes describe the amenities your business provides, like free Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, or a private parking lot. Such details can enhance the appeal of your business to potential customers.

3. Health & Safety: As the name suggests, these attributes relate to health and safety measures. Examples include staff wearing masks, temperature checks at entry, or contactless payment options. These attributes can provide reassurance to health-conscious customers.

4. Payment Options: Payment flexibility matters to most customers. So, highlight the payment methods your business accepts, such as credit cards, debit cards, and payment wallets.

5. Service Options: These attributes help specify whether you offer services, such as delivery, takeout, online appointments, or virtual consultations. This can attract customers looking for particular service flexibility.

Attributes to Your Google Business Profile

Examples of Attributes

  • Wheelchair Accessible: Indicates that your premises are accessible to wheelchair users.
  • Free Wi-Fi: It tells your customers that you offer complimentary Wi-Fi access.
  • Contactless Payments: Assures customers that they can make payments without physical contact.
  • Outdoor Seating: Useful for restaurants or cafes with outdoor seating.


Once again, don’t misrepresent your business. It can backfire quickly. Make sure to add only the attributes applicable to your business.

Interact with Your Audience Through the Google Business Profile Q&A Section

Think of the Q&A sections as an opportunity to directly engage your potential customers. These questions and answers can help your customers know more about your services and products. That, in turn, can boost customer trust and satisfaction. But you have to be careful.

How to Answer Questions

  • Answer questions quickly and clearly. Log into your Google account and go to the Q&A section on Google Maps or search results. Use concise, accurate, and friendly answers. Include relevant keywords if possible.
  • Ask and answer common questions yourself. This can save time, control the conversation, and improve user experience and local search rankings.
  • Flag inappropriate or misleading questions and answers. Google allows you to report such content using the flag button. Monitor your Q&A section regularly.
  • Like the most asked and answered questions. This can make them more visible on your Google Business Profile. It can also help other customers find answers easily. It makes your GBP more engaging and attractive.

Leverage Google Posts to Attract More Audiences

This is perhaps the most loved feature of Google Business Profile. Google Posts offers a unique way to communicate directly with your potential customers on Google Search and Maps. But you have to be consistent and relevant.

You can use the following types of Google Posts:

1. Event Posts: These posts are best for promoting upcoming events such as workshops, grand openings, or sales. You can include event details like start and end dates, a description, and an enticing call-to-action (CTA). However, with a CTA, you will have only one line of text. Without it, you can get two lines of text to describe your event.

2. What’s New Posts: Use these posts to share important updates about your business. You can talk about new blog posts or other relevant news. They are perfect for keeping your audience informed about the latest developments. But remember, if you use a CTA, you will get only three lines of text to write your post.

3. Offer Posts: Offer posts can include specifics such as promo codes, terms and conditions, and validity dates. These posts make it easier for customers to take advantage of your offers. But including these details will leave only one line of text for your description. Keep this in mind when writing these posts.

4. Product Posts: Use these posts to show off your products. These posts can consist of product features and benefits, prices, and direct links to where customers can buy products.
But remember, this isn’t your onsite blog, so don’t treat it like one. Instead, use this feature to share timely, relevant updates that will help increase engagement, attract new audiences, and drive more traffic to your business.

Upload High-Quality Photos and Videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, or should we say a thousand likes?

Using high-quality photos in your GBP can significantly improve your online presence. Online data supports this notion because businesses with more than 100 images get 960% more search views than the average business, while those with just one get 62% fewer.

What do high-quality images mean when it comes to GBP?

1. Photos: Google recommends that photos uploaded to your GBP be at least 720X720 pixels. But, we recommend using images at least 1200×900 pixels in size. These images are clear and detailed, even on high-resolution displays.

2. Videos: The recommended file size is up to 100MB with a minimum resolution of 720p. So, it comes down to about a 30-second long video or shorter.

3. Lighting and Composition: Make sure your photos and videos are well-lit. Avoid shadows and glare. Composition-wise, focus on your USP and maintain a clean, professional look.

4. Authenticity: Use only authentic photos and videos of your actual business, products, and services. Authenticity helps you build trust and leads to repeat business.

5. Regular Updates: Regularly update your photos and videos. This keeps your GBP fresh and engaging and encourages repeat visits from potential customers. Seasonal updates, new products, or special events are excellent opportunities for adding new photos and videos.

Collect and Respond to Reviews

Get reviews from your happy customers. Authentic reviews can help you generate more leads besides building a positive image of your business.

1. Ask at the Right Time: Timing is crucial when requesting reviews. Ask customers for their feedback immediately after a purchase or a positive interaction. They are more likely to respond as their satisfaction level is high.

2. Make It Easy: Simplify the review process. You can provide direct links to your GBP review section through emails, on receipts, or via SMS. The easier it is to leave a review; the more likely they will do it.

3. Offer Incentives: Buying reviews is against Google’s policies. However, offering small incentives for feedback (not for a positive one specifically) is acceptable. This could be a discount on future purchases or a free entry into a contest.

4. Use Tools: Use review management tools to automate review requests. These Local SEO tools can also help track and manage reviews efficiently.

How You Should Respond to Reviews

GBP Reviews
1. Acknowledge Quickly: Respond promptly to both negative and positive reviews. It shows that you value customer feedback.

2. Personalize Your Responses: Tailor your responses to each review. Use the customer’s name and refer to specific points from their review. This will show that you have understood what they have said.

3. Thank Positively: Express your gratitude for positive reviews. Tell your customers how happy you were to hear from them. It will encourage other customers to share their experiences.

4. Address Negative Reviews Constructively: About 96% of consumers specifically look for negative reviews at least sometimes. Negative reviews lend your business authenticity. But when responding to such reviews, apologize for the poor experience. Demonstrate your accountability. Your willingness to improve can turn a negative review into a positive opportunity.

5. Stay Professional: Be professional in your response, regardless of the review’s tone. Don’t get into a war of words with your customers. You don’t want your business to go viral for the wrong reasons. So, avoid defensive or confrontational language. Instead, focus on being helpful and constructive.

Add Your Products and/or Services

Adding your products and/or services to your Google Business Profile helps you promote them directly on Google Search and Maps. Your potential customers can see what you offer directly on their screens. This can help you attract customers and increase engagement.

add products and services

How to Update Products in GBP

  • Sign into your Google account.
  • Go to Your Business Profile.
  • Go to Edit profile.
  • Choose Products and then click Add Product.

You can edit or delete products from the product list. Moreover, you can also add products individually or in suitable categories. This will help your potential customers browse your products quickly.

How to Add Services in GBP

  • Sign into your Google account.
  • Go to Your Business Profile.
  • On Google Search, select Edit Services.
  • On Google Maps, select Edit Profile and then Services.
  • Select Add More Services.
  • Click Save.

You can list services can be listed along with detailed descriptions, pricing, or even packaged deals.

Details to Include for Products:

  • Product Name: Name of your product to avoid any confusion.
  • Category: Assign your product to a category. If a suitable category doesn’t exist, create a new one. Keep your products organized to help your would-be customers browse them easily.
  • Price or Price Range: Provide the cost of your product. If the price varies, you can set a price range instead.
  • Product Description: Add a concise yet informative description. Highlight the key features and benefits of your product. This is your chance to persuade customers why they should consider purchasing it.
  • Photo: Upload a high-quality image of your product. A visually appealing image can encourage a purchase.

Benefits of Adding Your Products and/or Services to Your GBP:

  • Showcase Your Offerings: It allows you to directly present your products or services to potential customers. When they find your business on Google, they get a clear idea of what you have to offer.
  • Attract Customers: High-quality photos and detailed descriptions can entice customers to choose your business over competitors.
  • Increase Conversions: By providing essential information upfront, you can streamline the decision-making process for customers. It can lead to increased inquiries, bookings, or sales.

Set Up Messaging Feature

Another excellent feature of GBP, Messaging allows you to directly interact with your potential customers. Unlike other GBP features, this one offers a more personalized touch. That’s why it can significantly enhance customer experience.

Benefits and Features of Messaging:

  • Direct Communication: It facilitates a direct line of communication with your customers. You can quickly answer questions, provide recommendations, or assist with customer service issues.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Quick response will help enhance the overall customer experience. Think of it as real-time support that can influence purchasing decisions and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Increased Engagement: Messaging makes it easy for customers to reach you. It can lead to more engagement. That, in turn, will go a long way in keeping your business at the forefront of their minds.
  • Feedback and Support: Messaging helps you gather valuable feedback directly from customers. This valuable data can help you improve your products, services, and customer experience.

How to Set Up Messaging:

  • Sign into your Google account.
  • Go to Your Business Profile.
  • Click on Messages.
  • Click on Menu More.
  • Go to Message Settings.

From settings, you can turn the chat On or Off. When you turn it on, the customers will see a ‘Chat’ button on your Business Profile. They can send you messages 24/7 using this feature. You can customize the automated welcome message that your potential customers will see when they click on the Chart button.

Once messaging is enabled and you’ve set your welcome message, you can begin responding to customer inquiries directly from the Google Maps app and Google Search.

Track and Measure Your Google Business Profile Performance

All this effort would be a waste of time if you fail to track and measure the performance of your Google Business Profile. Fortunately, Google makes it fairly easy to understand how your GBP is doing with its built-in Insights.

Steps to Access Your Insights and Analytics:

  • Sign into your Google account.
  • Go to Your Business Profile.
  • Go Performance.
  • Select a date range.
  • Click Apply.

Metrics and Indicators You Can Track

  • Views: Track how many times users viewed your profile through Google Search and Maps. This gives you an idea of your visibility, especially in local searches.
  • Actions: Measure what actions users take on your profile. This can include website visits, clicks on directions, or phone calls. Naturally, high action rates indicate effective engagement.
  • Searches: See what queries users type into Google to find your business. This will help you understand the relevance of your keywords and local SEO strategy.
  • Queries: Identify the specific words or phrases people use to find your profile. Understanding the most common queries can help you optimize your profile’s content, particularly commonly asked questions.

Tips to Improve Your Google Business Profile Performance:

Basically, this is what we have covered in the post. But here’s a quick recap of what you can do to improve your GBP.

  • Optimize Your Information: Enter correct business information, such as name, address, and phone number. Keep it up-to-date. Also, regularly update your operating hours, especially during holidays. It will help ensure a steady flow of customers.
  • Update Your Posts Regularly: Keep your GBP content fresh and engaging by regularly posting updates, offers, events, and new products or services.
  • Engage with Your Customers: Respond to reviews and messages promptly (remember the 24-hour timeline).
  • Use High-Quality Photos and Videos: Photos and videos can significantly impact GBP engagement. Upload high-quality, recent photos of your business, products, or services.
  • Monitor Your Competitors: Monitor your competitors’ GBPs to see what they are doing differently. This can provide valuable insights into improving your own profile.

Get More Out of Your GBP

GBP is your golden ticket to making a lasting first impression. Whether you own a salon, dental clinic, or any other business, use these tips to amplify your online presence in local search results.

Remember, the name may have changed, but the importance of GBP in local SEO hasn’t changed a bit. You’ve to make sure your profile is optimized and up-to-date. So, get started now!

Need help with your GBP and local SEO? Our seasoned experts can help streamline every aspect of your local SEO. Contact us today!

Looking to scale your agency’s local SEO capabilities? Discover our white-label solutions. Partner with us to elevate your clients’ online presence!

White Label Local SEO Services

  • Vivek Patel is a project manager for local SEO campaigns at E2M. He has 12+ years of experience in the local search industry. He leads the Local Search division at E2M, where he oversees the workflow, project execution, marketing innovation, and client satisfaction.

    When he is not working, he enjoys staying fit, spending time with his pets, and living a healthy lifestyle. He believes that life is a matter of choice and that we should always strive to do the right thing.