How to Claim, Set Up, and Optimize Your Google Business Profile (GBP)

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How Do I Add My Business to Google?

Follow these simple steps to add your business to Google, helping you gain exposure, leads, and more business for free.

Add your Business through Google Maps

Adding Your Business on Your PC

1. Visit the following URL: https://www.google.com/maps

2. From here there are several options for adding your business:

  1. Type your business address in Google’s search bar. On the left, under the business profile, click on ‘Add Your Business’ 
  2. Right click anywhere on the map, then click on ‘Add Your Business 
  3. Or, in the top left, click on the link that says ‘menu’ then click on ‘Add Your Business’

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to VERIFY your business profile to make sure it shows up on Google.

Adding Your Business on Android

Adding Your Business to Google Maps on Android

  1. Download and open the Google Maps app on your Android-powered smartphone or tablet
  2. Using the search function search for your business address
  3. Once located, scroll down and click on ‘Claim this Business’

Adding Your Business on iOS

Adding Your Business to Google Maps on iOS

  1. Download and open the Google Maps App from the Apple App Store 
  2. Search for and find your business address 
  3. Scroll down and find the ‘Claim this Business’ link 

How Do You Verify A Location in Google Business Profile

Google map with three red pins

Verifying Your Business on PC

Verifying Your Business On A PC Can be Done by

  1. Visit Google maps and enter your business address, then click on the name
  2. Click on ‘Claim This Business’ > ‘Manage Now’  
  3. Next, choose your verification option and follow the on-screen prompts

Verifying Your Business on Android

Verifying Your Business on Google Maps Using Android

  1. From the Google Maps App, search for your business
  2. From the Business Profile click on ‘Claim This Business’
  3. Click on “I own or manage this business’ 
  4. Choose your preferred verification option and follow the prompts

Verifying Your Business on iOS

Verifying Your Business on Google Maps Using iOS

  1. Open the Google maps app
  2. Search for your business 
  3. Tap on ‘Claim this business’ on the business profile 
  4. Tap on ‘I own or manage this business’ 
  5. Choose your preferred verification option and follow the prompts 

How Can I Get A Hold on Google Business Customer Service? 

Issues with Google Business can be frustrating, especially when these issues often result in lost business and sales. Unfortunately, Google isn’t exactly known for its customer service or attentiveness to the needs of small businesses.

That Being Said, You Have a Few Options to Explore if Issues Arise:

1. Google Business Profile Help

Here you can connect with Google’s support options, as well as search the knowledge base to see if your issue can be self-resolved.

Google Business Profile Support Link

2. Ask the Community 

Google’s community is comprised of volunteers with various levels of experience. These volunteers act as a hivemind of information and often provide helpful advice and solutions regarding Google Business Profiles.

Ask the Community Link 

3. Contact Us 

If all else fails, you can attempt to reach out to Google directly for assistance. They aren’t the quickest at responding, and more often than not you’ll end up with a ‘canned’ or ‘template’ response, but it’s still worth a try.

Google Business Profile Support Contact Us Link 

Should I Claim My Google Business Website?

Absolutely! According to Google, nearly 50% of all searches have LOCAL INTENT. Meaning a local business website and/or map profile is likely to show up in these searches.

If your business is unclaimed, Google makes a good faith effort to provide customers with information about your business, but this information is often limited, incomplete, or even incorrect.

By proactively claiming your GBP (Google Business Profile), you gain full control over your business details and the information presented to prospective customers.

More than that, it gives you the ability to track phone calls and impressions, interact with customers, and more. 

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of claiming your Google Business Profile below:

  1. Give you the ability to control the information displayed to customers. 
  2. Provides you with insight into what people are searching for, interacting with, and what they are saying about your business in reviews.
  3. Helps you tap into local search traffic with another piece of digital real estate to capture new audiences and turn them into paying customers.
  4. Review capture helps to convert prospects to paying customers, giving them the assurance they need to choose you over the competition.
  5. SEO / Search Engine Optimization: GBP profiles give you the ability to leverage another Google property for search engine optimization, linking to your website and social profiles, helping increase rank and earn you more traffic.

How to Remove a Google Business Profile and What Will Happen?

Has your business closed up shop? Need to start fresh and get rid of an old GBP that no longer reflects what the company does?

You may want to consider removing your Google Business Profile…but before you do, let’s cover some key things you’ll need to be aware of.

What You Need to Know About Removing a Listing

  • This action is PERMANENT and you cannot restore the profile 
  • Only the primary owner(s) can remove a profile/listing

Situations Where You May Want to Remove a GBP

  • The company never actually existed
  • The profile violates Google’s policies
  • Isn’t eligible to be on maps in the first place
  • Has changed addresses (you may just want to update the address instead)
  • The company has since shut down or was acquired (you may want to simply mark the business as permanently closed vs removing the profile)

You Do Not Want to Manage A GBP Anymore

In this case, removing the GBP is not the right move. Rather you can remove the GBP from the Google account you use to manage GBPs.

When you do so, you’ll no longer be able to manage the GBP, but the business profile itself will continue to show up on search.

If you wish to manage the profile in the future, you will be required to go through re-verification.

Process for Removing a Google Business Profile 

  1. Visit your GMB (more info here)
  2. Click on the ‘menu’, noted by three dots 
  3. Go to Business Profile Settings
  4. Choose Remove Business Profile 
  5. Click on Remove profile content and managers
  6. Then click on Continue > Remove > and ‘Done’ 

That’s all there is to it. 

Process for Removing a Google Business Profile That You Don’t Own or Manage

In some cases, nefarious marketers and bad actors may impersonate a business, publish fake businesses (such as lead generation listings), and more to take business away from legitimate companies.

In such cases, you may request that the listing be removed from Google Maps even if you do not own or manage the listing.

To do this:

  1. Go to Google Maps on your PC.
  2. Sign in to the account used to manage or set up the Business Profile 
  3. Click on the business you wish to remove
  4. Click on ‘Suggest an Edit’
  5. Click on ‘Close or remove’ 
  6. Follow the prompts on the screen to complete the request.

PRO TIP: This submission will need to go through a manual review process. Google may, at their discretion, send an email with updates and/or follow-up questions for the review team. If approved, your business profile will be completely removed and will no longer show up on Google.

Can I Hire a Google Business Management Service? 

Managing Google Business Profiles can be a daunting challenge for already busy business owners, webmasters, and brands. 

Navigating Google’s periodic algorithm updates, reviews, content posts, promos, lead tracking, analytics, and over 100 ranking factors can be too much for many companies to handle in-house.

Epidemic Marketing’s local SEO team specializes in optimizing and ranking GBP map listings, driving foot traffic, phone calls, and inquiries on autopilot.

How Do I Change My Business Hours On my Google Business Profile?

open store signage

Keeping your business profile up to date is imperative for the customer experience. One common aspect that business owners need to update is the hours of operation.

To Set the Main Business Hours:

  1. Visit your business profile on Google 
  2. Choose ‘Edit Profile’
  3. Click on ‘Business Information;
  4. Towards the top of the page location the ‘Hours’ tab
  5. Next to the ‘Hours’ tab, click on the ‘pencil icon’ to make edits
  6. Choose ‘Open with main hours’ 
  7. Check the boxes next to each day of the week your business is open
  8. Adjust the hours your business is open on these days by using the dropdown menus 
  9. Click on ‘Save’ when done

TIP: Need to change hours just for a holiday? Check out Google’s Guide on Holiday Hours HERE

Why Can’t I Find/Use The Google My Business App?

Turns out, there’s a good reason why you can’t find the Google My Business App. As of July 2022, Google has discontinued/decommissioned this app. New users will no longer be able to download this app and are instead directed to use Google Search to keep their business profile up to date.

What Does An Optimized GBP Profile Look Like?

There are hundreds of factors Google looks at to rank Google Business Profiles. Below we take a quick look at a few of the most important factors that need to be optimized, monitored, kept up to date, and managed.

  • Optimized business address
  • Business hours
  • Proper main and sub-category selection 
  • Earning Reviews
  • Managing and responding to customer reviews 
  • GEO-optimized photos
  • Keyword-optimized GBP posts 
  • Keywords 
  • Use of special attributes (women/black owned, LGBTQ friendly, etc.)
  • Product catalog/services 
  • Optimized photos and videos 

How Do Your GBP Attributes Help Your Business?

Very few businesses take the time to fill out and optimize their GBP. This is a major disadvantage, and one that could cost you a LOT in terms of traffic, phone calls, walk-ins, leads, and ultimately, sales. 

GBP attributes not only help Google’s algorithms when determining when and where you should show up in its local search results, but they also give critical information to prospective customers looking for what you have to offer.

How Does Your Google Business Profile Influence Local Rankings?

Local Ranking Signals

GMP properties send location-specific signals to Google. When you write posts and earn reviews, including the location of your company may help Google understand precisely what you do, what you offer, and where you do business. If you provide Google with more specific information, it will be easier for them to place you in the optimal position in the search results.

More Opportunities 

It opens up opportunities for you to exploit keywords: when writing your posts, you can sprinkle in keywords that are helpful to SEO that is associated with your upcoming event, product, or offer. These keywords are necessary to boost SEO for various search phrases and may make it easier for prospective local clients to learn about your company.

Prominence and Localization 

Increased traffic and engagement signals to Google that prospects find your site more ‘valuable’, giving them user data that may be algorithmically used to benefit your profile and website in the SERPS.

This helps raise the prominence of your company in Google’s eyes. The greater the number of people that interact with your listing and the material you provide, the greater the likelihood that Google will favor your profile in the search results.

How Important is it to Include Prominent Keywords in Your Google Your Business Name, and is it Allowed?

Having a keyword in the GMP profile name is akin to having an EMD (exact match domain). It works, even today. But it’s not without its risks.

Google explicitly states that including a keyword in the GMP profile name is against its TOS under all circumstances EXCEPT when that keyword is part of the actual business’s name, signage, and licensing and/or docs of incorporation.

Because this strategy is so powerful even today, agencies like ours help clients figure out compliant strategies to incorporate keywords (when possible) without breaking Google’s TOS. 

Doing so in a non-compliant way means that your profile is at constant risk of being suspended, and along with it all of your rankings, traffic, and customers. 

What Are the Reasons Your Google Business Posts Get Rejected?

The two most common reasons a post is rejected are due to having a phone number or link in the post. After that, the most common reasons for having a post rejected include:

  • Duplicate or copied content 
  • Use of offensive language
  • Inappropriate content 
  • Spam posts
  • Making false claims or representations 
  • Off-topic posts unrelated to the business (i.e. memes etc)

Google has strict guidelines regarding GMP posts. To learn more about those guidelines visit: Google My Business Post Content Policy

How Do You Give Access to Your Google Business Profile to Someone?

Google gives you the ability to add or edit both the owner(s) of the GBP as well as add managers who can manage the listing (such as an SEO agency).

Here’s how to do it:

  • Locate your GBP
  • Click on the menu in the profile settings
  • Click on ‘Managers’
  • In the upper left click on ‘Add’
  • Then enter the name and/or email address of the manager you wish to add
  • Click on ‘Invite’ 

That’s all there is to it. The manager will have a few days to accept this invite before it expires.

How Can You See How Customers Are Finding Your Business?

Google my business store with logo

Luckily, Google gives us the tools and resources to effectively track the performance of our GMP profiles, providing us with insightful information that can be used to drive more effective marketing and SEO campaigns, as well as to improve the customer experience.

You Can Track the Performance of your Business Profile By:

  • Opening up your profile and logging in 
  • Click on ‘promote’ 
  • Then click on ‘performance’ 
  • At the top, simple filter by the desired date range and click on ‘apply’

Types of Performance Metrics Available Include:

  • Search queries used to find your business 
  • Number of unique visitors to your profile 
  • Requests for directions to your place of business 
  • The number of calls to action (clicks, call button, etc.)
  • The number of referring clicks to your website 
  • Messages
  • Bookings 
  • Total interactions 
  • Food orders (if applicable) 
  • Products viewed (number of times)
  • Menu clicks 
  • And more …

Learn more about changes to Insights data.

How to Get Google Business Profile Reviews to Help Grow Your Business

There is a multitude of impactful strategies that can be used to earn positive reviews. But for now, let’s take a quick look at the basics suggested by Google:

  1. Verify Your Profile: Without a verified profile you cannot respond to reviews 
  2. Make it easy for customers to leave a review
  3. Remind customers in a thoughtful way that you would appreciate a review 
  4. Reply to reviews to build trust and learn from your audience 

Should I Link to the Homepage or Other Page on Google Business Profile?

In most cases, it makes the best sense to link to a site’s homepage. This page has the most natural authority, and most backlinks, and is most relevant to the listing.

However, in situations where a business might be approved for more than one listing, linking to franchise or division-specific pages might make more sense.

As an alternative, linking to a free Google. Site website is also a viable option.

How Do You Dispute a Fake Review On Your Google Listing?

Although Google utilizes automated spam detection measures to remove fake positive and negative reviews or those considered spam, it’s not a perfect system.

Disgruntled customers, nefarious competitors, and more can all leave fake reviews in an attempt to hurt your business. When that happens, you can dispute and/or request the removal of these reviews by following the steps below.

REMEMBER: Google will only remove reviews that violate their reviews policy

Dispute a Review in Google Search

  1. Go to google.com
  2. Locate your GMP profile 
  3. Click on ‘Reviews’
  4. Locate the review that needs to be disputed
  5. Click on ‘More’. 
  6. Then click on ‘Report Review’
  7. Choose the appropriate type of violation and submit 

Dispute a Review in Google Maps

  1. Go to google.com/maps 
  2. Locate your GMP profile 
  3. Find the review that needs to be disputed
  4. Click on the three vertical dots next to ‘More’. 
  5. Then click on ‘Flag as Inappropriate 
  6. Choose the appropriate type of violation and submit 

TIP: Google is NOT fast, and you may need to wait a week or longer for a response. 

How Can You Change Your Profile Picture On Your Google Business Profile?

To Change Your Cover Photo or Logo Picture on your GMP:

  1. Visit your profile 
  2. Click on ‘Edit Profile’
  3. Click on either the cover photo or logo 
  4. Choose your new file and upload the photo or add it from the existing library of uploaded photos

How Can You Remove Customer Photos From Google Business Profile

Sometimes ‘customers’ or even competitors will upload photos that are less than flattering and may even be against Google’s policies or the law. Such images can be flagged for removal by taking the following steps:

  1. Visit your GBP
  2. Choose photos by owner 
  3. Click on the photo you want to be removed
  4. Near the upper right click on ‘Confirm’ for removal  
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