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If your business has a physical location or store — deli, kiosk, grocer, dental clinic, restaurant or law firm — you want it to appear in Google’s local search results.

But does a Google Business Profile benefit your business? Or is it a wild goose chase? And if it’s worth it, how do you set up a local business listing?

Considering Google has maintained this service since 2005, there’s good reason to believe it’s worth exploring.

We’ll look under the hood to uncover the potential benefits of Google Business Profiles and how to get them, whether you own one shop or a multi-store operation.

What is a Google Business Profile?

In 2021, Google My Business (GMB) became Google Business Profile. However, this free tool has changed names multiple times over the years.

Google launched Google Local Business Center in 2005 to help businesses add and update their business listings to appear in searches with local intent.

It became Google Places in 2010 and then Google+ Local in 2012. When Google+ shut down, this local business platform morphed into Google My Business in 2014.

Today, a Google Business Profile benefits your small business or enterprise if you have physical business locations. It’s your business’s home on Google, showcasing key details like your address, hours and contact information.

For example, searching for “sushi restaurants in Gatineau, Quebec” shows the Google Business Profiles of relevant eateries:

Google Business Profiles appear in the Google Search results for a relevant keyword.
Every business profile has some call to action (CTA) buttons — like Call, Directions and Save. If the business has a website, you’ll also find its link on the profile.
Google Business Profile showing CTA buttons to visit the listing’s website, get directions, save the listing and call the business.

However, Google Business Profile listings are not one size fits all. Google modifies the information it presents based on the search term.

For example, a search for sushi restaurants includes a Menu section.

Google Business Profile showing the menu navigation option of a restaurant listing.

But a search for “computer repair shops” shows Photos, Updates and Services sections.

Google Business Profile showing the navigation options for a computer repair shop listing.

However, every search shows Overview and Reviews sections.

Overview section of a Google Business Profile

Depending on the type of company and the information the business owner provides to Google, the overview section may contain the following:

  • Phone number
  • Business hours
  • Website address
  • Service or product offerings
  • Service area covered
  • Business address
The overview section of a Google Business Profile listing.

This section may also contain other business information, including articles, a review summary and updates.

Review section of a Google Business Profile listing

The review section shows a business’s review summary and star rating.

Google Business Profile showing the review summary of a listing.

Searchers will also see the option to leave a review.

Google takes reviews seriously, as it should. According to BrightLocal, 98% of buyers research local businesses by reading their reviews, and Google is their most trusted review source.

Google Business Profile listing showing filter options.

For a better user experience (UX), searchers can filter review ratings by most relevant, newest, highest or lowest. When available, searchers may filter reviews by keywords.

Owning a Google Business Profile benefits your brand by letting you respond to, report and share reviews.

Potential buyers can find reviews using filters, and you can reply to, report and share reviews.

Why a Google Business Profile is important

In BrightLocal’s report, 87% of shoppers researched local businesses on Google in 2022, up from 81% the previous year and 63% in 2020. This shows an increasing number of people trust Google to provide accurate information about local companies. That’s where a Google Business Profile listing comes in.

It’s important for two reasons:

First, it helps businesses appear in local search results for relevant search terms. Second, it provides directions on Google Maps to help searchers visit physical locations.

So, a Google Business Profile is important for helping potential customers and partners find, contact and visit your business.

​​Benefits of a Google Business Profile

  • Boost your local SEO and business’s visibility
  • Gain foot traffic
  • Build credibility and trust
  • Control your brand narrative
  • Attract high-quality customer feedback
  • Access valuable insights and analytics
  • Earn social proof
  • Makes a great digital marketing tool
  • Leverage Google’s mobile dominance
  • Win a functional backlink

Boost your local SEO and business’s visibility

Having a profile improves your search rankings for local search terms, ensuring your business appears for searches with local intent. Your listing will also appear on Google Local Pack and Maps.

Local Pack is a featured snippet for searchers with local intent. It features a map and three or more business listings.

Gain foot traffic

Getting found in search engine results counts for something. But what’s a local SEO strategy worth if it doesn’t bring buyers to your store?

A Google Business Profile benefits your store by helping buyers find, visit and shop with you.

Build credibility and trust

A profile also adds basic legitimacy to your business. Searchers can access essential information like your business address, hours and contact details.

The most important Google Business Profile benefit is the trust it bestows. Based on BrightLocal’s survey report, Facebook reviews lost trust and attention in 2022.

The report says the number of people checking local businesses on Facebook dropped to 46% that year. Previously, up to 54% of survey respondents evaluated companies using Facebook reviews.

However, Google gained trust and attention in the same period.

Control your brand narrative

BrightLocal reported that 88% of shoppers are open to buying from businesses that respond to positive and negative reviews. However, 60% of buyers prefer companies that respond only to negative reviews, compared to 50% for only positive reviews.

Your Google Business Profile helps you prioritize review responses and control how potential customers view your company.

Attract high-quality customer feedback

Google reviews account for 73% of all online reviews, and 63% of buyers read them before visiting a company. Hence, having a profile opens up a treasure trove of high-value customer reviews.

Not to mention, interacting with customers who leave reviews can help you understand their motivations and aspirations for using your product.

Access valuable insights and analytics

Your profile’s Insights section can help you understand your customers’ behaviors and tailor your local marketing strategy. You can get qualitative data from customer feedback and reviews, giving your analytics data a better perspective.

Earn social proof

Think of social proof as a trust meter. Your Google Business Profile benefits your brand by showing you’re a real business. But having real-life customers saying good things about you and giving their experiences five stars will set you apart.

Positive reviews and ratings on your profile give you the social proof to influence potential customers’ decisions.

Makes a great digital marketing tool

Use your listing to share promotions, events and business updates. This also helps you stand out in Google Search results.

Moreover, you can feature reviews from your profile listing on your website to reinforce your audience’s trust.

Leverage Google’s mobile dominance

Google’s market share of the U.S. mobile search market.

A Google Business Profile also benefits your mobile presence. Shoppers search for products and places using mobile and then visit those places using Google Maps.

So, everything from search to navigation happens on Google.

Accentuated by Google’s dominating mobile search market share and the prevalence of mobile search, this upside isn’t going away soon.

Finally, a Google Business Profile benefits your website’s backlinks profile and sends traffic to your store. So, pre-sold shoppers can click to visit your store from your profile.

How to set up a Google Business Profile

You can set up a Google Business Profile in minutes because of its straightforward and intuitive design.

First, set up your Google Business Profile account. You’ll need a Gmail or Google Workspace account.

Access the Google Business Profile website to create your business profile.

Upon signing in, Google directs you to the profile setup page. Enter your business name and click Continue. For this example, we chose Just Drinks, a fictitious beverage retailer based in New York.

Start setting up your Google Business Profile by entering your business name

Specify whether customers can purchase products on your website, visit your local store or get home services.

Choose your business type — your options are online retail, local store and services.

Add your online store address. This step follows if you indicate that you sell online. You can skip it and return to it later.

Add a link to your online store or skip it. Bluehost offers a free domain and website for only $2.95 monthly.

Choose a business category. Google will suggest options as you type into the box. Select the one that best describes your business.

Assign a category to your business to help searchers find it.

Enter your business address. Google might mail you a postcard to verify this address. So, don’t make it up.

Provide a verifiable business address. Google might send a postcard to the address.

Specify your phone number. Click the Continue button on the next screen to accept Google’s terms of service and privacy policy.

Agree to Google’s privacy policy and terms of service.

Google will want to verify by phone, email or business video that you manage the business. Alternatively, contact Google support or skip the step.

Choose how you want to verify your Google Business Profile manager status.

Enter your business hours of operation. Next, indicate if you want shoppers to message you directly.

Switch on messages to receive shoppers’ messages directly from your Google Business Profile.

Add a compelling business description within 750 characters, telling new customers about your business.

Add a business description to your Google Business Profile to appear on Search, Maps and other Google services.

Descriptions can impact the organic search visibility of your business page. So, make the most of it by mentioning relevant keywords, product benefits and key product or location information.

Next, add photos of your business to showcase your products and services. The more pictures you add, the better. Pictures give shoppers near-tactile experiences of your store, office or products, helping them choose to visit you instead of competitors.

Add images to your Google Business Profile to show off your products, services, store or office spaces.

One of the most attractive benefits of a Google Business Profile is the free advertising money that comes with a new account. Claim the pay-per-click (PPC) ads credit to boost your reach with Google Ads.

Finally, publish your profile to save all your edits.

Complete your edits and verify your account to make your profile visible to searchers.

Google only makes your business visible to searchers after verifying your account. However, you can access your dashboard to complete skipped steps or make updates.

How to amplify the benefits of a Google Business Profile

Having a Google Business Profile is an excellent business move. But if people can’t take the conversation beyond your profile page, you’ll lose engagement.

So, how do you amplify the benefits of a Google Business Profile? Build a website.

Your eCommerce website educates visitors about your product or service. It helps them understand why you get glowing reviews and convinces them to buy from you.

Hence, the conspicuous display of websites on Local Pack listings.

But building a website can get complicated and expensive. You need a system that simplifies the process and an affordable but feature-rich hosting environment.

WordPress is the best content management system (CMS) for building websites. You get a vibrant community and over 50,000 premade plugins — you don’t need to code things from scratch. And starting at only $2.95 monthly, you can get WordPress hosting and a free domain name from Bluehost.

Final thoughts: 10 Google Business Profile benefits and how to earn them

More searchers are turning to Google to find local stores and services, accentuating the need for local search engine optimization.

Enter Google Business Profile.

Setting up a Google Business Profile benefits you in multiple ways. It’s a low-hanging fruit for local SEO but also one of the most strategic moves any business with physical locations can make.

Once you have a profile, you can reinforce these benefits by setting up your website or online store. If you’re ready to get started, check out the WordPress and WooCommerce solutions from Bluehost.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    Education
    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media

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