How to create a Google business profile Our easy, step-by-step guide explains how to add your business to Google to maximise your presence on the world’s largest search engine. Written by Helena Young Updated on 12 July 2023 Our experts We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. Written and reviewed by: Helena Young Lead Writer Nowadays, having a Google Business profile is almost as fundamental as registering your business. Gone are the days of sifting through the Yellow Pages. In 2023, 93% of consumers search for local business listings online.Without a Google profile, you risk sacrificing precious search engine real estate to rival businesses, burying your brand visibility and certainly losing out on new customers.If you are based in a physical location, a Google Business profile will automatically show up on Google Maps; a simple way to drive local footfall. Online firms can also use their profile in tandem with CRM software to outrank rival websites and pull customers to the homepage.Below, we’ll outline how to add your business to Google in three steps. We’ll also supply best practice tips to boost your brand’s visibility and, ultimately, drive your customer base. “Google My Business” vs. “Google Business Profile” In early November 2021, Google announced major changes to the Google My Business (GMB) platform were underway. Most noticeably, the platform has undergone a name change to “Google Business Profile.”If you’re confused between the two – don’t worry. These are essentially the same service and the set up process has not changed. The main difference is that business owners can access their Google Business Profile via Google Search, not a dedicated profile. This article will cover: How to create a Google Business profile Verifiying your Google Business profile How to optimise your Google Business profile Conclusion Google Business profile FAQs How to create a Google Business profileSetting up a Google business profile is very simple, and completely free to do. All the business owner needs to get started is a Google account. Below, we’ve broken down what’s involved into five easy-to-follow steps.Before we get things underway, you will need to register for a Google Account. Make sure you create a business-specific account, as personal emails are more difficult for Google to verify. You’ll also need to keep a few basic business details to hand, for example your website URL.Step 1. Find your business address on Google Maps and click ‘add your business’If you are an online business, this can also be done by visiting the Google Business website and clicking the ‘manage now’ button to begin building your profile. Here’s a fake profile we built for the Startups.co.uk website:Step 2. Type in your business nameStep 3. Add a website address or URL (if applicable)Step 4. Choose your business typeYour business type is how Google knows to market your business, so this step is key. It’s the reason that customers searching for an ‘art gallery’ will not be given directions to a shop selling paint brushes.Google offers over 3,000 categories to choose from and adds new ones regularly. The more specific you can be, the better. Don’t just put ‘shop’ if you sell a specific product, as you’re not going to attract the right kind of customers.Step 5. Claim the business profile and verify your ownershipOnce you have completed the preceding steps, you’re on your way home! Your business profile is fully established and you can now return to claim your business and verify your ownership. Verifying your Google Business profileIf you are the owner of the Business Profile and you’re logged into your Google Business Profile account, validation should be instant. However, if another Google Account was used to create the business profile, you will be sent a verification code via email, text, or post.After you receive the code and have entered it to your business account, you will have full ownership of the business listing. Once logged in, you’ll be able to manage and optimise your Google Business Profile for maximum brand visibility.How long does it take to get verified?The length of this process can vary depending on the method of verification. Arslan Malik is managing director of WasteMove, a waste collection company based in London. Malik describes the application process as pretty straightforward.“I had to wait for the code to be sent to our business address,” he recalls. “But once I received the letter – within one or two weeks – all I had to do was input the code and we had our listing up and running.”If you're worried verification by post might take too long, we heard from another business owner who said their Google Business profile took just a few days to set up. How to optimise your Google Business profileManaging a Google Business profile is not just like publishing a listing in your local newspaper. Firm owners have complete control over their profile and the information it displays; giving you a great opportunity to shape your brand’s perception within the market.For example, you might choose to add social media links or content to your profile, to encourage social selling.Malik reports using the WasteMove Business Profile to publish a catalogue of branding materials. “Potential customers can see reviews, videos, pictures, and a link to Google Maps,” he says. How to manage your business on Google As the Google My Business mobile app is no longer available, business owners should manage their Business Profile on the Google Maps app (note: businesses must have opened / plan on opening no fewer than 90 days in the future). To help you capitalise on Google’s suite of profile design tools, we’ve pulled out four key features that companies should focus on enhancing to maximise their brand visibility.These will make the biggest difference to your ranking in Google search results, making it more likely for potential customers to find you.1. Regularly update business informationUnlike customers visiting your website, the people searching on Google for businesses tend to be local. They don’t just want to know who your brand is, but also practical information about how they can find you, or how trustworthy you are to buy from.It is relatively simple to update business attributes like opening hours, contact details, and website information. Simply visit your Google Business profile through search, select ‘Edit’, and then go to the ‘More’ tab. Google will then save any changes you’ve made.Companies can also add temporary information. For example, if you go on holiday, you can display your firm as ‘temporarily closed' or ‘permanently closed'. Bear in mind, it can take up to three days for this information to update on Google.Similarly, ensure you are uploading professional, high-quality videos and images of your brand – particularly if selling a product or service. Leverage short-form content, such as vertical videos, to boost engagement and capitalise on a growing digital marketing trend.2. Use local keywordsKeywords are the words or phrases that customers might search when they need a product or service. If Google thinks your business might cater to those needs, it will push your business up the rankings to put you front and centre on consumer screens.Adding these keywords to your Google Business listing can help you stand out against rivals. The more relevant your business listing is, the more chances for a potential client to choose you over the other options presented to them.Understanding your target audience will help to discern what keywords to use. If you know what is motivating a buyer’s search term, you’ll be able to speak directly to their demands.Let’s say you run a cafe that is only open at the weekend. People will likely be coming to you later in the day, and with family. It would make sense to list ‘brunch’ as a product, or ‘family-friendly’ in your business description, to appeal to these customer needs.As an added bonus, Google Business software provides data and analytics on the exact queries that people used to find your business. Managers can use this to inform marketing decisions and strategies, also known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).3. Encourage customer reviews (and manage them effectively)Reviews have a direct influence on your company’s credibility and, therefore, customer decision-making. They tell potential customers that you exist and are trustworthy, and that they can expect to have a positive interaction with your firm.Malik identifies Google reviews as the best feature of a Google Business profile. “We’re delighted to have so many happy customers who have given us five-star reviews”, he tells Startups, “we’re up to about 100 reviews – and this is the first thing potential customers see in their search result.”Nonetheless, fake customer reviews can create trouble for businesses. Local competitors might spam your page with incorrect information or negative feedback, which can damage your reputation.Entrepreneurs cannot remove a review from their Google profile. However, you can ask Google to remove or delete any reviews that violate its policies.You can also reply to feedback. For negative comments, this is helpful to understand where your customer service might have gone wrong, and how it might be improved. For a five-star review, it’s an opportunity to give thanks.For more control over your customer reviews, use free CRM software to gather consumer testimonials specifically for marketing purposes. ConclusionToday’s customers expect businesses to have a presence on Google. It’s the world's most popular search engine with an estimated market share of over 93%, which makes its results page prime real estate for scaling SMEs.As Malik relates, the most important thing that a Google Business profile has brought WasteMove has been brand credibility. “It’s a verified platform, which helps to build customer trust,” he attests.Above, we’ve explained how to set up a free profile and get verified in five simple steps. But it doesn’t end there.The top of Google’s search engine results page is the Piccadilly Circus billboard of the internet. SEO techniques, such as regularly updating information and using keywords, will ensure you can be easily found there by new and existing customers. Google Business Profile FAQs What is the difference between Google My Business and Google Business Profile? In 2022, Google announced it would be closing the Google My Business (GMB) platform. Instead of a GMB account, companies can now register for a Google Business profile. The change means business managers can manage their profiles more easily through Google Search or Google Maps, instead of a dedicated online portal. Is listing my business on Google free? Yes. Setting up and validating your Google Business profile is completely free, as is claiming your business. Certain Google certifications, such as being ‘Google Guaranteed’ charge a fee, but you can make as many business listings with your account as you’d like for no cost. How do I get my business on top of Google Search? Include accurate and up-to-date information about your company, such as facts about opening hours and website links. Choose keywords that your customers are likely to search for in your business description, like location and product offering. Companies will also look more trustworthy to Google if they have customer reviews. Why is my business not publicly visible? If you have set up a Google Business profile but your firm is not publicly visible on search results, this could be because your Business Profile has not been verified. It can take a few days, or a few weeks for Google to approve a request. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Tags News and Features Written by: Helena Young Lead Writer Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.