“What is a Google Business Profile, and Do I Really Need One?”
See updates below regarding the new reinstatement process. Live in the USA as of December 2023
A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is a free listing that many businesses can create to appear in Google Search and Maps. Your Google Business Profile includes helpful information about your business, such as your address, phone number, hours of operation, website, and photos. You’re listing also offers new prospective clients and customers a great opportunity to read reviews from your past clients. Most people want to decide if they trust a business before doing business with them. You really need to offer every possible way to help them decide to pick your business over others.
You can find your Google Business Profile by searching for your business name on Google. You can also find it by going to Google Maps and searching for your business name. If you don’t see your business there yet, we can help you determine if your business qualifies for one, and we can then walk you through the process.
You can still have a profile if your business doesn’t have a physical address as long as you still make in-person contact with customers. You can also have a profile if you’re a hybrid business that serves customers at your business address and visits or delivers directly to customers.
In the digital age, maintaining a robust online presence is crucial for businesses of all sizes. This is even more evident in the post-Covid world, where customers expect up-to-the-minute information about operating hours, trustworthy reviews from the recent past, up-to-date details about any new services offered, and recent photos and videos to help them decide if they would like to do business with you.
Free Google Business Profile (GBP) Consultation
We are pleased to offer your business a free GBP consultation service. We want to make sure that you understand the complexities of navigating, and updating, your profile, as well as following all of the guidelines, recommendations, and best practices, moving forward. The most important thing is to realize that your listing is on Google’s website, which is owned and operated by them, and changes happen at their discretion. Staying on top of the guidelines and best practices is something that needs to be researched on a weekly, if not daily, basis. This is what we do our best to provide. We’re committed to empowering businesses with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively manage their online presence. For most businesses, this fundamentally begins with your Google listing.
Contact us anytime to schedule a free consult one at a convenient time for you
Or call/text 714-270-4713
During your free consultation, we’ll guide you through the fundamental steps of updating your existing GBP:
- Updating business information, including operating hours, and tailoring your business description to reflect any changes.
- Choosing the right primary and secondary categories for your business.
- Adding and managing accurate photos and videos that represent your business.
- Understanding the importance of choosing trustworthy managers and how to delegate responsibilities to your GBP.
We will walk you through these steps, emphasizing the do’s and don’ts to ensure your GBP is in line with Google’s guidelines. It’s crucial to note that Google may conduct integrity checks at any time, and failure to comply with their guidelines can adversely affect your GBP’s visibility or even result in suspension.
For a detailed understanding of Google’s GBP guidelines, we recommend reviewing Google’s guidelines for representing your business.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for making changes to your Google Business Profile. Please jot down any questions that you may have before the consultation.
We will help you better understand each of the following:
- Be accurate and consistent. Make sure all of the information on your profile is accurate and up-to-date. This includes your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and website.
- Be responsive. Respond to customer reviews and questions in a timely manner. This shows that you are active and engaged with your customers.
- Post fresh content. Regularly post fresh content to your profile, such as photos, videos, and blog posts. This will help to keep your profile fresh and up-to-date, and it will also help to attract new customers.
- Claim your listing. If you haven’t already claimed your Google Business Profile, do so as soon as possible. This will give you control over your profile and allow you to make changes to it as needed.
- Spam. Don’t try to game the system by posting fake reviews or asking your friends and family to post reviews for you. This will only get you banned.
- Post inappropriate content. Don’t post any content that is offensive, discriminatory, or harmful. This includes content that is violent, sexual, or hateful.
- Make false claims. Don’t make false claims about your business, such as claiming that you are open when you are not. This will only lead to disappointed customers and a negative reputation for your business.
Remember, while our consultation aims to provide you with the best advice possible, it’s essential to keep updating your GBP regularly as your business evolves, ensuring its accuracy and relevance.
The Benefits and Importance of a Google Business Profile
GBP is no longer optional — it’s a must-have part of almost any business’s online presence. Often, it’s the first place customers turn to for accurate and timely information about your company.
The benefits of GBP extend beyond being a source of information. A completed GBP listing can single-handedly improve a business’s local SEO ranking, giving it greater visibility in local search results. This is critical in an era where consumers increasingly rely on online searches to discover local businesses
Here are some reasons why it’s important to update your Google Business Profile:
- To improve your local search ranking. Google uses the information in your Google Business Profile in part to rank your business in local search results. The more complete and accurate your profile is, the higher the likelihood your business will rank where it should
- To attract new customers. When people search for businesses like yours on Google, your Google Business Profile will be one of the first things they see. A well-maintained profile can help you attract new customers and grow your business.
- To provide better customer service. Your Google Business Profile is a great way to communicate with customers and answer their questions. By responding to reviews and questions in a timely manner, you can show customers that you care about their experience and that you’re committed to providing excellent customer service.
- To build trust and credibility. A complete and accurate Google Business Profile can help build trust and credibility with potential customers. When people see that your profile is up-to-date and that you have positive reviews, they’re more likely to do business with you.
Here are some specific things you can do to update your Google Business Profile:
- Add new photos and videos. Photos and videos are a great way to show off your business and its products or services. They can also help you attract new customers and improve your local search ranking.
- Write a detailed description of your business. Your business description should be clear, concise, and informative. It should highlight your unique selling points and what makes your business different from the competition.
- Add hours of operation. Make sure your hours of operation are accurate and up-to-date. This will help customers know when they can come to your business.
- Enable Google Posts. Google Posts is a great way to share news, updates, and special offers with your customers. Posts can also help you improve your local search ranking.
- Respond to reviews. When customers leave reviews, be sure to respond promptly and professionally. This will show customers that you value their feedback and that you’re committed to providing excellent customer service.
GBP also offers Google Maps integration, making it easier for customers to find your business. It enables direct messaging, where customers can send messages directly to your company phone or email via the GBP interface, facilitating communication. Perhaps most importantly, it showcases customer reviews, providing your business with social credibility that rivals platforms like Yelp or Trustpilot
Keeping Your GBP Profile Up-to-date / GBP Management Services
In the dynamic business environment of today, it’s vital to keep your GBP profile up-to-date. You should regularly adjust your operating hours to reflect any changes, and update your business’s description to communicate how your business has adapted to changing circumstances, such as new public health measures
Additionally, it’s recommended to update your business’s photos periodically to reflect any changes made due to the pandemic or other reasons. Ensuring your business is properly categorized in GBP can also help improve your local ranking.
We also recommend that you look over the Local Search Ranking Factors annual report, compiled every year by leading Local Search expert, Darren Shaw. We would be happy to review each of the potential factors with you that can help your business get found, and also the ones that are not as important, as per the survey of the best SEO practitioners in Local Search.
Stay on top of any GBP news and updates directly on Sterling Sky’s blog
Update: January 2024 Please read “The New Google Business Profile Reinstatement/Appeal Process, via Sterling Sky“
“Summary of the Updated Process”
The Importance of Google Business Profiles for Local Businesses
Google Business Profiles (GBP) are crucial for local businesses, often being the sole online promotional platform for many small enterprises. A suspended GBP can significantly impact business, potentially leading to substantial losses or even closure.
The Evolution of the GBP Suspension Appeal Process
The Google Business Profile suspension appeal process, previously vague about the reasons for suspension, has undergone significant changes. The new process, initially rolled out in the European Union, is set to expand globally, bringing clarity and transparency to the reinstatement procedures. Business owners now receive more explicit information about the suspension reasons, aiding in compliance with Google’s guidelines.
Step-by-Step Guide to the Appeal Process
Identifying a Suspension
Suspensions are indicated via notifications in the GBP merchant panel and an accompanying email from Google, detailing the violation type and suggesting a fix in compliance with Google’s guidelines.
Navigating the Appeals Tool
- Access and Confirmation: The email received by the business owner includes a link to the Appeals tool. The first step involves confirming the correct email account associated with the suspended GBP.
- Selecting the Suspended Profile: Once confirmed, the tool prompts the selection of the suspended business profile.
- Eligibility and Submission: The tool displays the suspension details and eligibility for appeal. If eligible, proceed to submit the appeal.
Preparing and Submitting Evidence
The submission process requires uploading official documents within 60 minutes. These documents include:
- Official business registration
- Business License
- Tax certificate
- Utility bill (confirming the business name and address)
Uploading Additional Evidence
A key part of the process is the submission of supplementary evidence. This step involves a narrative explaining the compliance with GBP guidelines and reasons for reinstatement.
Monitoring the Appeal Status
After submission, regularly check the Appeals tool for updates on the appeal status, which can be ‘Approved’ or ‘Not Approved’.
The revamped Google Business Profile suspension appeal process is a significant advancement in transparency and efficiency. It provides clearer guidelines and a more straightforward appeal process, crucial for businesses reliant on their GBP for online visibility.”
In conclusion, GBP has emerged as an essential tool for businesses seeking to maintain a strong online presence. It provides customers with crucial information, improves local SEO ranking, and facilitates direct communication. Whether managed in-house or through an agency, keeping your GBP profile current and engaging is a must in today’s digital landscape.
We are here to help.
Mark Barrus, Director
Or call/text 714-270-4713