Boost Visibility: Google Business Profile Guidelines

Creating a successful business requires stepping up your digital visibility so you can reel in more clients. Establishing a Google Business Profile can be an effective way to boost your online presence and attract more customers. A Google Business Profile is a free and user-friendly tool that helps promote your business on Google Search and Maps. 

In this article we will learn what Google Business Profile is, how it works, and valuable tips for creating and managing one. 

What Is a Google Business Profile? 

A Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business, is a business listing that appears when people search for your business or related keywords on Google Search and Maps. This listing provides relevant contact and personalized information about your business. After you’ve started your business, a GBP offers increased visibility on Google, the ability to showcase your unique value proposition, and the opportunity to engage with your customers and build trust and loyalty. 

Important Google Business Profile Guidelines to Remember 

To ensure optimal management of your Business Profile, accurately represent your business as it appears in the physical world and provide precise location information. Use the fewest possible categories to describe your core business and maintain only one profile per business to avoid display issues on Google Maps and Search.

1. Business Description 

In the business description field, provide relevant and helpful information about your business, including its services, products, mission, and history. 

  • Be honest and upfront with your customers. 
  • Avoid content that is irrelevant or has no clear association with your business. 
  • Ensure your business description adheres to Google guidelines on prohibited and restricted content
  • Refrain from focusing on special promotions, prices, or sales. 
  • Avoid links of any kind.

2. Name 

Ensure your business name accurately reflects your real-world name, as consistently as used on your storefront, website, and stationery. Including unnecessary information may result in suspension of your Business Profile. 

3. Address 

Use an accurate business address that reflects your physical location. PO boxes and remote mailboxes are not allowed. If necessary, include additional details like suite or building numbers, but only if the official street address does not accurately locate your business. Do not include irrelevant information like URLs or keywords in your address.

If you must specify a mailbox or suite number, list your physical address as “Address Line 1” and your mailbox or suite number as “Address Line 2.” However, if your business does not operate out of its mailing address, you are not eligible for a Business Profile. 

Businesses can only list an office as a co-working space if they maintain clear signage, receive customers during business hours, and are staffed by their employees.

Service-area businesses should have a central location with a service area. If you serve customers at your address and want to set up a service area, your team should staff your business location and be able to receive customers during its stated hours. 

Create only one page for each location of your business, either in a single or multiple accounts. Separate pages may exist for individual practitioners and departments across organizations such as businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings.

4. Website and Phone Number 

Provide a local phone number or website for your business location. Avoid using central call center helpline numbers, and do not redirect users to landing pages or other phone numbers. The phone number should be under the business’s direct control, and premium-rate numbers that charge callers high rates are not allowed.  

5. Business Hours 

Provide your regular hours of operation, including any special hours for holidays or events. Note that certain businesses, such as those with varied schedules or those operating by appointment only, may not provide hours. These include indoor lodging, schools and universities, movie theaters, transportation services, and event venues. 

If your business has multiple sets of hours, refer to industry-specific guidelines for banks, car dealerships, gas stations, restaurants, and storage facilities. You can also set more hours to highlight times for specific services. 

For businesses with seasonal hours, set regular hours during the open season and indicate season-specific hours and closures in your business description.

6. Categories 

Use only a few categories from the list to describe your primary business as precisely as possible. Focus on describing your business holistically rather than listing specific services or amenities. 

Adding specific categories will prompt Google to include more general categories automatically. If a category is unavailable, choose a general one, as Google can still detect relevant information from your website and mentions online.

7. Menu 

There are two types of menus: one for eateries and drinking establishments and one for service businesses like repair shops or spas. Both menus should contain a comprehensive list of all available items and services without relying on “popular items” or excerpts. 

Menu URLs must not lead to third-party ordering or delivery services without the business owner’s consent. Third parties managing Business Profiles must receive permission before submitting a menu URL.

8. Products 

Display your in-store products on your Business Profile to turn online searchers into in-store shoppers. You can either upload your products manually using the Product Editor or opt for automatic updates by connecting your Point of Sale system to the Local Inventory app or product reader.

  • Follow the Shopping Ads Policy when submitting products via Product Editor or automatic updates.
  • Regulated products and services, such as alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, as well as financial services, pharmaceuticals, unapproved supplements, and health or medical devices, are not allowed.
  • Products that break Google’s policy can lead to the removal of the entire product catalog, even if some products do not violate the policy.

Tips on How to Boost Your Google Business Profile While Staying Compliant 

Maximize the effectiveness and appeal of your Google Business Profile while following Google’s guidelines with these tips.

1. Add Quality Photos and Videos 

Adding quality photos and videos to your profile allows you to display your products, services, facilities, and staff realistically and engagingly while highlighting the unique features and benefits that set you apart. It also creates a positive impression and builds trust with your customers. When adding photos and videos, ensure they are relevant, clear, and high-resolution. 

2. Manage Customer Reviews and Ratings 

Managing customer reviews and ratings helps obtain customer feedback and insights, establishes credibility with potential customers seeking social proof, and boosts your visibility on Google by demonstrating your activity and responsiveness. 

Encourage honest and constructive customer reviews and ratings through polite requests, follow-up messages, and visible QR codes or stickers. Respond professionally and promptly to positive and negative reviews, addressing concerns and offering solutions or apologies as needed. Handle fake or spam reviews ethically by flagging or reporting them, and avoid manipulative or incentivized review practices.

3. Utilize Google Business Profile Features 

Use Google’s features and tools to enhance your GBP. Share updates and promotions with customers through Google Posts about new products, services, events, and offers. Display them on your profile to attract attention, drive traffic, and increase conversions.

Add online booking or appointment scheduling options to your profile using Google’s native booking system or a third-party provider to allow customers to book services directly from your profile. Answer common questions that customers may have about your business in the Q&A section of your profile. 

4. Optimize for Local SEO 

Optimization entails improving your online visibility and ranking for local searches on Google. By doing so, you can reach more customers who are looking for businesses like yours in your area, compete with other local businesses offering similar products or services, and increase your chances of appearing in the local pack – Google’s search results section showing the top three local businesses related to a query. 

To optimize your profile for local SEO, make sure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information is consistent across all online platforms, use keywords effectively, and encourage customers to leave reviews. Reviews and ratings benefit local SEO by indicating your popularity and quality, providing social proof and testimonials that can influence customer decisions.

5. Monitor and Analyze Profile Performance 

Analysis helps measure your profile’s effectiveness in terms of impressions, clicks, and conversions. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your profile and its features in terms of user behavior, feedback, and engagement, you can adjust and improve based on data-driven insights and best practices. 

Use the Google My Business dashboard to monitor and analyze your profile performance. This dashboard provides metrics and reports such as Insights to show how customers find and interact with your profile, Reviews to display ratings and responses, and Products to display performance data on your added products.

doola Supports your Business from the Start

A Google Business Profile helps boost your digital visibility and potentially attract more customers. Follow Google’s guidelines and use its features to optimize your profile for local SEO, increasing your presence, credibility, and profitability. 

Meanwhile, if you need help setting up your business or for daily operations, contact doola. doola’s business/LLC Formation Services provides assistance in starting and running a business online. From registering a business name to creating a GBP, doola offers quick and affordable solutions. 

FAQs 

Can I create multiple Google Business Profiles for different branches of my business? 

Yes, you can create multiple Google Business Profiles for different branches of your business, as long as each branch has a physical location or service area where it serves customers face-to-face or delivers goods or services. 

Is it necessary to have a physical storefront to create a Google Business Profile? 

No, You don’t need a physical storefront to create a Google Business Profile. You can create a profile for a service area business that brings goods or services directly to customers, like a plumber, landscaper, or caterer.

What to do if I want to move my Google Business Profile to a new address? 

If you want to move your Google Business Profile to a new address, you need to update the address on your profile and verify it with Google. 

How often should I update my Business Profile information? 

Update your Business Profile with any changes to your hours, products, or services.

What should I do if my Business Profile gets suspended or removed by Google? 

If Google suspends or removes your Business Profile, you have breached their profile creation and management guidelines. To resolve the issue and reinstate your profile, you must address the cause of the suspension or removal and request reinstatement from Google. 

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