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Witnessing ‘Google’ transcend into a verb synonymous with ‘search’ in our daily lexicon is one of the most defining characteristics of 21st century consumer behavior. It is no surprise that Google dominates the online search landscape with 92% of market share, 72% on desktop searches and 92% on mobile searches.

Though Google continues to remain secretive about its exact search volume, estimates suggest that it processes 99,000 queries every single second. This translates to over 8.5 billion searches daily, with the average individual turning to Google 3-4 times a day.

It’s clear; for businesses, being visible and optimized on Google isn’t just beneficial, it’s imperative.

What is a Google Business Profile (GBP)?

Source: Google

A Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business) is a free tool on Google to create a listing for your company that shows up on Google Maps and search pages. It acts as the front door of your business on Google, where customers can find your business information like address, website, operating hours, gallery of images, and reviews.

This listing appears when people search for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Advantages of a Google Business Profile (GBP) for an Online Business

Source: Google

For online businesses, a Google Business Profile isn’t just a listing. It’s a free marketing tool that can drive traffic, build trust, and provide insights. The advantages include:

  1. Gives you control: While it’s likely that your business already shows up on Google, GBP allows you to take charge, validate, and optimize your listing. It gives you the autonomy to ensure that your business details are both comprehensive and accurate. You can show off images, videos, offers, and much more publicly to anyone who is looking for your business (or similar businesses) on Google. 
  1. Enhanced Online Visibility, Especially Local: GBP is a potent tool for local search optimization, positioning your business directly in the eyes of local patrons. By keeping your profile updated and optimized, you boost your chances of prominently featuring in the local search.

Even if your business operates exclusively online and you have worldwide customers, a Google Business Profile elevates your SEO when potential customers search for products or services you offer.

  1. Trust and Credibility: Displaying verified information, customer reviews, and frequently asked questions serve as a testament to your brand’s credibility, especially in today’s vast world of online marketplaces. It can drive website clicks, calls or messages, and positively impact your business. 
  1. Direct Customer Engagement: GBP opens up a two-way communication channel allowing customers to directly engage with your business. For an online business, this can translate to immediate customer support and query resolution, without them having to navigate away from your business.
  1. Integration with Other Google Services: Google’s suite of services like Google Ads and Google Analytics seamlessly integrate with GBP, facilitating end-to-end sales funnels, from discovery to conversion to retargeting. 
  1. User-generated Content: GBP is an excellent tool to encourage user-generated content for your brand. Customers can upload photos of products they’ve purchased, providing authentic endorsements for potential buyers.

7. Rich Insights and Analytics: GBP provides detailed insights into how customers interact with your online business listing. This can help online businesses understand customer behavior, such as search queries leading to their profile, peak interaction times, which photos get the most views, and more. The dashboard is very user-friendly and allows you to make informed decisions and draw lucrative conclusions for future business plans.

How to setup a new Google Business Profile

Google is known for being simple to use. The business profile creation process is no different if you follow 

these easy steps:

Step 1: Sign in to Google. Be mindful to log into a Google account that you want associated with your business. Avoid using your personal Gmail ID, and instead create a business email ID.

Step 2: Go to create a profile. Enter your business name here. If it doesn’t already exist, you’ll be prompted to create a new listing. 
Step 3: Enter your business name and category. Your ‘business category’ selection defines how Google will know when to show your business in search results.

Step 4: Add location details. If you have a physical storefront, enter this information. Online businesses can specify their service areas.

Step 5: Add contact information. Provide a phone number and website URL for your business.

Step 6: Verification. Google will want to verify that your business is legitimate. This is typically done by mailing a postcard with a verification code to your business address.

Once you’re verified, you can update business hours, business description, add business attributes, enable direct messaging, add photos, videos, monitor your performance, and more.

More Useful Tools on Google Business Profiles (With the Latest 2023 Updates)

Google consistently improves the customer and business experience with new features, tools and updates. Below are some tips that would help optimize your business profile even further:

Source: Google

1. Google Posts: Google Business Profiles can be used a lot like social media platforms. They have ‘Posts’, ‘Offers’, and ‘Events’ that can be directly linked to your website. They are great tools to showcase ongoing promotions, new product launches, or important announcements. This can directly drive traffic and sales to online stores. 

Source: Google

2. Booking/Quote Button: If your business relies on bookings, appointments, or inquiries, this feature lets customers book appointments or inquire for quotes directly from your GBP.

Source: Google

3. Showcase Products: GBP enables you to display your inventory right on your profile. This allows customers to get a capsule experience of your products without having to enter your website.

Source: Google

4. Connect with Customers: As of July 31st 2023, businesses are encouraged to respond to direct messages within 24 hours. Google Business Profile may deactivate chat for your business if you don’t respond within the timeframe. Brands that are already attuned to responding quickly can benefit from being ahead of the curve!

Source: daltonluka

5. Link Social Media: Today, consumers want to see social media and website links in conjunction, and it’s now possible on GBP. Businesses can add one social media link per platform to Business Profiles for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, X, and YouTube. 

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar entity, an online enterprise, or a blend of both, a solid footprint on Google’s digital ecosystem ensures you’re seen, heard, and more importantly, trusted.

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