What if I told you there’s only 5 minutes standing between you and powerful Google marketing tools? I’m talking well-nigh Google My Business. It’s free, easy to set up, and can momentum serious traffic to your website or store from Google Search and Google Maps.
Let’s set up your Google Merchantry Profile (as it’s now called) together in less than 30 seconds (yes, I timed it) and fully optimize it in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. You’ll moreover find out how to alimony your profile updated and where to fit it into your marketing strategy.
Bonus: Get the self-ruling template to hands craft a detailed profile of your platonic consumer and/or target audience.
What is Google My Merchantry (now Google Merchantry Profile)?
Google Merchantry Profile is a self-ruling marketing tool provided by Google. It allows merchantry owners to manage how they towards in online tools like Google Search and Google Maps.
When you set up a Google Merchantry Profile, the photos and other details of your merchantry — including location, services, and products — are used wideness Google, increasing your visibility to prospects in online search.
Most businesses are eligible for Google Merchantry Profile. This includes those without a physical write location, e.g. businesses that sell products through a website.
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The 3 most important benefits of Google Merchantry Profile
Get discovered in Google Search and Maps
When putting together search results for someone’s location-based search query (e.g. “bike shop Lower East Side”), Google uses Google Merchantry Profile information — location, phone numbers, descriptions, etc. — to decide which businesses weightier fit the searcher’s intent. The weightier matches show up in the top positions on the search results page.
The same goes for surfacing local businesses in Google Maps searches:
Source: Google Maps
Congrats! Now you have a vital understanding of local SEO.
Manage your online merchantry information
You can update your Google Merchantry Profile information at any time. That ways you’re unchangingly in tenancy of how your merchantry hours, phone number, and other nature towards online — which helps potential customers get in touch with you via the most recent contact information.
Besides serving as a inside place of information for search engines and Google Maps, you can moreover use your Google Merchantry Profile as a message workbench of sorts. You can make a post to share key merchantry information, like unexpected closures or temporary merchantry hour changes — or provide some details on your services. Posts are part of your profile, visible to anyone who looks you up in Search or on Maps.
Source: Google Maps
Build trust with Google Reviews
Reviews are a key element of social proof and a meaningful way to build trust and points online.
Even if searchers aren’t clicking through to read the content of your reviews, the 1-5 star rating prominently visible underneath each merchantry result does impact their likelihood of checking you out.
Worried you can’t alimony up a string of solid 5-star reviews? Don’t sweat it. Google sees a mixture of positive and negative reviews as stuff more authentic and trustworthy, and ranks you largest considering of it.
How to set up a Google My Merchantry listing
Step 1: Log in to Google Merchantry Profile
You need a Google worth to use Google Merchantry Profile, so go superiority and create one if you haven’t already.
I recommend not using your personal Google worth to set this up, as you may want to requite others wangle to your Google Merchantry Profile later and that’s largest to do from a defended work worth (no one needs to see your weird Reddit notifications, okay?).
Step 2: Add your merchantry information
Once you’re signed in, Google Merchantry Profile asks you for your merchantry name. Enter one and click Continue.
Step 3: Select your merchantry type
You can sign up for Google Merchantry Profile as long as you either sell directly to customers online, have a physical location, or provide a service in-person to your customers. You can select all options that wield to you.
Click Next when you’re done.
Step 4: Enter your location and/or location targeting
If you’re an online-only business, Google asks for your website.
For both online and offline businesses, you’ll need to enter the country you’re registered in. This may or may not moreover be the country where your location is.
If you have a physical location, you’ll enter that instead (with the worthiness to add your website URL and increasingly information later). You may moreover be asked to position a marker for the location on a map for accuracy. If your merchantry does not have a location customers can visit but offers in-person services or deliveries, you can list your service areas. Then click Next.
If you didn’t enter a physical address, Google will ask you to specify which region you’re based in. Segregate from the drop-down menu and click Next.
Step 5: Add contact information
You can add either a website, phone number, or both. These are publicly viewable on your profile.
Step 6: Verify your business
Even if you don’t have a physical merchantry location, you need to enter a mailing write to wilt verified.
After that, you can segregate to receive a verification lawmaking via email or the heady option of recording a short video showing you working in your merchantry and basically proving that you have a business. I’m not sure why anyone would segregate that over a simple email lawmaking but sure, increasingly power to ya.
I chose the email code. Wait for it to arrive, enter it, and click Verify.
Becoming verified allows you to publicly reply to consumer reviews, use messaging features, and more.
Step 7: Optimize your profile
Now, add all the uneaten details that will get the most out of your profile. All of these are optional, but if they wield to you, be sure to fill it out.
You can add:
- Business hours
- Chat, where users can send you a message directly from Google search
- Description of your business
There are many increasingly ways to optimize your Google My Merchantry profile than the options you get in the setup screen. The next section covers everything else you should optimize.
How to optimize your Google My Merchantry profile
Filling out your profile information isn’t a fast track to the top of search results. But, completing your Google Merchantry Profile makes it much increasingly likely you’ll stand out — 2.7 times increasingly likely actually. Plus, people are 70% increasingly likely to visit a merchantry with a well-constructed profile vs. an incomplete one.
Google determines local search ranking based on three factors:
- Relevance: How well your profile matches search intent.
- Distance: How far your location is from the user.
- Prominence: How well-known your merchantry is (based on factors like number of reviews, review score, and other SEO ranking factors).
Use special attributes, if applicable
Some merchantry types — restaurants, hotels, and services — have wangle to special features, like:
- Hotels can display star-class ratings, sustainability information, on-site amenities, check-in and out times, and a uncontrived booking link.
- Restaurants and bars can upload menus, dish photos, and winnow reservations and online orders directly from search.
- Service businesses can exhibit a list of services offered.
- Healthcare providers in the U.S. can show health insurance information and winnow online visit bookings.
In wing to those specific examples, there are a range of other types of buttons most businesses can use, including visit booking, reservation links, and online ordering.
You can moreover add symbol “labels” to your listing to communicate key information well-nigh your business, like if you are unshut by visit only. Or, to ensure everyone feels welcome. For example, you may want to share information well-nigh wheelchair accessibility, self-ruling Wi-Fi, or outdoor seating. You can plane share that your visitor is women owned and/or 2SLGBTQI friendly.
To edit these labels, visit your dashboard and click Edit profile. Scroll lanugo to the More section to find these attributes.
Add real images of your business
Photos help generate interest and reservation people’s eye in search results. For physical locations, this is easy: take some unconfined photos of your merchantry in operation.
Not unconfined at photography? Hire a professional to do a photo shoot and use those wondrous images wideness your social media profiles, including Google Merchantry Profile, and on your website. Or run a races by giving yonder a souvenir vellum or product in mart for your customers submitting their weightier photos.
According to Google, businesses with photos receive more requests for directions and increasingly clicks to their websites.
You can add a imbricate photo and spare images during the setup process:
Or add or edit photos unendingly from your Google Merchantry Profile dashboard:
Add a custom description
You can add a custom unravelment up to 750 words which appears wideness Google services, including search and Maps. Use this space to showcase what’s truly unique well-nigh your merchantry rather than simply stating what you do.
Include keywords in your profile
Adding relevant keywords to your Google My Merchantry profile increases the likelihood of people finding you. Not sure what keywords to include? Trammels out popular searches with Google Trends and see if any wield to your business, or do things the “new Gen Z way” with TikTok Keyword Search.
A good place to start is with the keywords people are once using to find you. Snag these from Google Analytics reports for free, or use Hootsuite Insights and wide social monitoring tools to uncover plane increasingly terms people type in to find you.
The idea isn’t to stuff your profile full of a tuft of keywords just for the sake of rankings. It’s important to naturally weave them into your sentences. Keyword stuffing hasn’t been tomfool since 1999 (and can unquestionably hurt your rankings).
Encourage and wordplay reviews
A good review can be the deciding factor that tips prospective customers in your favor.
Customers can review your merchantry directly from your profile or Google Maps, but the most constructive way to get increasingly reviews is to share your review link. Add it to your email marketing templates, share it on social media, or create your own shortened link to exhibit on in-store signage.
To find your unique Google Reviews link:
- Go to your Google Merchantry Profile dashboard and click Ask for reviews.
- Copy your link and spread it far and wide!
Pro tip: Use a URL shortener to turn this into an on-brand custom link that’s easy to type, like “www.hootsuite.com/review”.
You can, and should, respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. According to research by Ipsos, consumer reviews are still the most trusted information source when it comes to evaluating a product or business.
For positive reviews, take the time to thank your consumer for sharing their experience. For negative reviews, moreover thank your consumer and write their issue in a tactful, honest way and try to offer a solution or fix, if warranted.
Afraid of troll reviews from fake people? Don’t worry, you can report inappropriate or malicious reviews and have them removed from your profile.
Find your current reviews under the Reviews tab (once you have at least one).
Verify your street address
If you didn’t once do so during setup, verify your merchantry now. This is expressly important if you have a physical location, since verified locations are more likely to show in Google Maps searches.
Not sure if you’re verified? Check your verification status.
Regularly update your information
Make sure to alimony your Google Merchantry Profile up to date. Edit your profile if your merchantry hours change, you get a new phone number, etc. Nothing annoys a consumer increasingly than looking up your hours online, then making the trek to your location only to find that you’re closed.
For things like operating hours, edit that directly in your profile. For temporary or special updates, create a post to go on your page instead.
To edit your hours or other profile information, click Edit profile.
To create a post to share in your Google Merchantry Profile feed, click on Add update.
You can segregate to add an update, offer, or event. Each post type has variegated nature to help spread your message.
For this example, I chose Add update. You can add up to 1500 characters, one or increasingly photos, and nail a undeniability to whoopee button.
Post something promotional like your new product launch, or use this space to communicate holiday hours (in wing to waffly it on your profile!) or special parking instructions while construction is happening nearby.
Import your products
Last but not least, if you sell physical products via your website, add those products to your Google Merchantry Profile. In wing to seeming on your profile itself, your products can towards in Google Shopping, the most popular price comparison portal in the United States.
Source: IKEA Coquitlam on Google
To manually add products to your Google My Merchantry profile, click on Edit products from your dashboard.
From here, a popup will towards where you can add your first product, including its title, category, price, description, URL, and a photo.
If you only sell a few products, it may be easiest to add them this way. But for anything increasingly than a dozen or so items, there’s an easier, streamlined way with the delightfully named Pointy app.
You can either connect Pointy to your point-of-sale (POS) system or scan products with the Pointy scanner. Then your products will show up in Google search, Shopping, and on your Google Merchantry Profile.
However, there are unrepealable eligibility criteria to use Pointy, including requiring UPC barcodes on your products.
How to manage Google My Merchantry with Hootsuite
Yep, you can update and manage your merchantry profile on GMB in the same place you manage all your other social media accounts.
You’ll need to create and verify your Google Merchantry Profile first surpassing you can manage it inside Hootsuite.
Install the Google My Merchantry app
Once you have your profile set up, install the self-ruling Google My Merchantry app from the Hootsuite app directory.
To finish installing, segregate whether to create a new Streams workbench or add your Google Merchantry Profile data to one of your existing Stream boards. Segregate an option and click Add to Streams.
Setup your Google My Merchantry Stream
Next, go to the Streams tab in your Hootsuite dashboard.
If you don’t once see the three columns for Posts, Reviews, and Questions, use the Add a Stream box on the right and click to add them.
Try Hootsuite for free
Click Login to Google My Business to connect the app to your Google Merchantry Profile account. Of course, make sure to login with the Google worth you use to manage your profile.
Confirm your merchantry profile by selecting it then clicking Confirm.
If you just created your Google Merchantry Profile, you likely won’t have any consumer questions or reviews to reply to, but having this Stream built into your Hootsuite dashboard makes it so easy to stay on top of them once they start rolling in.
Post merchantry updates from Hootsuite
Create new posts and publish directly to your Google Merchantry Profile worth from Hootsuite Streams by clicking the New Post icon in the Posts Stream.
Additionally, you can reply to reviews and wordplay questions, which both show up in Google search results and on your public profile, and help persuade new customers to visit you.
Source: Haven Langley on Google
For a full overview of everything this integration can do, trammels out this quick 3 minute overview:
Google My Merchantry FAQs
Is Google My Merchantry completely free?
Yes, creating a Google Merchantry Profile is free. As long as you have a physical location, sell goods online, or meet customers in person, you can create a self-ruling Google My Merchantry account.
How do I wangle my Google My Merchantry page?
Access your Google Merchantry Profile dashboard at https://business.google.com by logging in with the Google worth you used to create your Google My Merchantry account.
You can moreover search your merchantry name and, as long as you’re logged in, your merchantry profile dashboard shortcuts will towards at the top of the search results page.
Is Google My Merchantry still active?
Yes, Google My Merchantry is now tabbed Google Merchantry Profile. It’s the same self-ruling service, now with spare features for restaurants, hotels, healthcare, and service businesses, plus new ways to get discovered wideness Google search and Google Maps.
Use Hootsuite to communicate with your customers via Google Merchantry Profile and all your other social channels. Create, schedule, and publish posts to every platform, plus get valuable analytics, performance reports, and more. Try it self-ruling today.
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