Step 1. Create a Business Google Account
Before you can create a Google Business Profile, you’ll need to create/sign into a Google Account. Visit accounts.google.com and choose ‘Create an account’. If you already have an account, choose ‘Sign in instead.'
Step 2. Visit the Google Business Profile Gateway
Once you have your new email address, head to google.com/business and click ‘Manage now’ to get started:
Step 3. Look for the Business
Begin by typing in the business name to see if a profile with this name already exists. If it does, then you’ll see it appear as you’re typing. If the business name doesn’t appear, then go ahead and click ‘Add your business to Google.'
Requesting Access to an Existing Business Profile
If someone has already created a Google Business Profile for the business, then don’t worry. You can request that management of the profile be handed over to you. Simply click ‘Request Access’ and you’ll be guided through the process.
Step 4. Add the Business Name and Category
If you’re creating a new profile, then the next step is to add the business name and category. The name that you use here should exactly match the official business name. Don’t be tempted to add any keywords into the name as this violates Google’s guidelines.
Next, choose the category that most closely matches the business. You’ll have the option to edit this within the profile later, as well as to add additional categories, so don’t worry if you’re not completely sure what to select right now.
In total, you will have the option to set one primary category and up to nine secondary categories. Most experts recommend sticking to only four categories to simplify both your clients' and the search engine's understanding of your business. There are over 3500 categories to choose from, and in order to increase the chances of ranking highly, you will want to choose the most specific category that fits your services.
Step 5. Does the business have a physical location?
If the business has a physical location that customers can visit for face-to-face interactions, then you’ll now need to share this information. If this is the case, then select ‘Yes’ and click ‘Next’. If the business only operates online, or has a physical location but doesn’t receive customers in person, then select ‘No’ instead.
If the business has a physical location, then you can now provide the address.
It’s important that the address you give is accurate and complete to prevent any confusion to customers or issues with the verification process.
Step 6. Does the business provide home deliveries or services?
If this is a service-area business or if the business delivers services to customers at home, then select ‘Yes’ on the next step.
If you select ‘Yes’ then you’ll need to enter the areas (zip codes/cities) that the business serves or delivers to. You’ll be able to come back and edit this information later, and you’ll be able to add new locations any time the business expands.
Step 7. Add Contact Details
The next step is to add the contact details for the business. You’ll need to enter the phone number, and you also have the option to add the business website.
Step 8. Stay in the Know
Before you move on to verifying the business, you’ll be asked if you’d like to receive helpful tips and recommendations from Google. Although there’s no obligation, you might find it beneficial to receive this information.
Step 9. Verify the Business
In this step, you’ll be required to choose a verification method to prove the business is operating at the specified address. Receiving a postcard by mail to the business address is the most common route for verification. To make sure the postcard is sent to the right address, you must make sure that only information that is part of the official address is in the listing. You might also have the option to do so via phone call, text message, or email.
Note: You can continue to make edits and updates to GBP while verification is pending, but the profile won’t be visible on Google during this time.
A postcard will be sent to the business address and will usually arrive within five days (or longer).
The postcard will contain a code that must be entered into the appropriate place within the GBP account. If you don’t receive the postcard, then you can request a replacement.
Some businesses will be able to verify their accounts over the phone, but this option isn’t available to everyone. If you’re eligible, then you’ll see this option on the verification page. If you decide to use this method, then you’ll receive a code via an automated phone call.
As with phone verification, the email alternative isn’t available to everyone.
If you do have the option to verify by email, then you can request a code to your inbox. This will only be possible to the email address connected to the GBP account.
Step 10. Add Your Business Hours
Adding your business hours is essential so that potential customers know when they can visit or contact you.
It’s imperative that the hours you specify are accurate, and you should always edit this information if your opening hours change—whether permanently or temporarily.
Step 11. Add Messaging
Accepting messages from potential customers within GBP is a great way to connect with your audience and drive sales. However, you should only enable this function if you can commit to managing it consistently. Being unresponsive to messages will create a poor user experience and could harm your business reputation. If you do wish to accept messages, then simply click the button. You can come back and pause or disable this feature at any point.
Step 12. Add the Business Description
Providing a description of the business will help consumers to know what it’s all about and whether it’s a good fit for their needs.
You can write up to 750 characters within this section, so be sure to use this opportunity to put the most important information across in a clear and concise way.
Step 13. Add Photos
Adding photos is a great way to help searchers visualize the business and to get a glimpse of the brand. Customers can add their own photos to the listing, and some people will choose to do this when leaving you a Google review.
Be aware that you won’t have any control over the order in which photos appear on your listing, so it’s a good idea to have several of your own photos mixed in with the user-generated content. You can add a logo to help customers identify you, a cover photo to showcase your services, and some photos of your team that might give customers a preview into the experience they will receive from your business.
Make sure you showcase different aspects of your products and services, as well as different areas of your physical location.