The Google Business Profile Optimization Checklist 2023 (Complete Guide)

Going through my Google Business Profile optimization Checklist, 20 simple optimization steps will help you finish the profile as quickly as possible.

For potential local customers, your business information on Google’s local search is important.

To achieve outstanding results, you must properly configure your Google Business Profile.

By the end of this guide, you can set up a Google Business Profile optimized for search engines so that your listing appears higher in search results and drives more traffic to your website and physical location

1. Make sure your business qualifies for a GBP listing.

Not every company is eligible for a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing. To qualify GBP, your company must have a physical location where customers can visit. This means online businesses, such as affiliate marketing sites, do not qualify for GBP listings.

A few exceptions exist to this rule, such as businesses offering home delivery or having a virtual storefront. However, GBP listings are mostly for traditional, offline businesses.

2. Verify Your Google Business Profile Listing

  • Log in to Google Business and go to your listing.
  • Click “Verify Now,” and you will be presented with your verification options.
  • Select the option you prefer.
    • You cannot choose which methods Google makes available.
  • Postcard
    • You’ll be sent a postcard within 14 days with a verification code.
    • Do not make any changes to your listing during this time.
    • Log back into Google My Business and enter the verification code for your listing.
    • You can request another postcard from your GMB listing if needed.
  • Phone (if available)
    • Ensure that you can answer the phone number in your GMB listing.
    • Log in to Google My Business and go to your listing.
    • Choose a phone from the list of verification options.
    • Google will call with a verification code.
    • Enter the code into your listing.
  • Email (if available)
    • Choose email from the list of verification options.
    • Ensure you have access to the email shown on the verification screen.
    • Google will send you an email.
    • Click the “Verify” button in the email or enter the code in your GMB listing.
  • Google Search Console (if available)
    • Ensure that you’ve used the same email address for Google Search Console and Google My Business.
    • Ensure the business URL listed in Google My Business has been verified in Google Search Console.
    • When you click “Verify” on your GMB listing, it will be instantly verified.
  • Video Chat (special circumstances)
    • Install the Google Hangouts app for iOS or Android.
    • For storefront businesses, Google will want to see your workplace, business logo, equipment, and public space and possibly meet a couple of customers.
    • For service area businesses, Google will want to see your work vehicle, license plate, business logo on the vehicle, and tools of your trade in the vehicle.
    • A Google specialist will then connect with you via video chat to verify your listing.
Google Business Profile Optimization Checklist

3. Business name optimization

  • Use the same business name on your signs, business cards, and legal documents.
  • Do NOT spam your business name with cities, search terms, taglines, or anything else. It is against Google’s terms of service and could lead to listing problems or suspension in the future.
  • Keep your business name consistent across the web. This means using the same name on your website, social media profiles, and other online listings. This will help Google associate your business with a single identity.
  • Use a short and descriptive business name. This will make it easier for people to remember and type in your business name when searching for you.
business name

4. Business Categories Optimization

  • Choose the right primary category. Your primary category is the most important one and should be the most specific category that accurately reflects your business. For example, if you’re a window cleaning service, your primary category could be “window cleaning service”.
  • Use relevant secondary categories. You can also add up to 10 secondary categories, which can help Google better understand your business and show it to more relevant searchers. For example, if you’re a window cleaning service, you could add the secondary categories “Property maintenance” and “House cleaning service.”
  • Keep your categories up-to-date. If you change your business offerings or location, update your GBP categories accordingly. This will help ensure that your business is still visible to searchers.
  • Use keywords in your categories. When choosing your categories, use relevant keywords that people will likely use when searching for businesses like yours. This will help Google better match your business to relevant search queries.
  • Avoid using too many categories. There’s no need to add every category that could apply to your business. Too many categories can make your GBP look spammy and hurt your ranking.

5. Business Location Optimization

  • Enter a physical address only if customers visit your place of business. If they do not, ensure the address is cleared, and only service areas are used. This will remove your business’s “pin” from maps, but it will still appear in search results.
  • Ensure your address is properly formatted using a free tool like Smarty Streets.
  • Fill in the primary address line with the street address.
  • Place suite numbers on a separate line. Google does not consider this in your listing, but it is useful in assisting your customers in finding you.
business adress

6. Add Service Areas For Your Service-Area Business

  • Only enter this if you serve customers at their location (service area businesses).
  • Some businesses serve customers both at their place of business and at their customer’s location. In this case, enter both a business location and service areas.
  • Enter the cities, postal codes, or regions that you serve. No matter how big a service area you set, it is unlikely to appear in a search result greater than 20 miles away.
  • You may only add a maximum of 20 service areas per business listing.
service area

7. State Your Opening Hours

  • Enter regular hours of operation when customers can do business with you.
  • Add special hours for holidays, closures, or other times when your business is not open.
  • If you are a seasonal business or have multiple hours, such as banks with ATMs, gas stations with self-serve pumps, storage facilities with different office and gate hours, etc.
business hours

8. Phone Numbers and Call Tracking

  • If you use a call tracking number for your Google My Business listing:
    • Use the call tracking number in the “Primary Phone” field.
    • Add your primary, local phone number as an “Additional Phone.”
    • Add toll-free and secondary phone numbers as “Additional Phone” fields.
  • If you do NOT use a call tracking number for your Google My Business listing:
    • Use your primary, local phone number in the “Primary Phone” field.
    • Add toll-free and secondary phone numbers as “Additional Phone” fields.

10. Website URL

  • For single-location businesses, use the homepage of your website. This is the most important page on your website, and it should be optimized for search engines.
  • For multi-location businesses, use the specific landing page for each location. This page should be tailored to the site and include information about the location’s address, hours of operation, and contact information.

Example website URL with UTM tracking

The following is an example of a website URL with UTM tracking: https://alamin-seo.com/ utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb5&utm_content=primary

11. Point Customers To Your Appointment URL

  • Use this to link to your contact page or an online appointment system.
  • Note: Certain businesses can instead use Reserve with Google to integrate specific booking systems into their Google My Business account.
  • Example appointment URL with UTM tracking: https://alamin-seo.com/contact/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb5&utm_content=appointment

12. Google Business Profile Description

The business description is a short text that tells potential customers about your business. It appears in desktop and mobile web searches but not on the Google Maps app.

To write a good business description, consider what you want your customers to know most about your business. Pretend they don’t know anything about you.

Use the most important terms potential customers might want, but don’t keyword stuff. Google does not use the description field as a factor in search rankings, but a well-written description could help convert someone looking at your listing into a customer.

Here are some tips for writing a good business description:

  • You can write a description of up to 750 characters. However, only the first 244 characters display on your Google listing unless the visitor clicks “More.”
  • Use keywords that potential customers might be searching for.
  • Be clear and concise. Don’t use all-caps, emojis, or other gimmicky character use.
  • Focus on your business, not on promotions, prices, or sales.
  • Don’t use any URLs.

Here is an example of a good business description:

  • Business Name: Acme Pizza
  • Description: Acme Pizza is a family-owned and operated pizzeria serving the community for over 20 years. We offer various pizzas, pasta dishes, salads, and a full bar. Our pizzas are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, and our service is always friendly and attentive.

13. Add Services, Menu, and Products

Services

  • Available for certain service businesses, such as dentists, attorneys, insurance agents, hotels, and marketing agencies.
  • It only shows up for end users in the Google Maps app.
  • Create separate sections for the different categories of services you offer.
  • Create a particular service for each specific service you offer.
  • Enter the appropriate name and price of each service.
  • Add a description of each service up to 1000 characters.

Menu

  • Only available for restaurant-type businesses.
  • It only shows up for end users in the Google Maps app.
  • Use this in addition to a link to your menu on your website.
  • Create separate sections for each section of your menu.
  • Create a particular menu item within each section.
  • Enter the appropriate name and price of each menu item.
  • Use the exact description of your menu item as you do in your actual menu, up to 1000 characters.

Products

  • Only available for certain types of retail-oriented businesses.
  • Including every product or category your business carries may not be practical. Focus on just the most important products and categories.
  • Create separate collections for each product category you’d like to feature.
  • Enter the collection name.
  • Add a collection description up to 1000 characters.
  • Create individual products within each category.
  • Enter the product name and price (price ranges are not supported).
  • Add a product description up to 1000 characters. We recommend using the same description that you would use in your product catalog.

14. Google Business Profile Highlights And Attributes

Business attributes are descriptive details about a business that can be used to help people find and learn more about it. There are two types of business attributes:

  • Business-defined attributes are set by the business owner and can be objective or subjective. Objective attributes are facts about the business, such as its hours of operation, whether it is wheelchair accessible, or what languages it speaks. Subjective attributes are opinions about the business, such as whether it is kid-friendly or has a good atmosphere.
  • User-defined attributes are crowd-sourced from people who have visited or interacted with the business. These attributes are also subjective and can be about Anything, such as the quality of the food, the service, or the overall experience.

To add business attributes to your Google My Business listing, go to the Info tab and click on Attributes. You can then select the details that apply to your business.

Business-defined attributes

  • Hours of operation
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Restroom
  • Languages spoken
  • Outdoor seating
  • Happy hour
  • Takeout
  • Delivery
  • Parking
  • Wi-Fi
  • Accepts credit cards
  • Pet friendly
  • Kid-friendly
  • LGBTQ+ friendly
  • Transgender safe space

User-defined attributes:

  • Friendly staff
  • Good food
  • Good value
  • Clean
  • Convenient location

16. Upload Photos to Your GBP Listing

First impressions matter in business. Uploading high-quality photos and videos to your Google My Business (GMB) listing shows Google that you care about your business and know how to attract customers.

  • Logo: Square, preferably with a white background outside the borders of the logo.
  • Cover photo: This should be the primary photo that represents your business. It should be high-quality and eye-catching.
  • Exterior/interior photos: If you have a physical location, upload photos of the outside and inside of your business. These photos give potential customers a feel for what your business is like.
  • Photos at work: Upload photos of you working with your customers or providing services. These photos can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • Team photos: Upload photos of your management team and employees. These photos show off the culture and atmosphere of your business.
  • Products / Food & Drink / Rooms: Depending on your business type, other photo categories may be available to you. Upload photos that showcase your products, food, or rooms.

17. Enable the Google Business Profile (GBP) Messaging

Customers want to be able to reach you in various ways, just like they would with your phone number. The GBP Messaging feature allows customers to chat with you directly from your Google Business Profile. This is a great way to answer questions, support, and even close deals.

The GBP Messaging feature can only be managed through the mobile GBP app. Once you enable the feature, you will see a “Request a Quote” button under your business name.

It’s important to note that enabling the GBP Messaging feature does not mean you have to be available 24/7. You can set your hours of operation and even receive notifications only for messages that match specific criteria.

So please don’t make the mistake of turning off the GBP Messaging feature because you think it’s too much work. It’s a valuable tool to help you connect with customers and grow your business.

18. Respond to Reviews

Reviews are an important part of local SEO, but they have less weight than other factors like proximity and relevance. However, they can still significantly impact click-through rates, which can lead to more business.

The more reviews you have, the better. But it’s also important to respond to reviews, especially negative ones. When you respond to a review, be sure to:

  • Thank the reviewer for their feedback.
  • Apologize for any negative experiences they had.
  • Take the conversation offline and offer to talk over the phone or in person.
  • Try to resolve the problem.
  • Don’t ask to remove the review.

19. Write Regular Posts and Updates on Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile now allows you to post updates to your profile, which is a great way to connect with your customers and share important information about your business.

Some ideas for posts you can create include:

  • Special events or promotions
  • New product launches
  • Behind-the-scenes looks at your business
  • Tips and advice for your customers
  • Customer testimonials
  • Announcements of new hours or services

When writing your posts, be sure to:

  • Keep your writing clear and concise
  • Use attention-grabbing images or videos
  • Avoid making grammar or spelling errors
  • Promote a positive and engaging tone

Your posts aim to build relationships with your customers and keep them informed about your business. By posting regularly and thoughtfully, you can use Google Business Profile to connect with your customers and grow your business.

Leveraging these Google My Business Optimization tactics can be a quick and impactful way to generate more local search visibility, leading to more sales.
Happy SEO-ing 🙂

Alamin SEO

MD.Alamin

Alamin is a seasoned digital marketer with more than five years of experience under his belt. As the mastermind behind #Alamin SEO marketing agency, he has helped over 100 local businesses achieve their growth goals. Alamin is passionate about practical digital strategies that help his clients attract more customers, build customer loyalty, and ultimately, expand their businesses.