A robust online search presence may be necessary when growing your start-up.
With Google being the most popular search engine, opens in new window with over 93% of the UK’s total searches in April 2023, it could be an important tool to leverage in your digital marketing efforts.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free online tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google.
This means businesses can update their details so customers can easily find them, increase their online visibility, collect, and manage reviews, and verify their business.
How to set up a Google My Business profile
Before registering your business with Google My Business, you will need a Google account to log in.
If you don’t have a Google account specifically for your business, it may be sensible to create an account specifically for business use that is separate from your personal account, even if you’re operating as a sole trader opens in new window.
Once logged in, you can search for your business by typing in the name and address.
Most businesses are already on Google, however, if you cannot find your business, simply type in the name, and click ‘next’ – you can add more details later.
You will then have your business’s listing.
Here you can upload a logo and add more details, including opening hours, contact details, and images.
To verify your business address opens in new window and listing, Google will send a physical postcard to your listed business address with a verification code, which you’ll need to enter into your Google My Business profile.
Your Google My Business listing will not go live or be verified until you enter the verification code.
Optimising your Google My Business profile
With an optimised profile, you may see an increase in traffic to your Google My Business profile from potential local customers.
1. Choose a business category
Selecting the correct business category is a simple way to optimise your profile.
This will ensure that your business shows up alongside your competitors and helps ensure your company appears when people search for your type of business.
2. Add high-quality images
Adding high-quality images to your Google My Business listing may help your business appear more legitimate, such as showing your storefront or interior shots of your restaurant.
Images give potential customers a clear idea of what to expect from your business and may help encourage Google to promote your business’s profile.
3. Add a description
Another way to optimise your profile is to add a detailed business description.
Potential customers opens in new window can view this description as they scroll down on your listing.
In this section of your profile, you could include details such as the products and services you offer, how long you have been in business, your values, and your start-up story.
This may help make your business more relatable to potential customers and provides them with additional attractive information.
Managing and responding to reviews
Reviews left by customers can be found on your Google My Business profile.
Customers can also give your business a rating out of five stars.
Customer ratings and reviews are public and can be influential when building brand trust and reputation opens in new window – and it can be a good idea to ensure you manage and respond to reviews opens in new window.
If you receive a positive review, a short ‘thank you’ response may be a good idea to help show your appreciation and that you actively communicate with your customers.
Consider responding positively and apologising for negative reviews rather than posting a defensive response.
It may be a good idea to ask the reviewer to contact your business so you can resolve the issue.
Using Google My Business Features
Google My Business has several features designed to help your business attract customers.
- Posts – short-form content your business can share on its Google My Business profile, commonly including announcements, offers opens in new window, new product or service launches, and calls to action.
- Q&A – this is used to answer frequently asked questions potential customers may have, which can help show that your business understands what customers want.
- Booking button – depending on your business’s services, the booking button will direct potential customers to your online booking system, making booking services or reservations simple.
- Special features – this feature adds “badges” to your profile that indicate certain things about your business, such as if it has free WiFi, or has disability access.
- Website – the website button allows potential customers to directly access your website opens in new window, rather than requiring them to do another Google search to find it.
It can be hard to optimise your Google My Business profile when you don’t know how well something is working.
This is why monitoring insights could be key when making your Google My Business profile more effective.
The ‘Insights’ feature on your profile can show you valuable customer data such as:
- how many clicks your profile gets
- what customers searched for to find your business
- customer actions
- search queries
- where customers find you on Google.
You could track this information to help you optimise your profile to reach your target audience better, updating descriptions, images, and FAQs to address customer interests.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality opens in new window opens in new window
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.