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Google My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide For Businesses

27 July, 2023 15 min read

Google My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses

Google, with over 90% of the market share, is the go-to search engine worldwide. It's where we find information about everything from global events to nearby restaurants.

 

That's why businesses flock to Google – to be discovered by people. A Google Business Profile (GMB) is a free and easy way to do just that.

 

Today, we’re going to cover Google My Business from scratch. We'll guide you through the process, covering everything from the basics to recovering an existing profile and what to do if your GMB gets suspended.

 

What is Google Business Profile?

 

Google Business Profile, also known as Google My Business is a free listing tool offered by Google for businesses to show up online on Search and Maps. 

 

GBP allows you to enter vital information about your business, such as your name, address, operating hours, contact details, and website. You can also use GBP to manage reviews and questions asked by people.

 

With a Google Business Profile, businesses ensure that people can easily discover their establishment when they are in the area, get information about their business, and find their location using Google Maps. 

 

Why do you need Google Business Profile?

 

When you're looking for a local business, what do you do? You probably Google it. And when you do, you're likely to see a Google My Business (GMB) profile for that business.

 

Having a GMB profile allows potential customers to easily find all the important information about your business online. They can quickly locate your physical address using Google Maps and get directions to reach you.

 

Furthermore, customers can contact you directly for making reservations or appointments, making it a convenient and efficient way to connect with your audience.

 

Even if you don't have a physical location, you can still benefit from having a GMB profile. You can use your GMB profile to promote your website, products, or services. You can also use it to connect with potential customers and build relationships.

 

 

Here are some of the perks of creating a Google Business Profile:

  • Increased Visibility: A well-optimized GMB profile can boost your visibility in local search results, so when people are looking for businesses like yours, they're more likely to see your profile.
  • Customer Interaction: GMB allows you to interact with customers by responding to reviews and answering their questions, fostering a positive and trustworthy image.
  • Business Insights: You get access to valuable data and analytics, providing insights into how customers are finding and engaging with your business.
  • Google Posts: You can share updates, offers, or announcements through Google Posts, keeping your audience informed and engaged.
  • Photos and Videos: GMB enables you to showcase your products, services, and the essence of your business through photos and videos.

The bottom line is, if you want customers to find your business, you must create a Google My Business profile.

 

How to create a Google Business Profile?

 

Creating a Google My Business (GMB) profile is a great way to get your business in front of potential customers. Here are the steps on how to create a GMB profile from scratch:

 

1. Option 1: Go to Google Maps and click on 'Add your business' in the left menu bar.

 

Option 2: Visit the Google Create page and enter your business name.

 

If it's on the list, proceed to claim ownership (you can learn how to do that in the next section).

 

If your business isn't listed, click on 'Add your business to Google'.

 

2. Enter your Business name and Business category.

 

3. Click Next and decide if you want to add a location for customers to visit. If you choose yes, provide the location details and set the pin on the map.

 

4. After you enter your business address, Google might display a list of profiles with similar addresses to ensure your business profile doesn't exist already.

  • If your business is on the list, select it and skip to the next section.
  • If not, select None of these and move on to the next step.

 

5. Add the service area of your business if applicable.

 

6. Click next and enter your phone number and website URL.

 

7. Choose a verification method from the available options. Your business profile won't be visible to the public until it's verified.

 

Here are the five ways for getting your GMB profile verified:

  • By Phone: You’ll receive a code via automated call or text from Google.
  • By Email: Google will send a verification code to your email.
  • By Postcard: A postcard containing a code will be sent to your registered business address within 12 days of your request.
  • By Business Video: You'll need to record a video showing proof of your business location, equipment, and management.
  • By Live Video Call: You'll have a live video call with a Google support representative to show proof of location, equipment, and management.

As mentioned above, Google might provide any of the methods listed above in order to verify your account. 

 

Add Additional Information

 

After you've chosen a verification method or decided to skip it for now, you'll be asked to add optional information such as:

  • Opening hours: Let customers know when they can visit your business.
  • Enable messages: Allow customers to contact you directly through Google.
  • Business Description: Give potential customers a brief overview of your business.
  • Photos of your business: Show off your products, services, and team.
  • Enable notifications for surveys and pilots: Stay up-to-date on new Google features and opportunities. 
  • Start Google ads: Promote your business on Google Search and Maps.

Until your profile is verified, your edits will not be visible to the public. We suggest you add as much information as you can to your profile so that it is completely optimized and helps your customers reach you more conveniently.

 

Claim/Recover Existing GMB Profile

 

How to claim existing unverified Google Listing

 

There are times when the business happens to already have a Google business profile but fails to claim it. This is why, before creating a new Google listing, you should check whether the profile already exists. 

 

This allows you to update and manage the information on the profile and leverage existing features like customer reviews and business questions. Additionally, claiming the existing profile ensures that your business doesn't end up with duplicate listings, which could lead to suspension.

 

If you've already created a Google My Business (GMB) profile for your business, but it's not yet verified, you can claim it by following these steps:

 

1. Go to Google Maps and search for your business name.

 

2. If you see your business listed, click on the Claim this Business button

 

3. Click on ‘Manage now’.

 

4. You'll be asked to provide some information to verify that you're the owner of the business, such as your business name, address, and phone number.

 

5. Once you've verified your identity, you'll be able to manage your GMB profile.

 

Here is an alternate way to claim an existing unverified Google Listing:

 

1. Go to Google Search and search for your business name with the location.

 

2. Locate the Google Business Profile you wish to claim and click on the 'Own this business?' link.

 

Now, if you don't see any option to claim the business, it's possible that the profile is already verified and managed by someone else.  In this case, you can try to contact the person who claimed your listing and ask them to transfer ownership to you. You can check the same by going to your Google Business Profile Manager.

 

3. Click on the ‘Manage now’ button.

 

4. Proceed and verify your business profile via any of the available methods.

 

Once you've claimed your Google My Business profile, you'll be able to manage it and make sure that it's accurate and up-to-date.

 

How to request access to a business profile managed by somebody else?

 

In some cases, you might find that your business profile already exists on Google, but you no longer have access to it due to various reasons, such as an inactive email address associated with the profile or if you have taken over a business without receiving the credentials from the previous owner. 

 

In such situations, you can request ownership of the existing business profile from Google.

 

To request access to an existing business profile, follow these steps:

 

1. Go to the Google Create page and enter the name of the business.

 

2. A drop-down list of existing businesses will appear. Select the business for which you want to request access.

3. Click on ‘Manage now’.

 

4. Google will display the email address currently managing the profile. If you know the email address and can obtain the credentials, you can try to access the profile directly.

 

If you no longer have access to the email address, click on the 'Request Access' button.

 

5. Fill in the required information, such as the level of access you need, your relationship to the business, your contact name, and your phone number.

 

 

6. Click on the submit button.

 

After you hit the submit button, the request will be forwarded to the current owner of the business profile. The current owner will have 3 days to accept or deny your request.

 

If the owner doesn't respond within 3 days, there is a high chance that Google will grant you access to the profile. To check whether you've received access, go to your Google Business Profile Manager and look for the business. Additionally, you can view your request in the email Google sent acknowledging your request. 

 

Google may also require you to complete the verification process for the business to confirm your ownership.

 

Suspended Google Business Profile

 

What is Google My Business Suspension?

 

Google My Business (GMB) suspension is a situation you definitely want to avoid as a business owner. Especially if your profile is not visible to the public anymore. This can lead to a loss of business and revenue.

 

It occurs when Google takes action against your GMB profile due to suspected violations of their guidelines or the use of spammy tactics. 

 

There are two types of GMB suspension: Soft Suspension and Hard Suspension.

  • Soft Suspension: A soft suspension means that your GMB profile is still visible to potential customers, but you cannot make any changes to it. This can happen if Google has flagged your profile for violating its guidelines, but it has not yet determined that you have actually violated the guidelines.
  • Hard Suspension: A hard suspension means that your GMB profile is not visible to potential customers at all. This can happen if Google has determined that you have violated its guidelines.

When Google suspends a GMB profile, they typically won't provide specific details about the exact reason for the suspension. Instead, you'll need to review Google's guidelines to identify any potential violations.

 

Reasons for Google My Business Suspension

 

Determining the specific reason for GMB suspension is a real head-scratcher since Google won’t tell you one. However, by reviewing their guidelines and understanding common reasons for suspension, you can take steps to avoid such issues.

 

Some of the most common reasons for Google business profile suspension are:

  • Suspicious Activity - Google may suspend your profile if it detects suspicious activities, such as generating fake or spammy reviews, using misleading keywords (keyword stuffing), or making multiple edits simultaneously. It's best to avoid any behavior that might raise suspicion.
     
  • Duplicate Profiles - Having multiple profiles for the same business location can lead to duplicate content issues, and Google may mark them as duplicates, resulting in suspension. Always ensure that you have only one official and accurate GMB profile for your business.
     
  • Inaccurate Information - Misrepresenting your business or providing inaccurate information on your GMB profile can lead to suspension. Avoid using fake addresses, phone numbers, or stock photos instead of real ones. Keep the information on your profile up-to-date and consistent. 
     
  • Offensive Language -  Using offensive language or sharing inappropriate content on your GMB profile can also result in suspension. Maintain professionalism and adhere to Google's content guidelines. 
     
  • Violation of Google's guidelines: Google has a set of guidelines that businesses must follow in order to have a GMB profile. These guidelines cover a wide range of issues, including the accuracy of your information, the content of your reviews, and the way you interact with customers. If Google determines that you have violated these guidelines, your profile may be suspended.

To prevent suspension and maintain a functional GMB profile, regularly review and update your information, respond to customer reviews professionally, and refrain from any practices that could be perceived as suspicious or against Google's policies. 

 

If your profile does get suspended, address the issues by making necessary changes according to the guidelines before requesting reinstatement from Google. 

 

How to recover a suspended Google Business Profile?

 

Recovering a suspended Google Business Profile requires careful attention and adherence to the necessary steps. Before proceeding with the recovery process, it's essential to review your profile thoroughly, ensuring there are no duplicate profiles and that it complies with Google's guidelines.

 

Once you’re sure that your profile is not violating any guidelines, you can take steps to recover your profile.

 

Fill out Google My Business reinstatement form

 

After making all the necessary changes it’s time to submit a reinstatement request

 

To open the reinstatement form, follow these steps:

 

1. Enter your suspended business name and location in the search bar.

 

2. Click on the Learn More link under the Your business is suspended message.

 

3. Click on the ‘Request Reinstatement’ button.

 

4. Complete the Reinstatement Form.

 

The form will ask a series of questions. Carefully read and honestly answer each question. Your answers will determine the subsequent questions in the form.

 

Once you’ve answered all the questions, a request form will be opened. In this section, you'll be asked to fill out information related to your business and provide supporting documents to evaluate your request.

 

5. Submit the Reinstatement Request.

 

Google will send you an email acknowledging the receipt of your reinstatement request.

  

Most suspensions are lifted within three business days. If you haven't received an automated reply from Google, you'll likely receive an email when your listing gets reinstated. 

 

 

 

Important Tips:

  • Avoid submitting multiple reinstatement requests, as this can be unhelpful and might further delay the process.
  • Ensure you answer the questions in the reinstatement form honestly and thoroughly to improve the chances of successful reinstatement.
  • If you haven't received any updates from Google within three business days, you can respond to the acknowledgment email and politely request an update on the status of your request.

If you have followed these steps and your profile is still not reinstated, you can contact Google support for assistance.

 

What to do if your reinstatement request is denied?

 

In the case of a soft suspension that just resulted in you losing access to your profile, you can simply request access as we mentioned above.

 

If your reinstatement request for a hard suspension is denied, it can be disheartening, but there are still steps you can take to appeal the decision and seek a resolution. 

 

Here's what to do if your reinstatement request is denied:

 

1. Review Your Profile: Double-check your Google Business Profile to ensure it adheres to all of Google's guidelines and policies. Address any issues or inaccuracies that might have led to the denial.

 

2. Respond to Google's Rejection Email: If your reinstatement request was denied via email, you can respond to the same email to appeal your decision.

 

 

3. Provide a Clear Explanation: In your response, provide a clear and well-explained explanation as to why you believe your profile should be reinstated. Be concise and persuasive in your argument.

 

4. Attach Supporting Proof: Include any relevant evidence that supports your case. This evidence could be business-related documents such as a business name and summary, photos of the front of your shop, a GST certificate, or any other documents that verify your business's authenticity.

 

5. Contact Google Support: If you keep receiving the same response email from Google Support after responding to their previous email, you can directly contact Google Support for further assistance. When contacting Google Support, keep the request general, and mention the specific profile in question after you receive a response from Google regarding your previous request.

 

6. Be Patient and Persistent: Resolving a hard suspension can take time and may require some persistence. Continue to follow up with Google Support and be patient throughout the process.

 

7. Seek Professional Help: If you find the process challenging or feel you need expert assistance, consider seeking help from professionals experienced in Google Business Profile reinstatement or digital marketing agencies.

 

It's essential to maintain open communication with Google and demonstrate that your business complies with its guidelines. Provide all the necessary information and evidence to support your case, and be proactive in your efforts to resolve the suspension.

 

Keep in mind that each case is unique, and there is no guarantee of reinstatement. However, by remaining committed to resolving the issue and ensuring compliance with Google's guidelines, you increase the likelihood of reaching a positive outcome for your Google Business Profile.

 

Optimize Google My Business Profile

 

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is a valuable asset for your business. It can help you attract new customers, improve your online visibility, and boost your local search rankings. However, in order to get the most out of your GMB profile, you need to optimize it.

 

Here are some tips on how to optimize your GMB profile:

  • Complete your profile: Make sure that your profile is complete and up-to-date. This includes adding your business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and other relevant information.
     
  • Add high-quality photos: Photos are a great way to show off your business and attract new customers. Make sure to add high-quality photos that accurately represent your business.
     
  • Use keywords: When you're filling out your profile, be sure to use relevant keywords without overstuffing. This will help your profile show up in search results for those keywords.  
     
  • Get reviews: Customer reviews are a great way to build trust and credibility with potential customers. Encourage your customers to leave reviews for your business.
     
  • Respond to reviews: When customers leave reviews, be sure to respond to them promptly. This shows that you care about your customer's feedback and that you're willing to address any concerns they may have.

Learn more about online review management.

  • Use Google Posts: Google Posts are a great way to keep your customers informed about your business. You can use Google Posts to announce new products or services, share special offers, or promote events. 
  • Regular Updates: Keep your GMB profile updated with any changes to your business information, such as new products, services, or special events.

By optimizing your GMB profile, you increase the likelihood of appearing in local search results and attracting potential customers. Regularly updating and engaging with your profile also demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent customer experiences. 

 

Boost your Google My Business profile with Rannkly

 

Google My Business (GMB) is a free and powerful tool that can help businesses reach new customers and improve their online visibility. especially when they have budget constraints for paid marketing. GMB offers a free and valuable way to reach potential customers, and taking advantage of this platform is crucial for success.

 

However, managing a GMB profile can be time-consuming and challenging. That's where Rannkly comes in.

 

With Rannkly, you can keep your customers informed by scheduling and publishing Google posts from our all-in-one dashboard.  With Rannkly's all-in-one dashboard, you can enhance your GMB profile and make the most of its features. 

 

Rannkly enables you to keep your customers informed by scheduling and publishing Google Posts directly from the dashboard. This feature ensures that your updates, promotions, and offers to reach your audience on time.

 

Rannkly also allows you to respond to your customer reviews and answer business questions asked by people in the Q&A section. Our AI-powered tool makes it easier to address customer feedback without spending excessive time on analysis.

 

Furthermore, we have made it easy for you to interact with your customers on Google. With Rannkly’s Messaging, you can directly communicate with your customers on various platforms including Google, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, all from a single interface. This streamlines your communication process and saves you time and effort.

 

If you're looking for a way to boost your Google My Business profile, Rannkly is a great option.

 

Schedule a demo today to learn more about Rannkly

Vishnu Sharma

Vishnu Sharma

CEO at Coder Value Pvt. Ltd.

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