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Google Business Profile explained

by | Last updated: Dec 13, 2023

GoogleMyBusinessGoogle Business Profile, (previously called Google My Business) is Google’s way of verifying your business and its actual physical address, to ensure that you do operate where you say that you operate. And it is FREE.

Google Business Profile

GMB or Google My Business originally, is now called GBP  ‘Google Business Profile‘ which makes more sense to people. In 2022 this became the ‘official’ name, hitherto only referenced by Google, once you had logged in to Google Business Profile dashboard. Whilst it is a bit confusing, the new title ‘Google Business Profile’ does make it somewhat easier to understand what it is exactly.

It is very important for local search engine optimisation SEO. Also to help you manage your online presence across Google’s various tools, including Search and Maps and Reviews which are becoming more and more important. These Google Business Profile or GMB entries also populate Maps and the Knowledge Graph and Local Search Results. Google also has a separate ML or Machine Learning Shopping Graph for eCommerce website products and reviews.

*Take your Google reviews very seriously and start building them up now by asking clients to give you a positive ‘wordy’ review and making it as easy as possible for them to do so. Be sure to thank anyone who gives you a review, right there in Google Business Profile. This is just like Trip Advisor for restaurants. It is not a replacement for a business website, but it is important to have for Google search purposes.






Think of it as a FREE website at Google for your business profile in search, where you can decide what it says about you in Google and how it looks or portrays your business. In fact part of this app is that you do get a free website option, if you want a Google site. Ideally, Google would love to have you use this as your website too. Although they made the option hard to find in 2023.

The chances are that there is already an entry of some sort for you which has some information on it, but possibly not what you want to see. Check the information, especially the telephone number, map address, area code and website link, as well as any photos.

Google Reviews – Google planners or lead developers are working on the basis that if you get good independent reviews in your Google Business Profile entry,  you must be good at what you do. But they do make people jump through a few hoops in order to register a review of any sort on your Google Business entry. It becomes self regulating, the Community ranking their own verified members.

The logic is good enough, people have to show that they go through some inconvenient steps and want to go to the trouble of doing a review because it matters enough to them, positive or negative. It also stops spammers or manipulators of Google rankings using black hat techniques. What is not to like about this policy? For better or worse someone who wants to log a review has to have their own verified Google account, which identifies them. This is a great way to keep us all honest and help prevent abuse of the system. People trust these independent reviews. Check your Google Business Profile entry regularly and keep it up to date, answer any questions and respond to any and all reviews. Do say thank you and never get in to a dispute with any reviewers. And yes, some people game the system by creating loads of bogus gmail entities, in order to register more reviews or even post negative reviews on competitors website. Google is working on a way to reduce this.

If you do ever have any issues with reviews we recommend starting a thread and ask for help on the Google Business Profile Help Community Forum.

Tip: Think of SEO Search Engine Optimisation as you telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are. Reviews would be other people telling Google how wonderful you are and how much of an Authority you are too.

Setting up Google Business Profile

Firstly, do a search in Google for your business, your entity, which should be your own business name, to see if it is already listed. Try using this piece of code in the search bar  https://www.google.com/search?q=meanit-web-design    replacing our business name with your business name. It will appear in the ‘Knowledge Graph’ on the right hand side of the SERPs or search engine page results – see image above for our own entry. By all means try searching a few variations of your trading name to double check if there is an entry. If it is appearing, then click on the ‘Claim this Business’ to take control of the entry and populate it with your correct information and good relevant photos.
If it does not appear, register for your own Google Business Profile or entry at  https://www.google.com/business/ and ensure you pick the right Category for your business.
Note: You must be logged in to your Google account to edit details, use your business gmail account. See Google guide HERE.
Note: The GBP app has been retired, you can edit now via Maps or in Google search.

By verifying and correcting your business details, you can both help customers and potential customers find you and also tell them about your business, the services you offer. And, where to find you and what existing customers think of your service.

Once you try to register HERE or at https://www.google.com/business/  or verify your business, Google will call you or send you a physical postcard with a verification number to use to confirm that you have received it at a specific physical address – this is the slowest but best option. Include your exact area code or Eircode – find it HERE. Or you may be called at your landline number and an automated voice will call out a verification code to use to confirm your entry. This postcard will take a few days and maybe a few weeks. If you do not receive it, try again until you get it. But do persist as this is very important. Google is effectively creating its own version of the Golden or Yellow pages. You need to appear in it, especially in ‘local’ search. They may ask for video proof that your location is real, so they will want to see signage etc.

Google Business Profile Reviews

Once it is set up,  you can proactively ask people to give you a good Google review, ideally with a photo from your location to prove they visited. And yes, you do risk getting bad reviews too. To be honest, you might be better to get a few poorer reviews too as all 5* would look to Google like you orchestrated them, by asking friends to give you a good review. Again, Google has an algorithm to avoid this scenario. You should indeed ask happy clients to do just that for you. Remember to say Thank You in the actual review section. Again use the opportunity to add keywords in your response, such as service or location.

How do I find the URL or link for my Google business page to send to customers when asking for a review?

Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in. You can click on Edit Your Business Information.

On the right you will see Get More Reviews and Share Review Form – click on that to get a link to send to customers to request a review.

Note: You do not have a way of clients visiting a page on your website to add a Google testimonial. They add them in your Google Business Profile entry as an independent review. Ask them to write wordy reviews with good keywords. The you can reply in a ‘wordy way’ to thank them for their review. This is all good for helping Google understand what you do for clients. And what they think of your work.

Alternate method – slightly longer, same result.
Click on the “Info” tab in the left menu if you are not already on the info page.
The top right of your info page will have the statement “Your business is live on Google.” …
Click on “View on Search” and a new window will open.
Copy the URL or link from the new window to be used as your own link to send to potential reviewers.

Check out this Whitespark mage from 2023 which shows the local ranking factors, including GBP, which carries a lot of weight.


Image courtesy of Whitespark.

Multiple locations – Get a link to send customers to ask for a review for one of your locations

On your computer, sign in to Google Business Profile.
If you have multiple locations, open the location you want to manage.

In the left menu, click Home.
In the “Get more reviews” card, you can copy your short URL to share with customers.

Loads of help always available at Google HERE and at  Support.Google.com

Tip: Get a link to share with customers to ask for positive reviews. You can log in at https://www.google.com/business/  .  Then click on Info on the left and then click on  Share Review link on right. You can edit the link to personalise it by inserting it in a word like ‘Click Here to Review our business’. Our shortened personalised link is https://g.page/meanit-web-design-agency?gm

Add a new location to a location group
Sign in to Google Business Profile.
Click Manage locations. …
Use the drop-down menu to choose a location group. …
Click Add location.
Enter the business name, location, and other details.
Follow the prompts to create the new listing.

If you have not set up a Location Group, then simply click the blue ‘Add Business’ button to create a new property, fill in the details again, name, address including Eircode, phone number, services offered, photos for this location etc.

Add owners & managers via Maps or in Google search.
On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps or Search. …
Find your property. …
Sign in to Google Business Profile.
Click the gear icon or three dot menu on the location group/business account you’d like to manage and click Manage users.
Add the email address of the user to whom you’d like to send an invitation.

Add owners or managers via pc/laptop or via Maps or in Google search.
Sign in to Google Business Profile.
Click the gear icon or three dot menu on the location group/business account you’d like to manage and click Manage users.
Add the email address of the user to whom you’d like to send an invitation.

Change your address in Google Business Profile
Sign in to Google Business Profile.
Select your current business location or property, then click Manage Location.
Click the ‘Info’ button on left
Click the edit button, the little icon
Click Apply. …
Click OK
Ideally you want to get a new postcard sent to your address to prove that you do have this new physical address.
Tip: Add some optimised photos taken at this new location including photos of the premises
Note: If you ever change your address, make sure that you change the NAP on any website where it appears. Name, Address and Phone numbers should be corrected anywhere it appears on the web.

Request ownership of a Google Business Profile – Follow the instructions HERE. If you can’t find a “Claim this Business” or “Own this business” link on the Business Profile, you’re likely already an owner for the business. On your profile, search for a “You manage this business profile” badge. Find your business on Google Search or Google Maps. Under the Business Profile, click Claim this business.

Google Business Profile Messaging – Google added the option in early 2021 to send messages through the Google Business Profile, initially on the Desktop view so far. Full details HERE. Only enable this if you are willing to respond quickly to any messages you may receive.

Tips for using Google Business Profile well

1. Ensure that the listed telephone number on your Google Business Profile listing is the same as the one on your website or landing page. Ideally use a landline number that is attached to your physical address
2. Ensure that the NAP Name and address and postcode are the same on your listing and on your website, in exactly the same layout or format.
3. Add good images of your premises, 3 inside and 3 outside – you can even get a Google certified photographer to do it. Use your own phone as it will generate geo location tags in the photos.
4. Optimise the photos by giving them good names that explain about your business products or services. Give all photos relevant names with keywords such as ‘website designers’ for us or ‘web design office’
5. Add an accurate description of your business that will get people clicking, explain what you do and again use relevant keywords
6. Make sure the name of the business description is good, like ‘website designers Donegal’ or ‘Digital Marketing Agency in Raheny Dublin 5’ – be as specific as you can be.
7. Ensure that you are listed in the right Category in the Google options, we are ‘website designers’
8. Encourage Reviews –  have a plan, this is critical. And ask people to mention relevant keywords about the service you delivered, such as SEO services or website design. Include location such as Donegal or Dublin. Get as many well worded 5* reviews as you can on an ongoing basis. People will choose a business with more 5* reviews than others. This ‘Social Validation is very powerful’. It is not a numbers game, so having 1000 reviews will not necessarily impress Google, but it will impress the visitors. Google seems to look at average stars as a ranking factor, rather than just numbers. Again, getting one review a week is better than getting 100 all on the same day. Keep it constant, as Google likes that.
9. Say Thank You – when someone gives you a review, always respond positively, using proper key words.
10. Ask and answer questions in Google Business Profile in a timely fashion
11. Add the option for people to make an appointment through Google Business Profile if it suits you.
12. For the more technical or the developers among you, you can also add Mark Up schema to help Google understand what you offer.
13. By all means post articles in GBP, they might disapear or have no relevance after a month, but the activity is good for Google. Use the opportunity to mention your location, such as Dublin 24 or Donegal Town etc. Images should be about 600 x 400. Add your Logo on each. You get 1500 characters so do write 300 to 500 words. Link out to a longer version of the post on your website or your Google site using the Learn More button option. By all means add links to your Social channels if that works better. You can share the link to a GBP post in your social channels. Add your NAP if Google lets you do it. Or a link to a related previous post.
14. Keep your business hours up to date especially if you have to amend them due to a crisis, Pandemic or a holiday etc.
15. Add a relevant video if you have one or more – optimise these videos too
16. Add a well optimised photo regularly to show your products or examples of your work, Adding one a week is better than posting 100 at the same time. Do post 100 over time by all means.
17. Allocate 30 or 40 minutes a week to manage your GBP and keep it updated by getting more reviews, posting articles or answering questions.
18. If you have multiple locations, ensure they all appear. And add photos of each premises, inside and out.
19. Ask potential reviewers to include your location in their review – “Best web designers in Donegal” or “Best website designers in Dublin”
20. Ask reviewers to include a photo, an original one, and name it with something relevant. “Bridge Bar best Fish restaurant in Ramelton Co Donegal”. Google Vision is AI or rather machine learning that allows Google see there is a photo and the tagging shows the geo location, as in Ramelton. And it can determine the photo is a building or a plate of food, possibly even that it is a photo of fish.

Spam Reviews
You will probably get some of these Spam Reviews or unfair reviews. You can ‘Flag’ them as inappropriate to Google. If you need help from Google go to https://support.google.com/business/gethelp and report the issue. This can be an annoyance and it can be very frustrating when you try getting Google to remove the spam. (They are notoriously slow to reply or take action) Concentrate on getting more 5* wordy reviews to dilute the effect of any negative reviews. And ask some people to flag the spam too. The more the merrier.

Google Business Reviews plugin can be installed on your website and license activated. However, for it to connect the reviews to the website you need to connect the API to the Google account the Google Business Profile account is set up on. There are two ways we do this see below:

1. You can send the website developer the login details for the google account the GBP is set up on and they will set it up on that including Google Analytics and Search Console.
2. Or the developer can create a new Google account for you eg: meanitwebsite@gmail.com and get you to add that account as an owner on the original GBP account. The Developer can set up Google Analytics and Search Console on that account.

The reason for two options is that some clients do not like giving access to their personal google accounts which is understandable.

Social Media feed – Which Social media feed do you want to appear on the website? We recommend https://smashballoon.com/social-wall/ if you want to have all your social feeds appear in the one place, alongside the Google reviews to add more credibility.

Warnings and Updates from Google
Google indicated way back in July 2016 that businesses who do not log into their “Google Business Profile” account frequently can risk losing their verification and this would affect businesses adversely. Keep your name and address entry details all up to date, but do not change it too often as each change affects your standing, even if just temporarily. Google likes to see stability, history and like everybody else, hates or distrusts too much change. However, do keep adding content to GBP such as blog items or service updates. For more advice on GBP see Googles own information page HERE.

THANK YOU – You can help us now by reviewing us at https://g.page/meanit-web-design-agency?gm or in Google Business Profile THANK YOU.
By all means do share this article, if you found it useful.

SGE Search Generative Experience

Another innovation in Google that you should be aware of soon. SGE Search Generative Experience will allow users search in new or different ways, such as asking follow up questions in written or voice search. Much like talking with an assistant or AI Artificial Intelligence assistant, SGE is the next level in search, which will make search more intuitive for people. However, the way it works will pose challenges for SEO and for marketing in all firms. Read the guide here.
SGE is powered by a number of LLM Large Language Models, including MUM And PaLM2. Google has been using AI for years. The results presented in any given search will look different for everyone. Answers might include bits of information gathered from a number of sources or websites. Layout on a results page will also look different going forward, especially for eCommerce. This is all still very much in development so constant change is guaranteed.

About The Author

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 34 ‘Professional Services Firms‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 34 in 2024?


Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on SEO and how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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