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Improve your online visibility with Google Business Profile

Happypath is a website development company in Melbourne. We build great websites for small businesses.

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Having a Business Profile gives Google all the information it needs to recommend your services in localised search results and is a major component of local SEO. When you search for a particular service, particularly on mobile, Google will show ‘Local Pack’ results at the top of the page. The Local Pack contains businesses within your immediate area that fit your search requirements. Locations of these businesses are also indicated on a map.

Additionally if your business is searched for directly by name, the Google Business Profile will show in the Knowledge Panel to the right of the search results.

The Google Knowledge graph on a search results page

Features of the Google Business Profile

  • Appearing in the Google Local Pack results
  • Providing contact and location details
  • Telling potential customers what your business does
  • Allowing customers to leave/read reviews
  • Allowing people to ask questions about your business or service
  • Acting as a hub to display your website and social media pages
  • Displaying photos of your business
  • Showing where you are located on a map
  • Links for bookings and appointments

There is no charge to setup a Business Profile, so if you are not using it you are really missing out on some free promotion.

The big one - reviews

Social proof or Informational social influence is a psychological phenomenon used heavily in marketing. Essentially in situations where we are not sure of our actions we assume that others do, and we emulate them to fit in. This may be experts - who we presume to be more knowledgeable, the influencer - who is like a magical expert who we believe even though they have no knowledge, or just the wisdom of the crowd. Having a Google Business profile provides a review platform, so your customers can rate and comment on your services, and you can reply to either thank them or put them straight on why they’ve left you a bad review.

Reviews work, a service with large numbers of negative reviews is going to struggle, whereas a good review might nudge someone towards your service over someone else’s.

Reviews are also a ranking signal in local SEO. So it’s well worth having a strategy in place to make sure you are getting as many legitimate reviews as possible. This can influence your search results position, particularly in the local pack. Of course we all have off days and sometimes you might find a review that is less than flattering. If this happens you need to respond, address the issues if they are legitimate or counter them if they are not. Other people will be reassured that this experience is not usual and you as the business owner will go the extra distance should there be a problem.

So where to start… head to google maps. If your business is already listed then you need to claim it. Enter your business name in the search, choose the correct business from the results then click ‘Claim this business’.

If your business is not already listed enter the address in the search bar. On the left side click on ‘Add your business’ then follow the instructions.

You will need to verify your business location. This is normally done via a postcard which can take a few weeks to turn up. Once it does add the verification code to your profile.

Setup your profile with accurate business information, and learn a bit about NAP

Once you’ve claimed your business, you need to update your profile with accurate current information. Start by providing essential details such as your business name, address, phone number, and website address. Make sure this information is consistent across all platforms, this is called NAP which stands for Name, Address and Phone number. When you add your business to any online directory or listing make sure the NAP details are EXACTLY the same. Google uses consistant NAP details to identify all the places that your business is listed online. It is really important that if you change any details that all your NAP listing are updated, it is best to keep a record of everywhere you add your contact details so this can be done easily. These might be sites like TripAdvisor, or Yellowpages style listings or review sites. If you are not sure, do a web search for your business name, phone number, and email address and see where you are showing up already.

Add a description of your business so potential customers know all about you. Don’t try to use this text to stuff keywords for SEO, despite what some SEO’s say Google does not use this for ranking. Write for people (this is always good advice).

It is important that you add accurate opening hours and keep any holiday closures upto date so that your customers know when you are open for business. Opening hours is used by Google as one of its many ranking signals and you may rank slightly higher in local search results when you are designated as open. It is not recommended that you try and influence this by adding longer opening hours, customers value accurate information and will not be happy if they visit your business to find it closed.

Use images to positively represent your business online

Images can make your Google Business Listing standout and be more engaging. Make sure that you use high-quality images that accurately represent your business or brand. Include photos of products or services you offer, as well as images showcasing your establishment. This is particularly important for cafes, hotels, and venues. Showcase your spaces, your food, drinks, facilities and staff. Be honest, there is little benefit in adding stock photography to your listing. If your business is not especially photogenic add pictures of core staff members (with their permission) undertaking the tasks that make your business special. It all helps to build up customer trust in your expertise.

Consider hiring a professional photographer to get properly composed pictures. Make sure the photographer knows why you want these images, they can arrange the subjects and take photographs to fit the aspect ratios you require for listings photos. It is good practice to do this in a single session for all your photographic needs, your websites, and social media images that will also require framing for a set aspect ratio. Again, a professional photographer should understand these requirements and may even offer set packages that accommodate these requests.

Your images should be in PNG or JPG formats and follow these sizes (accurate December 2023):

  • Profile: 250px x 250px
  • Cover image: 1080px x 608px
  • Posts: 1200px x 900px
  • Business photos: 720px x 720px

You should be aware that Google may add images from Google Maps street view of your premises, these might not be the best representation of your business so adding your own is preferable as you can control the angles and quality. The last thing you want is a prominent photo of your business that Google took on bin collection day - unless your business is bin collection.

Sometimes street view photographs show incorrect locations, this can be fixed in Google Business by editing your business location and moving the red pin to the correct place. Another potential problem for new businesses is that the street view image shows the previous occupier of the premises, this will eventually fix itself next time the google street car updates the imagery. You can see the street view schedule for your area so you can have some nice hanging flower baskets ready.

This premises in Melbourne may already have a new tenant but the picture shows graffiti covered for lease signage.

Many people suffer from anxiety, or are neurodiverse. Seeing photos of your business premises can make them feel more comfortable with visiting, or using your services. Depending on your business adding lots of images can be very helpful in making potential customers feel reassured, and welcome.

If you can’t get decent images don’t add them, bad images are worse than no images.

Keep it bang up to date with frequent posts

Regular updates are good for staying relevant and engaging. Make sure to keep your business information up to date, including any changes in address, phone number, or website address. Add your social media accounts too so all your online properties are linked from the single place.

Using the Posts feature to regularly post updates about your business, such as upcoming events, special promotions, or new products/services. This not only keeps your listing fresh but also provide useful information to potential customers who see it.

In addition to posts, there are features such as Q&A and messaging. The Q&A section allows users to ask questions about your business and receive answers from either you or other customers. Enabling messaging allows users to contact you directly through your profile. All great features you should be making the most of.


If you haven’t already done it, now is a great time to set up your Google Business Profile!

If you already have one, review the current content to make sure it is upto date and any reviews or questions you have are acknowledged and answered. I recently had a response to a Google review I made over 2 years ago, when I looked I could see the business had responded to all their many years worth of reviews in a single day. Presumably they had never looked at them before and had been missing the opportunity to engage directly with their customers. It’s never too late to get on top of it.

Of course if it all seems like far too much hard work, get in touch with us at happypath digital marketing. We can setup new Google Business Profiles or review your existing one to help you represent your services in the best way (We also do Bing Places, but that’s another story).

The extra bit

Can I create multiple Google Business Profiles for different locations?

If you have multiple physical locations for your business, you can create separate Google Business Profiles for each one. This allows you to provide specific information tailored to each location and increase their individual visibility in local search results.

How long does it take for changes made on my Google Business Profile to appear?

Changes made on your Google Business Profile typically take a few days to appear on both Google Search and Maps. Keep in mind that some changes may require verification before they go live.

Are there any costs associated with using a Google Business Profile?

No, creating and managing a Google Business Profile is completely free. However, Google does offer optional paid advertising features, such as Google Ads, to further promote your business.

Can I respond to customer reviews on my Google Business Profile?

Yes. Responding to customer reviews shows that you value their feedback and are committed to providing excellent customer service. Take the time to respond professionally and promptly to both positive and negative reviews.

How can I track the performance of my Google Business Profile?

Google provides insights and analytics for your Business Profile through the “Insights” section of your account. Here, you can see data on how customers find your business online, what actions they take on your profile, and more. Use this information to make informed decisions about optimising your profile for better results.

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