How To: Google Business Listing Optimisation

Google Business profile - concept icon

Google Business profile listing optimisation is an important element of local search optimisation services. Google Business profiles are a free Google product with the potential to deliver enormous benefits. They assist all business owners in managing their online listing across the search engine and its expanding list of tools – which includes both Google Search and Maps.

Google Business listings are used by expert local search SEO consultants to implement a location-based optimisation package for clients.

The first step towards local search success is to create a Google Business listing.

For a business brand wanting local exposure, GB has the most clout. A tool like Google’s Local Search highlights the importance of having a GB listing for both new and existing businesses. It provides a list of local businesses and a wealth of information required to locate a particular business, such as:

  • NAP: Name, address and phone for the business.
  • Hours of operation.
  • Business Category.
  • Customer Reviews.

Google’s Knowledge Graph also makes use of verified Google Business listing data.

GB contributes to the generation of information for its database regarding businesses and linked organisations that are pertinent to certain searches. A Google Maps location is generated after a new listing is created. This is synchronised with standard Google Search for convenience and search functionality.

Note that Google accounts for the vast majority of organic/natural searches – over 90% of the global search engine market share. This demonstrates the worth of a GB listing and the effectiveness of local search SEO optimisation.

Use the suggestions in this post to ensure that you’ve accurately completed your Google My Business listing and optimised all possible aspects of the tool. This will also provide your company with the most leverage on Google and 3rd-party sites that use Google’s Maps API to create location-specific information for users.

Example: “mechanic near me” in Christchurch..

Google Business listing example
Google Business listing example

If online search marketing is a new experience for you and your company, there are some fundamentals to understand. It’s also important to understand Google Business listings and the benefits they provide.

  • To begin with, having a Google Business listing is free.
  • A GB listing does not replace your company’s website.
  • Google Business listings supplement a brand’s current website/s by providing it with a public identity and profile through a verified Google listing.
  • Google Business listings information about a company may be displayed in both Google organic Search and in Maps.
  • Any 3rd-party platform that uses the Google Maps API will display Google My Business listings regardless of the device used to search.

If you’ve previously used Google’s resources to supplement your business (for example, Google+), or if your firm has been in operation for years, it’s likely that it’s already listed in Google Business listings.

Previously, the optimal ways to manage your business information were Google My Business, Google Places, and the G+ Pages interface. These were upgraded automatically to Google’s universal platform, Google My Business listings. Now, Google has enhanced the listing management options in Maps and is encouraging you to use that interface.

Creating your Google My Business listing

The first step in creating your Google My Business listing is to conduct a Google search to check your company does not already have one. You can also use Google’s in-platform search to find your company in GBP.

Starting Your Google My Business listing:

If your company has been operational for a while (many years or more), it most likely already has a GBP and all you need to do is claim it.

How to Claim an existing Google Business listing:

After successfully claiming the GBP, you can handle the information as if you began it yourself.

  • It will alert you if your company already has a listing.
  • It may also notify you if your business has already been claimed by someone else.
  • If this occurs, follow these procedures.

Creating a New GB Listing

If your business listing has not yet been created, you can do it easily.

Google Business Account Signup page
Google Business Account Signup page

Verification is required. Depending on where you are, it can be done by Postcard, Email or Phone. Postcards take a lot longer, but it is normally completed within a couple of weeks.

Add your Business Name

Before entering more crucial business information, begin with the formal Business Name. This should be the same trading/brand name you use on the website, stationary, business directory listing citations etc. For best results in the Local Search results, consistency across all sources of business information is essential.

Set a Business Category

Enter your primary business category from the searchable dropdown. You can edit and add to this later, but it’s an important step towards finishing (and optimising) your brand identity page. Make certain you select the most appropriate category for your company. There are numerous alternatives to pick from, but there ought to be at least 1 that best and most accurately defines your firm.

Then you’ll be asked if you want to “include a location clients can visit, such as a shop or office?”

Select a Place or Service Area

This is a useful option for organisations that operate as Service Area businesses and do not require (or want) clients to visit their physical place of business. The particular location of the company won’t appear on Google Maps in these cases. However, the company will still appear in relevant searches in its service region.

Adding a location to your Google My Business listing

Either add the address of your business premises or:

Select the service area/s that are applicable to your business if you don’t want the real bricks-and-mortar location to appear in Maps.

Note: at any future time, you can revise the address or service area. Changes are subject to Google review.

If you answer yes, you will be able to go over the same service-area business details.

At any moment, you can add or edit service area details.

Add the Contact Information

You should then enter the contact information for the company, such as a telephone number and the live website URL.

Business Listing Verification Process

Google requires that you “Verify” your Google Business listing. before proceeding further..

This is done:

  • via snail main Postcard, which can take up to a week or two if you’re lucky, to weeks/months.
  • by phone or email if you’re very fortunate, and seems to depend on your location/category etc.

The verification proves to Google that you can manage and represent the firm you are claiming or establishing. Verifying your company is critical for the listing’s visibility and success. Google will not display your business or its edits until it has been verified. Nor can you access page insights/analytics information or company reviews from the back end without verification.

How to optimise your Google Business listing:

After you’ve confirmed the chosen verification method, you may add more information about your company, such as business hours, messaging options, a business description, and images. These Google Business Profile optimisation efforts will be rewarded over time.

Include relevant keyword phrases

Google employs a multitude of signals to offer search results, just like traditional website SEO.

Including significant keywords and search terms in your business listing will usually be beneficial, especially once your company’s website is verified and listed in Google Business.

Use these accurately in the business description, services, products and posts – but avoid keyword stuffing.

Add Business Hours

It is important to both set your company hours and update them anytime they change. Google allows you to set your own hours for holidays and other special occasions.

Please keep in mind that additional hours will not appear for your business until normal hours are established.

Upload Photos

Photos improve the performance of business listings more than most company owners and marketers realize. According to Google, businesses with photographs on their listings receive 42% more enquiries for driving instructions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. Photographs are an important component of Google Business Profile optimisation

Logo: the logo is obviously the most crucial piece of visual for a GMB. There is unlikely to be another image that receives more attention or has a greater impact. Google suggests that businesses use a square-sized image of their logo to help customers recognise their brand.

Other digital items to consider adding to your GMB are:

Cover Image: Your cover photo should reflect the personality of your brand identity page. The cover photo is the large image that appears at the top of the brand’s business listing; it is usually cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Photographs of the Interior: this helps customers understand a company’s in-shop experience. It allows business owners to share the appearance and feel of their company’s interior, so makes a nice first impression! It also provides potential clients with a visual representation of the shop, its layout, and any potential limits.

Video: Videos are one of the most popular forms of media on the internet. It’s because they’re incredibly good at telling a tale and/or explaining something that would otherwise be difficult to express.

Additional Photographs: Other types of photographs are utilised to highlight aspects of your company that clients evaluate when making buying decisions. These photographs will differ from the previously described rich media and will be determined by the type of business you manage. Other generic photographs that explain the firm and what it can offer to its consumers may be included in these photos.

They could be:

  • Your company’s products and/or services.
  • Employees of a company working and/or supporting consumers.
  • The business’s exterior and available parking.

All photographs should adhere to Google’s best practices:

  • JPG or PNG format
  • Size: anything From 10 kb to 5 MB
  • Minimum resolution: 720 pixels height by 720 pixels wide

Quality: The photo should be sharp and well-lit, with no changes or overuse of filters. The image should accurately depict reality.

Google also provides the option for a Virtual Tour, which will increase the visibility of the brand listing. It can also attract customers by providing a 360-degree interactive experience.

Manage & Respond to Customer Feedback

Engaging with customers by replying to their reviews shows that your company values its customers and the input they provide. Positive evaluations will influence potential buyers who are studying your business. They also improve your company’s visibility in SERPs. Encourage clients to submit feedback by providing a URL where they can write evaluations of your company and its products & services.

Allow Customers to Contact You

Direct messaging with customers is accessible through Google’s My Business listing app, which might be cumbersome at times.

To do so, go to Customers | Messages and turn it on via the app.

Customers will then be able to message your business through your online business listings once you have enabled the Message button. Messages can have personalised automated answers to welcome customers when they receive messages. This improves the business’s responsiveness and visibility because response times will be reduced.

It is crucial to keep message reply time under 1 day for best performance and visibility through the GMB. Obviously, faster is better. Customers do not want to wait for answers, and a quick response can often be the distinction between a client and a non-client.

Utilise Local-based Posts

Posts allow you to interact with your audience while also keeping your Google presence fresh. They can be sent from a phone, tablet, or computer while on the go.

Businesses can also influence Knowledge Panel breakout sessions by providing direct feedback about their companies and the people who represent them.

Make sure each post is high-quality – free of spelling & grammar errors, keyword spam, or worthless word padding, and according to Google’s recommendations.

  • They should also be kind and non-offensive.
  • The very best posts incorporate images and links to trustworthy websites.
  • No links to malware, viruses, phishing, or pornography are permitted.

Make Use Of Product & Catalogue Options

GB’s Product Editor enables vendors with products to highlight to list those – using Categories if appropriate.

Most small and medium-sized businesses are allowed to showcase products. Offering product information, such as pricing, descriptions, and photographs, allows customers to have a better idea of the products available and interact with businesses more. These product details also help Google better understand a company.

Insights into Your Google My Business listing

Google has made considerable incremental improvements to analytics data, facilitating the assessment of the impact of Google Business profile optimisation. Google Insights now provides organisations with a new approach to determining how people engage with business listings, including:

  • How customers discover your listing
  • Customers will find you on Google.
  • Customer behaviour.
  • Requests for directions
  • Telephone calls
  • Customers Discover your listing

This part of Insights compares how customers found you through a “Direct” search (they looked for your company name or address) against a “Discovery” search (a search for a category, product, or service that you provide, and your listing popped up). In insights reports, these sections are labelled as follows:

  • Total number of searches
  • Direct queries.
  • Searches for new information.

On Google, where do customers find you?

This area displays the number of clients that found you through Google Search or Google Maps.

Aside from listings on both Search and Maps, you’ll see how many views your listing received from each product over the timeframe you’ve chosen.

NB: Google defines “views” as “impressions” on other analytics platforms.

Place your pointer over the relevant segment of the graph on the day you’re interested in to see how many people found you on a specific product on that day. In insights reports, these sections are labelled as follows:

  • Total number of views
  • Views from searches
  • Views on maps
  • Customer Behaviour

This section details what customers did after discovering your listing on Google.

Total actions are the sum of the following types of activities performed by customers on your listing:

  • Go to your website.
  • Enquire about directions.
  • Please contact me.
  • View photographs.

This reporting section includes reports for the following labels:

  • Total number of actions
  • Website activities
  • Actions are directed.
  • Telephone call actions
  • Requests for directions

This section of Insights makes use of a map to indicate where people who are looking for directions to your business are. Your company’s location is marked on the map, as are some of the most common locations from which users request directions to your company.

It even breaks down the overall number of enquiries for directions by city or suburb.

Telephone Calls

This area indicates when and how frequently customers called your business through your Google listing. Total calls at the top of the section display the total number of phone calls made during the given time period.

The graph allows you to see trends in phone calls by day of the week or time of day. This informs marketers and company owners on when clients are most likely to contact them after seeing your GMB.


Finally, the Photo views and Photo quantity graphs in GMB allow you to monitor how frequently your company’s photos are viewed. There are additional lines on the graphs that compare your company’s photo data to photo data from other companies that are similar to yours.

Page last updated on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 by the author Ben Kemp