Google Business Profile, or GBP, is one of Google’s tools to help a small business manage their online presence in Google Search and Google Maps.
GBP, more simply, is a business listing platform Google uses to display information about local businesses for users who need their product or service.
Google Business Profile is an invaluable tool for your local SEO. You can fill out your GBP with up-to-date information to make your business easier to find and get more opportunities to rank in local searches.
And, it’s free.
What is the Purpose of Google Business Profile?
The main purpose of Google Business Profile is to provide business owners with a convenient platform where they can tell Google about their business and manage their online presence across different Google products.
Getting started with Google Business Profile is easy.
All you need to do to setup your GBP is create your free account and verify your business. The process for verification typically involves making a video with your phone that shows proof of business existence and ownership, and submitting that video to Google. It is fairly simple and Google provides instructions throughout the process.
GBP allows business owners to submit accurate information about their business either from scratch, or to complete unclaimed listings with missing information and ensure users always have access to the information they need.
Your GBP account will also give you access to insights (like analytics) and allow you to respond to reviews written by Google users.
What is the Google Knowledge Graph?
If you look up a business by name on Google, you will typically see a result type called a Google Knowledge Graph.
This special result uses a card format to display information about a specific business. It’s usually the top result on mobile for searches which mention a business or brand, and it appears on the right side of web results when searching on desktop.
The purpose of a Google Knowledge Graph is to give a comprehensive overview of a business so users don’t necessarily need to visit a website to find the information they needed.
Here is some of the information you will typically find in a Google Knowledge Graph:
- Business name
- Business category
- Location on a map
- Link to official website
- Call button
- Reviews and ratings
- Popular times
- Questions and answers
- Social links
- and more
Some Google Knowledge Graphs aren’t very comprehensive and only list a business name and address because the business owner hasn’t submitted the missing information on GBP. This is what is referred to as an unclaimed listing, where Google is pretty sure a business exists, but the owner has yet to confirm.
The Google Knowledge Graph for your business can become a powerful tool for generating calls, visits to your website, and foot traffic to your store if you take the time to optimize your Google Business Profile.
What is a Local Pack?
A Local Pack is another type of local result you can find on Google.
When you issue a query about a business category, product, or service, Google will show a map with red markers indicating the location of relevant local businesses.
It’s contained within a shortlist of the top three local businesses best matched for your query. This top three list is the Local Pack.
Local Pack results are less comprehensive compared to Google Knowledge Graph results. Local Pack results usually include a business name, ratings, business category, hours, directions, and a link to your website in a compact form.
Some Local Pack results display additional information about inventory, amenities, or services offered to inform the user the product or service they are looking for is available.
Using Google My Business increases your chances of getting your business featured in Local Pack results because Google will have more information to assess whether or not your business is a good match for the query.
Updating your business category on GMB is a simple step that can go a long way in ensuring your business shows up when local users explore this business category.
Updating your business information on GMB also improves user experience since Local Pack results will display accurate information about your hours or phone number.
What is Google Maps?
Google Maps is another Google product. It uses advanced mapping techniques to help users navigate the world and explore nearby businesses and landmarks. It’s by far the most popular mapping app in the US, with more than 154 million users as of April 2018.
Verifying your business on GMB allows you to submit updated information about business and have Google Maps reflect these changes right away. This might be a pin or an exact address or location, so a user can get directions to your business in a single click.
Google Maps is a lot more than a navigation app, though.
A lot of local users rely on Google Maps to explore nearby businesses and find things to do. Google will display the data you input in GBP on Google Maps to make your business easier to discover.
Again, verifying your location on GBP ensures a red pin indicates your precise location in Google Maps.
When a user clicks on your pin, Google Maps will display an information card similar to the Google Knowledge Graph format, including additional information on how to get there, products you sell, menus for restaurants, and more.
What Else is GBP Useful for?
There are other Google products that use data from GBP as well, including the Google search app or the Google assistant.
A recent Microsoft report found 47% of users use digital assistants to search for stores and local businesses. With the rise of voice search, it’s crucial Google has access to accurate data about your business to formulate short spoken answers, helping users find your business quickly and precisely.
Other information you provide through GMB can also support voice search, like your phone number an assistant can dial.
Google Business Profile can also increase your social proof.
Users can rate and review your business on Google. Claiming your GBP listing gives you the possibility of responding to reviews. You can thank users for writing a review or reach out to the users who require assistance.
Seeing you are actively responding to reviews and making things right can influence a user’s opinion of your business. A consistent influx of positive reviews is great for people who have never met you or your business, but is great for Google to gain feedback, as well.
In a nutshell, GBP is a convenient tool created by Google for business owners to submit information about their business.
Claiming your business listing on GBP, or setting up a new GBP, and managing the information displayed there can go a long way in making your business easier to discover.