4. Choose the right business categories
When you set up your Google Business Profile, you’re prompted to select your primary business category. Most people don’t know that you can have up to ten business categories.
Google predefines the categories, so you can’t just enter your own, but it’s important to use the categories that best describe your business. Now, you don’t want to use all ten categories: it would just look messy. Instead, try to limit your categories to two or three.
As an example, a pizza restaurant may choose “pizza restaurant” as the primary category but choose “pizza delivery” as a secondary category and “catering” as a tertiary category. This categorization helps you show up whether someone is searching for “pizza near me” or “pizza delivery near me.”
5. Select all applicable attributes
I once saw a business titled “Veteran-owned Mechanic,” but that wasn’t the actual name of the business. The business owner was trying to emphasize the fact that he was a veteran (and to him, I give my greatest gratitude), but it didn’t help his cause on Google. Instead of loading keywords into your business name or description, you’ll want to use attributes.
Google Business Profile lets you use attributes to identify specific searchable qualities in your profile. By selecting all applicable attributes, you’ll illustrate the unique characteristics of your business.
It’s important to note that the attributes you can choose from are determined by your business category, but there are some universal attributes, such as “women-led business” or “veteran-led business.” Be sure to check out your attributes every quarter because Google may add new attributes as search trends dictate.
6. Verify your location
Google Business Profile is built on local search. Local search engine optimization (aka Local SEO) only applies to a business if it’s – you guessed it – local.
For that reason, you need to verify your address (or ownership of the business) through the Google Business Profile verification process.
You’ll most likely request a postcard to a mailing address of your choice. The mailing address cannot be a P.O. Box or a mailbox at a Postal Annex or UPS Store. You must verify a legitimate address with a dedicated mailbox.
If you own a home-based business – don’t fear! You can hide your address so no one requests directions to your home. You can also set a service area (either by mile radius or listing specific towns, cities, and zip codes) to show up in appropriate local searches.
IMPORTANT: If you don’t verify your business location, you won’t be able to take advantage of all Google Business Profile features.
Putting it all together
Google Business Profile is a powerful tool to help you show up in the moments when your leads, prospects, and customers need you most.
Like most things, it’s only as good as the effort you put into it, so be sure to optimize your profile by following the steps above.