Google Business Profiles have taken place of Google Brand Pages and Google Location Pages, once known collectively as Google Plus.
Business Profiles are managed within a free online area called Google My Business. Here a business owner can complete details, respond to reviews and post updates for more than one business or location.
It looks like Business Profiles are sticking around and that Google has finally settled on a social platform for businesses.
Where do Google Business Profiles appear?
Having a Google Business Profile enables a listing on Google Maps which appears on Google Search when someone searches an industry that may need a local result. A brick and mortar type business.
For example, when you search for “coffee” without specifying a location Google predicts that you’re looking for a place to drink coffee within your proximity. Results are therefore localised.
The first local result displays within a box known as a SERP Feature called a Local Pack. It contains the Google Map, on which businesses can be found via their Business Profiles.
In the Local Pack you can see ratings, opening times and facilities for each business – but only if the business has completed this information.
A Business Profile also appears in the sidebar – known as the Local Panel – of a Google result page, when a person carries out a more specific local search, such as a business name + geographical area.
Why use Google My Business?
Google Business Profiles are an easy win when it comes to search engine optimisation – businesses are listed on Google Maps for free.
People often don’t move passed Google Map listings when they place a search – they’ll make the decision right there. A business that targets people in a geographical area must have a listing to succeed. A listing is crucial to winning custom.
Using Google My Business a business can receive and reply to Google Reviews, display company information like opening times and price ranges, include an appointment link, add products and services, and post offers and events.
We can even post updates, just like we could on the on the now obsolete Google Brand Pages.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been the place to let the world know if the business is open or not.
All of the information is accessible either via the Google Map or directly in the Local Panel during a search.
How to rank better on Google Maps
Businesses get more prominence on Google Maps when the Business Profile is verified, complete and clarified. Make sure you include everything you can on the profile and really spell things out.
Encourage Google reviews – you’ll notice that businesses with the most reviews appear somewhere near the top of the Local Pack on any local search. Those with the best reviews are ranked highest.
I’ve written a post on Google My Business to help you to verify your profile and understand the importance of keeping it up to date.