Looking to enhance the online visibility of your business as a beginner? Google Business Profile is a great place to start. It’s free and you don’t need any technical knowledge to set it up.
Google Business Profile allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps and it’s a great tool to boost local SEO.
Moreover, Google Business Profile is also a great tool to redirect potential customers to your website for further engagement. If you’re yet to build your website, the tool also allows you to create one for free. But unfortunately, this service will discontinue from March 2024. So how to make the most of this tool in 2024?
In this article we’ll explain everything you need to know about Google Business Profile, guide you through adding your website to it, and discuss the alternatives to Google Business Profile Website as it will be discontinued soon.
What is Google Business Profile
Provided by Google, a Google Business Profile is a free tool you can use to manage your online presence across Google, including the Search and Maps functions. With a Google Business Profile, you can ensure your potential customer comes across accurate and detailed information about your business whenever they search for you or the services you offer. This includes the business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, customer reviews, photos, and even directions to the location.
A Google Business Profile is a great tool to enhance your local SEO as it helps your business to appear in local search results and Google’s Local Pack. The platform also allows you to publish posts, respond to customer reviews, and even gain insights into how customers are interacting with your profile. Google Business Profile is a powerful tool you’d want to use if you’re a small business looking to enhance your digital presence, engage with potential customers, and compete more effectively in the local marketplace.
Why you should create a Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile doesn’t just help boost your online presence – it also improves your customer engagement. Here are a few important benefits of a Google Business Profile:
Increased visibility: A Google Business Profile boosts your business’ appearance in your local search results and on Google Maps. Potential customers can find you easily when they search for products or services you offer.
Enhanced local SEO: It boosts your local SEO and helps your business rank higher on Google Search. With a Google Business Profile, your business will be more visible to local customers who are ready to purchase.
Direct customer interaction: Google Business Profile allows customers to review your products and services, ask questions, and leave messages. Your response to reviews and questions can build trust and credibility, helping build a positive reputation of your business.
Insights: Your Business Profile comes with Google’s valuable insights which lets you discover information such as how customers found your profile, what keywords they searched, and what actions they took. With these insights, you can make informed marketing and business decisions.
Free and easy to use: Google Business Profile is free to use and pretty straightforward to manage. It’s a great option for small businesses and solopreneurs looking to improve their online presence without making a significant investment.
Here’s how to create Google Business Profile
Step 1. Go to www.google.com/business and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, create one. Click on “Manage now” to continue creating your profile.
Step 2. Enter your business name and click on “Continue”.
Step 3. Choose your business type from Online retail, Local store, or Service business, and click Next .
Step 4: Enter your Business category, Google will suggest a list of business categories to choose as you type in the textbox.
Step 5: Based on your selected Business type, Google asks for other business details such as address, service areas, and contact information.
Step 4. Verify your business. Google needs to verify that your business is legitimate and that you are its owner. For local listings, it’s generally done with a postcard – which may take a couple of days to be delivered. Verification can also be done through phone, email, or instant verification through Google Search Console for select categories. Follow the instructions provided for the method applicable to you.
Step 5. Once verified, customise your profile by adding more details like your website, business hours, photos, a business description, services offered, etc.
Congrats, you’ve now created your Business Profile. When someone looks for your business on Google, it will show up on the right side of the search results page like this.
How to add your website to Google Business Profile
Step 1: Login to your Google Business Profile, find and click on Edit profile from the dashboard to view your Business information.
Step 2: On the Business information window, click on the Contact tab.
Step 3: Under contact information, click on the Website pencil icon.
Step 4: Add your business website URL in the textbox and click the Save button.
Your website is now linked to your Google Business Profile and will be visible to online visitors. Do note that the changes made to the website URL may take up to 3 days to be reviewed and updated.
How to create a website with Google Business Profile
Don’t have a website? Don’t worry! One of the best things about Google Business Profile is that it lets you create a free website for your business. You can create a website by visiting your profile and clicking on the website option. You’ll be redirected to a website builder tool where you can use a template to easily build your own website.
Free Google websites are registered under business.site domain. For instance, the web address of your free Google website would be yourbusiness.business.site.
Unfortunately, Google has recently decided to discontinue this feature from March 2024 onwards. Therefore, you may want to look for other alternatives.
What are the alternatives to Google Business Profile Websites
Since Google Business Profile Websites won’t be around anymore, you should look for other alternatives soon if you still have a link to it on your Business Profile. In fact, many businesses have been mostly putting a link to their custom websites on their Google Business Profile.
Before deciding what to put, think about the purpose of your Google Business Profile. Do you want to redirect your local visitors to a page where they’ll know further about your products and services? Or do you want them to make a purchase directly? Or maybe you want to collect their information so you can communicate with them later.
Here are some alternatives to Google Business Profile websites you may want to consider:
Free websites provided by other platforms
Free websites are an excellent starting point to establish an online presence without a significant investment. And fortunately, Google is not the only platform that allows you to create a free website.
Platforms like WordPress and Wix allow you to create basic websites using pre-designed templates for free with their user-friendly website builders. Though they come with limited customisation and functionality compared to paid options, you have options to upgrade services as your business grows.
Your own custom website
If you want a more professional online presence, custom websites offer advanced features and a professional domain name without the hosting platform’s branding. Custom websites come with design flexibility, advanced SEO tools, e-commerce capabilities, and many great options.
There are plenty of platforms that offer custom website building services. If you want a content marketing and SEO-focused website, you may want to go for premium plans of WordPress. Shopify is a great platform for eCommerce websites. You can alternatively opt for premium plans of hosting platforms like GoDaddy, Bluehost, or Squarespace.
Online forms can be a good alternative if you’re looking to collect customer information without managing a full website. They are straightforward to set up and come with less hassle compared to creating a full website. Platforms like Privyr, Jotform, Google, and Typeform allow you to create online lead generation forms with their online form builders.
If you’re looking to create an excellent mobile-friendly lead generation form for free, try using Privyr’s form builder tool. One advantage of Privyr lead forms is that it allows you to automatically access your leads on the Privyr mobile app, making your outreach and sales process much more efficient and increasing your chances of converting leads into customers.
A Privyr Form can be set up in seconds. You’ll have a custom URL that you can place a link to on your Google Business Profile just like you place a link to a website. Here’s how to create a free online form on Privyr.
- Go to Privyr.com and create your account. It’s free.
- Download Privyr app on your smartphone. Privyr is available on both Google Play Store and App Store.
- Open Privyr mobile app and go to your Account tab and tap Lead Forms.
- To create a Lead Form, tap the (+) button. Add a title, description, and image to the form.
- Tap Create Form to publish it. You’ll have a new lead generation form with its own unique URL.
Google Business Profile can be a great first step in boosting your online presence. However, your journey doesn’t end with it. Consider engaging with your potential customers via other digital channels, such as social media and emails.