Google My Business Optimization Best Practices

If you’ve recently decided to log into your Google My Business profile (or Google Business Profile as it is now being called – I will use them interchangeably here) and you noticed that the newer Profile Strength label is not green, you’re not alone. Many businesses claimed their listing, tossed in a handful of basic information, and thought that was all they needed to do. If Google My Business optimization is not top of mind, it is easy for business owners to forget about their business profile or think of it as a set-it-and-forget-it type of entity.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not. You can do a handful of things to optimize your Google My Business profile that are easy peasy. I’ll also share some things you can do ongoing to keep your business profile optimized. 

Before I go any further, however, if you’re sitting here like, “What the heck is Google My Business?” you first need to claim your listing to verify your business on the most popular of the search engines, Google.


Claim and Verify Your Google My Business Profile

Just in case you need to start things off by claiming your Google My Business profile, I’m going to share the easiest way. And Google even put together a video showing you how in case you learn better through watching online videos. 


cartoon blog bear watching a YouTube video of how to claim their GMB listing


Also, use your business Google Account and its email address instead of your personal Gmail address. You can use your personal one, but having a dedicated Google Account for your business is ideal. So if you don’t have a dedicated business Google account, set that up first and create an email address to go with it. Then to and log in with your Google business account. 

Next, do a Google search of your business because Google may have already used information from around the web to set up a listing for you. 

You’ll see a screen after you log in that prompts you for your business name. When you start typing you’ll see some suggestions from Google. Find your business and select it. Hit the continue button.


Ok. Now let’s break down the steps to claim your Google Business Profile listing:

You’ll see a screen that tells you that someone else may manage the Business Profile. Click the request access button and follow the steps to request ownership. 

Now if Google hasn’t already set up a basic listing for your business, you can then follow different prompts to enter your business information to create a Google Business Profile. 

After you are done, you will be asked to verify your Google My Business listing. Verifying your Google Business Profile is not difficult. There are different ways you can verify your business – phone or text, email, video recording, live video call, and by snail mail. Google has put together helpful information on how to verify your business

Ok, now that you’ve claimed and verified your Google Business Profile, we’re ready to start optimizing your Google My Business listing.


cartoon blog bear working on their laptop to claim their Google Business Listing


Tada! You’ve claimed and verified your Google Business Profile. We’re now ready to start optimizing your Google My Business listing.


Time to Get Your NAP on (and more)

Once you log into your Google Account that you have dedicated to your business, you’ll see the clickable image of 9 dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (on desktops). This is the icon for Google apps. Click on it and find the Business Profile Manager. The icon for the Google Business Profile manager is a little blue brick-and-mortar-looking business with a blue awning. It’s very cute.


cartoon blog bear next to the Google My Business logo


Click on the Google Business Profile Manager. You will see your business – or businesses if you manage more than one with that business account. You should select it and click on it. This will bring you to your business on Google.
The first thing we want to do here is click the Edit profile icon in the upper left corner under your logo favicon. A logo favicon is a small version of your logo. This brings you to a wide variety of business information – NAP which stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, and more – which you will want to go through and populate thoroughly.


cartoon blog bear filling out their NAP info on the Google Business Profile


Make sure to select all of the relevant and most important categories that your business falls into so that the high-level information about your business is correct. In HeartBrain Marketing’s case, we are a marketing agency, website designer, advertising agency, marketing consultant, internet marketing service, and graphic designer. Our main category is a marketing agency. Be sure to designate your most relevant category as your primary category. 

You also want to ensure you take advantage of the 750 characters you are allocated for a business description, but keep in mind that only the first 24 characters will show unless folks click “More.”

And there is no hard and fast rule with Google that it is set in stone once you enter your information. Heck, even while writing this blog, I went to update HeartBrain Marketing’s business description and adjust some business hours. 

Ensure you go through each section, About, Contact, Location, Hours, and More, and fill every section out to the best of your ability. If things change, you will want to update your Google My Business profile accordingly. Again, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of marketing opportunity.


Products, Services, or Both on GMB

Your Google My Business profile allows and encourages you to list all of the products and services you offer. 

With service categories, you can click the Edit services icon and optimize each service’s name and pricing (Free, Fixed, From). You can write a 300-character description of the service you offer.

If you sell products, you can enter the product name, category, price, description (up to 1,000 characters) and add a photo of the product. You can even add a landing page, and potential customers can click to visit the page on your website to purchase the product.


cute cartoon version of Google My Business edit service details


Add Photos to Your Google My Business Profile

Google has the data, and the data tells us that photos on Google My Business profiles help move the needle. According to Google, “Post photos of what you do. Businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.” 

People want to see what you do. Photos validate that you are the business that you say you are. Also, photos can show your business’s more visual, social side. It definitely doesn’t have to be all business in the front with the pics. Make sure to have a lil party in the back, too! Just today, I added a photo of myself working from my home office in my fun HeartBrain Marketing Manchester Little League hat. (Soapbox Moment: Please sponsor your local kids’ sports teams! They need the support!)

But also, make sure to showcase what you do and/or what you are selling. If you run a doggie daycare, you probably have tons of playful business pictures to share on your GMB account. If you are a local plumber, it might be a bit harder for you to post photos of what you are working on. Do the best you can with what you have, and remember, photos are a look behind the scenes and a social part of your business profile.


Bookings for Your Business

Do you book appointments for services at your business? If so, definitely add a link to the Bookings portion of your Google Business Profile. In our case, we link to our website’s HeartBrain Marketing Contact page. If you use another booking service, add your link. If clients can book services directly, add those links. You can add multiple links for different services, so be sure to take advantage of that. 

The Bookings step is especially important if you don’t accept walk-in appointments. Our business went fully remote in November of 2022. This means it’s important for folks to book meetings with us and not show up at our homes which double as our offices. When I need to meet with a client locally, in person, I take them to The Currier Museum Cafe. You can get creative as well if you don’t host meetings on-site. 


Ongoing Optimization Practices for Google My Business

Along with the semi-fixed portions of Google My Business that I have shared, there are also some ongoing practices that you are going to want to make a habit of. We touched on photos being an ongoing practice. Now I’m also going to share two of the most important ongoing pieces of your Google Business Profile – Add Update and Asking for/Responding to Reviews.


Add Updates with a Cadence that Works for You

Adding an update to your Google My Business profile is something that doesn’t take very long but that can be leveraged to bring more business to you. With the Add Update feature, you can add three different types of updates. 

The first is adding an update to your customers about something that has happened or will happen. This includes asking them to book a service, order online, make a purchase, sign up for something, or call you regarding what you have updated them about.


The buttons you can add are:

  • no button (it’s not required)
  • Book
  • Order Online
  • Buy
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Call Now


Your update that you are sharing can include up to 1,500 characters, and you can also add photos. A tip I must share here is that you are going to want to preview your update before setting it live. Make sure there aren’t any typos. Also, make sure that you’ve added (if required) a button for them to click on. Make sure the photos look good! Many a time, I have had to edit to ensure I’m not cropping a head out. 

The second type of update is sharing an offer for your potential customers. Google gives an example of “20% off in-store or online”. However, your offer can be anything that makes sense to your business. You also need to set a start date and an end date. You don’t have to write more about the offer, but if you’d like to, you are allocated 1,500 characters. You can also add photos if applicable.

Once again, preview your post before smashing the blue Post button. And please let your team know about the offer so you don’t run into a customer service issue. The last thing you want is a negative review on your Google My Business because you didn’t brief your team on the offer you are running.


cartoon blog bear adding an offer to their Google Business Profile


The third type of update you can add that is good for optimizing your profile is if you are hosting an event. Now that we have made it mostly past the worst of the global pandemic, 2023 is seeing more and more in-person events happening. So if you have one planned, be sure to share it on your Google Business Profile.

Here you would add an Event title, the start date and end date, a start time if relevant (it’s optional), the event details, and you can add a button (like mentioned above in the standard update) for them to click through to take additional action ahead of your event. For example, perhaps you need them to sign up for the event, and you want them to click through to a sign-up page on your website. Make sure to select the sign-up button and link to your event sign-up webpage. 

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how often you should post an update to your Google My Business profile to optimize for the local search results. The general consensus in the digital marketing world seems to believe that once a week is the ideal cadence. Now if that sounds too frequent and you can only handle it once a month or every other week, then do that. Google doesn’t want anything to be forced, and honestly, it will read that way if you don’t have anything relevant to share.

That being said, the once-a-week GMB post is something to aspire to. This will increase the chances that you rank higher in the local search results, especially if your competitors aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to add updates to their GMB profiles. 


Ask Your Customers for Reviews

Google has made it easy for you to ask your customers for reviews. And you want reviews, even the negative ones, because a local search ranking signal you want to take advantage of is responding to reviews. Google wants you to respond to your customers who have taken the time to write a review, be it a glowing review or a review that shows a negative customer experience. 

Now if you are going to ask for reviews from your happiest customers, make sure to do so when things are fresh in their minds. Click on the Ask for Reviews button in the bottom right of your Google Business Profile, and a box will pop up with a link to review your business. You can click to copy the link and send it to your customers in your preferred communication method. You can also use one of the three additional buttons that Google has linked to in order to make it easier for you to ask – Email, Whatsapp, and Facebook.

Make sure not to try to force your customers to leave a review. That could definitely backfire on you. I would recommend sending an email to ask for a customer review and personalizing it if you have the time. I would also recommend sending one reminder and one reminder only if you don’t see a review happen within seven days. And then stop. No one wants to be hounded for a review! That kind of behavior could lead to a negative review if the customer feels pressured. 

Try to make asking for and responding to reviews part of your regularly scheduled GMB upkeep. Utilize the Golden Rule and put yourself in the customer’s shoes when asking for and responding to your business’s reviews.


Congratulations: You’ve Passed GMB Optimization 101

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re now well equipped to get your Google Business Profile rockin’ for local search as part of your SEO strategy. Taking the time to complete your GMB profile and work on ongoing optimization practices is an important part of striving to show up when potential customers are conducting relevant searches on Google. 

You want to be the business that has made the investment in Google My Business. Be the business that is proactively optimizing to strive to show up on Google Maps when folks are searching for a local product or service that you provide.  

Now you have the knowledge. Let’s get to it!


cartoon blog bear with a graduation cap and diploma who is ready to optimize their GMB profile

Nancy Deol

I write a lot. I research a lot. I develop campaigns. I do tons and tons of SEO and PPC work. Oh, and I'm pretty handy when it comes to Social Media. I consume data and implement actions to drive lead growth. I have colorful hair.


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