A New Name
In recent years, Google My Business has been a useful interface where business owners and managers could manage their business on Google in the following three primary ways:
- Keep information up to date (such as hours of operation, phone number, COVID-19 policies, and more)
- Engage with the public (by posting photos, videos, collecting and responding to reviews, and more)
- Initiating paid advertisements
While the ability to do these things will remain, Google has decided to simplify the process. At some point in 2022, there will no longer be Google My Business. Replacing it will be “Google Business Profiles.” (The new name is already reflected when logging into Google My Business.)
A New Structure for Managing Your Business
As mentioned above, Google My Business will be closed in 2022. That includes the web interface and the Google My Business mobile app that has been available for IOS and Android devices. The place Google wants business listings to be managed now is directly in Google Search (or also Google Maps). When you see your business information panel on Google’s website or in the Google search app, you’ll be able to manage it from there.
If a business has more than one location, there will still be an interface similar to Google My Business, but it is called Google Business Profile Manager.
How to Access the Panel of Controls
To access the panel of information where you can manage and make changes to your business, simply type “My Business” into Google search (web interface or Google search app on your phone). Then look to see the link to your business in the search results.
If you have several locations, you can go to www.Google.com/Business to use the Google Business Profile Manager.
Creating/ Adding your business
If you want to create a business profile on Google, you can do it through Google Maps on your computer. Here are three ways you can add your business:
- Enter your business address in the search bar. Then click “Add Your Business” in the options that appear on the left.
- Right-click anywhere on the map and select “Add Your Business”.
- Click the menu icon (those 3 lines) and then select “Add Your Business”.
Then follow the instructions to finish adding your business.
Claiming a business that’s already been added
If you want to claim a business profile that’s already been added in Google, you can do it through Google search.
- Search the business name to find the information panel about the business.
- Look for the “Own This Business” link.
- Click “Request Access” to start the process of claiming the business.
You will then be asked to provide info, such as what level of access you’d like to request (Owner or Manager level), and what your relationship is to the business (Owner, Employee, or Agency).
For your business to be visible on Google, it will need to be verified. This usually means that a postcard with a code will be sent to your business address. Google wants to make sure that the location is authentic and that the postcard will be received by the business owner. There are other methods of verification that could sometimes be an option, such as by email, phone, Google Search Console, or video recording. The verification method options are decided by Google.
If you’ve already verified your business website in Google Search Console, your business listing might be eligible for instant verification. To take this approach, make sure that you are signed in to Google with the same account you used to verify your site in Search Console. (Some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification.)
While you wait for your verification postcard:
- Don’t edit your business name, address, or category.
- Don’t request a new code. If you edit your info or request a new code, Google cancels the code on the postcard in the mail and sends a new postcard.
- Once your business is verified, you will see a “Verified” icon in your business listing.
Promoting Your Business
If you click the “Promote” button while looking at your business profile, you’ll see a number of ways you can promote your business, including:
- Advertise in Google Ads
- Add photos to your business profile
- Ask for reviews by sharing your review form link
- Add update posts
- Add an offer
- Add an event
Call History – Seeing Your Calls from Google
Google can now provide call data to businesses related to the incoming calls received through business profiles. It includes caller ID information such as name, phone number, and date of the call. It will also show if the call was answered or missed. There are buttons in the call list that allow you to:
- Initiate a call to that number
- Copy the phone number to your computer
- See a call history list for that phone number.
To get call history data, the call history feature must be turned on. It’s turned off by default. When Call History is turned on, Google starts recording calls initiated from pressing the “Call” button on the business profile. Google will then use a forwarding number to connect the call. This allows it to be recorded and also prompts an automated message to the business that says, “Call from Google.”
Note: If a call goes to voicemail, the call will be marked “answered.”
Also, keep in mind that this feature might not be available for your business. At the time of this writing, Google’s documentation states the following:
“Call history in Google Business Profile is currently an experimental feature. It’s available only for a select group of businesses in the US and Canada.”
Messaging Through Your Google Business Profile
If you turn on the chat function, customers and prospects will be able to message you through the “Chat” button on your business profile. You will be able to read those messages in your business profile by clicking on “Customers” and then “Messages.”
If a business decides to use chat, it’s important that messages be responded to within 24 hours. If not, Google might deactivate chat for the business.
If multiple people own or manage a business profile, each one can chat with customers. Businesses who turn on chat have their messages saved to the account they use to manage their business profile.
Businesses that enable chat may also have the option for a “Get Quote” or “Request a Booking” button in selected categories.
Another optional feature is called Read Receipts, which allows both parties to know whether their messages were seen. This can be turned on or off.
At this time, Google documentation says that you can set up an automated custom message reply for when customers message your business but I have not been able to find this feature yet. Also, I have not been able to find the feature that allows you to export and download your messages (which is also mentioned in Google documentation).
Reporting Performance Data
When you see your business profile in Google search, you’ll see the number of views the business has had in the current month. If you click that number, it will take you to an interface of reporting data. (This can also be reached by clicking the “Promote” button, and then selecting “Performance”.) This interface provides many points of useful data such as:
- The number of business profile interactions (calls, messages, direction requests, etc.)
- How people discovered your business (such as through Google Maps or Search)
- The number of searches that triggered a view of the business profile
- The search terms people used that lead to a view of the business profile
- The number of calls received
- The number of messages received
- The number of clicks for directions
- The number of website clicks
Business Profile Settings
When looking at your business profile in Google Search, notice the three dots with menu options to the right. There you will find the Business Profile Settings panel. That panel is where you can manage information and options, such as:
- Your business profile ID number (which might be necessary to find when contacting support)
- Labels, which allow you to organize your business profiles into groups
- Phone number setting – You can choose to keep your business phone number from being visible.
- Google Ads number – This is the number a Google Ad will pull for your business if a Call Extension is shown with the ad.
Google offers support for business profiles through this link: https://support.google.com/business/gethelp
Also, there is a Google Business Profile Help Community: https://support.google.com/business/community?hl=en
Keep in mind you can search the community for past inquiries based on these categories: