How to Optimize Google My Business

Does it make you go bananas when your competitor’s business pops up before yours on Google? It’s enough to make anyone beat their chest and scream, but here’s a few quick, easy steps to get you on the right path. 🦍

Now, you may be asking yourself “What is optimizing my Google My Business listing, anyways?”

Optimizing your Google My Business listing is making sure that your listing has the right information to guide customers to your profile easier. The more business information you include, and the more it’s updated, the more Google will push it to people looking for goods and services matching your business in your area.

How to Optimize Google My Business

  1. Claim your business listing
  2. Add service areas
  3. Update business hours
  4. Add a description
  5. Advertise top goods and services
  6. Allow online bookings and reservations
  7. Set up messaging
  8. Add photos
  9. Create a posting strategy
  10. Add tracking links for digital analytics
  11. Manage and respond to reviews

Intimidated? Don’t be! We’re here to walk you through every step, making it easy for you to swing on in.

Let’s Get Started:

1. Claim your business listing

If your business has been around for several years, it’s likely that you already have a listing created on Google My Business — you have to claim it! If you’re creating a listing from scratch, check out our other tutorial, How to Set Up Google My Business (link to other blog). If a listing for your business has already been created, or another account has claimed it, Google will let you know that, too.

2. Add service areas

If your business only serves customers within certain areas, you can list it on your Google My Business listing. This helps your customers know where you’ll deliver or go to visit them. You can add up to 20 service areas, either by city or postal code.

If you don’t serve customers at a physical address, it’s best to leave the address field blank. Only fill out the service area information to prevent confused and angry mobs from banging on your front door.

Need step-by-step instructions? Swing this way to graze on them for both computer and mobile.

By adding cities and neighborhoods within a drivable radius to your business, you’re more likely to appear on Search when someone is looking for a business like yours in a different city.  

3. Keep your business hours accurate

In light of the recent global pandemic, all businesses have been disrupted from an operational standpoint for the foreseeable future. Adding temporary hours or holiday hours keeps your listing up-to-date and accurate. It also keeps your customers happy (and saves your customer service department’s lines from being tied up by dozens of howling cries).

4. Create a competitive business description

Adding a business description is a crucial part of setting up your listing. Once claimed, your listing is ready for you to fill out the details that will saturate your listing with rich keywords relevant to your business. Think of your business description as great information about your business AND is optimized — acting as an advertisement for why people should visit your business. This helps Google guide the right customers towards your Google My Business profile.

Like all forms of SEO, Google uses many factors to rank search results. Updating your profile with important keywords and search phrases relevant to your business will be helpful not only to Google, but to the customers out there looking for you!

5. Advertise your top goods and services

Local search results on Google tend to favor the most relevant results for searches. This means that as a business you want a Google listing as detailed as possible to increase your odds of matching with potential customers.

There’s a golden rule when it comes to the internet: don’t leave anything up to assumption. It’s a good rule of thumb to communicate the what, where, and how’s as straightforward as possible. What does your business offer, where does it offer it, and how can they get it?

Make sure you fill out all of the highlights and attributes associated with your business, too. Remember, the more people that know, the better!

6. Allow online bookings and reservations

The global pandemic has rocked the world of in-person services, regardless of industry. Setting up online bookings and reservations is a crucial part of operating a service-based business. This allows you as a business owner to combat challenges like capacity limitations and safety concerns through your GMB profile.

7. Set up online messaging

Setting up messaging is another important feature on your GMB listing. This opens up a new line of communication with your potential customers. Not only that, but customers love that messaging is more personal and faster than sending an email!

8. Add amazing photos to your profile

add great photos to your gmb profile

Business listings with more photos have better performance and engagement, there’s no argument about it. In fact, according to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps, and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos.

Aside from that, adding photos of the outside of your building helps customers recognize it as they’re driving up. Adding photos of the inside of your business can entice them to visit you over your competitor down the road. It can also be used as an effective tool to highlight new or popular products, creating an Instagram-esque mood to bring your profile to a whole new level.

Having a hard time getting customers to upload photos themselves? Run a fun contest that encourages your audience to interact with your profile! Offer a free service or gift card to the person of your choosing in exchange for their participation (nothing gets people motivated like the word “free!”)

photo from customer

9. Create a posting strategy

One of the most difficult aspects of your GMB listing is also one of the most rewarding to upkeep — Posts. When done right, an effective posting strategy can draw a lot of traffic towards your profile! You can call out special sales, in-store promotions, new product arrivals, or events.

Work Posts into your schedule frequently. Posting once a week is a great option for most businesses, but others are already reaching for that next branch by posting multiple times a week with coupon codes and other news.

10. Add UTM tracking links for digital analytics

When creating Posts, make sure they have UTM tracking links so you know where the traffic came from in your Google Analytics profile. Tracking links let your Google Analytics profile know where the clicks came from and if your digital marketing efforts are working! This is one of the most important aspects of setting up your listing because it lets you track if your efforts are working.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Book a free 30 minute consultation.

11. Manage and respond to reviews

Managing and responding to reviews is one of the most critical parts of your Google My Business profile.

It’s an opportunity for your business to speak to customers, whether it’s to make wrongs right, or thank customers for their loyalty and support. Interacting with customers through reviews shows that your business values its customers, as well as their feedback to help your business as it grows.

Need some help? Learn how to respond to Google reviews in four steps.

Positive feedback and reviews affect your business ranking, which shows up on Google search results as well as Google Maps, and also increases your business’s visibility in search results.

The on-going process of optimizing your GMB listing

Even after completing the above steps, your work isn’t done. Your Google My Business listing isn’t a tool that’s meant to “set it and forget it” — it takes a lot of work, and a lot of upkeep to keep your business as the king of the jungle!

Ongoing work is needed, such as getting new customer reviews (and responding to them), and uploading new photos. It’s equally as important to keep your profile updated with holiday hours, as well as frequent Posts, to show your business’s latest news and promotions.

Holding internal discussions and scenario training with your team helps coach them on how to successfully ask, and get, customer reviews. Working it into your training dialogue will help you see quick results, making your profile more attractive to potential future customers.

Make sure you are also comparing your listing to your competitors to see where you stand in the competitive landscape. As you’re checking out their profiles, look for ideas to incorporate into your own profile to improve even more.

Let us help

It’s crucial to tackle every resource on your GMB profile and continually update info to stay on top of your competitors and make things as easy as possible for your customers.

We’re here to help you every step of the way, allowing you to be as involved (or not) as you’d like to be, giving you complete control over the process and your listing.

GMB Gorilla in Suit


GMB Gorilla is the King of Local Search. He has been dominating the digital jungle for close to two decades and is dedicated to helping guide your profile to higher rankings. He answers your questions about Google Business Profiles and Local SEO via Ask the Gorilla. When not optimizing Google Business Profiles and dealing with Google's black hole support, he can be found munching on bananas. Lots of bananas.