Quick Guide: How to optimize Google My Business profile + FREE Checklist

Had Google Places or Google+ page created for your business? Haven’t used it for a while? Most probably your account has already automatically migrated to Google My Business. Consequently, you should log in to Google My Business to fill up your profile to make your business stand out.

If you’re new at this, not sure how it works, why Google My Business matters, and how it can add value to your business. We have already spoken about it in this blog post: #7 reasons to start using Google My Business right now.

Sign up & verify your business

Firstly you have to have a business account and to have full access you need to get verification from Google via email, postcard, email or phone. After you verify your Business account, you can now fill out your profile and manage your information.

There are lots of great videos on how to set up GMB (Google My Business) account. If you’re struggling – check these videos below.

How to claim or add your business – CLAIM

How to verify your business: VERIFY

Once your business is verified – you’ll se the verification badge on your profile. See example below.


Google My business verification


Optimize information

Once you setup your Google My Business account you should  optimize your business information for better visibility and reach on Google local search pages. Follow these guidelines to boost your business visibility immediately!


Add description

Add a long and unique description of your main activities. It is beneficial to include links – landing pages to your website that describes a certain service or product. In addition to this, inserting few descriptive keywords is also a great idea. For easier reading use these rules: add bulletpoints; use subheaders; keep paragraphs short.

To add description click on the icon on the top right corner -> Manage account -> Edit Account info ->  Story

How to add description on Google My business

Set categories for your business

Categories is a must have for GMB profile. It describes what is your business’ main activity. Add as many categories as you can. Be sure that the chosen categories are best to describe your business. Depending on the selected categories your business will be shown on related search queries. Do not add categories that are irrelevant to your business, you won’t get additional customers, and you won’t meet your customers expectations if you state what you do is not true. Don’t let your clients down.

You can choose categories on your main GMB page. Click INFO and then add the categories as shown in the screenshot below.


Google My Business Optimization local seo settings


Upload photos

Add some pictures from inside, outside, your staff, products, etc. The more pictures – the better. Do not use low-quality photos! Photos are one of the most important factors for clients when choosing a place or a product. Great pictures can show your potential customers whether you have what they are searching for.


Add photos to category “IDENTITY” – these are three most important photos to upload. That’s the first pictures your customers will see.

Image identity for google my business


Profile. It is not a place for a logo. Use profile picture to describe your primary activity. Your profile picture will also be displayed on your Google+ page next to your business name.

Logo. Here you can add your business logo so that customers can identify your business. Square-sized logos are displayed best on Google.

Cover. Add featured image that best represents your business, your services or product. Most importantly it has to create a mood that invites people to choose your business instead of others.

Additional photos. Add more photos of your exterior, interior, team, products, maybe the sign of your business, the entrance to the building, etc. Add photos, that highlight features of your business that customers consider when making purchasing decisions. Add photos of what you’re really known for. Have the best latte in town? Shoot that. Got the best hotel in town? Take a photo of hotel lobby.

Always set the categories for pictures. Example shown below. Click info button -> choose category


photo categories on Google My business


Set accurate opening times/days

Add working hours, so your customers know when you are open and can welcome your customers. It is very important to set correct hours, and if you’re working 24/7 let your customers know that you are available at all times.

Special hours – it is about open times for holidays and special events, having special hours set you can ensure your customers that you’ll be open when they arrive at your location.


Add a local phone number

This part is essential for your customers on mobile devices – if they are searching for a place nearby, phone is the fastest way to reach business. Have the right number of your administration or someone who is able to answer the phone at any time.


Add your business address

This may sound way too obvious. However you have to make sure that all the listings use exactly the same address. Keep in mind that all the dots matter, for example Using “Street” or “St.” it’s a big difference.  That’s how local search works.

One of the greatest advantages of Google My Business is “GET DIRECTIONS” button, which gives driving directions to your place. Mostly it’s beneficial for mobile users, who want to get directions immediately. I am sure you want your customers to come to the right place. So double check your address!


Manage reviews from customers

Having lots of reviews can boost your visibility on local search pages. You should encourage your customers to leave feedback on your GMB listing. Don’t forget to respond to the reviews, just don’t be harsh on bad reviews.Write polite and friendly, reply “thank you” for those who left great reviews. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customer and their opinion about your business. Moreover, people tend to choose business that has more reviews. We have prepared a simple Step-By-Step guide how to handle negative reviews. You can download guide – HERE.


download google my business optimization checklist


Study case: comparison of  Optimized vs. Not Optimized listing

There are so many unclaimed businesses, especially in hotel industry. Even the big, chain hotels haven’t claimed their business on Google My Business.  Actually it’s kind of risk to leave it unclaimed, because people can suggest edits to your business info and some may be approved by Google.

Let’s take a look what are the actual differences between claimed and optimized and unclaimed business listing on Google search.

I just typed in ” luxury hotel in tekirova” on local listings and got these results.


I will analyze the first two hotels  “Gural Premium Tekirova” and “Rixos Premium Tekirova”.  You should also be aware of that the results might look different depending whether it is desktop or mobile. It is also different on Google Maps search. This example is desktop search.


Comparison optimized Google my business account vs not claimed


  1. Position. As you can see “Gural Premier Tekirova” is ranked in the first position and “Rixos Premium Tekirova” on the second.
  2. Category. There is a category  – “All inclusive venue with a private beach” next to “Gural Premier Tekirova” and no category shown next to”Rixos Premium Tekirova”.
  3. Star rating. Gural Premier” appears to be the 5-star hotel when at “Rixos Premium Tekirova” there is no star rating at all.

I assume “Rixos Premium Tekirova” hasn’t  claimed their hotel listing on GMB. Let’s find out. When you click on the listing – it opens a single card, where you can find all of the hotel information is included. Here’s what I got.


hotel example google my business


  1. Claimed vs Not Claimed Business. As you can see in the right bottom-  “Rixos hotel” hasn’t claimed their listing and “Gural Premier Tekirova” has claimed it.
  2. Photos. “Gural Premier Tekirova” hotel has more photo options on the card, you can see the outside pictures, and there are more photos when you click on photos. It increases the chances of getting making more sales.
  3. Directions + Website link. In both “cards” website and directions is shown – that’s a great thing to have.


Visually there is not much difference, but it is only in this case, because “Rixos Premium Tekirova” is a well-known hotel and most probably it has provided their information on other websites. Remember that Google sources your business information not only from your GMB profile but also from third party websites, your own website, users’ reviews and etc. I will cover this topic in upcoming article.


If you have a small local business such as boutique hotel, family restaurant, etc. – providing your business information on Google My Business is crucial.






Greta Aukstakyte
Marketing Manager @Intent Agency. Digital Marketing Enthusiast & Communication expert.
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