The Ideal Google Business Profile Checklist For 2024

Defeat your competitors in your local area with this Google Business Profile Checklist that includes more than 20 steps no one takes advantage of.

This is a checklist for Google my Business in 2023

The Ideal Google Business Profile Checklist 2024

Suppose you’re a business owner who wants to market their business online leveraging Local SEO tactics. In that case, Google’s your best friend, and what’s the best way to take advantage of it without wasting your budget?

Of course, by creating a Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business), a free tool that enables you to show your business in front of potential customers and convert them to clients.

But, to achieve that goal, you should leverage all its features and optimize it to the maximum, which is where I come in to give you a helping hand with my latest 20+step Google Business Profile Checklist, which covers everything from the basics to medium-difficulty strategies.

My Google Business Profile Checklist (25 Steps)

1. Which Businesses Qualify For A GBP listing?

Before we dive into the optimization steps of this GMB checklist, we should reference the 3 types of local businesses that meet Google’s qualification standards, and we do that to avoid future listing suspensions.

Brick and mortar business: A business with a physical storefront where customers can visit to purchase products or services. (bakery, barber shop, bookstore)

Service area business: A business without a storefront that provides services directly to customers at their location. (electricians, plumbers, roofers)

Hybrid-type business: A business that combines the characteristics of the above types by providing services and selling products both at a storefront and directly at a customer’s location via delivery. (cafeterias, restaurants, mattress stores)

2. You Should Verify Your Business

The next step is to claim and verify your listing, which is extremely important if you want complete control over the entire list of optimization options given to you by Google (responding to reviews, creating posts etc.)

Chances are, there is no listing to claim, in which case you should set up a Google Business Profile page from the start and complete the verification process, as I mentioned above.

Let’s not forget that a verified profile builds customers’ trust because most people have confidence in buying from a legitimate store rather than choosing a random business profile in a Google search.

Finally, you prevent competitors or people paid by competitors from ruining your profile if they try to change crucial NAP(name-address-phone number) information or, at worst, select the “permanently closed” option.

Google has clear instructions about how to claim your GBP. However, I must mention the 5 verification methods and what to expect when you choose one.

Note that the available methods you get to choose from depend on the type and general online presence of your business (directories you have listed your business, a fully optimized website, and social media).

i) Postcard verification: It may take up to 14 days for the postcard to arrive at your business’s physical location. It’s the most common method, but sometimes postcards may fail to arrive, so you should request one more time.

From my experience, the less trust Google has, the higher the chance you get the postcard option.

ii) Phone call verification: I see this option appearing increasingly these days, and it’s actually the best. Just click on that option, and your business phone will start ringing. Pick up the call and wait for the automated message which gives you the verification code.

iii) Email verification: Another standard method. The code is sent to the email you’re trying to claim the listing.

iv) Video verification: In 2024, I see this option too often, where you either request a scheduled live chat with Google specialists or record a video with instructions on what to include on it, sent to you by Google. 

Usually, you record the inside of the business with staff, the outside with signage, the storage, etc. 

v) Google Search Console verification: If you possess a website, you can obtain instant verification for your business listing, rendering the “Get verified” button unnecessary.

What if I face issues with the verification process?

What I would do is those simple steps:

If it’s a new listing, give it ten days before requesting verification. Meanwhile, you should build citations on major directories like Foursquare and Yelp and create social media pages ( Facebook, Twitter etc.)

If the postcard doesn’t arrive, request another one.

Contact Google support. They may ask you to include some proof like utility bills.

If applicable, when one method doesn’t work, choose an alternative from the ones mentioned above.

3. Add The Name Of Your Business

Now that you have finished the verification process, it’s time to set up your Google Business Profile.

In that case, you should begin with your business name, one of the most important ranking factors, although quite controversial.

It should reflect your real-world business name, so please don’t stuff important keywords in there unless you want your profile to get suspended either by Google or from your competitors.

Although that’s the most ethical thing to do, abide by Google’s Guidelines, many businesses put keywords in names like “Best Plumbing Company New York” and quickly climb up in rankings, so I suggest if you want to leverage that factor, prepare to have the papers that prove that the name is accurate, and even have signage with that weird name on it.

This is the name of a business on Google Business Profile

4. Add The Location Of Your Business

This option applies to brick-and-mortar and hybrid-model businesses, where you provide the exact location (address, town, postal code). We do that because most customers want to visit and buy physical products from your storefront.

On the other hand, service-based businesses should hide their address because their purpose is to serve customers at their location.

Remember that sometimes Google Maps may not accurately display the address you type in, in which case you should adjust the map pin and prevent customers from getting lost on their way to your store. You will lose potential clients if you ignore that tiny detail.

Add the Google Business Profile Address

5. Add A Phone Number

You must include a phone number if you want to leverage the phone verification option and make your customers’ lives easier by letting them reach you and ask questions regarding your services and products.

A local phone number gives trust signals to Google about your store’s legitimacy. However, I understand that sometimes you don’t want the phone to ring endlessly. You can also add a secondary number.

The Google My Business phone number

6. Choose The Primary Category Of Your Business

Next, choose your primary business category carefully, as it can significantly impact your visibility in search results.

Make sure it accurately reflects what your business does, and avoid trying to game the system by selecting a more general category that doesn’t truly represent your business.

For example, the primary category of a restaurant serving Italian food to customers is “Italian Restaurant” instead of a general “Restaurant.” If people want to taste Italian cuisine, they will look for that particular type of restaurant on Google.

Category section on Google business profile

7. Choose Secondary Categories For Your Google Business Profile

Here is the tricky part where most business owners believe that including too many categories, even some not fully correlated with their primary one, will increase the chances of ranking in the Map Pack, while in reality, they won’t move the needle.

Relevancy is the key here, so the additional categories should provide more detail about your products and services.

In the above example of the “Italian Restaurant”, you may include “Brunch Restaurant” if you serve brunch in the morning and “Cocktail Bar” if you have a bar inside where customers can enjoy your finest cocktails.

8. Add Business Hours To Your Google Listing

Service-based businesses are excluded from this option, but for storefronts, it is necessary to update their business hours to provide customers with a better customer experience.

Besides that, business openness is now a local search ranking factor, which means, in simple words, if you forget to update the hours of operation, there’s an increased chance you won’t appear in the local search results during closed hours, and lose potential customers along the way.

Please keep in mind that it is not advisable to falsely claim that your business is open 24/7. Doing so may lead to confusion and frustration for your customers who may arrive at your location only to find out that the store is actually closed. Such an experience could harm your reputation and negatively impact your business.

Remember, you should update the hours of operation on special occasions like summer holidays, seasonal shifts, renovations, etc.

9. Include Special Hours Of Operation

This option doesn’t apply to all businesses. Still, if your local store has specific delivery or drive-thru hours, you should include them, which in turn builds trust and provides a better customer experience.


Remember to update them regularly.

Business special hours of operation.

10. Specify your service areas in case of a service area/hybrid business

As an owner of a business that serves customers at a specific location, your client base is usually big enough in that area. A plumber operating only in Springtown, Texas, needs to add that service area, but what about a plumber serving more towns within Texas?

In that case, what you should do is think about how far you’re willing to go and serve customers (no more than 2 hours from your location), look for the areas on Google Maps that are within your specified radius, search for their postal codes and include them all.

Service area of a business on Google Maps.

11. Provide A Google Business Profile Description

As a rule of thumb, your business description needs to be accurate, concise, and optimized to be better understood by customers. It’s not a ranking but a conversion factor, so avoid keyword stuffing, as it looks unrealistic and unprofessional.

A well-written description can include the first operation date, the owner’s name, your products or services, and what sets you apart from your competitors.

Below you can see a Google Business Profile description example.

Write compelling description on your GBP.

12. Choose The Unique Attributes Of Your Business

In this section, depending on the type of business, Google will provide you with the option to choose among a list of popular attributes like Wi-Fi, wheelchair-accessible entrance, and free parking.

In recent years they added new options like women-led, LGBTQ-friendly, and black-owned, veteran-owned.

You should include these extras because they may appeal to specific customers looking for those features, or else they won’t choose to buy something from you.

Provide special attributes of a business.

Suppose you want to gain a higher position in the map pack.

In that case, it is inevitable to have a website fully optimized for local search because it’s one of the most important ranking factors, showcases your services and products, and answers your customers’ most important questions regarding your business.

If none of your competitors in the local area has a website, you may rank in the Local Pack with your Google Business Profile alone. Still, I rarely see a business without one, at least with basic on-page optimization.

14. Include An Appointment URL

If you have too many customers, you should start making appointments, and what better way to do it than using the online route and providing a URL that leads to a booking page?

You can place a link that directs a customer to a booking page on your website or to a third-party provider Google is working with (here’s the list).
Your business is not eligible if you do not see the booking option on your GBP.

Provide the appointment URL that leads to booking page.

15. Upload High-Quality Photos And Videos

You want to help people visualize your business and turn them into potential clients, which is why you MUST take high-resolution photos and upload them to your listing as well as add some videos.

Sometimes a picture is more than a thousand words, and here you have the option to provide your best photos and videos that showcase your staff during work, a cover photo of the exterior, and stylish interior images, all from different angles.

Here are some valuable tips you can implement during this process:

  • No text or logo in your photos
  • Short video with happy staff
  • Be creative
  • Not too many filters
  • Upload at least 5 pictures per month to keep your profile fresh.
  • Include your logo for branding purposes.
  • Don’t bother geotagging images. It’s useless.
  • Upload only relevant photos, which Google analyze with their AI.
  • In time, you can delete and replace older pictures with better ones. 
Provide high quality and relevant photos and videos.

16. Add Products You Sell At Your Storefront 

In this section, you can literally put every single product you sell at your store. The steps here are straightforward and clear.

Divide your products into different categories, upload high-quality photos, give them a name, write compelling descriptions about the product’s unique selling point, and add a link to your website.

There is also the option to do that with a third-party tool called Pointy.

In case you want to know how to fully leverage this feature, check my ultimate guide to GBP products.

List your products for local seo.

17. List Your Services 

This section is handy if you provide specific services, and although the opinions may differ, my experience tells me that you can rank higher when listing various services.

Contrary to products, services are only displayed on mobile. Here, you should provide a name and detailed description; each service needs to be relevant to the categories you specified in previous steps.

Fill all your services with proper descriptions.

18. Create A FREE Google Business Site 

There is no value in creating a free GBP website if you already have a proper website, so this feature applies to small businesses that need a simple and super basic webpage.

You’re limited to the basics here, and the only useful information you can include from an SEO perspective is all your services with unique descriptions.

This a free business site provided by Google to use it.

19. Include The Opening Date 

If your business has opened recently or is new compared to your competitors in the area, don’t reference it.

If you are an older business, you should mention it because it shows customers your experience in the particular industry (category).

People pay attention to details like this, and in their minds, they translate it like this: This business has been operating for a long time in that area, which means they must be experts in their profession.

So, don’t be afraid and show them you’re a veteran in your field.

Include your first date of operation

20. Include Menu (Restaurants)

This option is only available to all types of restaurants/cafeterias, and it’s a great way to showcase your Menu and give them a brief look at your most incredible dishes. Here’s what to include:

  • High-Quality photos of your dishes
  • Prices
  • Category and name
  • Catchy descriptions with an emphasis on how tasty they are, special ingredients, and the cooking methods. 
Include the MENU in your GBP for local SEO

21. Reply To All Reviews

Google Reviews are among the most important ranking factors, so you should focus on that area of your Google Business Profile.

Acquiring them is not easy, as most clients only want to buy your product and leave, but if you do a fantastic job in time, you will get some positive ones.

Suppose you build a relationship with your clients. In that case, you can politely ask them to leave a review but never offer incentives, as this is against Google’s guidelines.

When someone searches for a business in a specific area, the quality and quantity of your reviews greatly influence their decision to buy something from you, so you should have a natural review profile that converts customers to clients.

On the other hand, as a business owner, you must reply to all reviews, both good and bad, which is a great way to show your customers you value their feedback.

Now, I will try to list as many tips as I can to show you the mechanics of Google’s review system and what to expect from it:

  • Respond politely to all reviews, both good and bad.
  • You’re wasting your time if you request Google to delete a review. Google rarely removes them; if they do, it must have very bad language.
  • You can expect fake reviews, possibly from competitors.
  • Local Guide reviews have more value than normal ones.
  • Keywords in reviews create justifications. 
  • Photos in reviews will also be displayed in your image section.
  • Don’t buy reviews unless you want Google to suspend your profile eventually.
  • The ideal business profile is between 4.4 and 4.8, and a 5-star listing only looks natural to some people.
  • You have the chance to turn a one-star review into at least three stars if you respond politely. 
Acquire and respond to both good and bad reviews.

22. Use The Posts Section For Regular Updates

That feature offers you the opportunity to create mini-posts about your business. However, many small businesses don’t utilize it at all, missing the chance to showcase more about their products and services.

There are three categories here:

1) What’s New Post

You can write everything about your business here. Some ideas would be before and after service results, new and better products, and a collage of customer reviews. And the list goes on… Have a call to action in the end.

2) Offers Post

Here, you specify a date range of a specific offer, with proper calls to action.

3) Events Post

Here, you can write about local events that your business is part of and special events hosted inside your business.

In all the above cases, try to use real photos of your business, include keywords with primary/secondary category + area, service+ area and try to post at least 4 times a month.

Post on Google at least 4 times every month.

23. Leverage GPB Q&A

This section is handy because the business owner is capable of answering clients’ frequently asked questions, which may prove helpful in persuading the client to choose your business.

Everyone can list their questions, even the owners themselves. Still, anyone can give an answer, which sometimes may be harmful, considering spammy responses from fake profiles.

When a question pops up, you, as the owner, should answer immediately before anyone else. The question with the most thumbs is considered the most useful and is shown first.

24. Turn on GBP Messaging

You miss out on potential clients if you don’t turn on the messaging feature.

It’s a great way to communicate with them and answer their questions, which in turn may persuade them to come to your store or select your services.

You can also set up automated messages that answer people’s FAQs, which is an easy and fast way to avoid repeatedly answering the same questions while being helpful to your customers.

If you have decided to enable GBP messaging, you now have the option to include your phone number so that you can receive text alerts. This will help you stay informed and make sure you don’t miss any potential opportunities.

Beware that you should stay alert and respond within 24 hours to customers, or else Google will deactivate this option.

Use the messages feature on your Google Business Profile.

I encourage everyone who has created social media business profiles to add them to the GBP section called “Social Profiles”.

After all, social media is one of the most crucial online strategies a business has to implement to attract clients in 2024, and this particular feature blends them into your Google Listing which in turn increases your online visibility.

Currently, you have the option to include social media links to these platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter (Now called “X”)
  • Youtube
  • TikTok
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
Add social media links to Google Business Profiles

Conclusion

After optimizing the listing using this Google Business Profile checklist, you should focus on keeping the profile fresh.

So for that, you should focus on creating posts, listing new products, uploading new photos and videos, and replying to reviews.

After all, managing your GMB must be your top priority because it’s one of the most important components of a business’s overall Local SEO strategy in 2024!

Some of the most common changes that may lead to soft or total suspension are:

  • Changes to address
  • Business Name
  • Phone Number
  • Primary And Secondary Categories
  • Description
  • NAP and service page changes on your main website.

If the changes are legit, you need to be ready and have the necessary documentation to prove them wrong.