In recent years, Google has made a concentrated effort to prioritize local search. This change has not only reshuffled the rankings on the search engine results page, but has also created new result page layouts. One of the layouts is designed to show the basic business information directly on the search engine result page without requiring a click to the website.

This can be extremely beneficial to users who are quickly trying to find a phone number, address, or hours of operation. However, an issue occurs if the business address changes or the phone number changes and the information Google displays is no longer correct. To solve this issue, and to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both the user and local business, Google introduced Google My Business. A Google Business profile is essentially a verified Google+ page for the business that the owner/manager can alter at any time. This page is also linked to the Google Maps listing and is where all of the Google reviews will appear.

Setting up a business page is a simple process and can be completed using the following steps. Please note that this guide was written in May of 2015, so screenshots and steps may change with newer versions.

STEP 1: SET-UP A PERSONAL GOOGLE+ PAGE

Before you can set-up your business page, you’ll have to have at least one personal Google+ profile to link to it. Once you set up your personal profile, you can move on to creating a page for your local business. This can be found in the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen and selecting ‘Pages’.

STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR BUSINESS TYPE

On the ‘Create a Page’ section of the Google+ website, you will start by choosing the business type that fits your company. There are 3 categories to choose from: Storefront, Service Area, Brand.

If you choose Storefront or Service Area, you will have to search Google maps to see if a profile for your company already exists. If one does, you can claim the listing and become the administrator. This will require an additional step to verify that you are the owner of the business.

STEP 3: CUSTOMIZE YOUR PROFILE

The next step is to customize your profile. You should upload a profile photo (usually your logo), a banner photo, and a tagline for your business. Once you’ve finished this step, you’ll be asked if you want to share your new public profile through your personal page—for now, skip this and go to the next page by clicking on the ‘Finish’ button.

 STEP 4: EDITING BUSINESS INFORMATION

Click the ‘Profile’ icon at the top left of the page and then select ‘Edit’. This is where you will be able to change any of the information that shows up on your business profile. Your contact information, website, hours of operation, introduction, and even your page name can be changed here. When adding information, always keep your local business’s SEO keywords in mind.

Google has very specific guidelines and content policies for the business pages. Make sure to read them carefully before editing your business information.