Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows business owners to create and manage their presence in Google search results, Google Maps, etc. Company owners use the dashboard to enter their business phone number, address, hours of operation, a link to your web site, photographs, etc. It also allows customers to leave reviews for your business, which, in turn, improves your online presence if positive.
Among other things, GMB lets business owners:
- Manage their online information for search results
- Interact with customers and prospective clients
- Offer coupons to your customers
However, the process of verifying a GMB listing can be confusing so here is a step-by-step explanation of how to do it.
How Do I Claim My Google My Business Listing?
First, you must have an eligible business. GMB is available for companies that do face-to-face business with their customers during business hours. Two exceptions to that rule are allowed:
- Businesses that are seasonal (such as an outdoor ice skating rink or pool) if they have permanent signage year-round.
- ATMs, express mail drops, and video-rental kiosks are allowed if customer service information is included in the listing so customers can get assistance.
Businesses that are not eligible for GMB:
- Businesses that are not yet open to the public.
- Businesses that involve services, classes or meetings held at a location you don’t own or don’t have permission to represent
- Rental or for-sale properties, vacation homes or vacant apartments. However, the sales or leasing offices can be listed and verified.
Only the owner of a business or their designated representative, such as your Efferent Media account manager, can claim their GMB listings. Once a listing is claimed, the owner can add managers to the account. They can also give access to any digital marketing agency or SEO/SEM company they hire.
How to claim your Google My Business listing:
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “Start Now.”
- Select or create the Google account you want to use and sign in.
- When prompted, search for your business by name and address.
- If it’s not listed, click “None of these matches, add your business” and fill out the information fields.
- When asked, check “I am authorized to manage this business” and click “Continue.”
- Next Google will verify your business one of four different ways – by postcard, phone call, email or business listing – but which one you can do depends upon your type of business. Verifying by postcard is the most common method.
- After creating your GMB listing, click “Verify My Business by Postcard.” Make sure your address is entered correctly and thoroughly, including any suite numbers. If it isn’t, edit the address on the postcard. You can also add an Optional Contact Name to ensure the postcard goes to the right person in your company.
- Click “Send postcard.”Google will mail you a postcard with a unique verification code. The postcard usually arrives within 5 business days, but can take up to two weeks. After requesting verification by postcard, do not change your business name, address or category in your GMB listing until after you have completed the verification process.When you receive your postcard from Google it’s very important to verify your account as soon as possible because the code on the card does expire.
How Efferent Media Clients Can Postcard Verify Their GMB Listing
- After receiving your postcard, call or email your Efferent Media contact.
- Give them the verification code on the postcard. That’s it! You’re done! Your Efferent Media representative will handle the rest of the verification process.
How Everyone Else Postcard-Verifies Their GMB Listing
- After receiving your postcard, log into your GMB account.
- If you manage multiple locations, select “Manage location” on the one you want to verify.
- Click “Verify now” (or “Verify location” if you have multiple locations).
- Enter the verification code from your postcard into the “code” field.
- Click “Submit.”
- Once it says it’s complete, you can update your business information as needed.
If more than two weeks have passed since you requested your verification code, and you have not gotten a postcard:
- Log into your Google My Business account.
- If you have multiple locations, select the one that hasn’t gotten its verification postcard.
- Click “Request another code” from the banner at the top of the screen.
How to Verify Your GMB Listing by Phone or Email
Certain business categories can be verified by phone and/or email. If your business meets Google’s criteria for those options, you’ll see a phone symbol as a choice for phone verification and an envelope symbol for email verification. Phone and email verification are faster than postcard verification so if either of those appear on your list of verification options, use it.
For phone verification: Once you click the phone call option, Google will call you at the business number you provided so they can confirm that your details are correct.
For email verification:
- Click the email verification option
- Check your email
- Click the Verify button in the verification email or enter the code in the email into your GMB dashboard
If your business is already set up in Google Search Console, Google might be able to instantly verify your business. Make sure you’re signed into GMB with the same account that you used for Google Search Console and follow instructions if that is presented as an option.