Google My Business: How to Claim and Verify Your Business [2018]

 
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On Google Search, enter your "business name + city" or "business name + ZIP code."

What do you see in the Business Profile?

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I Don't See Anything
You don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) profile or your business entity isn't ranking.

I See My Business Listing + "Own This Business?"
You have a Google My Business profile, but need to claim ownership and verify the business in order to manage and customize the listing.

I See My Business Listing (see image)
You've already claimed ownership and verified the business with Google My Business. Is the information accurate and complete? If you're not sure, keep reading.

Start showing up when customers search for your business or other businesses like yours on Google Search and Google Maps.

In this post, I’m going to share how to claim and verify your free Google My Business listing.

1. Get Ready

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For questions about eligibility, claiming, merging duplicate listings or verifying a business –– read the guidelines for representing your business on Googlecontact Google My Business (chat or email) or call Google My Business at 1-844-491-9665 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST).

Eligible Businesses

  • A business that makes in-person contact with customers during its stated hours

  • Exceptions

    • ATMs

    • Video-rental kiosks

    • Express mail drop boxes

    • Seasonal businesses that display permanent signage year-round at the location

Ineligible Businesses

  • Brands

  • Organizations

  • Artists

  • Online-only businesses

  • Businesses that are under construction or haven't opened to the public

  • Rental or for-sale properties

  • Ongoing services, classes or meetings at a location that you don't own or have the authority to represent.

Verification Checklist

  • Business Name

  • Business Address

  • Service Area (mileage, areas, cities, regions, postal codes)

  • Business Categories

  • Phone Number and/or Website URL

Pro Tip
Maintain a master copy of your complete business information in your contact’s app and use a password manager like 1Password for login credentials. Refer to the master copy whenever updating your information on Google My Business or other local business directories.

2. Go to the Google My Business Website

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To claim your business and begin the verification process, go to google.com/business (see image). Only business owners and authorized representatives can verify a business.

Click the green "Start Now" button.

Sign in to Google.

Pro Tip
Use a professional email address (e.g. name@company.com), not a personal email address (e.g. name@gmail.com). Get a professional email address with an annual G Suite subscription (affiliate link).

3. Enter a Business Name

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Enter a business name (see image). If the business is already listed, select it from the list of choices.

Click "Next."

Pro Tip
Don't stuff keywords in the business name (e.g. Bento Sites Web Design, Bento Sites – Atlanta) and don't use incorrect spelling or capitalization (e.g. BENTO SITES). Google advises listing a business as it's represented in the physical world on signage and marketing collateral.



4. Enter a Location

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Enter the country where the business is located (see image).

Address Line 1: Enter the complete and exact street address. Google My Business won't accept P.O. Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations. Learn more about Google's address entry guidelines.

Address Line 2: If applicable, enter the floor, suite, unit, building number, etc.

Enter the city, state and ZIP code.

If the business delivers goods and services (e.g. plumbers) to customers, check "I deliver goods and services to my customers."

If the business isn't a store, customers don't visit the business location (i.e service area businesses without storefronts) or you work out of your home, check "Hide my address." Addresses that are hidden will only show the city and country.

Click "Next."

Pro Tip
Don't include keywords, URLs or any information that isn't part of your official business address. Only include cross streets and nearby landmarks in regions where official street addresses don’t accurately pinpoint the location.

5. Enter a Service Area

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Add the areas the business serves, either:

  • The distance around the business location in miles or kilometers (see image)

  • Specific areas cities, regions or postal codes

Click "Next."

6. Enter a Business Category

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Enter a business category that accurately represents the core business (see image). Categories provide results for potential customers who are searching for businesses like yours in their area. If you're unsure how to choose a category, use Moz Local or look at your competitors' categories. If necessary, additional categories can be added in the Google My Business Dashboard.

Select a category.

Click "Next."

Pro Tip
Don't use categories as keywords that describe attributes of your business and don't use categories for other businesses that are nearby, related or physically contained within your business or another entity that contains your business (e.g. Starbucks contained within Target).

7. Enter Contact Information

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Select the country where the business can be reached.

Enter a contact phone number. If necessary, up to 2 additional phone numbers can be added in the Google My Business Dashboard.

Enter a current website URL (see image).

If you don't need a website, select "I don't need a website."

If you want a free website from Google that's automatically built and updated based on your Google My Business listing, select "Get a free website based on your info."

Click "Next."

Pro Tip
When customers call –– answer the phone. Many businesses add phone numbers to their listings, but fail to answer the phone or let the phone ring too long.

8. Finish and Request Verification

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Review how you'll be able to manage your Google My Business listing after verification is finished (see image).

  • Allow new customers to find you on Google Search and Google Maps

  • Promote your business with photos and posts

  • Track business analytics to understand your customers

  • Respond to customer reviews

Click "Finish."

9. Verification Process

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Verification helps Google ensure the business owner's information is accurate and that he/she has access to the provided information. Once verification is complete, the business will be eligible to appear on Google Search, Google Maps and other Google properties.

Depending on the type of business listing, Google may provide one or more methods of verification that can be completed from a desktop computer or via the Google My Business mobile app on iOS or Android.

Verify a Business Listing by Mail

  • Available for most businesses (desktop and mobile)

  • Google will send a postcard to the stated business address with a verification code

  • Do not edit the business name, address or category while waiting for the verification postcard

  • Do not request a new code while waiting for the verification postcard

  • If the postcard doesn't arrive in 14 days, request a new postcard

  • Once the postcard arrives, sign into Google My Business and enter the 5-digit verification code in the Google My Business dashboard or app

Verify a Business Listing by Phone

  • Available for select businesses (desktop and mobile)

  • Businesses that are eligible for phone verification will see a Verify by phone option after requesting verification

  • After receiving the 5-digit verification code by either text or an automated call, enter the code in the Google My Business dashboard or app

Verify a Business Listing by Email

  • Available for select businesses (desktop and mobile)

  • Businesses that are eligible for email verification will see an email option after requesting verification

  • After receiving the 5-digit verification code by email, enter the code in the Google My Business dashboard or app

Instantly Verify a Business Listing (see image)

  • Available for select businesses

  • Businesses that have already verified their website with Google Search Console may be eligible to instantly verify their listing

  • Some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification

Bulk Verification

10. Customize Your Google My Business Listing

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Start customizing the business listing in the Google My Business Dashboard (see image). Changes won't appear on any Google property until the business has been verified.

To share access to a listing, add managers to your account in the Google My Business Dashboard.

Pro Tip
Google My Business isn't a set-it-and-forget-it local business listing. Always keep your listing updated by visiting google.com/business or using the Google My Business mobile app.

Once you’ve customized and optimized your listing, respond to all reviews, monitor your Google My Business marketing strategy with Insights, add a booking button to your listing (if applicable) and publish events, products and services with Posts.

Wrap Up

You just learned how to claim and verify your free business listing on Google My Business (GMB). Start showing up when customers search for your business or other businesses like yours on Google Search and Google Maps.

Now, go master your marketing.

Google My Business: How to Claim and Verify Your Business [2018] first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.