How you get your Google My Business (GMB) listing verified is something of a gamble. It can sometimes feel as if it’s based on the direction that the wind is blowing, the fullness of the moon, your local dew point temperature, and a few other arcane concepts that are out of your control. Ultimately, it’s up to Google’s inscrutable (perhaps randomized) decree. All you can do is hit that “Verify now” button and hope for the best.
Like as not, you won’t have access to all of the verification methods listed below, but they are listed here in order of most to least common. Whether customers visit your location or you travel to them, you will have to provide an address so that Google can determine what your options are. But don’t worry. If your listing is for a service-area only business, Google won’t display the address you provide in your listing, or on Google Maps. It won’t even appear in your Google business account.
3 Ways Google Verifies Business Listings
Here’s how Google may ask you to verify your business listing:
The go-to method. Google will send a postcard to your business address that will typically arrive within 14 days. Inside will be a five-digit code that you’ll need to enter into your account. Make sure that you do not edit your company’s primary info (name, address, or main category) after you’ve sent it, or Google may “reset” the listing and make you start the process over.
If you don’t receive mail at your business address, there is a way to circumvent this approach. However, it requires you to jump through several hoops with Google’s support team to complete the process manually. You’ll likely want the help of a marketing expert if you run into this situation!
The most convenient method. Google will send you an automated call with your five-digit code, instead. You’ll need to make sure that you have access to your business phone, as you can’t use a separate line for this. Some numbers may also come with an alternative that will send your code via a text message (SMS) instead. Since this uses the same number, however, it won’t work unless your primary phone line happens to be a cell.
The most unusual method. Google will send you an email with your code. However, the address used will be one that Google automatically pulls from your website (if available) or generates using your business name as a domain. There’s a good chance that neither result will be an email that you actually use, so this method of verification is typically very hit or miss.
Verifying your Google My Business Listing will offer your business several amazing benefits. For starters, verifying your business will allow you to manage your business information in Search, Maps, among other Google services. Your business is also more likely to be considered reputable by users. Third, verification helps to protect your business from anyone who may want to claim the listing as their own or act as a representative of your business. While there are several ways of verifying your Google My Business listing, instant verification is a great option that most business owners fail to take advantage of.
Provided your site is already verified in Google Search Console, you can verify your listing instantly. However, this option is not available to every business, as some business categories may not be eligible. Whether you will qualify for instant verification will largely depend on how much trust Google has in you. New businesses and those with minimal online presence are not likely to be verified instantly. The best way to get verified in such cases would be to send the postcard so that Google checks your business. In order to successfully verify your listing instantly, you must ensure that the email account with which you are signed in to Google My Business is the same one you used to verify your business website with Search Console.
The process of instant verification will require you to follow a few simple steps in the Search Console. Just like with the other verification options, you will be prompted with a banner that asks you to review your business information and make any final changes. Once you have confirmed that everything is correct and up to date, click on “Done editing.” After this, you will not be able to update your business listing information until the verification process is complete.
What do I do if it Says My Listing has Already Been Verified?
You may find yourself in a situation where you have a verified listing that you did not verify. If you are authorized to manage a business profile on Google that is already verified, you can request ownership from the current owner of the profile. Another challenge you may face is when you verified your business but cannot log in when you want to update the information. The good news is that Google offers support documentation that serves as a guide as you seek to have the ownership of your business listing changed. The steps to be followed will differ slightly depending on whether it is a storefront business profile, service-area business profile, bulk-verified account or the process involves requesting ownership of some chain listings as a site manager.
Discovering that your listing was already verified by someone else can be alarming, especially if you do not know who the individual is. The first thing you should do is to ask around to find out if someone you know may have verified the listing without your knowledge. In case it is someone who has had a hand in your marketing efforts, simply request them to transfer ownership of the listing to you. If you are unable to identify or contact the person who claimed your listing, you should follow Google’s instructions on requesting ownership.
After you have requested ownership, the current owner of the profile will have between three and seven days to respond. You can always log in to your Google My Business account or click on the link in your confirmation email to check the status of your request. In case your request is approved, you will get notified by email and will be in a position to manage your business information. If the request is denied, you will still be notified by email. In such a case, you can suggest an edit to the business profile or appeal the decision to deny your request. If there is no response after the three to seven-day period, you should find out if you can claim the profile yourself. Look for a “Claim” or “Verify” button on your dashboard in Google My Business. If the options do not exist, it means you cannot transfer the profile.
Once your business has been verified, you should take the time to optimize your listing. A well-optimized listing will make it easy for potential customers to find you within local searches and encourage customer engagement. Some of the steps you should consider taking to increase your visibility include displaying a local phone number, choosing categories that best describe your business model and uploading high-quality images.
What can I do if I Have Multiple Locations?
In case you have multiple locations of the same business, you may be eligible for bulk verification. Bulk verification will make it easier and more convenient for you to manage information for all the locations. However, you need to ensure that you meet the criteria set out to get bulk verified. Businesses with fewer than 10 locations, service area businesses and agencies managing multiple businesses are not eligible for bulk verification. In addition to making sure that your business is eligible for verification, you should ensure that your spreadsheet includes all the locations that you manage. To speed up the process, a verified account should not already exist, and your account should be free of errors.
Before submitting your locations for bulk verification, check whether the verification form has been filled completely and accurately. The form should include details such as the business name, business countries or regions, contact name, contact phone, business manager email and Google account manager email. Once you have submitted your request, Google will review it to ensure it complies with the set guidelines and verify your authority to represent the business. They will then contact you to notify you once your account is bulk verified. This entire process can take up to one week after submitting the verification request.
Once you are bulk verified, the updates you make to your business locations can appear on the different Google services. Provided another user does not own the new locations you add, they will show up on Google. Adding locations will go a long way in helping to increase your online visibility, effectively making it easier for users to find you through local searches.
Even after being bulk verified, it is important to review your account for errors and update your locations regularly. To ensure Google Maps data sources are up to date, Google will periodically de-verify any inactive accounts that do not appear to be managing their locations as required. If the bulk verification status of your account changes, you will receive a notification via email.
Have Questions? We Have Answers!
Although the process of verifying your GMB account can seem like a mystery, it’s definitely worthwhile. Your Google listing is an important ranking factor, as well as an extremely effective way to reach customers. If you’re having problems with yours, contacting a professional marketing agency like BizIQ can help.