If you’ve been active on Google for your business for some time, you are probably aware of and even have your own Google+ Page for your business. The Google My Business product is basically the updated version of the original Google+ Business Pages, and this post will walk you through how to get your new Google My Business listing setup and verified.
The primary reasons to have a Google My Business listing (or back when it was called Google+ Page) are:
- It’s a listing for your business on the most used search engine
- It gives your business the red marker on Google maps
- Your Google My Business listing is where people leave you reviews (or view reviews left by others)
- A resource to customers and potential customers when they want to do things like learn about your business, get your phone number, find your website address, etc.
Google My Business Listing: How to Setup & Verify
Setting up Your Google My Business Listing
Begin by visiting Google.com/Business.
Sign in with your Google email account.
You can also choose to create your Gmail account first, if you’d prefer. Some businesses like to use a Gmail account in the business’ name for all online profile logins. This can make it easier for multiple employees to access social media and directory accounts.
Once you are signed in to your Google account, the first step is entering the name of your business. This is how your business will show up in Google search results.
Next, add your business’ street address. You’ll need an actual address and not a P.O. Box or UPS Store-type address for this to be valid. This is also how you’ll get your Google Maps location, so be aware of that if you work from your home.
If you do need to hide your specific address, click on the Yes radio button at the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” line. It will reveal these options below after clicking.
Additionally, Google has added the option to clear your address out and allows you to leave the address blank. This is important for those who work from their homes. Note: If you remove your address and don’t list a service area(s), your map view will be the entire United States.
At the bottom, you’ll see a check box that reads, “I also serve customers at my business address. (Your address will be hidden from the public if this box isn’t checked.)” So, to hide your address from the public, uncheck this box. To set your service area, enter the region, city or zip code plus a radius.
Part of the process of setting up your Google My Business profile includes a verification step. One way to verify your new Google My Business listing is to have Google mail you a postcard to this address. The postcard will contain a verification code that you need to enter online to complete the verification process.
At the next step, you’ll have to choose from pre-set business categories to describe the type of business you have. As you begin to type, your choices will auto-populate.
You now have the option to include your phone number as well as your website URL.
Make sure everything looks good before finishing up the Google My Business setup and listing verification process.
Verify your Google My Business Listing
You have up to 3 ways to verify your new Google My Business listing. If Google doesn’t already have a listing for you (that you haven’t claimed until now), it’s likely your only verification option is mail.
- Google can send you an automated text message with a 6 digit code
- Google can call with you a recorded message telling you a 6 digit code
- Google can (snail) mail you a postcard with the code at the address provided
I opted to have Google text me a 6 digit code that I immediately entered into the field on my screen.
Within a few moments of clicking on the Text button, you’ll receive a text message to the phone number you entered a few screens earlier. Simply type that 6 digit code into the field and click the blue Verify button.
Boom, you’re done!
What to Do if your Google Listing Address has Already Been Claimed
If your office location is used by several others (e.g. doctors, attorneys, real estate agents, etc.), you might be stopped from advancing in your progress by Google with the message that “this listing has already been claimed”. There are a few things you can try.
- If you have an applicable suite number to add to your address to differentiate it from others, please use it.
- If this is due to a business previously working out of that location, you can work through the Request Ownership of a Business Listing process here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671
- Learn more about adding a Store Code to your listing to make it unique here.
- Try changing up the business name, if applicable. For example, First and Last Name, Job Title, Company Name instead of First and Last Name, Company Name. If you are then told that listing is already claimed by the Company Name, choose the option of “This isn’t correct”, and then choose the option that relates to “individual practitioners or sales licenses”.
- Email Google Support here
Google My Business Short Name
In June 2019, Google began rolling out a way for businesses to create a “short name” and direct link for their Google My Business listing. Before this, it was difficult to directly link others to your business listing or share your business listing with customers if you wanted to ask them to leave you a Google Review.
If you haven’t yet set up your Google Short Name, you may be prompted to when you visit your Google My Business dashboard.
When you click on the blue plus sign, you’ll be prompted to choose what you’d like your Short Name to be. Google also suggests an option for you based on your business name. You’ll notice a dash between each word of your business name.
After setting your Short Name, click Apply. Then you’ll see a Reviews link. It’s your new direct link to your Google My Business listing + “Reviews” added at the end.
The structure of the new Google My Business direct links is: g.page/your-short-name.
Once you have your Short Name set up, share your Reviews link with customers and link g.page/your-short-name to your Google social media icon.
Now you are ready to begin building out your new Google My Business account listing!