Denis Cherkasov is the founder and CEO of Hot Local Spot, a boutique local SEO marketing agency for small businesses.
This article covers popular methods of verifying Google My Business Account, and the problems that you may get with this verification method.
Claiming your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is only the first step in establishing a strong online presence for your business. You won’t be able to optimize and manage your listing until you verify your account. And in some cases, your business profile won’t be visible to the general public if it’s not verified.
With the postcard being the most popular method of verifying your Google Business Profile, the verification process can get very complicated because it can take up to two weeks for the postcard to arrive, and sometimes they just don’t turn up.
And most business owners don’t know that a postcard is'nt the only method that you can use to verify your Google Business Profile.
Why you need to immediately verify your GMB account?
While you are struggling to verify the ownership of your own business, some techy scammer can find a way to do it for you and get access to your Google Business Profile without your consent.
And only the imagination of the scammer will define the amount of troubles you will get trying to prove Google that you’re the real owner of the business and regain access to your listing.
And overall, claiming your Google Business Profile without verifying it is, by all means, pointless. Without the verified ownership, you won’t be able to keep your business up-to-date because you can’t:
- See the performance statistic of your listing
- Edit your business information
- Respond to reviews
- Answer questions posted by your potential customers
- Upload images and videos
- Upload posts
So, yes. The verification step is uber-important, and you should put it on your top-priority to-do list. And now, let’s explore all the methods you can use to do it.
What verification options do you have?
The most popular (and sometimes the most problematic) way to verify your listing is a postcard. Google will ask for your business physical address and then send a postcard to that address with a verification code. When you enter this code in your Google Business Profile, you will become the verified owner of the business listing.
It doesn’t sound that complicated, but many people encounter many problems with this method that we’ll cover later in this article.
With email, you can verify your listing immediately. The only thing that you’ll need is your business email address. You can’t use your regular email like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or @hotmail.com. You will need an email with the domain name that exactly matches the name of your business. For example, if the business name is ABC Dental, you will need an email with the domain abcdental.com, e.g. email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google will be sending you a verification code to this email. After you enter this code into your Google Business account, you will become the verified owner.
If your domain doesn’t exactly match your business name, or you don’t have a domain at all, this method might not be for you. So, let’s explore some other options to verify your account.
3. Text message
Verification with a text message is the easiest method (alongside a phone call). Google will send an SMS with a verification code to the phone number associated with your business. And as with the verification via email, you will only need to enter the code you received, and you will instantly become the verified owner.
If the phone number that Google wants to send the text message to is a landline, you won’t be able to use this method because text messages can’t be delivered to landline phone numbers. In this case you would want to opt for the next method.
4. Phone call
If verification via a text message doesn’t work for you, you can verify your listing via phone call. In that case, you’ll receive a robocall from Google with the verification code that you will have to enter into your account.
This method will work for landlines, but be sure to disable your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. You will receive a call from a robot, not from a real person who works at Google, and the robot won’t be able to press one or press two to get to speak with you.
5. Video recording
To verify your account, you can record a video with proof that you are authorized to manage this business account. It's slightly more complicated than just copying and pasting the code you received on your email or phone number, and it can take up to five business days for Google to review and approve your video.
As Google explains, for your video to be approved, you need to record one continuous video where you prove your physical location, showcase your business equipment, and provide evidence that you have access to employee-only items or areas.
6. Video call
You can also schedule a video call with one of Google's specialists to verify your ownership. It’s the same as the video recording method. The only difference is that you will have to provide all the proof on a live video conference call with a Google specialist and maybe answer some follow-up questions.
7. Google Search Console
This method is a little techy, but in some cases it can allow you to instantly verify your Google Business Profile.
If you already have a website that Google recognizes as an authority, you can add an ownership property in Google Search Console via DNS record. All you need to do is to upload a small text file to your server to verify the ownership of your domain.
And if that domain matches the website URL in your Google Business Profile, Google will authorize you the ownership of the business listing.
How to verify your account without a postcard?
Head to google.com/business and press “Manage now”.
If you have claimed your Google Business Profile, you will be prompted to your manager dashboard. Then you will need to press “Get verified”.
Now you can see all the available options to verify your account. You may not see all seven options described above. The verification options that you can use will vary depending on multiple factors like your main business category, how old is your business listing, your region, authority of your website, etc.
If you didn’t claim your business listing because it has already been on Google, that means that Google has added your business based on the NAP information (name, address, phone number) available on the web. In that case you will probably be able to use email, text message, or phone call to verify your account.
If your business wasn’t listed in Google Maps, and you had to add it by yourself by filling out your business name, physical address, and phone number, probably the only option you will see is the verification via postcard.
If Google gives you only the option with the postcard, and for some reason it doesn’t work for you, there’s a way out. Let’s see what you can do in this case.
What if the postcard is the only given option?
As was explained above, Google will decide what options you can use to verify the ownership of your business based on various factors. And in most cases business owners are given only one option, the postcard.
If you’re one of them, you need a solid reason why you can’t use this method. If you own a service-area business and visit your customers at their place, you may not have an office. And to verify your business listing via postcard, you need to give an address. And that might confuse you. You probably don’t want to give your home address and then be found. In that case you can hide your address so it won't be visible to your customers, and safely use your home address to receive your postcard.
But if you have already tried to receive the postcard, and it just got lost in the mail, or you have any other reason that prevents you from going with this method, you will need to contact Google support and explain your problem.
Go to Google Business Profile Support, select your business listing, explain your problem in one sentence, and then press “Next step”.
Then press “Next step” again, and select “Email”.
You will be prompted to a form where you will need to fill out your information and your business information, describe the problem and provide evidence that you are the rightful owner of the business.
After you submit the form, Google will send you an email with further instructions. In most cases, they will ask you to schedule a video call on Google Meet with one of Google's specialists. As described earlier, on the video call, you will have to prove that you have the authority to manage the business listing and answer a few questions.
How long does Google business take to verify?
If you have the option to verify your Google Business profile via email, text message, or phone call, go with one of these methods. They're the easiest and fastest ways to prove to Google that you own the business. You will instantly receive your verification code on your email or phone, and then you can verify your profile right away.
Verification with Google Search Console is slightly more complicated, and you do need a website that Google recognizes as an authority. This method will also allow you to instantly verify your account.
Postcards is being the slowest method to verify your Google Business account. Google says that it can take five days for a postcard to arrive, and in some scenarios, it can take up to two weeks.
If you choose the video recording method, it will take up to five days for Google to review the video. Beware that if you provide insufficient evidence, Google may ask you to send additional information, which may prolong the verification process for another five days.
If you contacted Google Support and they asked you to schedule a meeting, generally, you will be able to schedule for the next day, but it all depends on the current volume. For the English language the support hours are Sunday to Saturday, 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. GMT.
In 2019 BrightLocal conducted a research in which they found that the average business receives 1,009 customer searches each month. And the Google Business Profile verification process is the most important step to make your business appear in front of local customers.
Google Business Profile is the cornerstone of local SEO. Without it, you can’t access the performance metrics, provide your customers with up-to-date information about your business, and get in touch with your clients by replying to reviews and answering questions. And only after you verified your account, can you properly optimize it for local searches and let people in your area discover your product or services.
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