Have you ever wondered how the top results on Google for the electricians near you or the best restaurant in your area got there?
A large part of these businesses showing up atop the results is that Google has verified them to be legitimate and trustworthy businesses.
Google Business Profile lets you control what your customers see on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), from your business’ address to pictures and contact information. It’s a free business listing service that helps your company get discovered by current and potential customers on Google.
However, to access these features, you need to verify your business with Google through a simple process. This article dives into why Google Business Profile verification is necessary and explains the five methods to get verified.
What is Google Business Profile (now Google Business Profile)?
Google Business Profile, now called Google Business Profile, is a listing service by Google that helps businesses establish themselves on the search engine and dictate what information users see about the company.
When you search for a business on Google, a card on the side displays the business address, images, location, website, summary, and contact information. Companies can update these elements by creating and verifying their Google Business Profile (GMB) profile.
GMB is necessary for businesses that operate in a physical location, such as a store, hotel, or restaurant, or ones that offer services across multiple locations, like electricians, consultants, or interior designers.
Online businesses can use Google Analytics, Google Ads, and marketing tools to get their name and information out there.
Google Business Profile verification can also unlock additional functionalities. For example, if your restaurant has online delivery, Google can list licensed third-party information to show that you deliver.
Why Is It Important to Verify Your Business Listing on GMB?
If you haven’t verified your GMB profile and aren’t convinced about why it’s so important, here are five key benefits it provides:
Keep your business information up to date
Google Business Profile verification gives you complete control over your company information on Google Search and Google Maps. It enables you to update information and upload photos.
Users also get access to Insights, a feature that showcases listing statistics about how customers find the listing and the actions they take after. You can use these metrics to track customer engagement.
Respond to customers
One of the biggest benefits of Google Business Profile verification is that business owners and representatives can respond to customer reviews.
User reviews are crucial for businesses. Good reviews lead to new and repeat customers, while bad reviews turn them away. In a 2020 survey, 94% of consumers said positive online reviews made them more likely to do business with a company. 92% said negative ones were likely to turn them away from a business.
Once verified, businesses can thank customers who have left good reviews, address any genuine concerns patrons face, and call out fake reviews.
Crucial for local SEO
Local SEO is vital for in-person businesses since they often serve the community or area they are located in. They have a limited number of potential customers, and they need to rank higher than their competitors if they’re going to reach them.
When someone Googles “best steakhouse in Kansas City,” these restaurants appear at the top of the screen:
This feature is known as the Google Local Pack, where Google lists three businesses for every relevant search query. These businesses are pulled from the Google Business Profile directory. GMB verification is crucial if you want to improve the chances of a higher ranking.
These listings are also what shows up for all searches on Google Maps.
Boost brand reputation
Imagine you’re searching for the best plumbers in your area on Google. Would you rather pick one with readily accessible contact information and good reviews, or one where you have to dig deep to find even the most basic details?
Most people would pick the first. This highlights why Google Business Profile verification is crucial for brand reputation. According to Google, users are twice as likely to consider a verified business as reputable compared to a non-verified one.
An unverified Google Business Profile listing allows scammers and fraudsters to claim they’re a part of your business or outright own the business. They can use this title to scam your customers and destroy your company’s credibility.
GMB verification ensures that only the business owners and employees are public representatives of the company.
How to Verify Your Listing On Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
There are five verification options for your business on Google Business Profile. Let’s take a closer look at each option:
Before you apply for verification, you need to claim your business. To do this, the business owner has to search for their company on Google and click on the “Own this business?” option to start the verification process.
In this method, Google will send you a postcard to your address with a unique code. Business owners need to enter an accurate address and request the postcard.
Once the postcard arrives, the owner has to go to their Business Profile, enter the 5-digit verification code when prompted, and click “Submit.”
After the business is verified, the owner can add managers or other owners. If needed, they can transfer ownership to a third-party, such as a marketing agency.
Some business profiles can be verified by email. If you see the “verify by email” option, click on it, double-check the email address, and select “Verify Now.”
You will get an email from Google with a verification code and link to activate it. Click on the link, enter the code on the following page, and tap “Verify.”
#3. Phone or text
On your Google Business Profile, select “Get Verified” and choose the “Phone or SMS” option. Ensure that the number you’ve provided is the right one, and you can immediately answer calls on it.
Google will then call you and give you a code. Alternatively, they’ll send a text to that number with a code.
Enter the code in your Google Business Profile page, and you’re good to go. This verification method is only available in a few countries, including the US and Canada.
Beware: There are chances that scammers will call you and claim to work for Google. Use this guide to identify and report dubious calls. In general, an actual call from Google will never ask for any payments, passwords, codes, or personal information.
#4. Video recording
You can send a video recording to Google to prove that your business exists in that location and that you own it.
The business owner needs to record a continuous video that shows:
- The business’s location
- The business’s equipment
- Proof of management
Your recording should capture outside signs and the area around your business to prove that it is where you say it is. Record the inside of your store or restaurant to prove it exists. The owner must then prove they are the owner by accessing employee-only areas or showing business documents in the video.
After you’ve decided what to record, go to your Business Profile on your phone select “Get Verified” – “Capture video.”
Tap “Start recording” and use the instructions to record your video. Click on “Stop recording” after you’re done and upload it.
Google reviews your video within five working days, and you get a notification if verification is successful. If not, you’ll have to use another verification method.
#5. Live video call
You can have a video chat with a Google representative to complete your Google Business Profile verification.
First, you need to check when representatives are available for the call on this page.
You can enter the call by starting a text chat with support on your mobile device. Go to your Business Profile, select “Get Verified” – “Video call,” pick your language and then tap “Start Call.”
A support representative will help you join the call. During the call, you need to show all the same details you would in a video recording, i.e., business location, equipment, and proof of management.
If your website is already verified with Google Search Console, your Business Profile might be eligible for instant verification. If it is eligible, you don’t need to go through any of the above verification methods and can directly edit your company’s details.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing After It’s Verified
Now that your GMB verification is complete, it’s time to optimize your Google Business Profile to provide useful information, connect with customers, and boost local SEO. Here are five ways to improve your profile after you’ve added the primary details:
Use professional images
Add real photos of your business, restaurant, or shop, but ensure that they are high-quality and are consistent with your brand.
You can also add videos to showcase your business and team. Visual elements act as social proof for customers while highlighting your products or services.
Google says that businesses with photos have a higher probability of receiving clicks to their website and requests for directions.
This plumbing service provides an example of good photos to add to your Business Profile:
The first photo is friendly and professional, while the rest are well-taken pictures of their work.
Similarly, restaurants can add images of their dishes and decor, and craft or furniture stores can highlight their products.
Categorize your business correctly
Google Business Profile lets you add business categories to your profile to show what you offer. Don’t just add one main category. Add multiple relevant categories. You can add up to 10.
Google uses these categories to decide when to show your business in local search queries — simply adding “restaurant” or “grocery store” as a category is not enough. These terms can be your primary category, but you also need to add supporting ones.
For example, if your store has a pharmacy, include “pharma” in the categories section.
Enable special features
Google Business Profile offers special features for hotels, restaurants, pubs, and more to better highlight their products. For example:
- Hotels can show class ratings, check-in and check-out times, and a list of amenities.
- Restaurants, bars, and similar establishments can display menus, add URLs for online delivery, and for making reservations.
- Some businesses can directly list their products.
- Healthcare providers can list insurance information.
- Businesses can add the option to book appointments or get a quote.
Depending on your business offerings, you should capitalize on these features since they make it easier for customers to complete purchases.
Add any other helpful information, such as wheelchair accessibility, LGBTQ+ friendly, and free Wi-Fi availability.
Get more reviews
Reviews are vital for building credibility. Google offers star ratings and detailed comments so customers can accurately relay their experience.
Potential customers look at reviews before visiting your store or ordering products from it. Good reviews lead to more customers, while poor reviews dissuade them.
You can use our handy guide to drive more Google reviews and increase revenue.
Be sure to respond to both negative and positive reviews. Thank reviewers who have had a great experience for leaving a review, direct negative reviewers to your customer support email or phone number.
Don’t leave negative reviews unanswered. If customer concerns are legitimate and you don’t respond, it shows callousness and casts doubt on whether you genuinely care about your customers.
Optimize the copy on your listing
Add a small overview of what your business offers at the top of your Google Business Profile listing. Here’s an example from a sushi restaurant:
This one or two-line sentence is a deciding factor that can persuade customers to pick your business over competitors, who either have no overview or a poorly-written one.
Think of it as a call to action for your company. Keep it concise but highlight what you offer and how you stand out from other similar businesses.
Boost Your Local SEO Presence with a Verified Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile verification is crucial for businesses looking to attract local customers. Getting this verification is the first step in presenting a business listing that entices new customers and gives them all the relevant information. It also boosts local SEO efforts.
Do you want people in your local community to find your business when they search Google? This is the right place to start.
A bit confused as to how you can make all this happen? Let The HOTH marketing and SEO experts handle your Google Business Profile and local SEO today.