Before you get started, we need to make one thing crystal clear: do not make mistakes when entering your information. Making mistakes will cause major delays in the process and can derail your local SEO marketing efforts. You should be using the EXACT same version of your firm name, address, and phone number everywhere online. There are several different ways addresses are formatted (Street vs. St, Suite vs. Ste vs. #, Road vs. Rd, etc.), and you must make sure you’re using the same version everywhere and that Google recognizes the address you are using.
With that dire warning out of the way, let's get to the meat of this blog: how to claim a Google+ Local listing. The following steps will walk you through the verification process. Use these instructions if you have opened a new satellite office, changed locations, or have just opened your firm.
Steps to Claim Your Google My Business Listing
1. Head to the Google My Business Dashboard. Sign in or create a new Google account for your business. Be sure to sign into the Google account for the listing you want to manage.
2. Search for your business. Once you’re at the Google My Business dashboard, you can search using your business name in the search box. Your business will likely show up unless it is a brand new business. Select the appropriate business or fill in all the business details for your new business. This process will claim the listing, adding your business to your Google My Business dashboard. You will not be able to make any changes that will be reflected in Google until you have verified the listing.
3. Verification. Google requires you to prove you are in fact the actual business owner in order to make any changes that will be reflected in Google. Depending on your situation, there are several options available, including the following:
- Receiving a postcard by mail at the business
- Automated phone call (available for some businesses)
- Email (available for some businesses)
- Instant verification (available for some businesses)
- Bulk verification options are available for multi-location businesses
- Requesting access to a current page owner may be necessary if the business page has been previously verified by another Google account.
We suggest using the phone or postcard verification methods. If you choose to verify via phone, you will receive a call from Google within minutes. The automated call will give you a PIN, which you will need to enter in your Google+ Local dashboard to verify your account. Phone verification is quick and easy, but may not be available if Google doesn’t recognize your business or phone number.
You can also opt to receive a postcard in the mail that takes one to two weeks to receive. This postcard will contain a PIN which is needed to verify the listing. The other verification methods can work in one-off situations, but won’t be available in the majority of scenarios.
4. Lastly, pat yourself on the back. You now have a verified Google+ Local page.
But don't get too smug; you now need to fully update your Google My Business profile and claim your local listing on other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing. Again, it’s crucial that information associated with your listings on these search engines is correct and that your name, address, and phone number are the same across the board. Be sure to add as much information as possible to these profiles including relevant business categories, photos, and business hours.
For help ensuring that your local listings are correct and properly optimized for maximum search engine impact, call 888.318.4948.