Having a Google My Business (GMB) listing is usually fairly straightforward. In fact, Google often creates this for you from information on your website. What a time to be alive!
But this doesn’t mean you should neglect this part of your digital real estate. By claiming, verifying and updating your GMB listing, you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when a potential customer searches for you online.
Below I’ve answered 8 common questions about Google My Business to help you understand and use this function. There are also a couple of tricky situations that sometimes arise, which I’ve covered as well. Enjoy!
How do I add my business to Google Maps?
To add your business to Google Maps, you need to create a Google My Business (GMB) listing. A GMB listing allows you to serve contact details including business name, phone number, opening hours and a physical address to the public when they search for a product or service relevant to yours on Google Search or Google Maps. Here’s an example of both:
A GMB listing can also contain additional information such as:
- A link to your website
- Reviews left by customers
- Photos of your team, products and business.
How do I claim a Google My Business listing?
Chances are Google has already created a GMB listing for you if your business information is available on your website. What you need to do is claim the listing. In order to claim it, follow these steps:
1. Search for the listing either on Google Search or Google Maps using your business name and/or address.
2. On Google Search, your listing will appear on the right panel; click Own this business?
3. On Google Maps, your listing will appear on the left panel; click Claim this business.
4. Check the information to make sure the business is yours.
5. Tick I am authorized to manage this business and I agree to the Terms of Service, then click Continue.
6. Choose your preferred method of verification to verify your business.
How do I verify my Google business listing?
Simply follow these steps to verify your Google My Business listing:
- Open the location page you want to verify.
- Click VERIFY NOW on the Verification required message in the top right corner.
- Check the information of the business to make sure it’s all correct.
- Click on the listing to verify.
- If the information you see doesn’t match your business’s details, click None of these match to proceed.
- Choose your preferred method of verification.
You can verify your listing either by phone, email or post. If you choose to verify by phone or email, you will receive the verification codes straight away. If you have to verify by post, it should take 1-2 weeks for the code to arrive. You will always have the option to verify by post, though phone and email aren’t always available.
Someone has claimed my Google business listing already. Am I totally screwed?
No, you’re not. It’s OK. This can sometimes happen if someone in your organisation or a former employee has already verified the location. You can either gain access using the email that person used to verify it, or, if you prefer using your own email, follow these steps to request ownership or management access:
1. Log in to your Google My Business.
2. Add the location by clicking on the “+” (plus) round button on the bottom right corner of the screen.
3. Choose Add a location.
4. Search for your business using its name and address.
5. You’ll see a dialogue box letting you know the listing is currently owned by someone else.
6. Use part of the email address provided to identify the person and get in touch.
7. If you don’t know the person, click Request ownership.
8. Fill out the form and submit.
9. The current listing owner will receive the request from you via email.
10. Google advises that you allow 7 days for them to respond.
11. If 7 days have passed and you haven’t got a confirmation, Google will allow you to verify your affiliation with the business and gain access.
My Google Business listing has a duplicate location. Would you say now is the time to panic?
Not really, though. This usually only happens if someone has used the same address to register a business listing on Google Maps. If this person has verified their listing, you will receive this message when attempting to create your own using the same address. What you need to do is to remove your listing and claim the current one instead.
My business address isn’t available on Google Maps. What’s the deal?
Your business listing may not be available simply because Google can’t find your address on Google Maps. This is common for businesses whose premises share the same block of land or building with others.
To resolve this problem, Google allows you to validate your address by dragging and dropping the marker where you think your business should be on the map.
After you have done that, simply continue the process to claim and verify the listing.
How to create a good Google My Business profile:
A good GMB profile is one that provides users with all the basic contact details and more. The most essential information you need on the profile includes:
- Business name
- Physical address
- Phone number
- Opening hours
- Business category.
It’s essential you keep these details current to make sure users aren’t served with outdated information.
Additional information that could help make your business more recognisable include:
- Logo and photos
- Link to your website
Here’s an example that uses all 3 of these:
My business listing doesn’t appear on Google Maps or Google Search. Please help.
A few common reasons why your business hasn’t appeared on Google Maps or Google Search include:
- You haven’t created a Google My Business listing yet.
- Your listing hasn’t been verified yet.
- You’ve only just verified the listing; it takes time for the listing to go live.
- Your business information isn’t up-to-date or is incorrect.
- Your information is in breach of Google’s guidelines.
- Relevance: your listing only appears if your product/service is relevant to the user’s query.
- Distance: your listing only appears when users are within a reasonable distance from your location.
- Prominence: your listing will appear more often if your business is well-known and/or has more positive reviews than others.