Answered: How Do I Claim a Google Business Listing?

Claim your Google business listing and get more customers, watch your sales rise, and lower other marketing costs all in one strike.

With 3.5 billion searches conducted every day, Google is far bigger than any giant you’ve met before. And, it offers up a totally free platform so business owners worldwide can reap the benefits of all that exposure.

Subsequently, Google My Business has become one of the best free marketing tools out there for business owners. We’ll dive into that a little deeper after we discuss how you can claim a Google business listing.

Here’s everything we’ll cover in this guide:
Google My Business: what it is and why claiming your listing matters
Does your business qualify for Google My Business?
How to claim your Google business listing
How to verify your Google business listing
How to create a Google business listing
What to do if someone else claimed your Google business listing
Your Google business listing is a valuable marketing tool: Here’s why
Google My Business review management

Google My Business: What it is and why claiming your listing matters

If you aren’t familiar with Google My Business (often shortened to GMB), it’s about to open your eyes to an incredible marketing tool you’ll want to use starting yesterday.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free platform offered by Google to help businesses manage their online presence. It’s considered a cross between an online directory listing and a social media profile.

The more information you have on your Google My Business profile, the better. Aside from your address, website, phone number and hours, you can include a direct link to your menu or texting number if you have one, have information available about parking, and post to let your customers know about sales or other valuable updates. Everything you include on your Google My Business profile helps to strengthen your presence on Google.

Why create or claim a Google My Business listing

The short answer: You should create or claim your Google My Business listing because it enables you to show up in Google searches and on Google Maps. If you own a smartphone, you likely already understand how valuable that kind of exposure is. But, if not, here are a few numbers that are sure to impress:

The bottom line is that you can’t afford to not be on Google. A Google My Business profile gives your business free exposure to billions of searches conducted every day, which over time will establish your business’ credibility by making more potential customers aware of who you are. Plus, it’s free to claim your Google business listing and it’s relatively simple to do. 

Does your business qualify for Google My Business?

Since Google My Business is designed for local businesses, Google is particular about who gets to have a profile. There are four types of Google business listings, and your business has to meet the requirements of one of them to benefit from a Google My Business profile. Here is a breakdown of the businesses Google My Business accepts:

Physical Locations

By far the most popular Google My Business listing is for businesses with physical store locations. This is anywhere with a storefront or space customers can visit: salons or spas, restaurants, gyms, boutiques and the like.

Individual Practitioners

Professional businesses such as doctors at private practices, lawyers, chiropractors, and even real estate agents with physical office locations fall under this business type.

Mobile Businesses

This business type is for those who go to their customers to conduct business, like electricians or other handymen, house cleaners or delivery services. However, this type also requires you have an office building customers can visit if need be.

Businesses with a Service Area

If you service more than one location with your business, you may opt to select the service area option. This is an extension of the mobile business option in which Google allows you to show the entire area you service through Google maps. So, if you’re a pest control business servicing several counties, this may be the best option for you.

If you have a business that’s completely online, any kind of virtual office with no physical location, or a space you don’t personally rent out or own, you won’t be able to create a Google business listing for it.

How to claim your Google business listing

If you’re not sure whether there is already a listing for your business, Google its name. A sidebar will appear, and if the listing has not yet been claimed, you’ll see this option:

If there’s already a listing for your business, don’t create a new one – claim the one that is already there (even if it has some bad reviews). Otherwise, you’ll face a number of headaches in the future with your duplicate listing, and it will cause more harm than good for your business.

Here’s how to claim your Google business listing:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Search for your business’ name.
  3. If your business does not appear in this search, jump to how to create a Google business listing.
  4. If your business appears but the “Claim this business” button is not there, jump to what to do if someone else claimed your Google business listing.
  5. If your business does appear and is available, click on “Claim this business:”

6. Enter the name, address, phone number and website of your business. These need to be exactly the same across all online directories so Google can identify you as the same business across platforms. So, if you spell out “Street” on one, do it for all of them; if you enter your phone number as (555) 555-5555 for one, ensure it’s in that same format for all listings:

7. You’ll be asked to add a category and subcategories for your business, so choose the ones that best fit yours. 
8. Congratulations – you’re one step closer to fully claiming your Google Business listing! Next, you’ll need to verify that you are the owner of your business.

How to verify your Google business listing

You’ve already claimed your Google business listing, so what does it mean to be verified by Google? Well, Google needs to make sure that you actually own the business before they can let you make changes and posts. Thankfully, this is a simple process:

  1. Login to Google My Business.
  2. Select your business, then click “Verify Now.”
  3. The majority of businesses must be verified by mail. Some may be permitted to verify through email or phone, and if one of those options are available to you, you can select the one you prefer.
  4. If mail is your only or preferred option, triple-check your address to ensure the verification postcard is sent to the right place.
  5. Click “Send postcard.”
  6. Do NOT attempt to change any business information while waiting for your verification number.

After you receive your verification number by phone, email or postcard, follow these steps to become verified:

  1. Login to Google My Business.
  2. Select your business.
  3. Select “Verify Now:”

4. Enter your 5-digit verification number in the “Code” field.
5. Click “Submit.”

How to create a Google business listing

If your business doesn’t appear when you search Google Maps, you can easily create a Google My Business listing for it. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Google Maps.
  2. Enter your business’ address, then select “Add your business:”

3. Enter your business’ information, then select “Submit.”
4. Check your email for a notification from Google. Since you created this profile, there is no need to verify yourself as your business’ owner – you’re already set!
5. Optimize your profile with information and photos for best results.

What to do if someone else claimed your Google business listing

If you attempt to claim your business and realize it has already been claimed by someone else, there is a process you can go through to gain access. It does take some time but is usually successful.

Here’s how to request ownership of a Google business listing:

  1. Go to http://business.google.com/add
  2. Type in your business’ name and select it from the options listed.
  3. Click “Continue.”
  4. A message will appear, explaining that this listing has already been claimed by another individual. 
  5. Select “Request access.” A form will appear for you to fill out.
  6. Click “Submit.” Depending on who claimed the business listing, it can take several weeks for things to resolve. Don’t give up!

Your Google business listing is a valuable marketing tool: Here’s why

Aside from being free and easy to use, Google My Business is highly effective as a marketing tool for local businesses.

How a Google business listing drives sales

Answer a quick question for us: Have you ever Google searched, “_____ near me”? Perhaps you looked for a hair salon, a coffee shop, or a cheap place to have lunch. 

If you answered “yes,” you are one of millions who head to Google for information that you aren’t just curious about. You have intent to get a haircut, a latte, or a sandwich that won’t cost a fortune. 

Google My Business helps to drive sales because people search for local businesses when they are ready and actively seeking to make a purchase. 

So, when your Google business profile is optimized, it is more likely to appear when people conduct searches relevant to your business. If you have what they are looking for, directions are just a click away, and another sale hits your bottom line.

Some business owners simply fill out just the required information and expect Google to do the hard work for them, but we know you want to take whatever steps you can to set yourself apart. Google offers so many features you can take advantage of to give your customers a fantastic experience before they even walk through your doors.

Here are some of the specific ways you can help optimize your Google My Business profile and drive sales with it:

  • Enable online messaging. Google allows customers to message your business if you enable the feature on your Google My Business profile. More and more customers prefer a quick text message over calling for information, so this can help you connect with and inform more people about your offerings.
  • Post regularly to increase your visibility. As we mentioned earlier, Google My Business functions a bit like a social media profile. One of the reasons why is you can post to your profile about sales, different offerings, and other aspects of your business. Unlike social media profiles, which often must have an element of entertainment to be successful, this content can be all informative or sales based since that’s the frame of mind people are in when reading them.
  • Take advantage of booking, delivery or appointment links, if they are relevant to your business. If you have a salon, an appointment-based business, or offer delivery, Google has plugins that allow customers to book right from your Google My Business profile. This bypasses the extra steps customers would have to take to click through your website or make a phone call to schedule an appointment with you.
  • Ask for more reviews and respond to those you get. Learn how to get Google reviews and respond to them as they come in. This tells Google you are active on their platform, and they reward these businesses with a better local SEO ranking.

Google My Business and local SEO

Perhaps the most well-known and appreciated element of a Google My Business profile is its valuable link to local SEO. According to Google, your local SEO ranking is determined by three factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. While the first two are dependant on the query and where the search is coming from, you can boost your prominence by optimizing your business’ profile.

Fully optimizing your business’ profile means you do more than what’s required of you. It also requires a certain level of activity, like responding to reviews and posting consistently. Remember, there’s a difference between “frequently” and “consistently” – don’t let this overwhelm you! By posting just once a week, you can improve your business’ presence.

Take the time to add information about your services and parking availability. Include photos of your interior and exterior to give potential customers an idea of what to expect. It all works together to improve your local SEO standing.

Google My Business and PPC

You can integrate your Google My Business profile and Google Ads to create an effective, unique experience for those making relevant searches. When you do this, bidding and keyword targeting are even more narrowed down and accurate, resulting in better overall quality scores and – you guessed it – lowered Pay-Per-Click costs. 

Google’s top priority is serving relevant information so users have an excellent experience. So, when you link the two, you provide Google with more information to create that experience for its users. Because of that, Google’s algorithm will favor you, and the chance that your business will appear on Google Maps will increase. 

You can also qualify for Google’s Seller Rating extension if your Google Business profile receives at least 100 reviews and an overall rating of at least 3.5. This extension promotes higher click-through-rates because they have a high level of visual interest:

How Google My Business can lower offline marketing costs

There is something unique and highly valuable about a properly optimized Google My Business profile. It’s free to have and its purpose is to specifically target those who are most interested in what you sell. 

Whether someone finds out about you because of a billboard, radio ad, business card or by word of mouth, chances are they’re hitting up Google to learn more about you and see if other customers were satisfied with their experiences at your business.

A Google My Business profile lowers the costs of offline marketing methods because it increases the conversation rate of those offline marketing channels. Google is the next natural step for potential customers to visit after they’ve seen an advertisement, and it’s an important, trust-building one you can’t be without. 

Google My Business review management

One of the best ways you can optimize your Google business profile and maintain a constant increase in credibility is by responding to and managing the reviews you receive. 

What to do if your Google business listing has bad or fake reviews

First: don’t panic. Everyone gets a few bad Google reviews, and if you’re about to claim your profile and realize your business has several, it’s going to be okay. Here are a few things you can do to deal with the bad reviews:

  1. Respond humbly. Arguing with a reviewer – even if you think they’re wrong – will only make your business seem negative and irresponsible. Apologize and empathize with the reviewers, then offer contact information that allows them to contact you if they have anything else they’d like to discuss.
  2. Report any fake reviews. If reviews are spam or don’t reference an experience at your business, you can report them for removal.
  3. Ask for more reviews. If you have some business regulars, don’t be afraid to ask them in-person if they’d be willing to leave you a review on Google. Getting lots of positive reviews will help to drown out the negative ones.

How to get more positive Google business reviews

The top Google My Business profiles out there are dependant on high quantities of positive Google reviews. Here’s how to get Google reviews for your business:

Pre-screen your customers

Before you send customers to Google to leave a public review, make sure they were happy with the service or product. You can do this by asking a simple, “Were you satisfied with your experience at ________?” and fill in the blank with your business’ name.

Send review requests frequently

Ask customers for feedback when they can still remember their experience. You can do this by sending requests at least weekly, if not every day, depending on how many customers you have.

Follow-up with customers

If a customer doesn’t respond to your first review request, don’t be afraid to ask again. People get dozens of emails every day and it could be that they just missed the first one. By sending follow-ups, you can double the number of reviews you get.

Automate the process

Sending all those emails manually can take up time you don’t have. The most effective way to keep the reviews coming is by automating the pre-screening and asking process.

Sign up for our free trial

Our free trial makes it quick and easy to get the positive Google reviews you need for an optimized Google My Business profile, and we use all of the above best practices to make it happen.