Your free Google business listing (known as your Business Profile) can do more than you think. When properly optimized, it showcases your best features and makes it easy for consumers to discover, learn about, and contact your business. But in order to properly optimize your Business Profile, you need access to it, and in order to access it, you need to verify with Google that you are the rightful owner.
While it seems as though it should be as simple as “step one create, step two claim, and step three verify,” the process is neither that simple nor that linear—which, if you’re reading this post, you have already figured out. That’s because it requires three different Google accounts and two different Google platforms, all of which have very similar names. Talk about a brain bender.
Why create a Google My Business account?
Whether you’re a local mainstay or are just starting a business, your Google Business Profile makes it easy for consumers to discover, learn about, and contact your business online.These are the core benefits of a Google My Business account, and if that’s not enough to convince you, consider the disadvantages of not having one.
You risk losing customers.
Without a Google My Business account, you don’t have control over the information displayed in your Business Profile, and according to a BrightLocal study, 68% of consumers would stop using a local business after finding incorrect information online.
You risk a poor reputation.
Without a Google My Business account, you cannot respond to your Google reviews, which is a mandatory section of your Business Profile. And with reviews being both a Google ranking factor and the number one influence on consumer buying, being able to manage them is a must.
You lose out to competitors.
An empty or bare-bones Business Profile is akin to having an unkept storefront. If you don’t take care of your business, how can consumers trust that you’ll take care of them? They’ll be much more likely to click on and engage with a Business Profile in the search results that has lots of attractive information and looks lively.
You lose SERP real estate.
Google ranks Business Profiles according to their quality, and a Business Profile alone is not enough. A Google Business Profile managed through a Google Business account, however, can be optimized to rank above competitors for relevant keyword searches.
What you need in order to claim and verify your business on Google
By now, it should be clear that creating a Google My Business account and verifying ownership of your business is crucial if you want to provide accurate information, respond to reviews, attract customers, and rank higher in local search—even on the first page.
As mentioned earlier, however, the process is not super simple. It involves two different Google platforms and three different Google accounts, all of which have similar names, and some of which you likely already have. So to get you off on clear footing, let’s first iron out the terminology.
This is the free account you create with Google so you can have access to Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail, and more. Many call it their “Gmail account,” but Gmail is just one of the features; you can actually use any email to set up a Google Account. In this post, I’ll use the term “standard Google Account“ to refer to this account type, just to avoid confusion. Most business owners already have two standard Google accounts—one they use for their personal life and one they use for their business.
This is your free business listing on Google that appears on Google Maps, the local results of Google Search, and the right-hand Knowledge Panel of Google Search.
Google My Business account:
This is the free account you create that gives you a dashboard to manage and enhance your Business Profile.
How to verify your business on Google
Now that you have the proper terminology laid out, let’s put the pieces together to form a full picture of the process.
The goal is to gain full access to your Business Profile on Google.
The means by which you do this is your Google My Business account, which you sign up for using a standard Google Account.
The steps to complete the process are as follows:
Make sure you have a standard Google Account for your business.
Make sure you have a Business Profile.
Create a Google My Business account.
Request to claim your Business Profile.
Verify ownership of your business.
Now, with the groundwork laid out, you are armed and ready to successfully claim and verify your business on Google. The steps outlined below are written linearly, and in some cases, you’ll need to skip down a step. But I’d still encourage you to read them all carefully to avoid hitting roadblocks or creating duplicate accounts.