On Google Search, enter your "business name + city" or "business name + ZIP code."
What do you see in the Business Profile?
I Don't See Anything
You don’t have a Google My Business (GMB) profile or your business entity isn't ranking.
I See My Business Listing + "Own This Business?"
You have a Google My Business profile, but need to claim ownership and verify the business to manage and customize the listing.
I See My Business Listing (see image)
You've already claimed ownership and verified the business with Google My Business. Is the information accurate and complete? If you're not sure, keep reading.
In this post, I’m going to share how to claim and verify your free Google My Business listing.
1. Get Ready
Google My Business is a free service for brick and mortar locations and service area businesses to manage their business listings on Google Maps, Google Search and other Google products. For questions about eligibility, claiming, merging duplicate listings or verifying a business – read the guidelines for representing your business on Google, contact Google My Business (chat or email) or call Google My Business at 1-844-491-9665 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm EST).
- A business that makes in-person contact with customers during its stated hours
- Video-rental kiosks
- Express mail drop boxes
- Seasonal businesses that display permanent signage year-round at the location
- Online-only businesses
- Businesses that are under construction or haven't opened to the public
- Rental or for-sale properties
- Ongoing services, classes or meetings at a location that you don't own or have the authority to represent.
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Service Area (mileage, areas, cities, regions, postal codes)
- Business Categories
- Phone Number and/or Website URL
Maintain a master copy of all your business information in your contact’s app and use a password manager like 1Password for login credentials. Refer to the master copy whenever updating your information on Google My Business or other local business directories.
2. Go to Google My Business's Website
To claim your business and begin the verification process, go to google.com/business (see image). Only business owners and authorized representatives can verify a business.
Click the green "Start Now" button.
Sign in to Google.
Use a professional email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), not a personal email address (e.g. email@example.com). Get a professional email address with an annual G Suite subscription (affiliate link).
3. Enter a Business Name
Enter a business name (see image). If the business is already listed, select it from the list of choices.
Don't stuff keywords in the business name (e.g. Bento Sites Web Design, Bento Sites – Atlanta) and don't use incorrect spelling or capitalization (e.g. BENTO SITES). Google advises listing businesses as they're represented in the physical world on signage and marketing collateral.
4. Enter a Location
Enter the country where the business is located (see image).
Address Line 1: Enter the complete and exact street address. Google My Business won't accept P.O. Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations. Learn more about Google's address entry guidelines.
Address Line 2: If applicable, enter the floor, suite, unit, building number, etc.
Enter the city, state and ZIP code.
If the business delivers goods and services (e.g. plumbers) to customers, check "I deliver goods and services to my customers."
If the business isn't a brick and mortar location, customers don't visit the business location (i.e. service area businesses without storefronts) or you work out of your home, check "Hide my address." Hidden addresses will only show the city and country.
Don't include keywords, URLs or any information that isn't part of your official business address. Only include cross streets and nearby landmarks in regions where official street addresses don’t accurately pinpoint the location.
5. Enter a Service Area
Add the areas the business serves, either:
- The distance around the business location in miles or kilometers (see image)
- Specific areas cities, regions or postal codes
6. Enter a Business Category
Enter a business category that accurately represents the core business (see image). Categories provide results for potential customers who are searching for businesses like yours in their area. If you're unsure how to choose a category, use Moz Local or look at your competitors' categories. If necessary, additional categories can be added to the Google My Business Dashboard.
Select a category.
Don't use categories as keywords that describe attributes of your business and don't use categories for other businesses that are nearby, related or physically contained within your business or another entity that contains your business (e.g. Starbucks contained within Target).
7. Enter Contact Information
Select the country where the business can be reached.
Enter a contact phone number. If necessary, up to 2 additional phone numbers can be added in the Google My Business Dashboard.
Enter a current website URL (see image).
If you don't need a website, select "I don't need a website."
If you want a free website from Google that's automatically built and updated based on your Google My Business listing, select "Get a free website based on your info."
When customers call – answer the phone. Many businesses add phone numbers to their listings, but fail to answer the phone or let the phone ring too long.
8. Finish and Request Verification
Review how you'll be able to manage your Google My Business listing after verification is finished (see image).
- Allow new customers to find you on Google Search and Google Maps
- Promote your business with photos and posts
- Track business analytics to understand your customers
- Respond to customer reviews
9. Verification Process
Verification helps Google ensure the business owner's information is accurate and that he/she has access to the provided information. Once verification is complete, the business will be eligible to appear on Google Search, Google Maps and other Google properties.
Depending on the type of business listing, Google may provide one or more methods of verification that can be completed from a desktop computer or via the Google My Business mobile app on iOS or Android.
Verify a Business Listing by Mail
- Available for most businesses (desktop and mobile)
- Google will send a postcard to the stated business address with a verification code
- Do not edit the business name, address or category while waiting for the verification postcard
- Do not request a new code while waiting for the verification postcard
- If the postcard doesn't arrive in 14 days, request a new postcard
- Once the postcard arrives, sign in to Google My Business and enter the 5-digit verification code in the Google My Business dashboard or app
Verify a Business Listing by Phone
- Available for select businesses (desktop and mobile)
- Businesses that are eligible for phone verification will see a Verify by phone option after requesting verification
- After receiving the 5-digit verification code by either text or an automated call, enter the code in the Google My Business dashboard or app
Verify a Business Listing by Email
- Available for select businesses (desktop and mobile)
- Businesses that are eligible for email verification will see an email option after requesting verification
- After receiving the 5-digit verification code by email, enter the code in the Google My Business dashboard or app
Instantly Verify a Business Listing (see image)
- Available for select businesses
- Businesses that have already verified their website with Google Search Console may be eligible to instantly verify their listing
- Some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification
- Available for businesses with 10+ locations
- Businesses that manage 10 or more locations of the same business may be eligible for bulk verification
- Visit Google My Business to learn more about requesting bulk verification for 10+ locations
10. Customize Your Google My Business Listing
Start customizing the business listing in the Google My Business Dashboard (see image). Changes won't appear on any Google property until the business has been verified.
To share access to a listing, add managers to your account in the Google My Business Dashboard.
Google My Business isn't a set-it-and-forget-it local business listing. Always keep your listing updated by visiting google.com/business or using the Google My Business mobile app.
Once you’ve customized and optimized your listing, respond to all reviews, monitor your Google My Business marketing strategy with Insights, add a booking button to your listing (if applicable) and publish events, products and services with Posts. To monitor user-generated content, read How to Ask Customers to Recommend Your Restaurant on Google.
You just learned how to claim and verify your free business listing on Google My Business (GMB). Start showing up when customers search for your business or other businesses like yours on Google Search and Google Maps.
Google My Business: How to Claim and Verify Your Business first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and make a purchase Bento Sites will earn a very small commission — at no additional cost to you.