Verifying your Google Business Profile (GBP) account is an essential part of properly optimizing it so customers can discover, learn about, and contact your business. Your GBP is one of the most important local SEO tools available.
The steps to create and verify your account successfully are very simple. First, you’ll need an existing or new personal Google email account that isn’t connected to any other businesses on Google. With this account, you can open a new business page for your company from the “My Business” section of the Google platform. Once you’ve filled out all the necessary information, such as hours of operation and contact details, click “verify now” to receive verification instructions via mail or phone call so that you can prove ownership of the business listing.
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Why Create a Google My Business Account?
Overall, a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is an incredibly powerful tool that allows consumers to find and interact with your business more easily than ever before. With its comprehensive features that sync with Google Maps, establishing a GBP is essential for any reputable company wanting to succeed in today’s online marketplace. Having a well-rounded presence in sources like Google will help maximize visibility, leading more people to discover and trust you and generate more leads for your organization’s growth.
While initially offered to businesses with physical locations, Google now sees the value in allowing service-based businesses to reach potential customers through local search. You must categorize your business correctly and follow the guidelines. If you have a P.O. Box and work from home, list your business as a service and hide your address. Let’s review the steps you can take to create a Google account for a business.
Step One: Search for a Pre-Existing Google Business Profile
This is the most critical step when setting up your profile. Google Business Profiles exist for various reasons, even when business owners can’t access them. Sometimes, a GBP is generated as Google updates Google Maps. Another scenario we often see at SMA Marketing is that someone within a company has set up a Business Profile and did not transfer ownership to the business owner.
If you set up a second GBP, Google will flag it as a duplicate, and you won’t be able to verify your account. So, before starting the page setup, you first need to search for your business on Google and Google Maps.
If Google search results show a SERP feature highlighting your business, then a Google Business Profile is present.
Step Two: Claim and Verify Your Google Account
If a Google profile exists, scroll to the bottom of the Google Profile SERP feature to claim the account. You’ll see a section that offers an opportunity to suggest an edit or claim ownership of the business.
If you cannot request access directly from the person who set up and manages the profile, you must claim your profile using the Google automated “own this business” option. You’ll follow the prompts to verify your business through your Google email and text. When you request access, Google will email the current manager and let them know you are claiming your business. It will be up to the current manager to grant you access.
The verification process for a new profile is different. Here are the steps:
- You’ll start by selecting the blue building icon under your Gmail profile. Then, add or claim your Business Profile.
- You can verify your profile by phone, text, email, or video when you add or claim it.
- You may have to verify with more than one method.
- Phone and text verification codes are easy methods to use.
- Available methods depend on business category, public info, region, support hours, and volumes.
Step Three: Optimize Your Google Account with Business Details
The same optimization steps are relevant whether you’re building a new profile or updating an existing one.
- Log in with your Google account
- Enter or confirm your business name, address, and hours
- Choose or confirm whether you’re a storefront or a service provider
- Choose or confirm your primary business category
- Add or confirm your phone number and website
- Add or update images, events, products, and services
- Add or review your business description. This is an excellent opportunity to include keywords your target audience is searching for!
You’ll be prompted to verify any profile updates you’ve requested. Updates may take a day or two to show up on your profile.
Step Four: Continue Optimizing Your Profile and Track Engagement
In addition to your website, a Google Business Profile increases organic search opportunities. Your Google account is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. Every time your business hours, products, or services change, you must update your profile to reflect your business accurately.
It’s a great idea to continue optimizing by adding photos that show your work to your profile. For example, a landscaper who adds before and after images or videos will quickly show potential customers the value of the work. Additionally, increase your online presence by requesting that customers leave you a review.
One easy way to request reviews is by sending the review link to your customers via text or email.
Regardless of your business type, creating a Google account for your business is vital for Local SEO. At SMA Marketing, we optimize our local client’s accounts frequently. We encourage you to do the same. Learn more about adding value to your local business with our free local SEO checklist.