Important for traffic, SEO, and sales
Building a strong online presence for your business and brand is extremely important. Since Google is the go-to search engine used by the majority of internet users, listing your business on Google My Business is a great step for increasing your business presence online. But guess what, listing your business isn’t enough; you’ve got to “claim” it too.
What It Means to “Claim” a Business on Google
To claim a business on a search engine, you’ll need to prove that you’re the genuine representative of a brand, business, organization, or entity. The end goal is to verify that your business is authentic and the information provided about your business is accurate.
By doing so, you get to enjoy extra benefits like improved visibility (claimed businesses rank higher in search results), increase in organic traffic, and consequently, increase in sales.
When you claim a business on Google, you’ll have complete control over how your business information appears on Google. You also unlock more features that let you improve your digital presence and interact with customers directly on Google. For example, only verified/claimed businesses can reply to customer reviews on Google.
The process is really easy. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to claim or register your business on Google so it appears in local search results, Maps, and other Google products.
Most local businesses will want to drive more people to their website, or appear higher in Google search results, so claiming your business on Google is a great first step to take.
Is Your Business Listed on Google?
The first step to claiming a business on Google is checking whether or not the business is on Google. To do this, search for your business name on Google and check if there’s a knowledge panel dedicated to your business. A knowledge panel is the sidebar on the right of the Google search result page.
If your business is already listed on Google, jump to the next section to learn how to claim the business.
How to Claim a Business Listed on Google
Having a knowledge panel doesn’t mean your business has been claimed. That only tells you that Google has automatically listed your business using data from several sources. If the knowledge panel carries an inscription that reads “Own this business,” that means your business is unclaimed.
Follow the steps below to claim your business.
1. Click Own this business to begin the process of claiming your business.
Note: Make sure you’re signed into your (personal or business) Google account on the browser.
2. Click the Manage now button.
3. Enter the name of a trusted representative that can receive the verification postcard for your business. It could be your name, the business manager’s, or a trusted staff. Click Mail to proceed.
The postcard contains a 5-digit code which you’d use to verify the ownership and authenticity of the business. Google may request additional information about your business before it mails the postcard to your business address.
It may take up to days or weeks for the postcard to get to you. This is due to factors like distance, courier efficiency, and other unforeseen circumstances. While you await the verification postcard, you can provide more information about your business—opening hours, description, pictures of your products or store, etc. These will only be visible to customers only after Google verifies your business.
Note: Do not edit the following information while awaiting the verification postcard:
- Business name
- Business category
Modifying any of this information will delay the verification of your business. So make sure you doublecheck the information you provide before applying for verification.
Verifying Your Business
The final step to claiming your business is the postcard verification. When you get the postcard, login to the Google My Business dashboard and verify your business.
1. Click Enter verification code next to the business name.
2. Enter the verification code into the provided box and click Verify.
Your business will immediately be verified and appear as claimed on Google.
How to List a Business on Google
If you don’t find a knowledge panel for your business on the result page, that means your business is neither listed nor claimed on Google. Follow the steps below to manually list your business on Google so it appears in search results.
1. Visit the Google My Business creation page and enter your business name into the search box. Again, if your business doesn’t appear in the search result, it hasn’t been listed on Google.
Note: Make sure you input the correct business name. You can also try multiple variations of your business name to confirm that no one has listed your business.
2. Click the Create a business with this name card that pops up below the search bar.
3. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your business (e.g. business name, business category, etc.). Make sure the provided information is accurate. Typos, wrong, incorrect spelling, and other errors may result in problems like delayed verification.
4. You should also add a location, particularly if you run a brick and mortar business with a physical store or office.
Location information also helps Google determine where and how to display your business listing. This is also required for verification purposes.
5. If the information you provide is similar to some previously-listed businesses on Google, peruse the businesses and confirm if they’re yours. Select None of these and click Next to proceed.
6. Follow the prompt and provide as much information as you can about your business. Remember, the more (accurate) information you provide, the easier it is for potential customers to find your business via Google Search and Maps.
7. Click Finish to proceed to verification.
8. Enter a name or the position of a representative authorized to manage the business in the provided space and click Mail.
Note: A newly-listed business will not appear on Google until verification is complete. So you might have to wait for weeks before your listing appears on Google Search and Maps.
How Google Verifies Businesses
Google carries out verification to identify authentic businesses and to prevent fraudulent or duplicate listings.
At the time of writing this article, there are 5 different ways Google verifies businesses:
- Mail/Postcard verification.
- Verification by Phone.
- Verification by email.
- Instant verification.
- Bulk Verification.
Mail postcard is the default business verification method. If your business is eligible for phone or email verification, Google will make the option(s) available to you. These verification options (email and phone) are mostly available to service-area businesses, i.e. businesses that don’t serve customers at their physical address.
To use the Instant Verification, you must have configured and verified your business via the Google Search Console. Bulk verification is only available for accounts managing multiple (at least 10 or more) businesses.
Claim Your Business At Zero Cost!
There’s a high chance that your business is on Google and you’re benefiting from the free traffic that the automatically-generated listing is driving to your business. This is good. However, you’re missing out on potential organic traffic if you don’t verify and claim your business on Google.
Google recognizes and ranks verified businesses over unclaimed entities in search engine results. A claimed business puts you in the driving seat, steering your brand’s visibility and growth on Google. You can reply to customers’ reviews, use Google Posts to create content, share official photos (labeled “From the owner”), and lots more.
If you want to improve your business online success at zero cost, claiming your business on Google is a good place to start.