Claiming and verifying your small business listing with Google My Business is key to showing up in local searches and appearing on Google Maps.

 

Google wants you to connect with the right customers. You might be thinking if you’ve struggled to get the search engine to point people to your company website. But it really is in Google’s interest to provide internet searchers with the products and services they’re looking for—especially from businesses nearby. That’s where Google My Business comes in.

Google is rolling out new Google Maps and local search features designed to erase the “dividing line between the digital world and the physical world,” especially for smartphone users.

To take advantage of these new features (like promoted Maps pins and robust business profiles), get to work claiming and verifying your company listing on Google My Business. Do so, and your business NAP (name, address, phone number), website, customer reviews and photos will appear on the right side of a Google search for your business and, hopefully, broader searches for similar products and services offered in your city.

One caveat: If you’re not using an automatic listing tool, expect a seven-to 10-day wait for Google to verify your business info by mail.

Your Google My Business listing will integrate into Google Maps and local searches. Follow these steps to set-up your Google listing in 30 minutes or less:

  1. Search your business name in the Google My Business search bar. If your business information is already in Google’s system, it will appear on your screen with a request to verify the contact email on file for the account. If you find someone else has claimed your business listing, Google will walk you through a series of steps to reclaim it as your own.*
  2. If Google has no information on your business, follow the series of prompts to add your listing to the site. Have any photos, videos or logos ready to upload into your Google My Business Dashboard.
  3. The final step in the initial process is verifying your business information. Google will recommend verifying by postcard, though some businesses may be able to verify by telephone, email or through instant verification. Follow the prompts to determine the method of verification that’s right for you. Remember, unless you’re using an automated listing tool your profile won’t appear online until you’ve completed the verification process.

* Be warned: An additional step will arise if someone has already claimed your listing. To lock down ownership of your listing and protect your business’ identity, you’ll need to request a transfer of listing ownership. (If your listing has been claimed by an employee or marketing vendor, you can simply ask that person to add you to the account as a listing manager.)

Once your listing is claimed or added, verified and published, it can begin driving customers to your company through Google Maps and Google search!