When most people seek information they go to one place: the behemoth of search engines, Google. If you are hoping that your business will be found there, I recommend a two-prong approach.
One way is to actively promote all the good things that boost your search ranking. SEO, fantastic content, and an active social media presence.
But the other piece is to avoid anything that might sink your ranking. No matter how much you’re investing in marketing, if you don’t play by Google’s rules then you’ll fall short over and over again.
The critical first step is to ensure your business is verified on Google.
You may already have a business on Google, but if you’re missing that green checkmark then your business is not yet verified.
Verify Your Google Business Listing By Postcard
You’ll have the option to verify your Google listing by phone or by postcard. By phone is faster and easier… if you plan to list your business phone number, and you know exactly who will be picking up the phone call when it arrives. I’ve also had clients request the verification call and it never comes. The second option is by postcard.
Request Your Postcard
If you are my client, I can do this for you. If not…
- Sign in to Google My Business (GMB)
- Locate the business you want to verify, and click Verify Now.
- On the postcard request screen, make absolutely sure the business address is correct.
- Click Send Postcard
Wait for the Mail
About 3 days after I submitted verification for my business, I saw this image appear in my USPS Informed Delivery email:
If you’re used to sending or receiving postcards from exotic destinations, then you’ll notice that this isn’t exactly a postcard:
It looks like a letter from a bank. Once you tear off the edges, you’ll be rewarded with your code:
If you are my client, you can just snap a picture of this and text it to me. Otherwise, the instructions on what to do next are pretty clear. Go to google.com/verifymybusiness and sign in. You’ll be presented with this screen:
And once you enter the code, you’ll get the magic words: You’re now verified!
I’m Verified on Google! What now?
After you verify your Google Business listing, it will take another few days for the Google team to get your business listed. This usually includes a real person (shocking, I know!) reviewing your business listing for final checks. While your business is in this limbo, your listing still may not show up on Google search – particularly Maps results.
Now that you’ve verified your business, your work isn’t done. It’s time to do all that proactive work we talked about in the beginning, including:
- Fully optimize your business listing
- Post photos and videos regularly
- Post updates to Google My Business to let customers know the latest news
- Request reviews from customers and reply to all reviews received
- Reply to any questions you receive on your profile
- …and more.
If that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right! But you will notice that your competitors that are successful on Google are quite likely already doing things. That should be a strong indicator that this isn’t something you can skip out on. If you’d like to offload all these tasks, I offer all of these services on a freelance basis. Feel free to contact me for a consultation!
Pam Duffy is a consultant based in Dallas, TX. She is a licensed professional engineer and has 10+ years of experience in the HVAC industry. Pam helps people through business consulting, one-on-one coaching, and speaking.