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DIY Guide to Your Google Listing

Claiming your Google My Business Listing (GMB) is one of the best practices for maintaining your company’s online presence, especially if you want to respond to online customer reviews in real-time.

“You want to be proactive, not reactive,” says Katie Fuller, a digital strategist at CEL. “Claiming your Google business listing is a quick, 15-minute DIY project that you can do this summer. Or, if you don’t have the time or capacity, our team can help you take control of your online information.”

What You’ll Need

A Google Suite (G-Suite) profile and a Gmail address. If possible, use a Gmail address with your business email domain.
Company logo files (png)
Company information, including address and phone number
Company description or boilerplate
List of company services
Company photos, if available. Avoid a nondescript building pic, in favor of photos that showcase your organization’s staff or services.

Get Started

Open Google and type your business name in the search bar. Google will show whether your company listing has been claimed or not.

      • If you have started a new business that’s not yet listed on Google, sign up for a Business Profile.
      • If your business is already listed on Google but not claimed, complete the Google verification process. You can select from several options, such as phone, text, email, postcard, Google Maps or video. Not everyone receives the same verification options, and you might need to coordinate with employees to fulfill some of the options, Fuller says.

Pro Tip: If you choose the phone verification option, it must connect to the same direct company number listed on your profile. You cannot use extensions, and a staff member must answer immediately.

Repeat the claims process for each company location you find on Google. For example, a doctor’s office with two locations will need to claim listings for both. School districts will need to individually claim the district listing, plus the listings for each of their schools.

Pro Tip: For locations with the same business name, you’ll need to complete the “Store code” option in the listed business information. You can use something as simple as “location1” and “location2” for this information.

If you want multiple staff members to help manage the listing, you can share ownership with them by adding them as a User to the Business Profile.

Once you submit your information, be patient. With the pandemic and limited Google verification staff, it can take 1-2 weeks for you to receive full access. However, Google does provide a way to check your verification status.

Once You’re Set Up

Google My Business Listings do not affect your SEO or website optimization, but a claimed listing is more likely to appear in search results. Regardless of placement, claiming GMB is a simple way to manage your company’s online information and ensure it is accurate within Google, Fuller explains.

Once you’ve claimed your company listing, you can make edits and update information. For example, you can share holiday hours and change your address if the company relocates. You can also formally respond to Google reviews.

Pro Tip: Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, Fuller advises. No Google reviews can be deleted once posted, regardless of their legitimacy.

For positive reviews, respond quickly with a simple thank you and note of appreciation. The show of gratitude could lead to repeat business.

For negative reviews, Fuller recommends leading with empathy, thanking the customer for the feedback and explaining how you will correct the situation. Also consider adding your company contact information so the customer can reach out directly to discuss further. By being succinct and non-confrontational, you can respond proactively but hopefully avoid a heated online exchange.

Published on: July 7, 2022