By David Lashlie – chat here on LinkedIn
The Story Google Isn’t Being Entirely Transparent About…
Are you FRUSTRATED by the time it’s taking Google to verify your Google My Business listing?
Here are a few questions that have come across my desk in the last few weeks….
“How do I verify my Google Business account?”
“Where do I enter my Google business verification code?”
“How long does it take to verify my Google My Business listing?”
People are annoyed and frustrated about this at the moment!
Read on, to find out why it’s such an issue, get some clarity about the situation & figure out what to do about it.
However you came to create a Google My Business listing, you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs & checking the mail, wondering what happened to your verification postcard.
When you apply for GMB verification, Google indicates a 15 day timeframe for the postcard to arrive.
This a best case scenario, however, I have had it arrive in that timeframe…. only twice, after submitting dozens of listings!
So, what is going on?
Wherever you are in the world, it’s likely you have it better than America right now.
I’m writing this in November 2020, in Tauranga New Zealand – not long after the US elections.
Trump is still being “interesting” about handing over the Oval Office to Biden.. Leading up to today in the USA, severe challenges have been faced. COVID has sent most workers home, California fires have had folks fearing for their lives and property, BLM and the resulting civil unrest that caused & let’s not forget Trump… MERICA…
Needless to say, Google sending out postcards takes a backseat.
Google hasn’t openly communicated this…
Well, not directly.
You only get a hint of what’s going on, when you submit any request to them for support – even then, it’s vague and doesn’t clear things up…
How long is it really taking?
It varies. Here in New Zealand, it’s taking up to 6 months (in some cases, longer) to get verified.
Which begs the question, “why aren’t Google using alternative methods to verify businesses?”
While it’s a great question, I’ll direct you right back to the main issue – a lack of bums on seats at Google’s offices.
So what do you do?
In rare cases, you can follow a process to verify via a video call. To get to this, you have to hunt through the support section of GMB to apply for an appointment. That said, even with an appointment, it’s 50/50 whether the representative from Google will show up to the call.
You also have the option to supply photo / document evidence of your business, in an attempt to verify your business. Unfortunately, it’s the same situation as above. The promise of a response within 48hrs – then nothing.
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Advice for Google My Business verification in 2020.
You wait. I’m really sorry…
That said, you can’t be totally passive in this situation.
Verification requests expire after 6 weeks… So, you have to keep a close eye on your listing, to see if your request requires renewal. You’ll know it’s time to apply for a new verification when your listing status changes from “Pending Verification” to “Verification Required”
One thing I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks is the ability to request a phone verification code. This seemed to happen after 5-6 re verification attempts. Something to look out for. Certainly worth a try, we have seen it work.
Keep in mind for your verification attempts – Postcards will eventually arrive.
However, you may find the code you receive doesn’t work. This is because when you re-apply, any previous code is invalidated. You also only have 3 attempts to verify… A very sticky situation.
When you receive a verification code that doesn’t work, it’s very tempting to hit the button below the code entry section that invites you to apply for a new code. If you’ve re verified only a short time ago, hitting this will lengthen the process, by resetting the clock & invalidating the last code…
Why does Google verify with a postcard?
Google takes the business of providing the best & most relevant search results VERY seriously!
Therefore it’s imperative that the verification process weeds out the fakers and scammers out there on the internet.
Google sends a postcard to verify the address of a given business as a way to ensure their maps product, which dovetails into the GMB product directly, is as relevant and up to date as possible.
A note on verification.
With the above said, if you change the address of your business, you’ll have to go through the verification process again.
If you know you’re moving premises and you know where to, it’s a great idea to get ahead of the verification and begin the process as soon as you’re able to receive mail at your new building.
I’d suggest hedging your bets and getting ahead of this early, owing to the time it’s taking to verify right now.
Verification – not just protecting Google’s reputation.
A client asked “why is verification via postcard? You’d think a tech giant would have a better way…?”
The verification process not only protects Google’s precious search result crown, but it also protects local businesses.
Think about it like this.
You’re a small business selling boutique beer bottle openers. A business in China also produces boutique beer bottle openers & wants to enter your market.
The other business applies for a Google verification in your locality, and is unable to compete directly on Google My Business in your local market, because of the current process.
While you wait…
While you wait by the mailbox, like a $1 a day charity child (a little business owner waits…) – here are my tips to keep yourself occupied.
1 – Sort out your Bullseye Phrase – The phrase you aim to dominate on GMB when you’re verified. You’ll use this in your posts, photo tagging and business description.
2 – Create content to add to your listing. Images and video are the oxygen of your Google My Business listing, so start creating in preparation for launch!
3 – Create posts on your other social platforms, to get in tune with your audience. You can use the data gained from this, to create better content for your GMB posts.
4 – Put time into your “main offer” – The main thing you’ll attract customers with, when they find you on Google My Business.
Eventually, you’ll get the Willy Wonker golden ticket in the mailbox & your verification code will unlock your GMB listing. Time to put the above into action!
Thanks for reading – feel free to reach out.
If you are interested, here are some of our other Google My Business articles:
AND – our primary “place” online for helping people is our Facebook group – Digital Marketing for Rookies HERE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/digitalmarketingforrookies
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Lastly – do check out some of our YouTube marketing educational series…..