Setup, Claim and Verify your Google My Business: 2022 – For Beginners

Once your verify your Google Business account, it’s time to tune up the goldmine for your local business.

I’m glad you’re here. You’re probably here to answer the question of “how do I verify my business on Google” or “how do I claim and verify my business on Google” or even “how do I claim my business on Google”. Here you’ll find all the answers you need, and you can skip ahead to the sections you need or learn more about Google My Business and how to get it right.

We’ll show you how to maintain your listing and how to drive business to your store at the end of this guide. We’ve got a lot to cover, so stay tuned to the end.

Table of Contents

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, our economy continues to grind, hustle, and return to normal after a long period of recovery. I know it’s challenging. Companies like Google are making tools like Google My Business to discover brick and mortar businesses, and customers can find local businesses just by typing in their search terms. Interesting. The Google My Business tool lets you publish your business on Google Maps for free. Haven’t you signed up yet? Let’s get your free listing today, so you don’t miss out. There’s a good chance you’re here because you’re looking for ways to attract more local customers. Let’s show you how to claim, set up, and verify your Google My Business listing.

Case Study

I’d like to introduce you to a business that Design Co Studio has been working with for a while. Our team has been working with a pharmacy in Streatham, UK. After claiming, verifying, and optimising their Google My Business listing, their leads have skyrocketed. See the statistics below.
verify your google my business - insights
Statistics from 1 quarter of the business. Notice the totals views 518,000 views to the business
google my business customer actions
Notice on the right-hand side, the actions customers are taking to engage with the business.
google my business customer search
More than half of the visitors the pharmacy by searching locally or by the business name

It’s possible for your business to be like this too. Adding visibility to your business and offering what your customers want is the key to continued growth.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business helps local businesses get customers, and it also helps locals learn what’s around them. Google My Business powers Google Maps, so you can find local businesses. Do you know how you can see all the detailed info about a business when you use Google Maps to find it? For example, name, address, phone number, opening hours and more? With restaurants, you can access the link to order food online. – How awesome! The goal of Google My Business is to give your business more traffic potential while also allowing new customers to find it. Sort of like being in the phone book.

How does Google My Business Work?

The Google My Business manager can be a bit overwhelming for a newbie, especially when there’s so much going on. Let’s go over how it works and what you can do to get the most out of it. So here we go:

Create an account

  1. Firstly, you need to create an account with Google if you do not already have an existing one. Simply visit www.google.com > Click the blue ‘Sign In’ button on the top-right.
  2. You’ll then come to a page where you can enter your credentials if you have an existing account or create a new account for your business. Google provide three options to create an account. These are as follows:
    1. ‘For myself
    2. ‘For my child’ if you’re a parent.
    3. ‘To manage my business.’
  3. Whilst we’re talking about an account for your business, the appropriate choice would be ‘To manage my business.’
  4. Follow the steps through and create your very own Google Business account.

If you already have a Google account, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google account
  2. Once you’re signed in, you’ll see a grid-like icon next to your profile icon on the top-right of the screen. The grid opens up all of your Google Apps associated with your account.
  3. Scroll down until you see ‘Business Profile’. Click that.
  4. You’re now in the dashboard of your Google My Business page.

Setting Up Your Google Business Profile

Google has made it simple for business owners to add their companies on Google with an easy step by step prompt to take you along the way. The key here is to fill in as much information about your business as possible. This will help with local SEO, too (Optimisation of your local business).

To walk you through the steps, I will go through each stage step by step with you and create a fantastic new business listing from scratch.

Add Your Business To Google - Find and Manage Your Business

find and manage your business - GMB

Find and Manage Your Business

In this section, Google will ask you to provide the name of your business. If you already have an existing listing on Google for your business, it’s going to recognise that it already exists.

Type in your business name here. This is what your customers will see online when they see your business show up.

building business profile

Start Building Your Business Profile

When adding your business to Google, you’ll be asked to input a business category name. Categories will help Google identify the industry your business represents. The example business I’m creating is called Iconic Constructions. You can type your primary word that describes your industry in the ‘Business Category’ field. I will go with the ‘Construction Company’ category in my instance. This will verify my business on Google to fit the correct category, so my business shows up for the right searches my potential customers make on the Google Search Engine.

There are hundreds of categories to choose from. Type in your category and select the best fit for your business.

google my business adding business location GMB

Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a shop or office?

One of the coolest things I’ve come across is that Google allows you to maintain the privacy of a specific location at which you do business. This is particularly useful when you’re verifying your Google My Business account, and you’re working from home but do not wish to disclose your home address to potential customers.

Before COVID, working from home was practically a myth. Now, everyone is doing it, and so many more people are creating businesses every day. In fact, I have registered a Google My Business address near my home. I don’t want people to know where my house is, so I registered it as though I do not have a physical location.

You can see this at my Purley location in Croydon.

Depending on how you operate, you can either say ‘Yes’ to the physical location and then Google will prompt you to add your address next. However, it’s important to note that Google will also ask you to put in an address if you say ‘No’, but this is just for internal purposes. Google still need to know that you’re available in that location but will not make your address public. Google still considers that your business is in the specified area, which gives you the advantage of your local business SEO. 

For my example, Iconic Constructions, as I have deliveries and suppliers sending equipment, cement and other tools regularly, I will say ‘Yes’ for the location and map it to my warehouse.

google my business address

Add your business to Google Maps - What's your business location address?

Enter the location of your business. This will later be published by Google, allowing your customers to know where they can find your shop or store. As mentioned previously, if you do not wish to have your address published once your Google My Business profile has been verified, then choose ‘No’ from the previous step.

Is this your business?*

Depending on where your business is located, Google may present you with a list of registered businesses under the same address already. Google present this list only when there are places such as co-working spaces or shared office environments. This does not mean that you cannot claim a Google My Business profile under that address; you simply need to just click the ‘None of these’ from the options list.

In addition, Google My Business may also show this option if you are starting out a business at a location previously used by another business owner. 

google my business provide deliveries or home and office visits

Do you provide deliveries or home and office visits?

This section of registering your business with Google evokes two options on how you offer your services.

  1. Deliveries – Depending on the nature of your business, you can offer your customers an option of delivery. For example, if you were a cakes business, delivery might be the perfect option when a customer places an order with you. Take a moment to reflect on your business and fill this section out.
  2. Home or office visits – Offering your customers an opportunity to visit them for a consultation or meeting might work nicely if your business offers this. An example would be an accountant. Typically remote accountants see their clients at their homes or offices to discuss finances and tax matters.

In the next section, you’ll be asked to provide a list of you serve if you have answered ‘Yes’ to the above question.

google my business add the areas you serve

Add the areas you serve (optional but recommended to fill out)

Google gives you the option to list the areas you offer your services. Now, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t go on a frenzy here and list every place humanly possible. Take some time to think about the areas you would like to serve and how achievable it is to get from one place to the other.

Adding the areas you serve is an optional step, and you may want to consider starting from your business area location and the reachable surrounding areas. You do not have to list them all right away. Once you’ve completed the Google Business Listing onboarding, you can always modify or update your information later too.

For us here, at Design Co Studio, our HQ is based in Clapham. Now I would consider locations such as Wandsworth, Vauxhall, Westminster, Chelsea and more. Likewise, spend some time thinking about yours as this information will be available to your visitors.

add contact info

Add Contact Info

Contact Number
Simple enough, this section will ask you to provide your business contact information. If you do not have a business phone number, you can enter your mobile number. This will be displayed on your business listing but can also be changed later from your listings dashboard.

Website URL
Having a website is the perfect way to demonstrate your products and services to your visitors. Enter your current website URL in the field provided. Notice that Google offers an option to say, ‘I don’t have a website; you select this option if you do not have one, and Google will provide you with a link to creating your first website using their website builder.

Creating your first website with Google
We will not go into the complete details about creating a website using Google Sites for this blog post. However, we’ll update this post shortly, linking you to a comprehensive guide for this.

Something to note, Google’s website builder is highly minimalistic. It will use the information from your business listing to populate the information. This is a great way to get online super fast and put your business in front of your customers if you’re just getting started. They have a great range of templates you can choose from, or alternatively, with their simple to use website builder, be as creative as you can.

Design Co Studio offers professional web design services using WordPress to build a beautiful and responsive web design with all the pages you need. We know businesses need support for things like websites but can often feel out of their depth regarding costs. We designed a cost-effective pay monthly web design package, including your website design, unlimited pages, responsive optimisation and more.

Learn More

choose a way to verify account

Choose A Way to Verify

To set your listing live and to be able to manage it on Google, you must first confirm that the business listing is actually yours. Google does this to ensure the businesses on its platform are legitimate, and this way, they’re able to provide accurate information to searchers.

What’s interesting here is that different people are often presented with different ways to verify their Google My Business listing. Here are the ways Google may ask you to verify your business:

  1. Postcard sent by post
  2. Phone
  3. Email
  4. Video
  5. Instant verification

Review this step on your dashboard and choose the best option for you. The best way to verify is by phone or email, as it happens on the spot. Unfortunately, some businesses require postcard verification only.

A pro tip, if you’re using a business phone number for your listing and have a phone menu before calls come through, the code will never get to you because of the settings before the call comes through. You may want to consider this before trying to verify by phone.

At Design Co, we recently had a client’s business we claimed ownership over for them (I’ll be talking more about this shortly). They could only do it by phone to verify the account, and the verification wasn’t coming through. Often Google presents other means of verification if one does not work for you.

Postcard verification can take up to 4 days to arrive at your business address. Within this postcard lies the key to activating your Google listing.

Alternatively, you can skip this step and complete your profile first while waiting for your code. We recommend that you request it the way Google allows you to update your listing.

google my business add your own services

Add Your Services

Google will finish the process by asking a few more questions about your business to optimise your listing. Provide as much detail as possible for this as it will help for your Local SEO.

From the business category you chose earlier during your setup, GMB will present some services options that fit your category. More often than not, they have most of the options available. But, if you do not see the services you offer, you can always add custom services. You can choose more than one of these services. Go ahead and select the ones that apply to you; you can go on a frenzy this time.

If you’re not sure about what you want to add just yet, you’re welcome to skip this step and update it later.

google my business opening hours

Add Opening Hours

It’s time to let your customers know when you’re open for business. Select the days and set the times that are applicable for your business. You’ll notice an option where you can ‘Add hours’. This is particularly handy when you are a business that opens and closes at different times in the day.

Commonly seen in the food and beverage industry. For example, If I open my restaurant for breakfast from 8 am – 12 pm, close for a few hours, then reopen at 6 pm for dinner. If your business runs at different times, add your variated business hours.

Sometimes, you may not know your hours just yet, but you can add these in later too.

google my business add messaging

Add Messaging

Add messaging has proven to be a powerful feature for many businesses. It opens up the potential for customers to reach out for quick questions, build relationships and answer their questions in a jiffy. How does it work, you ask? You will need the Google My Business mobile application to download from the App Store or the Google Play Store. Once you’ve signed into your account, you can manage messages from there or use your browser to view them in your GMB account.

If you have a team of people who can manage things like this for you, you can add them as users to your Google Profile and provide them with the required user roles.

In fact, we recently enabled this for a local chemist on their listing, and they’ve seen a 30% conversion rate by simply being able to answer some questions customers had. PRETTY AWESOME.

google my business add business description

Add Business Description

Here we go, it’s time to make a solid impression on your customers. Your business description plays an integral role in your listing. Customers will see your business description when they look at your profile, browse on the search, pop you up on the map and other Google services. It’s essential to get this right. You can always tweak and update this later, but for the moment, this is what we want to do:

  1. Introduce your business and instantly let your visitors know who you are and what you do.
  2. You want to write your description with some of your keywords in mind. For example, a local plumber may use keywords such as an emergency plumber, local emergency plumber, 24-hour plumber and more. The idea isn’t to stuff them all in but to mention them naturally and where necessary. This is particularly helpful when people search for you, think about the words your potential customers are typing to find you. Use those.
  3. Think about your purpose, whos your target audience? What are they looking for?

You have 750 words available. Try and use as much of that as you can.

google my business add photos

Add Photos of Your Business

Photos can create great impressions for your business, and people feel comfortable visually seeing things whether you’re selling products or services. Take this opportunity to upload high-quality images of your products or your business. It could be your offices, it could be your team, it can be anything you like – that’s relevant, of course.

I do not recommend creating graphics and uploading them to your Google My Business, and they just don’t have that connection or personal element to know a business.

In fact, we conducted a survey when optimising a client’s Google My Business. We learnt that customers didn’t engage well with the business because they felt the graphic images made it feel untrusted. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that as an outcome until most visitors stated that. Interesting isn’t it.

Use excellent and high-quality photos, and real-life photos perform the best for customers.

Once you’re all done with that, you’re officially done with setting up your Google My Business listing! Take some time to click around and play with the options and refine what you filled out initially if you have to.

Optimise My Google Business Listing for Local SEO

Having your business listed on Google is just the first step to harnessing its capabilities. Staying active with your Google listing can help drive more traffic to your business. Let’s briefly explore how this would work:

  1. Getting Reviews – One of the best ways to move up in the ranks in your local area is to have customers review your business for the services or products you provide. Reviews allow new visitors to feel confident about working or buying from you as well as helping you rank up for specific keywords your customers will write on their review. Getting reviews is not easy; sometimes, you may need a strategy to request these from your customer.
  2. Creating PostsPosts are a great way to keep your business listing up to date with your business. Especially if you’re offering new services, products, notifying customers of business updates and more. Having a clear-cut strategy for your posts can be advantageous to your local rankings. Be specific with your keywords and include them where relevant.
  3. MessagesAs we touched upon earlier in the article, the Messages feature allows you to respond to your customer’s questions in a good and speedy time. Just being a little more responsive and knowledgeable about your business can help you convert a visitor who had a question to a paying customer.
  4. Service AreasSetting the service areas for your business opens up the radius of your business to other areas. The idea isn’t to be optimistic but to truly add your business’s areas. Let me demonstrate: I run a plumbing business based in Vauxhall, London, and I want to service the Victoria, Westminster and Soho area. Adding these areas to my ‘Service Areas’ list exposes my business out into those areas. To boost this up even further, it’s worth mentioning in my Google Post about these areas too to stay tuned up.

    The way to do this could be to run a campaign or promotion in the Soho area and create a post shouting out to the residents of Soho that I’m offering 50% off my services for the next 2 days. You can be as creative as you like when creating posts with Google Posts.

Pro Tip: You can measure the conversion rate of the messages that turn into paying customers by comparing the customers’ names who buy from you from the messages they send.

Conversion rate is the Number of paying / the number of customers that came through messaging * 100.

In context, let’s say I’ve gained 5 paying customers / 100 enquiries * 100 = 5% conversion rate.

Measuring the conversion rate will help you learn how effective it really is to use the messaging feature on Google. You can also disable this if you do not want to use the messaging services.

Completing Your Profile

To complete your Google profile, there are some elements that we were not able to complete during the sign-up process. Let’s ensure our GMB account is properly optimised with the following:

Your Logo – Your logo should be high-resolution and in squares so that it can be properly sized and applied. The common resolutions would be 1080px by 1080px. You can use design tools such as Canva to do this.

Your Cover Photo – Setting your cover photo allows visitors to see more of your business. Make your Google listing even more personal by creating a cover you’re proud about. Some people set covers with offers, new things or something important they want people to know about, and others simply have their business Logo with an excellent picture.

Using Canva from the previous step, you can create a new canvas size 1080px x 608px. This is going to be the size of that cover image. Design this as you wish and download it once it’s ready. Simply upload the cover onto your Google listing.

It’s not always the case that your cover image will show up on Google, and in fact, Google expressly states in their guidelines that they do not guarantee using your cover photo. So what’s the point?

Well, what if I told you there was a way to get this right?

[TOP SECRET]

To add your cover photo, head over to your Google My Business dashboard. Using the left-hand navigation, scroll down to the ‘Website’ tab. Google creates a website on its builder by default. However, this does not mean that the website will be live. You will need to publish this to take effect if you wish to use their website. In the center of the page, you will notice a section where you can update the header photo upload the image you create on Canva. Once uploaded, the image will refresh from the default one.

To check this, head over to Google.com and enter your business name on there. Do you see the image in the map list? Congratulations! Not many people know this little trick, so share it if you think your friends find it helpful!

google my business cover photo

Upload Video – Add videos can introduce new dynamics to how your customers view your business. If you have a video representing your products or services, you can add this to make an impact.

Google Posts

Google Posts allow a fast and straightforward way to share messages directly with their customers. The posts are displayed on your business’s Google Search and Google Maps panel. Local businesses adapted very quickly to Google Posts when they realised how quickly they could communicate with their customers and move further up in the Local SEO ranks. This feature allows you to directly submit your post into the Google Search Results and Maps.

Google Products Listing

Depending on the category your business falls under, you may see an option to add products to your Google listing. Listing products provides an advantage to local business owners to advertise some of their products onto Google’s business platform.

Adding products to Google Products Listing does not mean that you can see your products through Google, but you will need to redirect them to the right place to either view or complete a purchase of your product. If you do not have your own website or an online store to see, get in touch with us at Design Co Studio for a creative web design solution.

How do you add products to sell on Google?

  1. Head over to your Google My Business listings page
  2. Use the left-hand navigation and find the ‘Products’ tab
  3. Click ‘Get Started’ and a pop-up and add the appropriate button

Google Service Listings

Entering your services gives your visitors a chance to see the types of services you offer even before they engage with you via messaging, your website or even a phone call. Accurately categorise your services for better organisation, and customers can make better decisions with precise information.

Just as you were adding services during the setup stage, it’s the same thing on this tab.

Claiming your Google My Business Listing

Claiming your business with Google is not the same as adding your business to Google. To claim your business listing, it must already exist. If you went through an acquisition, fell out with your previous account manager, or your GMB account got a list, you can find it using a Google search and re-claim it.

You have noticed during the setup, Google may ask you if you based on the businesses it finds at an address that it already exists and if you would like to claim it. More often than not, people forget that their listings exist, and then they try to reregister. Follow these steps to find out if your Google My Business account exists or not.

  1. Go to google.com
  2. Enter in your business name and its location
  3. You may either find your business or not from the search results. If your business is not listed, then you create a new account. Discovering that your account exists allows you to re-claim

How to reclaim my Google Business Listing

  1. Go to google.com and search for your business name with the location at the end.
  2. Your business should appear in the Google Maps listing.
  3. View the option ‘Own this business?’
  4. Usually, the previous owner of the listing has to approve the migration of the Google My Business listing and then can be transferred to you

What's Next?

  1. Maintain the upkeep of your Google My Business by maintaining your reviews, posts and messages.
  2. Frequently create new, exciting and relevant posts to keep your visitors engaged and intrigued about your business.
  3. Reply to the reviews that come in for your business. Whether they are positive or negative, you can still reply.

Design Co Studio work with businesses to improve their ranking using Local SEO techniques, ranking your business higher on the Maps listing by Google. Learn more about our SEO services.

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