At Nick the Marketer, one of our main focuses for Local SEO in Birmingham, AL is to make sure our clients have a properly set up Google My Business account.
A verified Google My Business (GMB) listing can take your company to new heights. When your listing is verified, it not only helps in the SERP, but it also appears on Google Maps and can appear in the local Map 3-pack. Having a verified listing on GMB increases the chances of your website appearing in front of your prospects due to the emphasis that Google puts on the location of the searcher. But, over the years, Google has made their policy strict and now it’s harder than ever for some businesses (especially those in the service industry) to get their listings verified.
So, let’s find out if your business qualifies for it and we will also try to explain how Google sees it.
A. Brick and Mortar
A traditional office, store, warehouse or shop gets the fastest approval from Google.
B. Shared Space
1) Business inside another business
If you have a store or office inside a commercial complex it means that you share that location with other businesses as well. Although you are entitled to a verified Google My Business Listing, you might face some issues since Google will be extra cautious while verifying it. Many people have reported that although their business got verified, it still shows “Your business is verified. Listings may be reviewed for quality and can take up to 3 days to be published.” But it never gets reviewed and published within 3 days, it takes way longer.
2) Departments within other businesses, universities or institutions
This case mostly arises within universities, hospitals, and bigger institutions, since they are spread over a huge area and have various entries for different departments and different timings. Here are Google’s guidelines for getting a verified listing of different departments of the same company:
“Publicly facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically, such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.”
3) One location, one owner, multiple businesses
If you are an owner of multiple companies and they all share the same physical location, but you want each of them to have its own listing, they should each also have distinct categories, business names, and phone numbers, and each phone should be answered with the name of that specific business.
4) Different practitioners at the same location
What if you are a lawyer or real estate agent who operates from the same location that other lawyers and realtors share? Will you be eligible for an individual listing? The answer is “YES”. Here’s what Google’s guidelines say about it:
“An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated listing if:
- He or she operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
- He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours. A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.”
Having said that, have no doubt about it that it is going to be really challenging. However, if you run into any problems, you can contact the Google support team on Twitter @GoogleMyBiz or you can fill out the form here.
5) Virtual office space
Google has made it clear that if you use virtual office spaces you will not qualify for a verified GMB listing. You will be eligible only if you or someone from your team is “available” there at the location during the business hours mentioned. Google has also recently updated its guidelines regarding this. Give it a read.
6) Sharing an office with a business like yours
You will have a tough time verifying this kind of business because no legit business would want to sit at the same location where their competitors are. And in case you manage to get it verified, the chances of data getting conflated are very high. So, it’s better to just avoid it because it can get messy.
7) Co-working spaces
It’s not very different from shared spaces and virtual office. So, let’s just say that if you or your employees are available at the address during the business hours, then you are eligible for a verified listing on Google My Business. But we must emphasize: it will be tricky! 8) Home-based business location One of the most hectic situations to be in. Google has doubts about a business that is being operated from a residential address because they got spammed a lot in the past, and now Google wants to avoid that. However, you may be eligible for the listing if you can show proof that you have set up a legitimate office in your home where you meet your customers. They may ask for the photos and/or videos of signboards, business cards, front entry, etc.
C. Service Area Businesses (SABs)
First, let us explain what Google considers as service area business: “Service area businesses are those that do their work at the customer’s location”.
If you don’t meet your customers face to face, then Google thinks that showing your address on the map is not necessary. If you operate such a business, make sure you answer all the questions appropriately while setting up your GMB account.
To get this type of business verified, you may need to provide additional proof, such as videos of your work vehicle, etc., to prove to Google that your business truly exists.
It has been seen that many companies have tried to create an individual listing of their business from their own home address or their employees’. While this “MIGHT” work, chances are high that it will backfire if you are trying to trick the giant of the internet.
Make sure you read Google’s guidelines and above-mentioned tips and information before setting up a Google My Business listing because, not only has Google made their policy strict, but your competitors are also looking for any inconsistency so they can report a problem with your listing. This may result in the suspension of your account – which you want to avoid at all costs.
Need help setting up your Google My Business listing and getting found on Google Search? Schedule a quick 15-minute call by clicking here and we will answer any questions you may have.