As a business owner, you likely already understand just how crucial it is for you to have an online presence, but one aspect of online brands that you may end up leaving overlooked is your business profile.
Both Google and Bing offer business profiles as a means of giving owners control over how they and their companies show up online, and maintaining that control hinges upon verifying your business profile. If you don’t, you may be exposing your business to several unnecessary risks.
Google generally sources information about your business from third-party websites, APIs (such as Google Maps), and customer-generated photos and reviews.
Your Google Business Profile (formerly known as a Google My Business listing) is a cost-free tool that allows you to regain control of how your business shows up in searches by way of inputting accurate information and making posts to connect with customers.
A Bing Places Listing serves the same function: It allows businesses to provide accurate information to customers and boost their local search rankings on Bing.
When you verify your business listing, no one but you (or an individual you’ve authorized) can make changes to it. You maintain your business security by keeping full control over how you show up in search results.
Not verifying opens you up to the possibility of severe reputation damage and serious legal issues. A single malicious actor could take over your listing, either to post false or incorrect information or to run scams on your customers through the profile’s direct message feature.
Below is the process through which you can protect your business by verifying your Google Business Profile:
You can add or claim your business profile through Google Maps. Simply sign in and then do one of the following:
- Search for your business address
- Right-click anywhere on the map
- Click the menu in the top left corner
Once you take any of these actions, click “Add My Business” or “Claim My Business” and follow the steps outlined.
In all verification methods, you will go to your Business Profile, click “Get Verified,” and then select your preferred verification method.
To verify by phone or text, follow these steps:
- Choose “Phone or SMS”
- Answer the call or open the text Google sends
- Enter the code in your profile
To verify by email, do the following:
- Choose “Email”
- Follow the steps in the email
To verify by video recording, you must adhere to these steps:
- Choose “Capture Video”
- Start recording
- Choose “Stop Recording”
- Choose “Upload”
Lastly, to verify by video call, you must complete the following:
- Choose “Video call” and then “Next”
- Select your language
- Click “Start Call”
- A representative will help you join a video call
If you choose a video recording or video call, you’ll need to capture your outside surroundings, evidence of equipment or operations, and proof of access to employee-only items or areas.
Google may take up to seven business days to review and complete your verification, and if your business is not verifiable through the means you have provided, you may need to choose a different verification method.
You can verify your Bing Places Listing through these easy steps:
- Log in to Bing Places for Business
- Search for your business
- Click “Claim” once you see it
- Add or correct your business information
- Select a verification method under the “Verify your business” menu
Whether you choose to verify by phone, text, email, or postcard, the process is the same: You will receive a PIN, and you must type it into the verification box.
You can also choose Web Verification to answer a set of questions about your business that only you would know. If your website is verified on Bing Webmaster Tools, you can verify your listing that way as well.
As a business owner, you know just how much time and effort has gone into building your brand, so don’t allow anyone to tear it down by neglecting business profile verification. When you make the effort to verify your business, you ensure your brand maintains its integrity and trustworthiness.