Claim Your Business in Google – Step-by-Step Guide for 2017

Google My Business is one of the 7 most important ranking signals for local SEO in 2017.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to claim your business in Google using Google My Business.

Step 1.

To get the process started go to the Google My Business URL at https://www.google.com/business and click on the “Start Now” button to continue on to Step 2.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 1

Step 2.

This is the most important step!
In the spaces provided on this page, you must fill in the details of your business.  Make sure that you have the N-A-P (name – address – phone number) correct and this information reflects exactly what you have on your site and other sites (think Yelp, FourSquare, Facebook, etc).
Claim your business in GMB - Step 2

You must fill in your address in this section even if your customers do not come to your business address and even if you are not planning to publicize this address.  Google uses your address for verification purposes.  Google will not allow you to continue the process until you fill in your address details.

Make sure the Country Region, Province or State, City, Street Address, and ZIP Code or Postal Code are accurate.  Google will attempt to verify this information before it allows you to go on to the next stage.

If this information is not correct then you will not receive the information in the mail that you will need to complete the verification process for your business.  The result being that your customers would not get to see the information that you wanted them to see in the first place when you started this process.

NOTE

You do not have to worry about your address being published if you do not want it to be.  Google understands that some businesses only deal with customers at the customer's location.

At the bottom of the page where you filled in your essential business details, you have a choice to indicate whether you deliver goods and services to your customers at their location.

If you deliver goods or services to your customers at their location make sure you indicate that in the section as shown below.  This in combination with the next step will let you control whether your address is displayed.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 2a
Click the “Continue” button to continue on to Step 3.

Step 3.

In this step, you tell Google My Business where you do business.  As you did in Step 2, you must indicate here as well whether you deliver goods and services to your customers at their location.  You will also specify in what area you deliver goods and services to your customers.
You can specify the area you deliver your goods and services in by specifying a region, city, or postal code and you can also give the area by indicating within how many kilometers or miles of your business you deliver goods and services to your customers.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 3
Don't try to select an area larger than you actually service as it won't help your local search results ranking and might lead to bad reviews for your business if you can't properly service the area.
There is a box next to a block of text which asks if you also serve customers at your business address.  Leave this box blank if you DO NOT want your address to be publicly viewable.
Click the “Continue” button to go on to Step 4.

Step 4.

Claim your business in GMB - Step 4
Now Google will ask you to confirm that you are authorized to manage the business with the detail as listed.  Check the box and click on “Continue” to go to Step 5.

Step 5.

Google will now ask you for a telephone number.  By your choice, they will either call this number or send you an SMS Text message with a numeric code used to verify your identity.  They say this can take up to 15 minutes and if it takes longer than that try again.
In my experience, if you haven't received the code in 2 to 3 minutes you need to try again.  It usually takes me 2 attempts to get the code.  On the second attempt, I get it within 10 seconds.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 5
When you get the code type it into the box and click on the “Continue” button to go to Step 6.

Step 6.

Next Google will ask you how you want to get your verification code but in actuality, mail is the only option.  They verify that you have ownership of the business by mailing an authorization code to the address you specified on a postcard.
Make sure you review the information on the “card” to be sure it is accurate and that everything is spelt correctly and is consistent with how you have this information presented in other places like on your website, Yelp, etc.  When you are sure, click the “Mail” button to go on to Step 7.

Claim your business in GMB - Step 6

 Step 7.

 

Now Google will tell you to watch out for the postcard.  Click “send postcard” to go to Step 8.

 

Claim your business in GMB - Step 7

Step 8.

Google displays a page saying the postcard has been sent and that your business will remain unverified until you verify using the code sent to you.  The code is only good for 30 days so don't delay in completing the verification process.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 8
Click the “Continue” button to go to Step 9.

Step 9.

Next Google presents a welcome page and will ask you if you would like to receive communications from them with personalized tips and recommendations.  It is optional so you can make the choice according to your preferences.
Congratulations!  You have finished the process required to claim your business in Google using Google My Business.
Claim your business in GMB - Step 9
Click the “Get Started” button to go to the Google My Business Dashboard.

The Google My Business Dashboard

 

Google My Business Dashboard
Great Job!  You made it through all the steps to claim your business.  Keep watching for your Google My Business postcard in the mail.  It has the verification code needed to make all of your carefully prepared business information viewable to the public on Google.
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