Last week, we covered the identification and creation stages of managing your GBP listings. In doing so, we covered the difference between claiming & creating a listing, then left off at the verification stage. So, guess where we’re picking things up this week! That’s right!
So, what do we mean by “verification”? Simply put, it’s Google’s process for confirming that you are who you say you are, and that you’re entitled to access the listing in question.
As of late 2023, there are five different verification methods that Google uses. Some are used more commonly, while the use of others seems to be lessening over time. But just for you, I’m going to cover all 5 in this episode, so that you can better understand the nuances of each. But let’s get started with a couple of important things to keep in mind…
First things first, you’ll ideally want to be at the physical location of your dealership when performing an actual verification.
Second things second, you’ll want to be logged into either your Listings Dashboard or your SERP Dashboard which – if you’ve been watching – you’ll remember from episode 2.
Either way, you’ll want to click the button that says “Get Verified”.
The first screen may look familiar to last week’s viewers since you’re being asked to confirm if you’re one of the businesses it’s found in its search. If you select the listing shown, you’ll be taken to an existing listing to either verify it,, or to mark it as a duplicate. If you select “This doesn’t match” you’re creating a listing from scratch.
Once you’ve hit “Confirm” you’ll be asked to “Select a way to get verified”. As I mentioned, there are 5 methods being used as of the time of this filming, but these things can change at any time, or differ by user experience. Here, for example, we were only given 3 of the 5 options. So, let’s cover the other 2 since they’re more reflective of dated practices.
The first of those is Postcard Verification. This entails a physical postcard being sent to the address specified on the listing, arriving 5-7 days after the verification is requested. On it will be a URL to visit, and a 5-digit PIN# to be entered. That said, we all know it’s easy for physical mail to get lost in the shuffle.
The “least common” option is Photo Verification. This entails a request from Google for specific photos (such as “signage”, “main entrance”, “showroom”, “waiting area”, “management areas”, “exterior view from the street”, “service center” etc). Chances are, you won’t be asked for this or even see it as an option. So, with the less common verification methods out of the way, let’s explore the most common methods, beginning with Phone Code Verification.
You’re probably used to Phone Code Verifications in your personal life. It’s either a text or automated call that provides you with a 5-digit pin, to be typed into a specified field. The challenge with Phone Code Verification is that the number you’ve specified in creating your listing, which should be the primary number for your dealership. is the phone number that will be used. If your dealership has an automated attendant, Google’s interface has no way of discerning it, you may never receive the PIN. This is why we specify the importance of having a human attendant at the ready, at the time of verification.
Next we have “Email Code Verification”. If you’ve been following the series, you’ll remember entering the dealership URL during the creation stage. Well, if your team email addresses include the same domain, there’s no problem. Any team member is qualified to receive the verification. However, if the domains on your team email addresses don’t mirror the dealership URL, you’ll have to pick a different method.
The final option is “Business Video Verification”, which is fast-becoming Google’s preferred method. For that reason, let’s cover it in greater detail.
To start, you’re going to need to download Google Maps (or scan a QR code) and then follow the step-by-step prompts that are given.
Remember how we keep telling you not to use your personal Google account? Here’s another reminder that you’ll need to be logged into the centralized business account that Google already associated with the listing in question.
Now, you’ll want to log in using your phone. Why? Because you’ll be asked to start recording footage, so be ready. Once logged in, select settings > businesses then select “Verify for my Google Business Profile” . And don’t worry…the video content collected will not be made available publicly. The sole intent is to document, in real time, various areas of the physical location for Google’s internal reference. It can feel complicated, but we have seen this become Google’s preferred method for verification.
If you experience any issues with whichever verification method you’ve selected, we encourage you to contact Google Support – as we covered in Episode 3. Just remember – once you’ve done so – Google Support will likely request the Video Verification method since that seems to be their current preference.
And with verification out of the way, we’ll be back next week with the steps you should be taking to optimize your location listing.