Every business– from local start-ups to international corporations– benefits when they claim their location profiles in the Top 3 search engines’ local listing centers.
The Top 3 local listing centers are:
- Google Places (formerly Google Maps)
- Bing Business Portal (formerly Bing Local)
- Yahoo! Local Listing Center
The larger your business and the longer it’s been around, the higher chances that incorrect or outdated info about your business is displayed by these 3 business centers. Claiming these profiles ensures you have control over how your business is represented online. You can correct mistakes and also add marketing assets like photos and coupons! Each has its own special perks — Google Places offers the Google Dashboard, where you can see visibility numbers for your local listings. Yahoo does not require any verification step to complete Local profiles. And Bing offers mobile-marketing considerations and allows you to prioritize your services.
HOWEVER, there is one minor caveat to the simplicity of this process: the dreaded VERIFICATION STEP required by Google and Bing.
This verification step, required before a new listing is published, is vital to limiting spam. But for those attempting to ethically publish info about their location(s) online, verification can be an inconvenient challenge. Depending on several factors, Google and Bing require one of two forms of verification before a location’s listing can successfully publish:
1) phone verification – Google or Bing call you, and provide a PIN number to enter
2) letter verification – Google or Bing send your location a letter, supplying a PIN number to enter
There are pros and cons to each method. When given a choice, phone verification is more immediate. However, it requires the person who answers the phone at your location(s) to understand the process described above (sometimes a lot to ask during a busy day!). Good thing both Google and Bing provide multiple attempts before letter verification is required. Letter verification is no longer a snail’s journey. The time it takes to receive these letters is getting faster– most companies will find Google and Bing letters in their mailboxes within a week. And letters can be easily resent on command.
The bottom line is to stay calm during the tricky verification process. These verification systems are patient and offer several attempts. And the light at the end of the tunnel is awesome — much-increased visibility of your business to local consumers.
If you continue to have trouble verifying your business in Google Places specifically, search Mike Blumenthal’s blog for solutions. The actual Google Places forum is a tangled web, and Mike does a great job to synthesize issues business owners face during this process. Popular user issues covered on Mike’s blog include:
What does “We currently do not support this location” mean in Google Places?
My Google Places listing has been in ‘Pending’ status forever!
Why did I receive the error message that I’ve used a banned term in Google Places?
Why is my business marked closed in Google Places? I’m still here!
Best of luck, and please comment below with any questions as you verify your business in Google, Yahoo and Bing!