This article was first published on Sep 28, 2015, and last updated in November 2019.
“How do I correct or claim my Google Maps listing (also known as Google My Business)?”
This question is frequently asked by business owners and the solution can be complicated. Why does it have to be so hard to get things claimed and corrected online? Fortunately, by following the steps below you can claim your listing and make future changes easier.
SETTING UP A PROFILE
Let’s start with something simple and talk about creating a new profile. Say you just started a new business, and you don’t see yourself on Google Maps when doing a search for your business name. The first place you need to go is Google My Business. Go through the steps to sign up and create an account. Once your account is complete, you’ll be able to create a page for your business. Since you’re a new business in this scenario, fill out everything about your business and create a brand new profile.
At this point, Google will ask you to verify your business. The most common verification method Google uses is postcards (although there are other methods available). This means you have to be able to receive mail at the location of your business which, unfortunately, is not always the case. Google does not recognize PO Boxes as acceptable physical addresses and will not allow you to send a postcard to one.
After you’ve entered a valid physical address, Google will mail your postcard. This little piece of mail will contain a PIN that must be entered into your account in order to verify your business and get your profile to show up live on Google.
If your business is already showing up online but some of the information appears incorrect, you just need to follow the same steps above. Instead of building a profile from the ground up, you will be able to simply claim your business based on the information Google already has. Once you receive your postcard and verify the profile, you can make any of the needed changes to your information. After a short review period, your profile should show up online. If you have issues getting the changes to appear, you may need to contact Google, which we’ll discuss a bit later.
So that’s it! You’re done, right? Well . . . unfortunately more often than not you are stuck somewhere in the process above. Let me cover some of the most common roadblocks that occur and how to troubleshoot them.
1. I CREATED MY GOOGLE MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT, BUT WHEN I WENT TO CREATE A PAGE FOR MY BUSINESS I SAW THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE:
Most business owners are very confused and upset at this point, and understandably so! How could someone else have verified your business? That shouldn’t even be possible! Curse you Google!
In reality, the answer is usually pretty simple. Have you ever had a niece or nephew do some online work for your business? Did you have an intern one summer who did a bunch of stuff, but you weren’t sure exactly what they did? It’s likely they created a Google profile for your business but failed to pass the logins along to you. The best course at this point would be to track those down and use those logins to gain access to your profile. If you aren’t able to track those down, there is an option to contact Google that we’ll cover in just a bit.
If other options aren’t working you may want to try contacting the owners of the conflicting listing directly. This can help you learn more about the problem you are facing. If it is someone who has done work for your business they will most likely be willing to hand over the admin rights. If it is a fraudulent listing you will have information to provide to Google that may help them move forward.
This roadblock can also occur after you have already verified your profile. If this is the case, Google will give you a notification (in red) at the top of your profile that says, “We’re not showing this page because it’s a duplicate of another.” This means Google has chosen to keep a different profile for your business up and running. Most likely, Google looked at the two profiles and decided that the old one was correct and then unverified your current profile. Just find the login for the old profile, and you should be good to go. In cases like this, Google tends to value the seniority of older, out-of-date profiles because they have already built trust in that listing.
2. I DON’T RECEIVE PHYSICAL MAIL AT MY BUSINESS OR I DON’T HAVE A PHYSICAL LOCATION FOR MY BUSINESS.
Whether you live in a town that doesn’t deliver mail to each location or you run your small business out of your home, there are plenty of perfectly reasonable explanations as to why you aren’t able to receive mail. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to show up online!
If you’re a small business that works out of your home, then simply put your home address into the information for your profile. Google does not allow businesses to post locations where they cannot service clients. That means they have made it easy to hide your address on the listing. Your profile will show up saying you service clients in a certain area but your exact location won’t come up on the map. Then they will be able send the postcard to your home and get the profile verified.
However, if your town doesn’t deliver mail to each location, the best solution is to contact Google and to verify your profile by phone or email.
3. THE LOCATION OF MY BUSINESS CHANGED, BUT MY OLD ADDRESS IS STILL SHOWING UP ON THE MAPS SECTION.
This can be a tricky issue to resolve. You can follow all of the steps above to create a new profile and even get it verified and often times that still won’t take down an old address. You are simply verifying your business information at the NEW address rather than replacing the OLD address.
One way to get this fixed is to suggest an edit to Google. Either on the corresponding Google+ page or on the Google Maps search for your business you can “suggest an edit” where you can say that your previous location is either at an incorrect address or is closed completely. This of course still leaves it up to Google to decide to make the change, so often the timeline for fixing the issue via this method can be difficult and unpredictable. If your profile is young and your listing is well established, Google may decline your request to change the information. If you have had a profile for a while, they are more likely to trust you and can update your information fairly quickly. This is why we recommend that you claim your business as soon as possible. It will only make things easier later on!
Like the other roadblocks above, if nothing else works, go ahead and follow the steps below to contact Google directly.
Whether you’re stuck at one of the roadblocks above or have another issue that you can’t resolve, there is hope! The system that Google uses to handle most business profiles is entirely automated, so there are going to be bugs and issues that occur. Many of these won’t be resolved unless someone at Google manually makes a change on their end.
From your GMB account, there are many ways to get to the “Help” section, where you can choose a “Contact Us” option. Google will have you provide a phone number where you can be reached and will then call you. You will get an actual person on the other end, and they are quite helpful and are able to resolve most issues. They are able to provide alternate verification methods (they can even use Google Streetview!) and un-verify profiles that you may have lost the logins to. They do have to make sure they are speaking to the actual owner of the business, so that may require an additional phone call to the business phone number they have on file just to make sure everything you’ve told them is valid and should be fixed.
If you are having trouble finding the right page to have Google contact you, please follow the link here.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LOCATIONS
Google is always refining its product offering for business owners and Google My Business also has tools for businesses with multiple locations. The Google My Business Locations page makes it very easy to manage all of your locations under one profile. It allows you to see every one of your profiles and the status of those profiles. You can bulk verify all your locations without having to repeat the process for each separate location. It gives you the ability to import all of your locations via spreadsheet, meaning you don’t have to enter each profile manually. This can speed up the process when you have dozens of locations to add. In one screen you can easily go through the process of getting any one of your profiles verified so that it shows live online.
WHY CLAIM YOUR LISTING NOW
The process of claiming your Google My Business listing may seem arduous but the system was developed to limit fraud and protect your company. By having to prove that you are at the location you claim, Google is able to trust that you are a legitimate business owner. Once you have that relationship of trust, you can go on to use all of Google’s small business tools to grow your business. New updates to Google My Business are posted here!
Ready to learn about how Local SEO services can help your business grow online? At Boostability, we help you optimize your Google My Business profile and your website! Learn more today!