In a recent update from Google, they now are allowing email verification of Google + Business Pages. What does this mean for the business owner and the agency providing local online optimization? It potentially means no more waiting for postcards in the mail. As many of you may have already experienced, Google sends postcard sized letters in the mail with a code printed on them. This code authorizes the verification of your business’s G + Business Page. It seems Google’s postcard sending days may soon become obsolete.
Why local business page verification with major search engines is important
Verifying your business online with major search engines helps your business two-fold:
1. It legitimizes your online presence:
If you already have a brick and mortar location, your online presence should rely on local signals to increase your search engine visibility. Once your business is verified as legitimate, major search engines can begin listing it in relevant or direct results.
2. It increases your online authority:
The more social and technical proof that your business exists, online as well as offline, the more your relevancy increases when searching for your services and products.
How this works: A user is looking for a family dentist in their area.
Practice A simply has a website and a blog. This practice is optimized for organic and shows up for various keywords and phrases on page 1.
Practice B has a website, a blog, and local listings and directories. Practice B is competing with Practice A for page 1 organic results. They both rank well. However, Practice B with its listing and directory authority will have a higher chance of showing up in relevant local searches.
Here’s why: Relevancy is huge to search results. Another factor is proximity. Say the aforementioned user is equidistance to both practices. Which practice will show up when they search “dentist near me” or “find a dentist”? I would put my bet on Practice B. The listings and directories increase Practice B’s authority designating it above Practice A, which has not increased its local authority.
Something as simple as failing to submit your name, address, and phone number (NAP) to listings and directories can be the reason you aren’t showing up in the local 3-pack, on the map as a suggested business, or in map programs that users rely on outside of search engines.
How to verify your local business page
Depending upon the search engine, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc, the create/claim, optimization, and verification process will look slightly different.
However, here are the three major steps that need to be taken for Google, Bing, and Yahoo:
Create/Claim: Navigate to the search engine’s local business service of choice.
Begin by creating your page. If any portion of the NAP exists with that search engine, it should prompt you to claim that page instead of creating it. If you do not receive this prompt, continue creating your page.
Optimize: Now you’ll need to optimize the page. This simply means add as much information as you possibly can. Complete the page according to the percentage completed status bar: add photos, select a category, confirm address, add website link, add phone number, etc.
Verify: Once your page is optimized, you’ll need to verify the page. This involves working with the search engine via mail, phone, or email to confirm that your business exists as brick and mortar. Depending on which option you choose, you will receive instructions regarding how to verify and move forward.
When it comes to SEO strategy, local relevance and proximity can push you above your competition online. Consider your local business pages: Are they optimized? Check your online listings and directories for your citation (NAP): Is it accurate and consistent? Finally, remember that your strategy for online success may be slightly different than the next business, even if that other business is your competitor. The goal is to bring users to your site and convert them into patients. However that looks is great, as long as it follows current SEO standards and guidelines.