Verification Process for Local Search Marketing
Local Search Marketing optimization is important for any business that wants to increase awareness in their local markets. When creating online profiles for your business on local search engines, most local sites will ask you to verify your business. This verification process is different for every website and can be quite confusing.
Which websites ask for a verification?
The main websites that want to verify your business are Google, Bing, Yelp and YellowPages.com. Most of the Yellow Pages type directories such as Manta, Merchant Circle, Best of the Web or HotFrog do not require verification.
What do they mean by “verify your business”?
With out proper local search marketing procedures, anybody could claim any listing on any local site. The only thing you need to know is the business’s phone number which is quite often already found on the listing. It may seem odd that someone else would want to update your profile but it would be a good way for a competitor, a disappointed client or a disgruntled previous employee to get back at you.
Therefore, local sites ask for a verification to prevent this from happening and to make sure that a business’s representative knows their business is being claimed. It doesn’t have to be the owner or CEO, it can be anyone associated with the business: secretary, employee, contractor. It doesn’t matter as long as they are claiming the listing with an authorization from the business’s representative.
How does verification work?
You usually have the choice to verify by phone or postcard/letter. You will want to choose phone verification because the process is instantaneous whereas the postcard takes an average of 3 weeks to get to your business. Every local site has a different process so I will go through the phone verification process individually.
You will receive an automated phone call from Google to the phone number listed in your Google Places account. When you reach the verification page, choose by phone. You should have a pen and paper ready because you’ll get a phone call immediately after you click Finish on the verification page. During the call, you will receive a 5-digit PIN number, write it on your piece of paper. When the phone call is over, a box will appear on your screen and you will be prompted to enter the PIN. Once you’ve entered the PIN your business is verified.
This is the opposite of Google. When you reach the verification process, you should see a PIN number. Click on Call Me Now. Right after you’ve clicked, Yelp will call the phone number you listed for your business and you will be prompted to enter the PIN with your phone keypad. Once you’ve entered the PIN and hang up, your screen should show “Verification Successful”.
Here, the PIN is only displayed once you hit Call me Now. You will be able to see the PIN only when you receive the phone call. If you are using a local search marketing specialist, it is better to confirm by letter. With Bing, it only takes about 5 days for the letter to reach you.
This one works like Bing; Yellow Pages/AT&T will let you fill out information on your business. Once you get to the verification page. click Call me now, your PIN number will be displayed on your computer screen. At the exact same time you receive an automated phone call asking you to input the PIN with your phone keypad. The website will let you know when the verification is successful.
When you can, use the phone verification process. But there are instances when you can’t:
- If you have an automated phone system or use extensions
- You aren’t using a touch-tone phone
- You have phone issues
- Your phone filters automated phone calls
- A representative is verifying for you and coordinating is really hard (Bing, Yellow Pages)
If you cannot verify by phone
You will most of the time be forced to verifiy by letter or postcard. The website sends a postcard to your business’s address with the PIN included on it. You then enter the PIN on the verification page. The main drawback is that it takes 2 to 3 weeks and the postcard can get lost, or discarded as junk mail. Some websites can now offer SMS verification but I have never seen it actually been offered at the time of verification.
Things to consider
If Matmon or a local search specialist is claiming all your profiles for you, you will need to coordinate the verification process with us. Since the local sites only call your business’s phone number, we need to call you to either have the PIN number (Google) or to give you the PIN to input in the phone (Yelp, Bing). The Yellow Pages/AT&T process is the most complicated one because everything happens at once so coordinating is nearly impossible.
You also need to make sure that the person responsible for answering the phone is aware of the situation and will not disregard the phone calls.
Contact Matmon Internet if you’re interested in creating local search profiles for your business.