You’re setting up a Google Business Profile for your service business and get through all the steps just fine–until you come to the verification. Where you might have been asked to complete a postcard or phone verification before, now you only see one option: video verification. Just exactly how, you might wonder, are you supposed to complete a video verification if you don’t have a storefront to show?
If you run into this, you aren’t alone. It seems like Google has moved away from other verification methods to almost exclusively video verification, even for service area businesses. This step tends to scare business owners, but you don’t need to panic. While it might take a little extra work, it isn’t difficult to complete this step and get your profile verified and live, as long as you are prepared. Here’s what you need to know to verify your service area business.
Plan ahead, but don’t pre-record.
Google requires that video verifications are performed live, so you can’t create a video ahead of time and upload it. Don’t start the video verification process until you are prepared. Make sure that you know what you will do in the video verification and have everything you need ready to make it a smooth process. You may need to recruit the help of another person to record the video, so plan for that.
Know what you need to show.
Many businesses might wonder how they can prove the location of their service area business if they are using a home address. While this is a little less straightforward for service area businesses than other businesses, Google really only wants two things: proof that you are located at the address you say you are, and proof that the business exists and is your business. Thus, you need to show the address, prove that you have management access to the address and business, and show your business equipment located at that address. The step that trips most people up is proving that they manage the location and business. However, this can be as simple as using a key to unlock the door.
Get it all in one take.
This isn’t meant to be a professional-quality video. Google requires that the video is completed in one continuous take, with no editing. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, but do focus on getting everything you need in one continuous shot. This can be tricky, especially if your proof of address (such as a street sign) is far from your house. Do your best to get everything you need in a video 2 minutes long or shorter.
Be creative to meet the requirements.
Many businesses will have branded equipment or vehicles, which can make it easier to prove the existence of the business. Don’t stress if your business doesn’t. You can still be verified, you will just need to be creative. Show any branded materials you do have, such as a uniform, business card, or (non-sensitive) documents like a business license or utility bill with your business name and address on it.
Don’t fake it.
The reason that video verification has been pushed is because Google is cracking down on spam listings. Don’t give them reason to suspect that your business isn’t legitimate. People sometimes think that they need to create fake business signage for their home, which they then remove after creating the video. If your business is set up as a service-based business with no address shown, this isn’t necessary as you can prove your business exists in other ways. If you really don’t have any legitimate ways to prove your business exists, perhaps you need to complete some more steps–such as officially registering your business to get a business license–before you create your Google Business Profile.
Let’s say you operate a carpet cleaning business out of your home. You have a branded van where you keep all of your cleaning equipment. Your video might look something like this:
Start by showing the closest street sign to your home or another nearby landmark. Pan or quickly walk over to your home (do not turn off the camera). Show the address on your house and use a key to unlock the front door. Walk over to your van parked in the driveway, being sure to show the branding on the outside. Use a key to unlock the van. Clearly show some of the cleaning equipment you use inside the van, especially anything that has your logo on it.
It’s fairly simple to create the required video to verify your business as long as you are prepared and know what to expect! If you need more help getting online and helping potential customers find your small service business, give Kite Media a call! Our digital marketing experts can help walk you through the Google Business Profile creation process and discuss other steps you can take to get your business found online, such as search engine optimation and pay-per-click ads.