If you’ve ever gone through the process of verifying your business’s address with Google so that your address shows up in Google Maps and Google’s business sidebar, you know that it can be incredibly frustrating. Over the last few years I’ve spent dozens of hours requesting verification postcards, re-requesting postcards after the previously requested postcard didn’t show up, re-re-requesting postcards, writing emails to Google My Business representatives, explaining on the phone that, no, for some mysterious reason we didn’t receive the postcard, and no, we didn’t receive the phone call to verify by phone…
When the process works, it’s actually very easy, requiring just a few minutes of effort and the patience to wait three to five days for the address verification postcard to arrive. But when it doesn’t work right, it can be a nightmare.
But Google now offers an alternative verification option: video verification.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been collaborating with a client on what has been, without a doubt, the most difficult business verification process that I have ever dealt with. This has been going on for more than two months now, to no avail. Some peculiarities in how the business lists its address–the business shares a building with a number of other businesses, and chooses not to use a suite number, as it’s by far the largest business in the building–have apparently displeased the Google gods. We simply have not been able to get satisfaction, despite innumerable emails, phone calls, and even having the client send a number of photos showing the business’s entrance, signage, and details about the other businesses that share the building.
But a couple of days ago, after yet another email sent to Google’s My Business division, I received the following:
I was intrigued, so I passed the email along to our client to see if he was amicable. Unsurprisingly, he leaped at the chance to potentially resolve this mess once and for all (though he was understandably annoyed after having bent over backwards more than once to try and appease Google).
As a side note, a bit of research indicates that Google also offers video verification as an option for delivery-type businesses as well. Here’s an extract from an email to another business with a bullet point explaining this option:
“- Vehicle – To show us how you get to your customers. This will include showing our specialist the license plate of your registered motor vehicle (sorry, no public transit accepted at this time) and your business logo on the vehicle. If you carry tools or other instruments of your trade in your vehicle, that’s ideal.”
Setting up the video verification call, and what to expect.
One of my first questions when I first heard about the video verification option was, “What app do they use?” As it turns out, Google uses their Hangouts application to host the video call. Hangouts is a browser- and app-based application that provides services including text-based messaging, voice calls, and video calls, all of which can be one-on-one or with multiple people (voice and video support up to 10 people).
For business verification purposes, you’ll need to have the Hangouts app installed on your phone, which is available for both Android and iPhone smartphones. Once you’ve got this set up, you can schedule a call with Google’s My Business team for anytime ranging from within the next few minutes to a few days out (make sure that you’ll be at your business at the time you schedule!). In my client’s case, he scheduled the call for the next day.
When the scheduled time rolled around, he received a phone call from GMB, informing him that they had just sent him a link via email that would launch a Hangouts video call. Clicking the link launched the video call. Once the call was up and running, my client was asked to walk around the office and point the camera at various items: the business’s signage out front, the front door, a business card, the business’s products, and so on.
All told, the process took about 10 minutes. Within an hour, he received the email that we’ve been fantasizing about for months:
While there were a few follow-up details to take care of, and the listing would take a couple deals to fully work its way through Google’s system, we had finally gotten the business verified with Google.
If you have had issues with verifying your business with Google through the usual methods–receiving a postcard with a verification code, or by phone (which Google occasionally offers)–then I would highly recommend asking if your business is eligible for video verification. You’ll definitely want to take a little time to plan ahead, as you’ll essentially be giving a tour of your business, and will want to make sure you have materials like your business cards, examples of the products you sell, evidence of non-physical services you offer, etc. But it’s definitely worth the trouble if you haven’t been able to get verified.
We hope the process goes as smoothly for you as it did for our client!