So, someone else owns your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing. Fear not! We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you claim, verify, edit, and even build listings from the ground up.
Table of Contents
How to Create a Listing From Scratch
1. To create a brand-new listing via your GBP Dashboard, select “Add location” and then select “Add a single location” from the dropdown menu.
2. Enter the new listing’s name, address info, category, phone number, and website URL. Then select “Finish and verify this business.”
3. The new listing should now populate on your GBP Manager. Be sure to edit the listing to the fullest extent before verifying.
How Many Listings to Create
Now that you understand how to create your GBP listing, it might be tempting to go overboard and make dozens of them. Here are a few tips to pinpoint just how many GBP listings you should create for your practice.
We’re big on working smarter, not harder. As it turns out, so is Google. The more listings you have, the more likely you are to show up in patient searches. This doesn’t mean you should be creating listings unnecessarily. Rather, it means each listing should be optimized and correspond to the location and/or provider that you desire to market.
We recommend creating one Google listing for a provider at each location where they see more than 10% of patients. This is because a Google listing always corresponds to a physical address. When your practice fits the criteria patients are searching for, your practice and providers are more likely to appear at the top of searches, especially in the Google 3-pack.
One of the ways that Google ranks practices is via distance from the person performing the search. The more location listings you have relevant to their distance, the more likely you are to show up in patient searches. This is another reason why rater8’s GBP consultants emphasize the importance of accounting for all practice location listings.
It’s also why our clients see dramatic results in patient volume when we optimize their listings according to Google’s standards!
How to Claim a Pre-existing Listing
Before claiming a listing, check whether it’s already been claimed. To determine this, you can either inspect the listing’s Google search view, or you can review your rater8 Google Business Profile Scorecard.
In the above listings, the one on the left features an “Own this business?” link, whereas the one on the right does not. Any listing that displays “Own this business?” is typically unclaimed, and you can immediately access and edit the listing on your GBP Manager once you have claimed it. Any listing that does not display “Own this business?” is claimed by another Google user, and you must request access and ultimately verify the listing.
Request access to an unclaimed listing:
1. Copy the listing’s name to your clipboard.
2. Navigate to Google Business Profile Manager.
3. Paste the name of the listing into the search field. Select the listing when it populates in the dropdown menu.
4. Select the option to “Manage now,” and the listing will populate in your GBP Dashboard.
Note: You want to avoid being denied access from a listing at all costs. You can try appealing the denial or suggesting an edit directly on the listing, but you will not be able to gain access to the listing swiftly or effectively.
Request access to an already claimed listing:
1. Copy the listing’s name to your clipboard.
2. On your GBP Dashboard, select “Add location,” then select “Add single location.” This will take you to the Google Business Profile Manager.
3. Paste the name of the listing into the search field. Select the listing when it populates in the dropdown menu.
4. Google will let you know the listing has already been claimed. It will display a partially hidden email address (e.g., ab…@…..). You will want to investigate whether or not you may know the identity of the owner. If you are unable to identify or get in touch with the owner, they may reject your request and keep you from ever being able to gain ownership. If you are able to identify the owner, reach out to them immediately to let them know you will be requesting ownership of the listing. Once you’ve cleared the request for access with the owner, go ahead and select “Request access.”
5. Fill out the form to request ownership access.
6. If the owner of the listing does not respond to your request after seven days, you will be able to re-complete the above steps to attempt to gain ownership of the listing.
How to Verify a Listing
Verification via postcard:
Postcard verification is the most common way to verify a listing. Google will mail you a postcard featuring a verification code.
- Sign into GBP, select the listing you would like to verify, and then select “Verify now.”
- On the postcard request screen, ensure your business address is correct. If it isn’t, edit the address before requesting a postcard. When you’re certain the address is accurate, select “Send postcard.”
- While awaiting your postcard, do not edit your listing or request a new code. This can delay the verification process. You must wait 14 days from the date the postcard is sent before Google can escalate the issue.
- Once you receive your postcard, enter the five-digit code into GBP and select “Submit.”
Note: Postcards typically arrive in 5-10 days but may take up to 4 weeks. Postcards can only be re-sent up to 5 times. To have a postcard re-sent, select the applicable listing. Then, under the “Info” tab, select “I don’t have a code.” From there, you can choose to have another postcard mailed or change the method of verification.
Verification via email:
Sometimes Google allows for email verification. It provides the option to enter the username of an email domain that corresponds to the practice or to the listing. Unfortunately, if the email domain Google provides is incorrect, you cannot change it to the appropriate domain. In that case, utilize postcard verification instead.
Verification via phone:
You will likely only encounter the two verifications listed above (postcard and email). However, in some cases, you can request special verification options by submitting a Google Support ticket.
These are some additional forms of GBP verification you could encounter, including phone, photo, and video.
If phone verification is offered, Google will automatically use the phone number that was originally added to the listing. You cannot verify the practice using a phone number different from the one listed.
In this scenario, Google will call the phone listed and, upon answering, the pre-recorded code will automatically begin to play. It is crucial that the number listed is answered by a live person, as Google will not know whether it is speaking to a live person versus a phone system.
A great way to combat this issue is by contacting your phone vendor to see if they can set up a rule/macro that enables all calls from Google’s verification phone number to be forwarded to a live person, allowing someone to get the code over the phone. Alternatively, calls originating from this number can be routed to another designated number such as the client’s direct line or cell.
Google’s verification service always calls from the following phone number: (202) 455-8888.
Verification via photo:
Photo verification is typically only available after all other methods have been exhausted, such as if you have unsuccessfully been mailed several postcards.
If you have run out of verification options, then you will need to contact Google Support. They will ask for a set of specific photos of the practice’s listing in reference. For instance, 3-5 unedited photos of:
The practice’s storefront as seen from the street and/or in front of your practice
Signage showing the name of the practice and its entrance
The inside of the practice, as a practice sees when entering
If available, a link showing Google Street View imagery of the street and/or neighborhood in which your practice is located
If applicable, the name and website URL of the venue in which your practice resides (e.g., shopping mall)
If any of the above formats aren’t possible for your practice, provide the best photographic proof possible of the practice’s surroundings and how a patient can find it.
If Google still does not find this response satisfactory, you will be asked to pursue video verification.
Verification via video:
If you have exhausted all your verification options, submit a Google Support ticket requesting video verification. Google will provide their availability for a call and instructions on how to prepare.
For example, Google will prompt you with something like:
“Please download/install the Meet application on your mobile or any other device that you would use for video calls.”
Once on the video call, these are the proofs you are required to show:
- Practice name and address (there should be signage at the entrance)
- There should be an onsite office for your practice, where patients walk in
- Business card
- Tools and equipment
The employee performing the call should be personnel authorized to manage the practice information.
If the video is satisfactory to the Google representative, they will verify the listing within 24-48 business hours.
How to Edit a Listing
All listing edits can be made under the “Info” tab in the left-hand column once you select the listing. Below are all of the edits that can be made to a listing, as ordered from top to bottom in your GBP Manager. Any section in bold is always addressed in rater8-optimized GBP listings. All other sections are either unsuitable for medical practices or are trivial to SEO.
- Name/Business Title – Names identical to the practice website.
- Category – You can feature one primary and many secondary categories chosen from a dropdown list created by Google.
- Service Area – For delivery radii.
- Special Hours – For holidays.
- Phone Number – You can add many phone numbers, e.g., a toll-free 800 number in addition to direct office location numbers.
- Short Name – You can no longer create or edit short names. Those that already exist should still work.
- URLs – Website and appointment links.
- Services – For a service menu with fixed prices.
- Products – See above.
- Accessibility – You can add practitioner gender, wheelchair accessibility, and business highlights like LGBT-friendly, women-led, unisex restroom, etc.
- Business Description
- Opening Date – When your business was established, e.g., est.1980.
- Photos – Cover photo and logo.
Note: To avoid glitches and maintain consistency, we recommend limiting category, phone number, and photo entries to one option for each listing.
Uploading Photos to Your Google Business Profile
Types of Google My Business Profiles
- Google My Business Profile Photos: Help current and prospective patients recognize your medical practice on Google.
- Google My Business Cover Photos: Showcase your profile’s personality through your Google My Business cover photo.
- Additional Google My Business Photos: Additional photos to spotlight features of your medical practice.
How to Remove a Listing
There are many reasons your practice may decide to remove its listing – including a change in location or closing.
To remove a listing from your account:
- Log into your GBP account.
- Select the name of the listing you would like to remove.
- From the Google Search listing, select the three dots to the right of the business’s name.
- Select “Business Profile Settings”.
- Select “Remove Business Profile”.
- Select either “Mark this Business as Closed” or “Remove Profile Content and Managers”.
How to Manage Users
Google My Business User Roles
Profile Owners have complete control over the Google My Business Profile, including the ability to add new users.
Owners and primary owners have the same capabilities, but a primary owner cannott remove themselves from a listing until they transfer their primary ownership to another user.
Communications managers have the capabilities of a manager, including adding new users – except for editing business info.
How to Add Users to Google My Business
- Claim your Google My Business listing.
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Select the location you’d like to manage.
- Click Users from the menu.
- In the top right corner, click the “Invite new managers” icon .
- Enter the name or email address of the user you’d like to add.
- Select the user’s role by choosing Owner, Manager, or Communications manager.
- Click Invite. Invitees will have the option to accept the invitation and immediately become listing owners or managers.
How to Share a Listing with rater8
Sharing a Google listing with rater8 is easier than you may think.
Below are the following steps however, please note, you must be the owner or primary owner or primary owner of the listing to share:
- Navigate to business.google.com.
- Find the listing you want to share with rater8 by selecting “See your profile” or clicking on the name of the listing. There will be a three-dot button where you will select “Business Profile settings.” Select “Managers” to add rater8. Note, you’ll have to share each listing individually.
- Next, Google will ask for the name or email address of the new user. Input rater8’s group location ID number. Note, to obtain our group location ID number, please email [email protected]. We will provide the Group ID accordingly.
- Once you have entered the information, an icon will pop up below the ID number with your practice’s name next to it.
- Select your practice name, the “Choose a role” box, and then “Owner” or “Manager” from the menu that appears.
- Select the Invite button in the bottom right of the screen to complete the process. Note that this will not remove you as the primary owner of the listing. It will make rater8 a co-owner and enable us to make changes to the listing. You will be able to remove us as an owner at any time.
- Once you have shared all of your Google listings with rater8, please let us know via email at [email protected]! We will then finalize the activation of the feature and walk you through how to reply to reviews from the dashboard.
Once rater8 has access to your listings, we’ll take care of the rest for you!
How to Best Respond to Reviews Using rater8
Responding to positive and negative reviews alike is essential to building a stellar online reputation.
Taking the time to respond to all your reviews shows your appreciation for the positive ones and acknowledgement of the negative ones. It also boosts your local search engine results and rankings!
However, determining the best way to respond to reviews is stickier territory. We’ve identified a few tricks and best practices to help.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to claim your Google listing before you can respond to reviews associated with the listing.
The next key point is that time is of the essence! If you wait weeks before responding to reviews, the reviewer has most likely moved on and forgotten they ever left one. As a best practice, block out time to respond to reviews weekly, if not daily.
Generally, when a negative review is posted, it’s best to investigate the reviewer’s concern internally before responding. You’ll also want to verify they are indeed a patient, and have Google remove any spam or fake reviews.
Maintaining HIPAA compliance:
Using a templated response is best when responding to both negative and positive reviews. Not only will you be able to respond quickly and save time, but you’ll also remain HIPAA-compliant and avoid an emotionally charged response.
Our clients have access to a streamlined review response process from within the rater8 dashboard. In addition to the ability to respond to all their Google reviews from one centralized location, they can also use rater8’s pre-written, HIPAA-compliant review responses called “Zip Replies.” Our Zip Replies (example below) are customizable, and an abundance of variety prevents prospective patients from seeing the same standard response.
How to Delete a Review
In some cases, you may feel the need to remove a problematic review from your profile.
Google My Business does not have a delete button, however. Instead, a Google review must be flagged before it can be removed. Posts may only be flagged flag if they violate Google’s policies.
Common Google Review Violations
The following violations are grounds for the removal of a review:
- Reviews written by competitors seeking to sabotage others.
- Harassment, bullying, or hate speech, including the use of offensive language or personal attacks.
- Clear conflicts of interests forfeit your right to write reviews. This extends to current or past employees.
- Off-topic, inauthentic reviews, impersonation, and speaking on behalf of others’ experiences are also prohibited.
For some industries, such as restaurants, it can be impossible to validate the authenticity of review. Fortunately, healthcare providers should be able to easily to validate a review by leveraging the practice’s patient database.
Deleting Reviews on Desktop
Deleting Reviews on Mobile
- Open the Google My Business app.
- Tap the menu, then tap Reviews.
- Select the review you would like to remove.
- Tap the three dot menu, and then tap “Flag Review.”
Note: Each flagged review is assessed by Google on an individual basis. The review process can take a few business days.
How to Measure the Success of Your GBP
To measure your Google My Business profile’s success, select the Insights tab within the Google My Business dashboard.
The three most important metrics to monitor are:
- Website visits
- Calls made
- Direction requests
How to Access Google My Business Insights
- Log in to Google My Business.
- Select the location you wish to analyze. Insights can only view individual listings.
- In the left-hand column, select to the Insights tab.
Available reports in Google My Business Insights
- How customers search for your business.
- Where customers view your business on Google: The Google services that customers use to find your business.
- Customer actions: The most common actions that customers take on your listing.
- Phone calls: When and how many times customers call your business.
- Photo views: The number of times your business photos have been viewed.
- Photo quantity: The number of photos that appear on your business, compared to photos from other businesses.
How to Download Google My Business Insights
- Select the listings you want to download as a bulk Insights report.
- Above the list of your locations, select Download Insights.
- In the screen that opens, select Get Report.
- Select the time frame for your data, then select Download.
- Your report will begin downloading automatically in a new tab. After your report finishes downloading, you may close the tab.
How to Optimize Your Listing
Office Listings: Use the full practice name.
Provider Listings: A doctor’s name should be formatted First M. Last, MD and mirror whatever is displayed on the practice website. Some doctors may have no middle initial, and some doctors choose to initial their first name instead, e.g., F. Middle Last, MD. Be sure to check whether the doctor is an MD, DO, DPM, etc.
Office Listings: Instead of using “orthopedic clinic,” opt for the majority of your doctors’ specialties, such as “orthopedic surgeon” or “family practice physician.”
Provider Listings: Use the category that best represents what the provider specializes in (e.g., orthopedic surgeon). Common alternative categories we’ve encountered include: pain management physician, anesthesiologist, sports medicine physician, and physiatrist. Be sure to check the list of GBP categories to find the appropriate category for the doctor.
Addresses must be exact copies of how they are formatted on the practice’s website. Designations like street (St.), drive (Dr.), court (Ct.), highway (Hwy.), parkway (Pkwy.), and suite (Ste.) must appear exactly as they are on the practice’s website, down to the punctuation.
Some practices may provide office hours that differ from phone hours. It is best to list phone hours on GBP listings.
If there is a toll-free number for the practice, list it as secondary and keep the direct office number as the primary phone number.
A website link should go directly the practice website’s homepage. An appointment link should go to a “request appointment” page, “contact us” page, or online appointment-scheduling resource.
The business description should be composed from the text on the practice’s website that best defines the practice or provider.
It is best to upload the same photo for both “logo” and “cover.” Photos should be high quality with 1:1 (square) dimensions.
Google Photo Guidelines:
Resolution: Minimum of 250px by 250px. Recommendation of 720px x 720px.
File Format: PNG or JPG.
Size: Between 10KB and 5MB.
The “cover” photo is the one that appears on the GBP listing on Google search results. “Logo” is for the small icon that appears beside your username when you respond to reviews or answer questions on your listing. Any additional photos uploaded to a listing will appear once you click on the listing’s cover photo and begin to scroll through.
Office Listings: An external building photo is preferred; however, a logo or group photo can also be used if necessary.
Provider Listings: A professional headshot is ideal.
Removing Unwanted Photos: Under the listing on your GBP Manager, select the photo you want to removed, and check the upper right-hand corner for a trash icon. Select the trash icon to delete the photo from the listing.
Reporting Unwanted Photos: Select the unwanted photo and check the upper right-hand corner. If there is a flag icon instead of a trash icon, the photo was uploaded by another Google user and cannot be deleted right away. Select the flag icon to report the photo. If the photo is still displayed on the listing, contact GBP Help and ask for the unwanted photos to be removed.
Desired Photo Not Appearing: A provider’s photo should show up on the GBP page when it is loaded to the Profile and Cover pages. Sometimes a Google Rep will tell you that Google is an open platform and they cannot guarantee the photo will show up. This is incorrect and reflects an inexperienced rep. Google can escalate the issue and have the photos appear on the listing.
How to Contact Google Support
Have more questions? Google My Business Support can help with questions related to:
To contact Google My Business, there are two options:
1. Navigate to Google My Business Support.
- In the top right-hand corner, select Contact Us.
- Select the relevant issue, and Google My Business will display your contact options, which often include a callback, chat, or email support.
2. Contact Google My Business on Twitter via their handle: @GoogleMyBiz.
Note: Google’s direct line (844-491-9665) was retired in 2022. Users cannot currently contact Google via phone.
You're All Set to Claim & Optimize!
Creating a GBP listing from scratch can be a hassle, let alone claiming, verifying, and editing one. If this guide didn’t have the answer to all your questions, check out our abundance of GPB resources here on the blog! Better yet, try rater8 free for 30 days and learn how we can optimize ALL of your GBP listings for you. That’s right — you’ll never have to edit another listing yourself. Dream come true? We think so!