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Verifying Google Maps Listing

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So everyone and their mother is now giving out local SEO advice about getting listed in the local search engines/internet yellow pages. Recently articles were published on Entrepreneur.com and MSNBC which both of course suggested getting listed in these local directories including Google Maps. Sound advice indeed.

So finally when I have time to start working on one of my own websites that has severely been neglected, the first thing I do is try and get a Google Maps listing. The listing is for my rental condo in breckenridge. I get through entering all the information and finally I am asked how I want to verify the listing: by postcard, or by phone. This is when I noticed that the verification by phone option had been grayed out and was unavailable.

google local phone option disabled 3

For most businesses this would be no big deal as they would just choose the post card option and move on, but for me of course it is not that easy because there is no actual door to door mail service in Breckenridge. You have to have a PO Box at the post office or get mail sent to c/o General Delivery at the post office where they will hold it for you temporarily. Of course you still have to show up at the post office in Breckenridge to receive the mail either way, and since we are sold out for the rest of the winter, and with any luck at all I don’t plan on being in Breckenridge anytime soon. So I looked into what might be causing the phone verification option to be disabled.

I found this post on the Google Maps Help Group. In the post Maps Guide Jen writes the following in response to a fellow business owner with a similar problem:

-An incorrect or invalid phone number was submitted.
-The phone number you gave us doesn’t match your business address.
-Phone system issues (e.g. a bad connection).
-Someone at your number may have requested not to receive further calls from
the Google Local Business Center.
-No touch-tone phone available.

….I would say that verifying via PO Box is probably your best
choice, especially if you don’t have any ability to receive mail at your
business locations. If you’re worried about people finding your business,
you can always add a note to the description section of your business
listing in the Local Business Center to help direct your customers to your
location.

This quote seems to make sense at first so I tried to figure out how to get around this phone verification bug without actually having to show up in Breckenridge to receive mail that may or may not have arrived yet ;)

I went to Grand Central and registered for a free 970 area code number which forwards to my cell phone. (this service also has a ton of other really cool features which I’ll describe some other time). I then tried to use this phone number as my business number in the listing since it could have easily been a Breckenridge number. No Luck. The phone verification option was still disabled.

Looking back at Map Guide Jen’s advice, there is really only one bullet that may apply “The phone number you gave us doesn’t match your business address.” Now I don’t know what source they are using to match numbers and addresses, but either way mine won’t work.

I guess until Google figures out a secure yet convenient verification system, I will be stuck hoping my post card has arrived(and hasn’t been returned) next time I show up at the post office in Breckenridge :(

Also for the record, I respect Maps Guide Jen and all, but telling someone to use an incorrect and possibly far off address for a business listing and then putting the correct address in the description is a hack at best. Google Maps has got to come up with a better solution than that.

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Verifying Google Maps Listing
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About Mike Belasco
A thought leader in search engine marketing, Mike Belasco, president of seOverflow, began his journey in the mid-90's developing websites and studying search engine optimization when it was in its infancy. Mike continues to live and breathe all things search engine optimization ensuring that he and his staff stay at the forefront of the industry. He also regularly speaks at national industry events and conferences. Mike is a certified Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador. His blog was named 'Best Local Search Blog' in 2006 by Search Engine Journal. Mike holds a business systems information degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. WebProNews Writer
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