Google has been doing their best to combat spam, specifically when it comes to Google Business Profile accounts. In todays video, we talk about a recent client of ours that didn’t receive a postcard from Google with the verification code. When we followed up with Google they requested a “live video verification”. Watch the rest of the video to find out what Google required.
What is up everyone? Welcome to the Restoration Rundown Podcast. This podcast is brought to you by Ironclad Restoration Marketing, and it is your one-stop shop for everything related to your restoration business, specifically marketing, if you’ve been paying attention. But we always have a ton of great guests on.
Today, it’s gonna be a rather short episode if I can even make that happen. Everybody knows how I like to talk and drone on, but today’s a very important episode, because it’s something new, something new that we can talk about, that directly affects your Google business. More specifically how to verify your Google business profile.
Now, we’ll back it up a second. Last year, the year before, it’s been crazy with Google Business Profiles, not only did they have that big name change, from Google My business to the Google Business profile, but they’ve enabled a ton of really cool features, and weighed a lot more heavily on your Google Business profiles as far as your ranking factor for organic search.
Now, if you don’t know about the Google Business profile, you should stop listening to this and go back and set one up and listen to some of our earlier episodes, or check out Ironclad Restoration Marketing’s website. We have some step-by-step tutorials, not only on how to do it, but why you need to be doing it. But essentially your Google Business Profile is tied directly to your Google Maps listing, which is for the service-based industry,your bread and butter, right?
Where do people look when they’re looking for somebody to come, do something in their home, nine times outta 10, they’re gonna go on a Google search. And the first thing they’re gonna see outside of the ads is the map section. And a lot of people pick whose closes with the best reviews, right? That’s just surface level, how that buyer’s journey works. But if you’re out there and you’re actively using your Google Business Profile to get rankings to get leads from the internet, you need to pay attention to this.
So we all know, there was some bugs in the last couple years with this big algorithm update, that was causing a lot of suspensions. Some of them were warranted every time they do one of these Google algorithm updates. It’s really the intentions are to get rid of spam, get rid of companies that really don’t exist in your service area that are marketing in that area, by trying to gain the system and these algorithm updates come up and give ’em a big old spanking and suspend their profiles.
But it’s not a perfect system. We’re dealing with a lot of AI. So what ends up happening is a lot of people that are doing things legit, even a lot of guys out there that are paying for somebody else to do their marketing form that may not be doing things on the up and up as far as what Google’s requiring on their guidelines, they’re getting their profiles suspended. I mean, I think I breathed on one real funny last year, and they suspended it.
And because there was a bug, getting the profiles reinstated is a very long process. It used to take like a week, maybe two weeks. Now it’s taken over a month sometimes, and even beyond that, it has been getting better as of late. We did an episode, and I think I brought it up on one of our social media channels that they did finally admit that they had a bug with the profiles. And it’s been a few months, so I think they’ve been catching up.
Anyways, so if you’ve ever had your profile suspended, you know that it’s a pain in a butt to get it back. What Google typically does, or what we do is we provide just documentation, photos, actual paper documents, lease agreements, COIs, whatever you can to Google, and we appeal and we start the appeal process. After you get your profile reinstated, or let’s say you’re starting a new profile, you have to go through the verification process once again.
And if you have an active Google business profile, then you know back in the day you used to be able to have them just call your business. They would give you a code, you’d put it in. They stopped doing that for home services stuff and they started doing the postcard verification, which is great.
They won’t verify a PO box. They won’t verify virtual addresses and really it’s, like I said before, it’s to get rid of those spammy, people or the companies that are trying to gain the system. Lead Gen services were notorious for doing it, especially in the locksmith community. They were just setting up these Google business profiles, running ads, and they didn’t even exist in that city and they were just feeding those leads to other people.
So Google doesn’t want that. They want authenticity. That’s their number one goal is to serve relevant, pertinent, results, and services to people that are using their platform. So you used to be able to do the postcard and they still do it. Well, the other day, this is the first time we’ve seen this, and I don’t know how long it’s been out there, but one of our clients was trying to, verify a brand new profile, up into northeast somewhere.
And they, we went through the normal process, requested the postcard. The postcard didn’t show up. That’s pretty normal. Usually after four or five days, if we don’t see it, we’ll re-request it. And nine times outta 10, that second request usually gets that postcard there in a couple days. Well, this time we were hit with an error and said, “You were not able to request the postcard anymore. You were gonna be doing a live video verification.”
My team, you know, we got on some emails, we chatted back and forth, we did a little research and yeah, Google is requiring in a lot of circumstances with the service-based industry now. And this may become more prevalent, video verification. So when we used to have to submit photos of your storefront, photos of your team, your van showing the address of your store, they’d make you take pictures from the road looking at your building, if you had a warehouse or a staging area yard, they would make you send pictures of that lease agreements just to make sure that you’re a legitimate business.
Well, now they’ve taken it a step farther and they’re requiring like a Zoom conference. It sounded a lot worse than it was. It’s hard enough for us to get our clients to just get reviews and go through this stuff, and you guys are busy, you know? You’re out there every day, 7:00 AM some guys are 6:00 AM, some guys are earlier than that, and you’re on the road and you’re working and you’re answering calls and you’re dealing with employees. So here’s just another step that you’ve gotta take to prove that you’re legitimate.
So, the video verification process, it didn’t end up being that bad. You do have to download, Google meets, and you actually get on a video call with a live Google representative. And what they’re looking for is that your legitimate business. So they had our client, show them the workplace.
You know, if it’s a yard and a lot of you guys out there make sh** you know? And your Google business profiles, you may not see people at your office. There’s really no reason to. You’re a service company. So you visit people at that or their addresses, but this Google representative, wanted to see the logo, wanted to see one of the work trucks that they had, make sure that that work truck had equipment in it.
Yes, they actually had the client show them a quick video of the equipment that they used. You know, it was some dehumidifiers or something like that. They had it in a van. It just so happened to be heading out to a job. They had to, show the specialist the license plate of the vehicle. You needed to make sure you had your logo on the vehicle, any tools.
They write in the email they sent you. You can’t use public transportation. So for anybody that’s out there listening to this, that owns a restoration or a cleaning company, and you’re getting on public transportation to go remediate property damage, I’m sorry but that just won’t work for your video verification process.
But it actually ended up being really simple and I like it. You know, as much of a pain in a butt it is, as it is. You know, as a marketer, we deal with these spammy companies just like you do. Not only do they kind of kick you outta your service area and knock you off the first page of Google, but they’re doing a disservice to the industry in a lot of different ways. They’re misleading clients.
If somebody has a pipe burst under their slab and they need somebody to come to their house, right now, they’re picking up the phone and they’re getting a call center. Most of the people don’t want a call center. It’s happening a lot in a septic community now for septic breaks that we’re noticing. But Google doesn’t want that either.
They want that person when they have emergency damage to be able to pick the phone up or go on their computer and either get to a website, get to a contact form, or get somebody on the phone right away to come take care of their issues. And they give those people preferential treatment. It is a ranking factor. Your availability.
We talk about name, address, phone number, having a website, having an easy way to get in touch, enabling call tracking on your Google business profile. Being active on the messaging part of Google Business profile and posting updates. All those things are gonna help you get more leads and more eyeballs on your business.
So this video verification method, we initially met it with like, you know, we didn’t want nothing to do with it. We’re like, ah! Here’s another thing that we’ve gotta do. It ended up being great and, as much of a pain as it may have seemed in the first place, I like it because at the end of the day when people get used to doing things like this, it’s gonna force those guys that may not even own equipment to start really doing things right.
So guys that are out there and ladies that are running these restoration and cleaning companies that have been doing it the right way, they’re, you know, upset all the time because these nobodies are coming in, beating ’em out online, with like, no reviews, and they’re like, you know, they’re not a legitimate business. That’s gonna help mitigate some of that stuff out there.
So if you get suspended, and you go through the whole, appeal process and you get your profile reinstated and you have to go verify and you do come across this issue of the video verification, don’t fret, download Google meets on your phone. It’s super easy. You can schedule with a specialist right there. Your marketing agency, if they’re managing a Google business profile, should be able to walk you through this stuff.
If it does come up and you’re lost, you guys can get in touch with my team at Ironclad Restoration Marketing. We’ve done it a handful of times now, since two weeks ago. And or if you are starting a new profile, go through the normal track to set your profile up before you even try to verify it.
So, we talked about this before. Make sure you’re filling out your profile completely. Put your entire service area. Put all the services you offer. Put your business description. Make sure your website’s accurate. Make sure the address you use on your Google business profile or set a service area. But if your address is something that you have people come visit people at, or visit you guys at, then make sure that it’s consistent with your website and your social media channels.
It’s called the NAP, their name, address, phone number, it’s important. You gotta look at your Google Business profile as a directory listing. Make sure you upload photos of your team, upload photos of your vans or your trucks, upload photos of your storefront, all the things that they ask you for when they suspend your profile, just have it on there already. Then go through the verification process. And there’s a good chance you’re gonna have to do the video verification. Go through with it. It’s super easy, painless and it only took a few minutes.
And, we’re interested to see how this actually affects their rankings in their local maps section. I’m gonna be the ultimate optimist and say, this may help a little bit because you’re actually vetting your business out. You know? It’s easy to gain the system to postcard verification and they’re really nipping it into bud ’cause a lot of people were Photoshopping their business address on buildings that they might have been sharing with five or six other contractors and Google just does not want that.
Remember, everything you do online is to provide the best service. The most pertinent services that people are looking for in Google will give you that preferential treatment outside of all the other work that you need to be doing to your digital channels to be able to get those leads coming in.
So that’s it! If you run across this problem, don’t fret. Listen to this. Again, you should be able to get through this quite easily. And again, if you have any issues, reach out to us. You can leave a comment on our YouTube, but our social media channels where all this stuff is going to be played or any one of the streaming services. Trust me, we do check ’em. So if you have questions or you’re struggling with any of this stuff, get in touch right away and we’d be happy to help. Until then, good luck. Keep working on those Google Business Profiles. They are your bread and butter. Don’t ever forget it.
If you’re on a job right now and you’re remediating water damage, or you’re doing some mold removal, or you’re knocking some asbestos off the side of a building, or somebody’s whole entire kitchen is flooded, take a picture with your phone, little homework. Take a picture with your phone, get onto your Google Business profile on your phone, and upload that picture with a nice caption on there, and you’re gonna see some really good movement on your Google Business Profile just by doing that little bit of a trick. All right?
All right, everybody! That’s it for today. Thanks for tuning in. Follow us, The Restoration Rundown, follow Ironclad Restoration Marketing on all streaming channels, every social media, we are everywhere. We’re omnipresent. Have a great day. Talk to you guys soon!
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Benjamin Ricciardi is the founder of Ironclad Restoration Marketing, A digital marketing agency that specializes in the Restoration and Cleaning industry based in South Florida. Benjamin is the author of The No Bulls**t Guide to Internet Marketing for Restoration Contractors and hosts The Restoration Rundown Podcast, a podcast that is focused on everything related to marketing and owning a Restoration and Cleaning Business. Connect with Benjamin and Ironclad Restoration Marketing on social media for the latest tips and tricks on how to grow your Restoration Business.