So you’re ready to list your small business on Google and just when you think everything’s going smoothly, the search engine has a rude surprise for you. Someone else has already claimed it.
You’re pretty sure you’re doing it for the first time and that your independent business is the only one with that name and address. What can you do now?
One of the most common questions about Google My Business is how do you claim yours when someone has already claimed it. Before we get to that, let’s understand why it usually happens:
You took over the business from a previous owner who had claimed it. Unfortunately, they never transferred the Google listing to you.
Someone in your team has already claimed the business but you’re unaware of it. An eager ‘digitally savvy’ team member decided to do it but forgot to tell you.
You did it and forgot. Do you remember all the email addresses and subscriptions that you had? It’s human to forget.
You forgot the login password or used a different account to open it.
Someone has intentionally claimed it to make life difficult for you.
The first thing is to figure out if you had made the listing and forgot the login credentials. Search your mailbox to see if there’re emails from Google My Business. If you can’t remember the password, you can proceed with account recovery.
The second step is to ask the previous owner or business partners or team members if they’d claimed it. If they had, things should be easy for you.
If you still can’t find the individual, try this. Google will give you a hint of the email address used to claim the business. See if it reminds you of someone.
If you found the individual and they’re willing to transfer it, here’s how to go about it:
They will have to sign in to their Google My Business profile.
From the menu that’s on the left side, they have to click on Users.
Then click on Invite new users.
They should then give the email or name of the new owner.
After that, click on Choose a role and then, Owner.
Finally, they have to click on Invite.
You’ll get an email telling you that you’ve become a user.
After that, this is how they can transfer the primary ownership of a Google My Business Profile:
From their profile, they will have to click on Users.
They can select the user they’d like to transfer the ownership to.
A menu will appear next to their name with an option Primary owner. Click on that.
Then click on Transfer and finally, Done.
The new owner can then go to Users and remove the previous owner.
If you can’t find the owner, you can follow these steps to claim ownership of the business listing.
Where it says that someone has claimed the profile, there will be an option to Request access. Click on that.
Fill the form. Give the correct contact information.
The existing owner will receive an email that has your request. They then have seven days to either approve, deny or ignore the request. If they approve, it’s settled.
If the owner of the account is long gone - or worse, an imposter with malicious intentions - your request may go answered.
If they deny, you’ll get an email stating so. That will also have an Appeal Now button. You can click on that to contact Google Support. They may take a couple of days to respond. In some cases, they may ask for more information and even correspond by post.
If your request is ignored for seven days, you should get the option to claim it. To this, you will need to verify that you are the true owner of the business, which involves receiving a postcard at the place of business.
Without a verified Google My Business profile, it would be difficult to get customer reviews and build credibility. Hopefully, one of these steps should help you claim your business.