More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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This question just came up at the Google and your Business Forum so I wanted to share my answer here for anyone one else that's ever wondered this.

<a href="!msg/business/_NdXNYqYpKs/ggARPh3EhIEJ">Why can't Google Verify Agencies and give them permission to Verify Clients?</a>

I don't understand why Google doesn't have an Agency or Partner verification process that each agency can go through. This way as an agency we can verify local listings without involving the client which sometimes takes 3 or 4 cards being sent and numerous phone calls. I know the argument is that any malicious person would then be able to claim the listing, but this is not true if an agency goes through a certain verification process.

My reply:

Hi James, I understand what you are saying but I don't see how they could.

There are so many super shady agencies out there that don't play by the rules... For instance there are BIG agencies with several thousand clients that have done things like hold listings hostage for payment and threaten to delete if the client cancels. If they could just verify a ton of business without their involvement it would be a fiasco.

I even did an expose about a company that held listings for ransom and added "Awaiting Removal" to the business name to make the company look bad: Google Places New Penalty State? Awaiting Removal – See Screenshot below.

<center><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1101" title="awaitingremoval" src="" alt="" width="420" /></a></center>

So there would be all kinds of hostage and extortion attempts. Even as it is many of these scammers call SMBs threatening to delete their listings if they don't pay them to update them. Right now those are idle threats but if they could verify without the client's permission they could edit and mess up listings.

I'm sure you are honest and many SEOs and agencies are - but there are soooo many bad apples that ruin it for the rest of us.

Getting clients verified is not as hard as it seems. You just need to have the right systems in place to avoid problems. I have a whole section about it in my training and email template that helps avoid problems.

For example one thing I started doing back when I still accepted clients is started using that email template. After I requested verification PIN, I would email the client.

It has big red bold text saying something like:

"Warning. You will be getting mail from Google in 5 - 14 days. STAFF often throws this mail away without realizing how important it is."

Then I embed an image of what it's going to look like and say something like:

"Please tell staff to watch for it and also forward this email to them so they know what it will look like. I need you to call or email me with the PIN # as soon as it comes in. If they throw it away and I have to request another it could delay the start of your optimization for another 3 weeks and I'm sure you are as anxious as I am to start working on improvements to your visibility."

Anyway something like that. The above was off top of my head. The wording I think is better flushed out in the template and of course is more visual with the image. But you get the idea.

Before I dreamed up that template I constantly had staff lose or throw away PINs, but after the template it never happened. So you might want to just add something like that to your new listing creation process.

Do any of you remember reading that expose I did? It was back in May 2011.
Was anyone reading me way back then???

That company has done many other shady things and has been outed at Mike's a few times too.
Anything that takes the ultimate control/ownership away from the business owner is definitely a bad thing!

As Linda said, there are too many bad people out there who want to hold businesses to ransom.

It may be a pain in the posterior for us when the client tells us they still haven't had their verification postcard but it's in the best interests of everyone in the long run.

In some ways connecting Google Places to the more social Google+ has made the listing more accessible and less frightening to the business owner. They are starting to understand the idea behind it because it is more like Facebook's business pages.

And allowing the agencies to be managers has got to be better as it allows the client to retain control as the owner.

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