“This is Vincent from the claims center. It is imperative that you claim your Google listing before someone else does.”

Vincent, my man. You’re speaking to a website development company. Nice try though.

Let’s make this clear: there is no independent firm managing business listings on behalf of Google. At best they’re capitalizing on ignorance to the esoteric nature of search ranking; the worse and more likely scenario: they’re scamming you.

Any business owner can establish what’s called a Google My Business profile. For free. If a listing doesn’t yet exist, you create and confirm it. If a listing does exist, you claim it and (after verifying identity) gain control of it.

“But Vincent told me it’s imperative I claim my listing before someone else does!”

The only way someone else can claim your business listing is if they stake out your physical mailbox to steal the verification code postcard Google will send to your business’ address.

What kind of lunatic would do this?

And what would they gain? Change your hours? Swap out your logo?

Yes there’s potential anywhere for malicious intent but I’m confident identity thieves have far more lucrative targets – like siphoning credit card data from your checkout page. Worry more about your PCI Compliance game.

So yes, you should claim your Google My Business listing. It’ll help convey hours, location, and reputation to your customers.

But not because Vincent told you to. Twenty bucks says his call center is set up in his mom’s basement.