How to Claim a Google My Business Listing that is Already Verified

Google My Business ChecklistUpdated 12/27/2018

One of the most important directory listings on the Internet for a small business is the Google My Business listing. This online directory integrates the Google Maps listing with the Google Knowledge Panel, Google Reviews and even YouTube. It is critical for small businesses to claim or create and optimize their Google My Business account to improve ranking in a Google search result and for increased search engine visibility.

When embarking on this local SEO strategy, many businesses find that their Google Maps listing has already been claimed by someone unknown to the business. In this case, there are a series of steps that need to be taken to claim a Google listing that is already verified. Good luck and have patience on your quest to enhance this important digital footprint!

  1. You must first decide what email address you want to use to ‘claim’ the business listing. It is recommended that an email address be used that is connected to the business domain name such as
  2. Google requires that the email address being used to claim the local business, be connected to a Google Apps account. If the email address being used is already connected to Google Apps, go to step 4. If it is not connected to Google Apps, you will need to create a Google account and choose the option “I prefer to use my current email address.”
  3. Go to Google My Business and click “Start Now” and either login, if using an existing email address connected to Google or select ‘create an account’ and associate a new email address with Google.
  4. Type in the address of the business you want to claim. 


5. You will see a message that says, “Someone else manages this business on Google”


6. Select “Share your info with the current owner to continue”

7. Select Appropriate response for “What level of access would you like?” (e.g. 3rd party marketing company would choose “Management”)

8. Select Appropriate Response for your  “relationship to the business” (e.g. Owner of the business would choose owner)

9. Input information in all the  fields provided (e.g. Contact name, telephone number, and Agency name) and “Submit”

10. A response will be sent to the gmail account you are using to claim the profile (Reference image below). Make sure to keep this email in a place you can easily locate it, as it will be necessary for the next steps.


11. Then, the waiting begins.  Once the allotted time, 7 calendar days, has passed, it is now possible to manage the profile without permission from the current owner. Locate the email you received from Google 7 days ago and click the  “ok” button at the bottom of the message. Next, fill out the required information for the Google business listing. Lastly, you will be asked to “verify the account” with one of the following methods (e.g. Phone call, business email, or postcard by mail).

  1. (The screenshot below is for reference only and may not accurately reflect all of the verification options you will see on your screen.)

Ways to Verify Image

12. The person who verifies should expect to receive either a 5 or 6 digit code (e.g. via by phone, business email or postcard). Once the code is received, locate the verification needed (reference image below) under the Home section of your profile, click verify and input the code to gain control of your Google My Business profile.

Verification Image.png

13. Done!

Need help with claiming your Google My Business account? Contact Loebig Ink to help expedite the process.  Fill out our Google My Business Questionnaire after speaking with one of our account managers!

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How to Create a Free Facebook Offer

This article was updated on November 25, 2018

How to create a facebook offerAs Facebook continues to evolve new advertising options for business owners, several free options have been eliminated including the easy to use, but discontinued, “check-in deal.” One lesser known option still remains and is highly effective as a free promotion tool for small businesses. The “Facebook Offer” is an advertising option that has outlasted its predecessors. The fact that this offer can be created without a budget and instantly posted on a page is very useful. The following steps are used as a resource by my own social media crew.

  1. Go to your Facebook Business Page.
  2. Click the Offers link on the left side of the page.Business Page left
  3. The Offers page will open. Click “Create Offer.”Create Offer
  4. The “Create an Offer, Discount, or Deal” popup window will open.Create an Offer, Discount_ or Deal
  5. Under “Offer Type,” choose the kind of offer you wish to make. Choose from “Spend X Get Y Off,” “Free Shipping,” Discount Percent,” “Buy X Get Y Discount,” Discount Amount,” and “Customized.”
  6. Upload an image. Use an image with little or no text.
  7. Specify the type of offer under “Discounted Items and/or Services.”
  8. Set an expiration date by clicking today’s date and then clicking a different date in the future.
  9. Under “Where can people redeem this?” click the box next to “In-Store” or “Online.” If your offer can be redeemed online, type the complete web address where it can be redeemed.
  10. Add a promo code (optional).
  11. Add a description that will become the headline for your ad. Use a strong, clear headline for your offer such as “Buy one pair of socks, get another pair free!”
  12. Review your offer.fake offer filled out
  13. Publish or schedule your offer using the button in the bottom right corner of the window. If you’d like to schedule the offer to begin at a later time, click the arrow next to the “Publish” button. The “Schedule Offer” window will open. Set the date and click “Schedule.”If you’d like to publish the offer right away, click “Publish.”

For more Facebook and other related articles visit our How To posts. Feel free to contact us for more specific requests for service.




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BNI Policies 2018-2019

Networking takes time, effort and money. For some business owners, it can be a sacrifice even though they know it’s beneficial.

So, BNI (Business Networking International) has policies that respect the time and sacrifice of its members. These policies reflect the mission of this respected Global Networking group, and sets it apart from its competitors. 

BNI meeting BNI Capital Business Alliance

The BNI Policies for 2018-2019 are the following:

  • Policy #1: Only One Person from Each Professional Classification.
  • Policy #2: Members represent their primary occupation.
  • Policy #3: Meetings last for 90 minutes. Be Early and Stay Late (~15min)
  • Policy #4: A member can belong to only one BNI Chapter and no other “Closed Networks”
  • Policy #5: Attendance is critical to the group. If a Member cannot attend, you may send a substitute (not a Member of the Chapter) to the meeting. This will not count as an absence.
  • Policy #6: Members are required to bring bona-fide referrals and/or visitors to their Chapter of BNI. Chapters may establish a minimum number of referrals and/or visitors that is acceptable.
  • Policy #7: Visitors and subs may attend Chapter meetings up to two times.
  • Policy #8: Speakers must bring a door prize. Only Members bringing a visitor or referral are eligible for the door prize.
  • Policy #9: There are no leaves of absence except for medical leaves. A Member may take up to eight weeks medical leave with the Membership Committee’s prior approval.
  • Policy #10: It is the Member’s responsibility to file a concern with the Membership Committee of their Chapter if a visitor “who submits an application in any way conflicts with their c
  • Policy #11: Members who wish to change their classification must submit a new Membership Application and get approval from the Membership Committee for that classification change.
  • Policy #12: In case of problems with a Member, Membership Committees may, at their sole discretion, put a Member on probation relating to the Member’s business practices or co
  • Policy #13: A Member’s classification may be opened for failure to comply with the BNI Policies and/or BNI Networking Code of Ethics. Membership Committees of the Chapter may
  • Policy #14: If the Leadership Team fulfills all responsibilities throughout their term, they will receive as consideration an exemption of participation fees during their tenure as a Leader.
  • Policy #15: In the absence of a Membership Committee, the Leadership Team may act as an ad hoc Membership Committee until one is established.
  • Policy #16: All BNI membership lists are for the purpose of giving referrals and not for soliciting (via email, direct mail or other means) BNI Members or Directors without their prior approval.
  • Policy #17: All new members must attend the Member Success Program (MSP) training in their region within the first 60 days after their induction. Only after attending the MSP training.
  • Policy #18: Policies are subject to change. All proposed policy changes need to be reviewed first by the Board of Advisors.
  • Policy #19: Other than normal BNI printed materials, members may not use the BNI Intellectual Property (e.g. logos, trademarks, names, slogans, copyrighted materials, etc.) to manufacture their own promotional materials.
  • Policy #20: There is an initial application fee. Fees are paid annually or biennially. Contact the local Secretary/Treasurer for amounts. Fees may be paid with VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER.

If you are not a member of a local BNI Chapter, we encourage you to find one in your area. Contact Brian Loebig of Loebig Ink, LLC and president of BNI Capital Business Alliance in Bethesda, MD for more information at (301) 244-8324 or           

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How to Add a Manager to a Google My Business Account

This article was updated on October 2, 2018.

Google-My-BusinessCreating and/or verifying a Google My Business account is one of the most important things a local business can do to show up in Google organically. A Google My Business listing is required for a business to show up on Google Maps. If your business is incorporated you may already have a listing in Google My Business. In this case, claiming and verifying the listing is your first step to optimizing it.

Once the Google My Business listing has been claimed, one or more page managers can be added to the account. A page manager might be needed to add graphics, including a logo and banner image.

Whoever claimed the Google My Business listing needs to login and add the page manager to the account. These steps will guide you through the process.

  1. Go to:
  2. Sign in using the link at the top right corner of the page.Sign In - GMB
  3. The Manage locations page will open. Click on the name of the business.Manage locations
    Fiza Studio GMB
  4. Your Google My Business home page will open. Scroll down on the left-hand side and click “Users.”Fiza Studio GMB home page
  5. The “Manage permissions” window will open. Click the “Invite new users” icon in the top right corner.Manage Permissions GMB
  6. In the popup window, add the email address of the new manager. It should be an email account that is connected to Google. Select “Manager” in the drop-down menu and click “Invite.”Add New Users GMB
  7. Done!

Clients often want me to take care of this process for them. In this case, they give me their email address and password to log into their Google account to complete the task.

Check out my other “How To…” articles.

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BNI Visitor Orientation Agenda

BNI visitor orientation

Every BNI Chapter follows a structured agenda for running the meeting. The regular meeting agenda allows for all members to provide a brief introduction of their business. One or two members also provide a more in depth ten-minute overview of their business.

Visitors to a BNI Chapter are also part of the meeting agenda. Every visitor to a BNI meeting is recognized, welcomed and given an opportunity to talk about their business. Plus, the BNI meeting schedule, return on investment and the importance of “Givers Gain” are all explained in the all-important “BNI Visitor Orientation Agenda”.  

Here is a recommended BNI Visitor Orientation Agenda. It should take only 5-7 minutes to complete:

  1. Sit down at a table (ideally)
  2. Thank members for coming!
  3. Ask for permission to explain the 3 most common questions
    1. How often do we meet?
      1. 44 times a year, each week except for holidays, etc.
    2. How many Substitutes can we have?
      1. 2 subs each 6 months max: staff, biz partners, clients, other person
    3. What is my ROI?
      1. Dollars per hour idea: Income divided by hours in BNI meetings/1:1s, etc.
      2. Our chapter makes about 1M per year ($37,000/member/avg)
      3. Our chapter has members doing more than 50% of their biz here
  4. Review the membership application
    1. Classification and Industry
    2. Clarify any questions about conflicts or overlaps in business classifications
    3. Explain business References section
  5. Interviews will take place within one week of application submissions
  6. Other Questions?
  7. Call to action
    1. Who is ready to apply?
  8. Thank you, let’s continue networking! Go back to the meeting room

Once you have completed the BNI Visitor Orientation, then introduce them personally to members who may be in the same industry as they are (finance, marketing, health, etc.) so they will see that there is a built-in group of members to whom they can meet with apart from the regular meeting. The BNI Capital Business Alliance, which meets every Wednesday in Bethesda, welcomes all visitors. Please contact the BNI Chapter president to find out more about our chapter and request an invitation.


Read our BNI Purpose and Overview…

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How to Make Symbols with your Keyboard

How to Make Symbols with Your Keyboard - colorful symbols

In most instances, creating text in Windows at your desktop or laptop computer is self-explanatory. Once in a while, however, you need to a character that is not found on the regular keyboard. To type a special character such as the trademark symbol ™, an arrow →, or a music note ♪, use alt codes (also referred to as symbol codes).

To put a special character on your page,

  1. Press the Alt key to the left of the space bar at the bottom of your keyboard. Hold it down.

computer keyboard featuring the alt key

  1. Press the Numeric Lock (Num Lock) key on the numeric keypad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.

numeric keypad

  1. While holding down the Alt key, type the code for the symbol you want to appear on the numeric keypad.
  2. Release the Alt key, and the character will appear.

Here is a list of often-used alt codes you may find helpful:

Alt + 0149   •  bullet point
Alt + 0153   ™  trademark symbol
Alt + 0169  ©  copyright symbol
Alt + 0174  ®  registered ­ trademark symbol
Alt + 0176  °  degree symbol
Alt + 0177   ±  plus-or-minus sign
Alt + 0182   ¶  paragr­aph mark
Alt + 0190  ¾  fractio­n, three-fourths
Alt + 0215  ×  multi­plication sign
Alt + 0162  ¢  the ­ cent sign
Alt + 0161  ¡  upside down exclamation point
Alt + 0191  ¿  ­upside down question mark
Alt + 1  ☺  smiley face
Alt + 2  ☻  black smiley face
Alt + 15  ☼  sun
Alt + 12  ♀  female sign
Alt + 11  ♂  m­ale sign
Alt + 6  ♠  Spade
Alt + 5  ♣  Club
Alt + 3  ♥  Heart
Alt + 4  ♦  ­Diamond
Alt + 13  ♪  e­ighth note
Alt + 14  ♫  ­beamed eighth note
Alt + 8721   ∑   N-ary summation (auto sum)
Alt + 251  √  square root check mark
Alt + 8236  ∞   ­infinity
Alt + 24  ↑  up arrow
Alt + 25  ↓  down arrow
Alt + 26  →  ri­ght arrow
Alt + 27  ←  l­eft arrow
Alt + 18  ↕  u­p/down arrow
Alt + 29  ↔  lef­t right arrow

There are many more alt codes you may want to utilize, including extensive alt codes for foreign language letters, mathematics, currency, and coding. Using alt codes can enhance the precision of your writing and offer a new avenue for creativity.

Read my other “How To…” articles for more practical tips.

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How to Create a Short LinkedIn URL

How to Create A Short LinkedIn URL - with LinkedIn icon

There are many business networking and employment opportunities to be found at In addition to making connections and perusing the site in real time, there is great value in sharing your LinkedIn profile URL online and on business cards so that others can connect with you. To that end, it is a good idea to change your randomly-generated LinkedIn URL to something short and memorable relating to your name or company name. Here’s how:

Create a LinkedIn URL for Your Personal Profile

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. On the right side below “Add profile section,” click on “Edit public profile & URL.” A new window called “Public profile settings” will open.

Edit public profile & URL - LinkedIn screenshot

  1. At the top of the Public profile settings window on the right-hand side, click the edit pencil in the “Edit URL” section.

Edit URL - LinkedIn screenshot

  1. Personalize your URL. Your custom URL must contain 5-30 letters or numbers. You won’t be able to use spaces, symbols, or special characters. Remember, short and memorable is best.
  2. Click “Save.”
  3. Done!

Customize the URL on Your Company Page

  1. Log into your LinkedIn account. Make sure your account has the admin rights to your LinkedIn company page.
  2. Check to see that you have chosen a unique URL for your company page. Try going to the page of your first choice, for example:

If you get this error message, you’re in luck!

Oops! error message - LinkedIn

This means that the URL you would like to use is available. Otherwise, keep trying until you find another one that is short, memorable, works for your branding, and is not in use.

  1. Submit a request to change your URL using the LinkedIn Contact Us Form. Make sure to include your company name, company e-mail address that has admin rights, current company page URL, and the company URL to which you would like to make the change.
  2. Wait for LinkedIn to contact you to say that your company URL has been customized.
  3. Done!


View my other “How To…” articles.

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BNI Purpose and Overview

bni-purpose-overviewThe Top 18 Reasons for Joining BNI

Time is priceless. Once you have spent it, it’s gone and cannot be returned.

Thus, when a member or a guest of the member arrives for a Business Networking International (BNI) meeting, the meeting will start on time and end on time. They soon learn that meetings are facilitated to the maximum value, develop relationships and impart knowledge.

Of course, there are expectations from BNI for each member, which are agreed to when a new member is approved by the membership committee. If you are wondering why you should invest your priceless time, here are The Top 18 Reasons to Join BNI:

Feel free to use these ideas during the “purpose and overview” portion of the BNI meeting!

  1. The primary purpose of BNI is to increase business for its members. What goes around comes around. You send business to members, they’ll send business to you.
  2. We allow only one member from each profession into the chapter. No member will have to be concerned about another member of their industry receiving referrals.
  3. As a member of BNI, you’ll begin to feel like the membership is your own group of personal salespeople. Each member has a BNI card file with everyone’s business cards in it. Members can then distribute those cards to others outside the group.
  4. “Word of mouth” remains the best way to advertise, even in this Digital Age. BNI’s structure allows for developing and exchanging quality business referrals. If you need referrals, then you need BNI.
  5. BNI teaches business people to develop relationships that result in referrals for each other. It is not about you and your business “hard selling” to others. You may actually become personal friends with members which could last a lifetime.
  6. BNI isn’t the only business network around. Each member has their own personal and business network. That “extended network” may be a source of many weekly business referrals. On average, each BNI Chapter (three months old and older) hand out more than 60 referrals each month to its members.
  7. How you increase and maintain your word-of-mouth-based business depends on the BNI process. Each member educates each other about what they do and the kinds of referrals they want. Our success is tied to your success in business.
  8. Because of your business is the only one of its kind in BNI, you will have an edge over your competitors. None of your competitors can join this chapter. Only one person per profession.
  9. BNI is a coalition of businesses. Each industry is represented by one person. This mutual support system helps each other increase business by giving each member referrals.
  10. Referrals are key! Members may get most of their business from referrals. After all, BNI is about GIVING BUSINESS to its members.
  11. We allow only one member from each classification into the chapter. Some enterprising companies are actually having one of their employees placed into every chapter that is opened. In our area, only one person from your business category will be able to join a chapter this year. As we grow, you will see some visitors who wish they could be members but whose category is already filled.
  12. BNI® is a business and professional networking organization that allows one representative from each classification to join. The sole purpose of the group is to give its members more business. It’s based on the concept that what goes around comes around. If you give business to me, I will give business to you.
  13. Being a member of BNI® is like having _______ sales people working for you. Members carry a card file with everyone’s business cards in it. When they speak to a client, associate, or friend who mentions a need represented by the group, members can provide a referral to fill that need.
  14. Referrals are the most cost-effective form of advertising possible. BNI® provides a structured environment for the development and exchange of quality business referrals for both men and women. If referrals are an important part of your business, then BNI® is the organization for you.
  15. There is a network beyond members of each chapter. Each member knows dozens of people, who in turn know dozens of people. Through this “extended network” come most of the business referrals that are given each week. The average chapter of BNI®
    (that is least three months old) gives over 60 referrals per month to its members.
  16. BNI® teaches business people that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It is about developing relationships that result in referrals for each other.
  17. Increasing and maintaining your “Word-of-Mouth” based business depends on the BNI® process of members educating each other about what they do and what kinds of referrals they want. Our success as a chapter is tied in with your success in business.
  18. As business professionals, we all need an edge over our competition. How many people are doing what you do in the area? Well, in BNI® you have an edge over your competitors because none of them can join this chapter – we only allow one person per classification.

So, when our BNI Capital Business Alliance Chapter meets every week, we have a tight and set agenda, with roles for everyone, including guests. It’s essential that we don’t waste anyone’s time. We are all business owners or operators who are quite busy and want to achieve the best use of our time when we meet.

One of the many reasons that BNI is such a successful networking organization in the DMV/Washington, D.C. Beltway area is that we recognize that small business owners wear many hats and have to do a lot of tasks in their workday. Networking can be a chore for many of them, so BNI has designed its meetings to be built around one main goal: Building Relationships.

Now, “building relationships” may sound rather generic or boring vanilla, but it isn’t for our networking chapter! It is through building relationships with our fellow business owners, that we learn, assist and even patronize. You cannot help someone unless you get to know them.

Finally, BNI is a structured, organized and goal-oriented relationship-building place for small business owners who want to give referrals, receive referrals and build lasting business and personal relationships. It is designed to make networking efficient and fun.

To find out more about BNI visit the global website,, and find a meeting near you. You can also visit our Bethesda Maryland Chapter website:, or contact our 2018 president, Brian Loebig of Loebig Ink, LLC:



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How to find and disavow harmful backlinks in Google Search Console

howtodisavowA growing negative SEO technique is showing it’s ugly face more than ever as website owners begin to see the value in increasing their search engine visibility. The analytics guru’s at Alexa by Amazon describe the issue in detail in the article, Negative SEO is Real. The main sources of harm come from “link farms”, spammy links, scrapped content that is duplicated across the web, fake reviews and hacked websites and malware attacks.

Our SEO team has seen each of these problems across the several hundred SEO projects we have managed as well. One of the most prominent problems we see regularly is harmful and spammy backlinks. Using a quality backlink monitoring tool such as, or needs to be a  tool in every site owners tool box. The following steps were created to help you identify these links and signal Google to not penalize your site when these backlinks appear.

  1. Create a .txt file of all the domains you wish to disavow.
    • Go to and search for your domain in the main “Site Explorer Results” search field.
    • Select the “Ref Domains” tab to get a list of all the referring domains
    • Click on the number listed in the “Backlinks” column to reveal the top ten links from that website.
    • Visit a few links to determine if they appear to be from a site created for the sole purpose of creating back links, i.e. a spammy website. A root domain with a Trust Flow score of “0” and a high Citations score is sign the site might be harmful.
    • If the site is spammy, create a .txt file in MS Notepad, or similar plain text editor, and add the domain on the top line preceded by “domain:”
        1. E.g.
    • Continue until all spammy domains are listed. Put each domain on it’s own line.
    • Save the file using this naming convention: disavow2016-07-17.txt
  2. Log into your Google Search Console account
  3. Visit:
  4. Select the appropriate domain that is being linked to and click “DISAVOW LINKS” button
    • Read Google note and click “Done”

Disavowing backlinks is an advanced SEO strategy and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this process can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe that there are a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

5. Navigate back to Google’s Search Console Dashboard and resubmit the XML Sitemap.
6. Dashboard > Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap > Submit
7. Done!

Note: When new domains need to be added to the disavow .txt file, they should be added to a new, single, growing list of previously disavowed domains. Google references this single .txt file when indexing a website so any future domains should be added to a new .txt file and uploaded again replacing the file that was previously created.

Google adds a “nofollow” link from the spammy website links to the client’s site so that it is not penalized for having spammy links which is a Google Penguin Algorithm update. It can take several weeks to a few months for Google to recrawl an entire domain.


Feel free to contact us if you have a question about a link you may want to disavow or if you would prefer to have our SEO team evaluate your backlink profile for the presence of harmful backlinks!

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