A business entity is a legal status where the state recognizes a business as having a certain legal structure. The most common business entities are corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs).
When you start a Kansas business, you must file articles of incorporation or articles of organization with the Secretary of State. The first is if you want to be a corporation, while the second is for LLCs. To start, you’ll register with the KanAccess portal, which is the business portal for the state where you can file and manage your business entity.
Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the form. You’ll need information such as the company’s name, the executive point of contact, a resident agent and the location you will conduct business from. It takes just a few minutes to complete the application.
Click on the state below to get started.
When you file with the Secretary of State to form an LLC through the KanAccess portal, you’ll need to pay the $165 registration fee that accompanies the application. Make sure that the resident agent is someone (or a company) located within the state and can accept official mailings such as legal documents, tax papers and other official business. All LLCs must have a resident agent, whether they are a part of the organization or a third party hired to do the job.
Google is rolling out an update to its mobile app that allows people to request the removal of personal information from search results.
This update is an expansion of an existing tool designed to make the removal request form easier to access.
Google first launched the personal information removal tool in 2020, though you’d have to go out of your way to find it as it’s buried at the bottom of a help page.
Now, Google is rolling out the ability to access the form in its mobile app. You can access the form from your user profile menu or the search results pages.
If you come across a page in search results containing personally identifiable information, you can tap on the three-dot menu icon and bring up the “About this result” panel.
Click “Remove result,” and Google will take you to the removal request form. The form asks you to provide additional information to help Google understand why you want the page removed from its index.
You can also access the form by tapping on your profile picture and selecting “Results about you.”
Google’s information removal tool allows you to request de-indexing of pages that contain:
Google will send you an email to confirm the request was received and notify you of any action taken.
Google will only deny requests when the information appears on a page that’s considered broadly helpful, such as a news article.
Information on public records, such as government websites, won’t be removed either.
The ability to request the removal of personal information using the Google app is currently rolling out in beta to Android users.
If you don’t see the option in the Google app, you can always access the request form from the corresponding help page.
Featured Image: mundissima/Shutterstock
The issues of Common Core State Standards (curriculum standards for the nation), and the PARCC standardized testing that is administered to check those standards, are extremely complicated. It is a matter of how far down the rabbit hole one wishes to go. I will introduce you to the essential facts of Common Core standardized testing, in case you are unaware of what this all means, and then I will share my personal experience with it as an educator.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an “educational assembly” in the U.S. that specifies what K-12 students should know in English and math at the end of each grade level. According to their website, “The initiative seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two or four-year college programs or to enter the workforce.
The Common Core Standards are now the law in 46 states. The reason that most states have adopted the Common Core is not because they agree with it, but because they wish to receive competitive grants that were introduced on July 24, 2009, as an incentive for educational improvement. To qualify, states had to adopt standards and tests that are supposedly “internationally benchmarked” to prepare students for future success.
States could use their own standards and still qualify for the grants, but they were given extra points in their grant submissions if they agreed to implement the Common Core standards by August 2, 2010. We are talking about $4.35 billion in federal funds. Some states, like Massachusetts, got rid of their own effective standards and replaced them with the Common Core, to get millions in federal funds.
There is nothing wrong with having high standards for education, and most teachers already meet most of these standards in the classroom. But when taking a closer look at the origins of the standards there are several red flags.
According to Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, “There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these standards will Improve achievement, enrich education, and actually help to prepare young people — not for the jobs of the future, which are unknown and unknowable — but for the challenges of citizenship and life. The biggest fallacy of the Common Core standards is that they have been sold to the nation without any evidence that they will accomplish what their boosters claim.”
When researching the Common Core State Standards, I began to wonder who exactly created them. It is not an easy task to find the authors, but after much digging, I found a list of 135 people who created Common Core Standards.
In all, only seven of the 135 members were actual classroom teachers and no one was a K-3 classroom teacher or had any training in early childhood education. We are told that teachers helped create the standards, but that is simply not the case. Educators with actual classroom experience would be able to write standards and exams that are challenging yet developmentally appropriate. However, my concern is not really with the standards, but more with the test that was created to check that the standards are being implemented.
The PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test is a Common Core-aligned test designed by the for-profit company Pearson, which was paid $360 million in federal funds to write these exams.
Pearson is a multinational corporation, and the world’s largest education company and book publisher, earning more than $9 billion annually. They own nine publishing houses, including Penguin, Harcourt, Puffin, and Prentice Hall. They also own part of the University of Phoenix.
Currently, Pearson produces expensive testing materials for 18 states in the U.S. Their contract in Texas alone is worth $500 million. They own the General Education Development tests (GED), the edTPA, and the NES, a required teacher licensure tests that people pay over $100 to take. They also own the Quotient, a test for ADHD in students; the test for National Board Certification of teachers; the SAT-10, a test that measures memorizing and writing skills for grades K-2; and SuccessMaker, a digital learning curriculum that teachers have been forced to use in grades K-8.
Pearson owns an online for-profit charter school called Connections Academy too. Obviously, if a student uses Pearson texts and curriculum they will perform higher on Pearson’s standardized tests. It’s no wonder that Pearson was a major supporter of the creation of the Common Core Standards.
Another way that Pearson rakes in the cash is by including product placements in their tests. In a 2013 English assessment, a memorizing selection included “root beer which was referred to at one point as Mug (™) Root Beer. It was followed by a footnote, which informed test-takers that Mug (™) was a registered trademark of PepsiCo.” They have also included references to IBM (™), Lego®, FIFA®, and Mindstorms (™).
Another alarming aspect of a private company owning these tests is that they have access to student data with very little oversight. Pearson may sell personal data related to individual children who have taken the PARCC. They cannot certain the security of this private student data and have never made clear precisely how they will use it.
So far there is absolutely no proof that the Common Core standards, Common Core curriculum, and Common Core standardized testing, will in any way close what is referred to as the “achievement gap.”
The achievement gap refers to the difference in achievement (including test scores, graduation rates, and college enrollment) between lower income and higher income students. The gap is present in all nations around the world.
Currently, hundreds of millions of tax dollars are going to corporations for the creation of curriculum and tests as well as the technology used to implement the test, all under the guise of closing the achievement gap. But this ignores so many of the significant issues that are the cause of the achievement gap, such as poverty.
The amount of homeless children in Colorado alone, a state which originally adopted the PARCC test, has more than tripled in the last decade. Imagine what that money could do for those children. It could even simply provide them with a nourishing breakfast every morning. Obviously, if a student is well-fed, they will perform better in school. Children who have quality nutrition, healthcare, as well as access to books and all the other resources provided to children in particular zip codes have done quite well on standardized tests in the past. Yet, we continue to ignore this fact and waste tax money on tons of testing materials that will eventually get dumped into the trash.
In order to pay for the creation of these assessments and the technology and materials they require, we disregard critical resources such as new books, smaller class sizes, librarians, nurses, counselors, and much more. In my own district, I have seen this huge waste of money firsthand on standardized testing.
Just a few years ago, millions were spent for the mere purpose of taking the PARCC test, a test that almost every state in the U.S. ended up dropping within 5 years. Yet at the same time we are told that there is a budget crisis and, once again, teachers are warned of frozen salaries and higher rates for health insurance.
Due to budget cuts, there are already much larger class sizes and fewer guidance counselors, social workers, teachers’ assistants, librarians, psychologists, social workers, special education teachers, memorizing specialists, and security guards.
Another aspect of our school that suffers due to budget cuts is funding for the arts, physical education, foreign language programs, and other subjects that are essential for the well-being and well-rounded education that our students deserve. As more money is provided for standardized testing, less money is available for the vital programs and services that all schools should provide.
Besides the sheer waste of tax dollars, there’s the problem of the impossibility of the tests themselves.
The Nathan Hale Senate – a body, made up of teachers, administrators, parents, and students- voted unanimously that the PARCC test was inappropriate for the age groups it tests. It is basically public knowledge that students will perform poorly on this test. Yet according to the No Child Left Behind Act and other school reform processes, standardized test scores like these are used to fire teachers, reduce their pay, hold students back, and close down schools.
Just to supply you a general idea of how impossible the tests are, here is a breakdown of the memorizing levels required to understand the passages on the test.
I have several advanced degrees in English and I’m only 85% sure the answer is A. So, how’d you do? Now try writing a literary analysis about the poem. Go on. Try it. This is what the PARCC is expecting 10th graders to do!
According to a report issued by Pearson entitled, “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment” our current standardized testing isn’t good enough though Pearson actually wrote many of them.
The report notes that “without a systematic, data-driven approach to instruction, teaching remains an imprecise and somewhat idiosyncratic process that is too dependent on the personal intuition and competence of individual teachers.”
How do they plan on fixing the problem of imprecise and incompetent teachers? Replacing them with computers! The PARCC uses computer algorithms to robo-grade student essays. The report states as a fact that the PARCC consortium will use automated essay scoring.
Speaking of the general put-down of teachers, Pearson’s chief education advisors and authors of the PARCC Peter Hill and Sir Michael Barber (two men who have never taught in an actual classroom for even one day) also argue that the discipline of teaching must progress into a more closely controlled profession which will make it much harder to become a teacher and much easier to fire one too.
This would require eliminating the practice of “teaching as a largely under-qualified and trained, heavily unionized, bureaucratically controlled ‘semi-profession’ lacking a framework and a common language.” Pearson’s answer to the problem of teachers in general is to basically have all educational decisions made by their software and their system. Teachers will just be needed as a sort of supervisor or babysitter.
Whether or not you believe in standardized testing, you have to agree that our students are extremely overtested. Merely to take the PARCC exams, grades 3-8 spend 10 hours testing. For high schoolers, it takes more than 11 hours. On top of that, high schoolers have to take a quarterly district exam, a midterm, a final, and several AP tests. Also, 10th graders take the PSAT and 11th and 12th graders take the SAT. The more ambitious students also take several SAT subject tests.
Basically, the average high school student will spend between 20 and 30 school hours taking standardized tests. That is a lot of valuable instruction time that is wasted. Plus, it is just too much stress for a kid!
According to education researcher Gregory J. Cizek, there is much research “illustrating how testing produces gripping anxiety in even the brightest students and makes young children vomit or cry, or both.” In fact, vomiting during the test is so common that some tests come with instructions for the examiner on what to do with a test booklet if a student barfs on it.
In my classroom, the PARCC has made most students feel stressed out and inadequate. Even the highest achieving students find the tests exhausting and irrelevant. But for the struggling readers and writers in my classes, the consequences of these tests are much more serious.
Many of my students read and write at a level that is many grades below where they should be. Several of my 10th graders read at a 3rd or 4th-grade memorizing level, for various reasons. The test is absolutely impossible for them. Most don’t even try, which is a typical response to being made to feel dumb. The ones that do try are extremely anxious and confused. They have a million questions though I cannot answer any of them.
This test is sending them the message that college is not an option for them, which is not true. The experience is the same for many special education students. They get almost none of their testing accommodations during the test and it severely impacts their performance.
Now that you know what a load of crap the Common Core standardized testing is, feel free to go outside and throw things. Or you could join one of the many anti-testing movements that are rapidly growing.
You also have the right to opt your children out of any and all state standardized testing. FairTest.org has guides for all fifty states.
Do not let the school administration scare you into taking tests! They may say that if you opt out the school will lose funding, it will harm the performance evaluation of your child’s teacher and your child will be kept back or punished. Most of these are empty threats, and legally they cannot do any of this.
Many teachers have tried to support the opt-out movement by informing parents and students of their right to opt out and some have even refused to administer the test. Many face disciplinary action and possible termination. The power truly lies in the hands of the people on this one. Know your rights, and please share this article with others and leave your opinions in the comments below or in our Vent Forum.
A business entity is any formally created legal business that is allowed to conduct business in the state it is registered in. Business entities include corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs).
In order to start a new LLC or corporation in Virginia, you will need to register with the State Corporation Commission. This is done online via the website. Filing your articles of organization will cost $100 while articles of incorporation costs $75.
When you register, you’ll need to include a registered agent’s name and contact information along with the name and address of company executives. In this process, you will need to name the company, and you will need a unique business name to register properly. You may also be required to obtain certain business licenses.
Click on the state below to get started.
An LLC is a type of business entity. When you register an LLC, you will file articles of organization with the state. While this is most expeditiously done online, you can file a paper application with the state. You can mail the completed application with a check for $100 made payable to the State Corporation Commission to:
State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
Novata and S&P Global Market Intelligence Partner to Support Private Market Investors
Novata, an environmental, social and governance data platform built for the private markets, and S&P Global Market Intelligence, a provider of information services and solutions to the global markets, have announced a partnership to provide private market investors with a data solution that simplifies the process of collecting both financial and ESG data.
Through this partnership, Novata’s platform will be made available for S&P Global Market Intelligence customers to bridge their ESG data with financial data in order to provide a single source of insight. This integration will help market participants make informed decisions about how ESG drives financial outcomes and enable transparent communication to investors, auditors, boards and other stakeholders. The platform is intended to be made available through S&P Global Market Intelligence’s iLEVEL offering, a portfolio-monitoring software solution that enables general partners and limited partners to streamline financial data collection.
Fidelity Institutional, the division of Fidelity Investments dedicated to providing technology, solutions and insights to wealth management firms and institutions, has announced the Fidelity Institutional Integration on Salesforce AppExchange, designed to save time and deliver a connected platform experience. The integration, built on Financial Services Cloud, is currently in pilot for registered investment adviser and family office clients and is expected to be made available to all Fidelity Institutional clients by early 2023.
Available through Salesforce AppExchange, this new integration links clients’ financial accounts within Salesforce to their Fidelity Institutional accounts on Wealthscape, providing secure access to account information and the ability to initiate actions directly within Salesforce, including updating account information. This new connected experience reduces complexity and streamlines important processes, allowing advisers to use the time saved to serve their clients.
The National Association of Investment Companies, a network of diverse-owned alternative investment firms, and UBS, a global wealth management firm, have announced an agreement whereby UBS will become a platinum sponsor of NAIC in support of the firm’s Inclusive Investing offering. Through this sponsorship, UBS will support and participate in NAIC’s virtual and in-person events and programming with NAIC member firms, partners and decisionmakers at investment plans and institutions.
NAIC will introduce UBS to its member firms through virtual and in-person roadshows, which will help support UBS’ recently launched Inclusive Investing offering. Through this offering, UBS’ clients pursue investments that seek strong risk-adjusted returns while helping to create a more equitable world. UBS will also support NAIC’s Women in Alternatives Initiative “UP” Program, which focuses on helping women in financial services advance their careers within their current firms.
Blink by Chubb has announced that it will partner with SoFi, the digital personal finance company, to help SoFi members protect their digital footprint with the launch of personal cyber insurance.
Blink by Chubb offers a suite of Chubb-backed personal insurance products distributed through the company’s digital brokers and affinity partners, such as SoFi. Chubb is a publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.
Blink Cyber is a stand-alone insurance policy that addresses the needs of customers facing the increasingly growing risk of cyberattacks. The policy responds to expenses related to a personal cyber event, including cyberbullying, phishing scams, ransomware extortion and cyber financial fraud.
Financial services firm Edward Jones has announced that it is equipping its nearly 19,000 financial advisers with interactive tools and security-based lending options to help clients navigate complex financial needs and changing market conditions.
One of the offerings phased in over time will include Envestnet MyBlocks, the client-engagement tool from MoneyGuide, on inflation and credit cards, and other tools that will help address clients’ immediate goals for spending and borrowing and their longer-term saving and investing needs. Clients will also have access to the latest Edward Jones guidance on these and other personal finance topics.
The firm is also offering the Edward Jones Reserve Line of Credit, a securities-based lending solution. This will be available to small, targeted groups in 2022 with further expansion into 2023, and aims to enhance the firm’s ability to meet clients’ needs by providing a borrowing option in its advisory solutions, unified managed accounts and guided solutions fund accounts.
Valuation fintech firm BizEquity has announced a partnership with Bonsai, LLC, a provider of solutions to financial professionals, focused on the importance of managing the entirety of an investor’s balance sheet.
The partnership allows BizEquity’s cloud-based valuation software to be accessed by thousands of financial professionals working with business owners, making it simple and affordable to obtain accurate, real-time valuations via Bonsai’s platform.
“Through BizEquity and Bonsai, a financial professional can quickly assess business valuations for their business owner clients and offer risk-management solutions to protect a client’s largest asset and ensure more determined outcomes for their future,” said Robert DeChellis, founder and CEO of Bonsai.
Verification is an important step in properly setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP).
Before your GBP will become visible to the public and you can do all the fun things with your profile – like creating posts, responding to reviews, updating your profile, and more – you must first verify it.
When a business (i.e., merchant) sets up a Google Business Profile, Google offers a method (or sometimes several ways) to verify the profile.
This verification process helps Google ensure that the business is a real and legitimate business that is eligible for a GBP and meets Google’s guidelines for representing your business on Google.
In an ideal world, Google would actually visit each and every location with a GBP to make sure the business is real and meets all guidelines.
But that, obviously, is not possible.
One of the ways Google can verify a business is through video verification. Video verification is the next best thing to actually visiting a business.
It’s almost like a “digital in-person” check-in on the business.
The video allows Google to actually see the company and more details about the business.
Google’s video verification method tries to authenticate and confirm legitimate businesses and (hopefully) weed out spammy and fake listings that could inundate the Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps and confuse or hurt consumers.
As mentioned, Google provides several ways to verify your business.
It’s important to note that Google decides which verification method a merchant must use to verify its GBP.
Businesses do not get to choose the method of verification – Google picks the verification method for them.
Verification by postcards with PIN numbers used to be the typical method of GBP verification.
But this seems to be changing, and businesses are receiving other ways to verify their Business Profiles.
In February 2022, verifying businesses by postcards sent in the mail was listed first when Google outlined the verification process.
However, by July 2022, verification via postcard was bumped down to last on the verification methods list:
This might be a signal that Google is moving towards other ways to verify GBPs, and that merchants should be prepared to verify their listings in ways other than just postcards – like phone, text, email, live video call, and video recording verification.
Google is trying hard to ensure that the GBPs set up are legitimate businesses meeting Google’s guidelines.
With the video verification process, Google is trying to garner the following information:
When businesses submit video evidence that proves and shows these things, Google operators can review the video to determine if the evidence presented is strong enough to verify that the business is located where it says it is, performs the work it claims it does, and more.
Google offers numerous ways for businesses to verify their GBP, but Google decides which way (or ways) each merchant must verify.
As a business owner, you must verify via the method Google chooses for you.
However, if you absolutely cannot verify via the method offered, you can reach out to the Google Business Profile Support team and see if they can provide you with another way to verify your GBP. An example of this would be if you are asked to verify via text and you only have a landline.
When you get to the verification process, you may be asked to perform the video verification process.
To go through the video verification process, you’ll need a mobile device with a camera.
If you get this verification option, it’s important that you understand the rationale for the video verification.
You should know what needs to be included in the video, so the Google operator reviewing it is convinced that your company exists and does what it says it does. The operator must also be convinced the person taking the video is associated with the business.
They will also want to verify that the geographical location matches the location of the business as listed in its GBP.
It’s also important to follow the on-screen instructions and plan everything out before you start recording the video. Since the video must be done in one continuous video, planning ahead is crucial!
In the video verification process, Google asks the business owner (or someone with authority to represent the business) to create a short, continuous video that provides evidence that the business is an actual, legitimate business.
The video should be short and to the point.
Each video is manually reviewed by a Google employee and is meant to simulate an in-person visit to the business.
Google doesn’t ask you to share anything sensitive – like people’s faces or documents that contain confidential information.
These videos are kept private and are only used for verification purposes.
Don’t worry; It will never be published and can be deleted anytime.
Before you actually shoot your video, you should plan out what you are going to show in the video, who will be in it, and who will record it.
Next, you’ll want to ensure you cover the items necessary to convince Google that your business is legitimate.
Here are the types of things you want to be sure to show in your video.
Keep in mind that these items do not have to be shown in any particular order – they just all must be shown in the video to prove that your business is real.
For this part of the video, you need to show proof that your business exists, where it is located geographically, and other items that prove it’s a legitimate business.
It’s important to show the exterior and interior of your company’s building in the video.
If you’re a storefront business, you must show the outside of the building, as well as the permanent signage on the exterior and any signage/branding inside the building.
Also include the location, relevant street signs, and other nearby businesses, so Google can get an idea of where you’re geographically located.
Don’t show unmarked roads or land – that will not help Google establish your location.
Showing your outdoor signage is a must if you have a storefront location (i.e., a storefront location is when local customers visit your place of business, you have permanent signage, and you must have employees staffed at the business location during stated business hours.)
Permanent signage is a requirement for storefront businesses. Vinyl banners or other temporary signs do not count as permanent signage.
If you do not have permanent signage, you do not qualify as a storefront.
Pan your video next door and across the street to show the businesses nearby so Google can double-check with Google Maps and Streetview to ensure that your business is located where you claim it is.
It’s also vital to walk into your building and show the inside of your company so Google sees that it’s a legitimate business – and not just empty rooms.
Any time you can show your company’s branding on the walls – like in the lobby or entryway – it’s great to show those types of things in the video.
If you work in an office building with multiple floors and many businesses, be sure to show the office building’s business directory pointing out your company’s listing and suite number.
If you have any professional tools that you use, marketing materials, or company branding, be sure to show those in the video as well.
If you’re a Service Area Business (SAB), you will need to show any tools of the trade that you use to perform your work for clients in the video.
For instance, if you are a solar company, you should show the solar panels you install, any installation equipment you use, branded trucks, ladders, any heavy equipment you use, tools of the trade that you have stored, etc.
Are you a lawn care company? Show all your lawnmowing equipment, trimmers, leaf blowers, etc. (The average Joe at home won’t have 10 commercial lawnmowers, for instance – but you do!)
It’s also vital to show your service vehicles with the branding on them. (A video showing a plain white van will not be acceptable.)
So, ensure that your service vehicles are branded with your company name and logo and are seen clearly in the video.
Google wants to know that your business is located where your GBP says it is located. The Google operator needs to be convinced that the company in the video is in the same geographical location as in Google Maps.
If you’re a storefront business, you can show street signs near your business, pan over, and show adjacent companies near your company. However, showing Google a vacant lot where your business should be will not instill confidence that you are a legitimate business.
If you operate your SAB out of your home, show the street signs, your home with your street number on it, your mailbox, and any other things that prove your address.
One way to prove you have a real business is by showing items in the video that only a real business like yours would have.
For example, showing a generic software application on your computer screen will not convince Google that you’re a legitimate business.
However, if your company uses specific software to operate your business, like if you’re an accountant and you use professional accounting software, you’re a veterinarian and you use software specifically developed for vets’ offices, or you’re a digital marketer or design firm that creates videos or podcasts for clients using a tool like Camtasia, then showing that software on your computer screen and your audio/video setup in the video would help prove to Google that you are legit.
If you’re a Service Area Business, showing your work van with equipment in the back of the truck in the video is very helpful and useful for the Google operator as they are reviewing your video to determine the legitimacy of your company.
For this part of the video, you need to prove that the company is real and that the merchant is actually affiliated with the company and has the authority to represent the business.
That’s why it’s so important that the person in the video is either the owner or manager.
If you have a storefront business, in the video, you need to show that you have access to employee-only locations or sections of the business.
For instance, show you opening the store/business using a key, operating the cash register, using the POS system, going into an area of the business where customers or the general public aren’t allowed, etc.
This part of the video aims to show that the person is either the owner or an authorized person who has authority over the location.
Showing the person unlocking the business door is a very important item to show in the video.
You also want to go to places in your business where the general public is not allowed.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, customers are not allowed to be behind the counter near the cash register or take out food. Showing this in the video is a great proof of management.
If you have a business license, liquor license, or any other official/legal document hanging on the wall, zoom in on it. This is especially important if the document shows your business name and address as shown on your Google Business Profile. (Ideally, everything should match!)
If you operate a Service Area Business, you will need to show access to any industry-specific software, open up your branded vehicle and show the equipment or tools you use to perform the jobs you do. You can also show your team performing a job at a customer’s site using the tools-of-the-trade.
If you’re a SAB and run your business out of your home or out of a building that is used for storage and not accessible to customers, also take a video of the outside of the building, show the nearby street signs, and the number on the building.
Be sure to take a video of you unlocking the door.
You can also show close-ups of any business licenses, Secretary of State documents, LLC or incorporation docs, or any other official documents that prove your company’s name and address.
Just zoom in on the documents so Google can see them. Again, the business name and address must match what’s on your Google Business Profile.
Note: If you get the video verification option and are not ready to do the video at that moment, no worries! You can complete the verification step when you’re able to – like in a day or so after you’ve had time to plan out what you’ll show in the video.
When you’re taking the video, it’s okay to put these items in whichever order makes sense for your particular situation – just make sure you cover all of the necessary requirements.
Remember, the video must be one continuous video. It cannot be recorded somewhere else and then uploaded.
The video must be created using the Google Business Profile video verification process.
If you started creating your Google Business Profile on a desktop computer, when you get to the video verification step, you will see a QR code that you can scan with your mobile device.
This allows you to continue the video verification process on your mobile device – like a smartphone or tablet with a camera. Just make sure you’re signed in with your Google Business Profile email address on your mobile device.
When you’re ready to start recording your video, tap Start Recording.
And then, follow the steps to record your video.
After you have recorded the video, tap Stop Recording. The merchant can then choose to finish onboarding on a desktop or your mobile device. (Finishing on your mobile device is probably the simplest choice.)
Click the “Upload Video” button.
Since the video is all created in the app, you don’t have to worry about how large the video file size is. (Whew!)
Then click Done.
After you submit your video, it can take up to five days until the Google Business Profile support team reviews your video. Do not delete the video until it’s been reviewed and you’ve received the notification that your Business Profile has been verified.
If, for some reason, the video verification method didn’t work, you will see the “Get Verified” button in your Google Business Profile. You can then try a different way to verify your profile.
Once you’re done with your video, you can delete the video if you want to.
To delete the video, follow these steps:
Then you’re done! You’re now able to continue optimizing your Google Business Profile and engage with your potential customers!
Even though video verification may seem more cumbersome, it’s a much better way for Google to see whether or not a business is real – or not.
This will hopefully cut down on the spam profiles we see on Google.
What are your thoughts on Google Business Profile Video Verification?
Featured Image: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock
Before purchasing, your customers always look for reviews and references to reinforce and validate their intent.
In the U.K., I worked with an agency that served 600 small businesses of which a large percentage were florists. A flower shop customer’s intent can be one of the following:
When a potential customer has a clear intent, two things can happen:
And it is here where a well-optimized Google Business Profile (GBP) can become a significant source of influence because of its reviews, information, images and products.
An enhanced GBP drives more leads from your listing even though you’re not ranking as high as other listings. Optimize the following elements to turn your Google Business Profile into a revenue-generating channel.
The category chosen considerably impacts the rankings at the local level. Your company’s primary categorization explains what it performs (i.e., law firm, dentist, plumber, hair salon, etc). Furthermore, this will be the sole category accessible to the entire public.
In the example below, the primary category is “Florist” and the additional category is “Flower delivery.”
About 77% of consumers “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses, according to BrightLocal’s recent survey.
Reviews are an increasingly important ranking component and a conversion factor. They are crucial to local businesses, not only to stand out but to build credibility.
Google will emphasize reviews for branded searches and display them prominently on your company profile.
Another important aspect of reviews is always replying, which encourages customers to leave reviews and increases your credibility.
Reviews may bring in additional consumers, provide insightful criticism, and reveal problems or successes in the customer service department.
Read Google’s guidelines on prohibited and restricted content and best practices for getting reviews. Fellow contributor Joy Hawkins brings more insights in her piece, 1-star review attacks plague restaurants on Google.
When updated regularly, the Products section can be a powerful lever to generate revenue. It is placed higher up than the Services category so it is more prominent.
In this section, you can include:
This gives you an opportunity to match your customers’ search intent with relevant products, making it easier and faster for them to reach a purchase decision.
Did you know you can add products at the top of your local and map listings? You can find out how to do it here.
Images heavily influence customers during their research phase before purchasing. Google is making information more useful, allowing users to do searches with images and text and get relevant results.
However, adding images (especially logos) to the Image section of your GBP can be tricky. Ensure the pictures you upload for your products, logos, and general imagery are high resolution.
When adding images to your Product section, make sure it complies with Google’s guidelines for Business Profile photos.
Publishing posts on your Business Profile provides an excellent opportunity to promote new products, events, workshops or special offers.
You can add call-to-action buttons on your posts to help increase transactions and revenue and most of all, make it easy for your customer to complete a purchase.
Posts should not be used to turn keywords into subjects and create unhelpful content to influence the search result pages. It will not work, and this practice is considered spam.
Instead, your posts should be brief, concise, informative and useful to your customers.
UTM tags are crucial to track precisely how many visits, transactions and revenue your Google Business Profile drives to your website.
Here is how to add UTM tags to your website URL.
Go to Google’s Campaign URL Builder (bookmark it) and enter the following information in lowercase:
Then, at the bottom of the page, you should end with a URL such as this:
Now go to the info section on Google Business Profile and paste the URL you just created on the blank space with the earth icon (which stands for a website).
Then if it doesn’t have any errors, it should start tracking and, in a few days, you will be able to see its data on Google Analytics. To see its data on GA, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
Then you will be able to see all the campaigns. Look for “gbp-listing.”
Magnolia’s is a lovely flower shop in a gorgeous village in Northamptonshire in the U.K.
On Jan. 15, 2021, just before the big season (Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter), I helped them make some improvements to their Google Business Profile, such as:
From zero in revenue at the beginning of January 2021, Magnolia generated €27,328.80 (roughly the same in dollars) in sales by April 2021, just from their Google Business Profile.
Adding keywords or cities to your Google Business Profile name is unnecessary unless your business is registered as such.
Additional keywords will not have any influence whatsoever on local rankings or organic listings. Remember that anything we do on GBP will not affect other listings and vice versa.
Important note: If you have keywords on your business name, read this post on Google’s Vicinity Update, the largest update on local search in five years that rolled out in November 2021.
Sectors such as lawyers, insurance and dentists experienced significant fluctuations. Businesses that ranked in areas far from their locations and had keywords in their name were negatively affected.
There is a huge myth that adding keywords to your business description (on the info section) will impact visibility and local rankings. This is not true, and it’s simply a spammy practice.
Make sure your business descriptions are concise and contain information that will be helpful for your customers to know.
Hawkins shares more details here: No, the Google My Business description does not impact ranking.
Barry Schwartz also recently covered Google’s updated Business Profile posts spam policies.
Google is not Instagram or Twitter, so hashtags will be completely useless and look bad on your content for GBP. They don’t have any effect on discoverability and local search.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
New on Search Engine Land
Google is adding new ways for users to choose sustainable options when searching, with a suite of new information panels and eco-friendly markers placed directly in search results.
Based on an increase in search interest for terms like "electric vehicles," "solar energy," and "thrift stores," along with the escalating climate crisis, the search engine will now mark used and pre-owned products (like used vehicles and clothing), include additional specs on electric vehicles and comparisons when users shop for cars, and even provide sustainability information for food items in Google recipes.
Google has made similar updates and eco-conscious pledges in the past. In 2020, the company committed to run all of its data centers and campuses on carbon-free energy by 2030. In 2021, the search engine unveiled its first iteration of the new sustainability tools, including information on carbon impact and sustainability initiatives while users book flights and hotels. The site also added additional context to user searches for "climate change," which link to authoritative climate and climate news sources.
"People come to search during the critical moments that matter," said Hema Budaraju, senior director of product for Health & Search Social Impact at Google, in a call with Mashable. "Climate change is the defining call of our generation, and it requires all of us to take actions, big and small. Many people might not know where to start, and people are coming to Google for answers."
For those in the electric vehicle market, Google Search results will display expanded information menus featuring estimated fuel costs, range and charging speeds, and even public charging stations near you that are compatible with each electric vehicle.
Searchers in the U.S. will also see information on federal tax incentives for electric vehicles.
Find fuel and electricity costs, emissions estimates, and electric charging stations near you when searching for a new vehicle through Google. Credit: Google
In addition to search results, Google is prioritizing environmentally-friendly options for all vehicle-related needs.
In March 2021, Google unveiled its eco-friendly route option for Maps users, which suggests "cleaner" or more fuel-efficient routes using insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the European Environment Agency. The option considers road conditions, topography, and traffic and congestion to lower a driver's carbon emissions along their route. When the eco-friendly route is the fastest, Maps defaults to that option, but when it's not, a user gets to see the potential environmental impact and weigh their options.
According to Google, users have been making the more fuel-efficient choice. The company estimates that having the environmentally friendly choice available reduced vehicle carbon emissions by half a million metric tons since its launch, or the equivalent of taking 100,000 fuel-based cars off the road. The company explained to Mashable that this data only includes users that intentionally chose eco-friendly routes when there was another speedier option.
Building on this, Google Maps users can now choose their engine type when searching for routes to customize an even cleaner route to their destination. These tools are also being made available to companies, like delivery or ride-sharing services, for use in their own apps.
Google Search results will highlight pre-owned or used clothing options when people shop from the Google homepage, which the company says will help empower users to reduce the impact of overconsumption, textile waste, and global carbon emissions created by the fashion industry.
When scrolling through shopping listings, users can spot a small green leaf next to pre-owned resale clothing options.
When users search for certain food recipes, like "vegan curry," “bean recipes,” or “broccoli chicken,” Google Search will also show the environmental impact of various food choices, such as the effect of different protein choices (read: the global impact of that food items' production and transportation) on greenhouse gas emissions.
When searching for recipes, users can find information about more sustainable food choices. Credit: Google
While responsibility for an unsustainable food (and clothing and vehicle) market certainly doesn't lie with individual consumers, the new Google tools put information in the hands of users who want to know more about the ways they consume, as well as the small choices one can make for more eco-conscious consumption.
The new features will roll out to U.S. users first, in English, followed by a larger global expansion in multiple languages.
Combining Kyndryl’s advisory, modernization, management and enterprise AI services and Elastic’s search-powered solutions to help joint customers enhance their data-driven digital transformation initiatives
NEW YORK & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., September 22, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, and Elastic (NYSE: ESTC), the company behind Elasticsearch, today announced an expanded global partnership to provide customers full-stack observability, enabling them to accelerate their ability to search, analyze and act on machine data (IT data and business data) stored across hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and edge computing environments.
Under the partnership, Kyndryl and Elastic will collaborate on creating joint solutions and delivery capabilities designed to provide deep, frictionless observability at all levels of applications, services, and infrastructure to address customer data, analytics and IT operations management challenges.
The companies will focus on delivering large-scale IT operations and AIOps capabilities to joint customers by leveraging Kyndryl’s data framework and toolkits and Elastic’s Enterprise Search, Observability, and Security solutions, enabling streamlined migrations, modernized infrastructure and tenant management, and AI development for efficient and proactive IT management.
As part of the partnership, Kyndryl and Elastic plan to collaborate to support customer needs and requirements via joint offerings and solutions across the following areas:
IT Data Modernization – Helping organizations manage exponential storage growth and giving them the capability to search for data wherever it resides.
IT Data Management Services for Elastic – Providing flexibility to users of Elastic by letting Kyndryl manage the entire stack infrastructure and analytics workloads for IT operations.
Intelligent IT Analytics – Enabling actionable observability through AI/ML capabilities that deliver unified insights for proactive and efficient IT operations with technology domain-specific insights.
Data Migration Services for Elastic – Delivering the capability to streamline migrations and deploy self-managed Elastic workloads to the hyperscalers of a customer’s choice.
Kyndryl’s global team of data management experts will also participate in the global Elastic certification program to expand their expertise in advising, implementing and managing Elastic solutions across critical IT projects and environments.
"Customers in all industries are seeking to Improve their capacity to search and analyze the data stored in the cloud and on edge computing environments," said Nicolas Sekkaki, Applications, Data & AI global practice leader for Kyndryl. "We are happy to partner with Elastic to create and bring forward a unified approach that will help customers overcome hurdles and Improve their ability to access and gain insights at scale from their business data."
"Enabling customers to gain actionable insights from their data is a key enabler of data-driven digital transformation," said Scott Musson, Vice President, Worldwide Channel and Alliances at Elastic. "The combination of Kyndryl’s global expertise in managing mission-critical information systems and the proven scale and flexibility of the Elastic Search Platform provides the critical foundation to help organizations drive speed, scale, and productivity, and address their observability needs across hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and edge computing environments."
For more information about the Kyndryl and Elastic partnership, please visit: https://www.kyndryl.com/us/en/about-us/alliances
Kyndryl (NYSE: KD) is the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider serving thousands of enterprise customers in more than 60 countries. The Company designs, builds, manages and modernizes the complex, mission-critical information systems that the world depends on every day. For more information, visit www.kyndryl.com.
Elastic (NYSE: ESTC) is a leading platform for search-powered solutions. We help organizations, their employees, and their customers accelerate the results that matter. With solutions in Enterprise Search, Observability, and Security, we enhance customer and employee search experiences, keep mission-critical applications running smoothly, and protect against cyber threats. Delivered wherever data lives, in one cloud, across multiple clouds, or on-premise, Elastic enables 18,000+ customers and more than half of the Fortune 500, to achieve new levels of success at scale and on a single platform. Learn more at elastic.co.
The release and timing of any features or functionality described in this document remain at Elastic’s sole discretion. Any features or functionality not currently available may not be delivered on time or at all.
Elastic and associated marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Elastic N.V. and its subsidiaries. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220922005303/en/
Kyndryl media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elastic media contact: email@example.com
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As an entrepreneur, you take a big risk by starting your own business. The vision, capital, decisions and responsibilities rest on your shoulders. There comes a time when you may consider taking on a partner. Whether it's early on or after you're established and ready to take your brand to the next level, making the decision about a partnership is not to be taken lightly. When it comes to choosing a partner, choose wisely.
Marriage, divorce and running a business with someone else have a lot of similarities. In the beginning, things are exciting! You spend all your time together enjoying your similarities and making big plans. As your relationship routine develops, you begin to think and talk alike — even finish each other's sentences. But when the honeymoon phase is over and challenges begin to surface, some relationships weather the storm, and others sink like the Titanic.
Similar to a messy divorce, you cannot get out of a business partnership without extreme difficulty. It takes a long time to go through all the legal stuff to form the partnership properly, but it can take even longer and be more challenging to separate, so it's important to be very strategic from the beginning.
Of course, having a good contract in place is an absolute necessity. Even then, you may be facing an uphill battle. If your partner doesn't agree to dissolve, disapproves of the terms you set or simply wants to make your life hard, they can make everything difficult for you — even if you have a right of first refusal. You may even be required to have your company assessed by an independent party. It's an energy and time-sucker for sure.
So, before you hop in the proverbial business bed with someone, make sure it's for the right reasons!
Many of you will take on a partner for the wrong reason: fear. You are afraid to stand on your own because then all the decisions start and end with you. There is no one else to blame if you fail, and to many of you, that is the scariest scenario. You may feel more comfortable knowing that the decisions made are not completely on your shoulders and therefore, you don't have to take full ownership if things go south.
But the truth is: When you have full control of the brand trajectory, you are more likely to succeed. Most of you CAN and SHOULD do it on your own, especially a startup. In the same way that your personal happiness is derived from within, the success of your business is within your power. Stop looking for resolutions from outside sources, and trust that you can find the answers by following your own intuition. You don't need to know everything; you just need to stop second-guessing yourself and trust your instincts! Remember, you achieved amazing things to get you to where you are now, and you can achieve even more greatness to catapult you forward and accomplish your big goals.
Of course, there are many scenarios where a partnership is an ideal situation. It just has to be an option you consider carefully and intentionally. A partner must bring as much to the table as you do. There must be an equal energy output. Just like in any healthy relationship, this energy will ebb and flow. Sometimes you'll be doing more, and other times, your partner will be doing more. That's natural. However, one person should not always be carrying the burden. The value you each bring to the business needs to be the same.
It's important to examine your strengths. If you both bring similar qualities, then you are simply duplicating efforts. Think about how the other person's qualities complement yours. Make sure they bring strengths and knowledge to the table that you don't. If your zone of genius lies in being a visionary leader, you need someone to bring your vision to life. Partnering is a wise choice if doing the groundwork isn't one of your strengths, or if there is so much groundwork to do that it takes you away from accomplishing the visionary work.
When I opened my first business, Mad Men Barbershop, my partner (and then-husband) was the visionary; I was the financier and eventually the integrator. In business, we complemented one another well. Each of us leaned into our natural strengths and unique thought processes to achieve the success we have today. Of course, we've had our share of disagreements and adversity. But we knew we needed to overcome the challenges as a united front or risk having everything fall apart.
It will take a unique person to understand your mission and work on the business equally as a team. You need to ensure you are in alignment with this person and that both of you are committed to overcoming the inevitable difficulties that will arise. Weigh the pros and cons, and you may find that you would be better served by hiring the right staff who can help you rocket to the next level, rather than committing half of your company — your dream — to a partner.
Trust yourself to know if it's time to pivot in your business and take on a partner or have the courage to keep slaying it on your own. It's an easy decision to make when you're operating with purpose and intent, rather than self-doubt and fear. You've already made the biggest, scariest decision in business — getting started! Keep the momentum going. The right choice lies within you.