Until recently, there were two ways to show your page or profile was verified on Facebook: with either a blue or gray verification badge. In October, however, Facebook alerted business pages with gray verification badges that they were retiring the checkmark by the end of the month. What does that mean for businesses that had a gray verification badge?
Facebook Verification Badge Timeline
Facebook launched its verification process for celebrities, journalists, government officials and popular brands and profiles back in 2013. The verification badge was intended to help Facebook users differentiate authentic pages and profiles from fan or copycat accounts. Qualified profiles and pages were rewarded with a coveted blue check mark beside their names on timelines and search results.
Facebook rolled out gray badges in 2015 as a way for businesses and organizations to confirm specific locations. And although not every page was eligible for the grey badge, it was easier to get than its blue counterpart.
To request a blue badge, for example, your business has to fill out a form and submit documentation with official seals or watermarks. To get a gray badge, you simply had to confirm your business’s location using a four-digit verification code via phone. Page types that could obtain Facebook’s gray verification included local businesses, organizations, companies and public figures with physical locations.
The Benefits of Facebook’s Gray Verification Badge
The gray badges mattered because they gave business credibility on Facebook. They were especially useful for businesses that belonged to large chains or franchises. While the parent or corporate accounts carry the blue checkmark, local branches and locations could receive the more subtle gray one.
Some of the benefits of Facebook verification include:
- Improved trust. With a verification badge, visitors are more likely to trust the information on your business is accurate and legitimate. This increases the likelihood they will like and engage with your page.
- Greater brand visibility. The gray checkmarks let your customers know your profile page is authentic, which helps attract more visitors.
- Increased reach. A verification badge makes your Facebook page easier to find because it shows your account is of public interest. In turn, more people will pay attention to it.
- Better communication. People know they can message you for customer service. This shows you care about your social media customer relationships.
Rising Above Facebook’s Verification Status
Facebook sees the removal of gray verification badges as a step in the right direction. “We’ve found that they can be more confusing than helpful,” the company said, adding the change wouldn’t impact the way pages appear in search results. But what can you do to ensure your business page doesn’t suffer from Facebook’s removal of the gray verification badge? Here are some recommendations:
- Claim your Facebook vanity URL. This replaces your numerical Facebook profile ID with a customized URL with your business’s name. The words in your Facebook URL help search engines determine what your page is about.
- Complete your profile. Is each section of your profile complete? A complete Facebook page helps search engines understand what makes your page relevant to people’s searches.
- Use keywords. Using keywords in your Facebook posts and your “About” section can also help search engines quickly and correctly understand what your Facebook page is about.
- Link to your Facebook page from your website. Those inbound links can help your SEO efforts since each link is viewed as a vote of credibility for your page by Google.
- Post consistently and engage with your audience.
Facebook’s algorithm favors pages that post quality content frequently and consistently. Posting fresh content also gives your newsfeed greater visibility and more opportunities to engage your audience.
If your business page recently lost its grey verification badge, maintaining your Facebook presence now becomes more important. Keep your business page up-to-date with accurate information and post regularly. An active page is an important indicator your company is still in business.