What’s a Google Business Listing?
A Google Business Listing is a free tool for any business, large or small, to use to help promote their business through Google. You just need a Gmail or G Suite (for business) email address and then you can work on either registering your business, or claiming it if it’s already registered. To do this, just go to business.google.com and enter your business name. If it is already there, Google will show it to you and then you can claim it. Or, you can make a new listing for your business.
It’s a great tool to use to help market your online presence for your business. However, there are some things you should know about the Google Business Listing service.
A Short History of Google Business
Google’s Business Listings have come a long way since their meager beginnings when they were Google Maps and Google+, which was essentially just a way to get your business name in Google Maps. This made sense for Google because giving a free Maps listing was a great way to touch businesses and get them to know about Google’s services. It has evolved, however, into a much bigger platform than just a Maps listing. You can add photos, add services, put up posts, and even make a one-page website that will highlight your business.
However, all of this is in the name of getting your business hooked onto their services. Their thought process is: eventually you might buy advertising from them in the form of Ad-Words. That’s Google’s back-end advertising platform.
A Problem in Google Paradise
But, Google has a dirty little Business Listing secret – all because they have gotten very upset with businesses that have tried to take advantage of their good-natured ‘giving’ of free business listings on the Internet. How have they taken advantage? Primarily by doing things like keyword stuffing, advertising for services they don’t offer, adding locations they really don’t have, and more.
Over the course of time, Google has really tightened the noose around businesses – big, small, and everything in-between. If you do one little thing wrong when you or your online marketing company manages your listing, your Google Business Listing can be suspended. What does that mean for you? In 2 words: Lost Business – until the suspension ends.
Here’s why: your business won’t show up anymore in the Maps when people search for your niche. Oh, if they search for you specifically, you will show up – but not if they search your niche – like plumber for example. It just won’t show up, anywhere!
How long will the suspension last? Essentially, this is permanent, or at least until you or your representative can contact them and request a review. This can be done from the Google My Business back-end.
Apparent Facts About Google’s “Free” Business Listings:
1) They are in it for the money, so it’s not “Free”
2) They really don’t care about you
3) They will suspend your listing for any reason they feel like
4) They won’t tell you about it. No call, no email
5) They won’t respond to review requests for a very long time, if at all
6) Getting it un-suspended is a process not for the faint of heart
We just helped a small business get their Google Business Listing off the “suspended” list – here’s the exact reason that I was given as to why it was suspended:
“Thanks for following up. It looks like there were some changes made to your listing that caused it to be suspended until the changes were verified.”
This means that they shot first and didn’t even bother to ask questions later. They just suspended the listing – no phone call, no email, no notification whatsoever. They assumed the business was being a bad boy and Google was out to give ‘swift and just’ punishment. At least as they look at it.
The Lesson We Learn From the Current State of Google Business
So here’s the lessons we learn from this – keep an eye on your Google Business Listing. If it gets suspended, logging into it will show that it has been suspended. You won’t receive any other notice. Your business won’t show up on Maps. You can go through everything in your Google Business account and hope that you find whatever it was that caused it to be suspended. There’s a good chance you won’t. That’s because Google won’t tell you what it was – all they will say is “Read our TOS (Terms of Service) and make sure you haven’t violated any of them.”
We are quickly discovering that not only is this unfair to innocent businesses trying to run their businesses, but their responsiveness is poor when attempting to get back into their good graces.
How To Get Help With Your Google Business Listing
If you suspect that your business has been suspended by Google and you need help, or if you have any other questions about your Google Business Listing or any of your Internet marketing presence, give us a call today at 602-899-5223. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses with their Internet presence and online marketing roadblocks, and we would like to help you too. We will even offer a free solution, if one is available.