How come your business is off Google Maps?

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You have read several guidebooks, wrote down pages of insightful memos, spent hours analysing your competition – all this to provide your business with an outstanding Google Maps business listing. 

Initially, all goes as planned, and you happily observe the growing number of comments and positive reviews under your business listing. Yet, as time goes by, you no longer keep track of your listing, until one day you decide to check it out again. To your utter surprise, there appears one major problem: your business listing is missing.

May this novel-like introduction help you realise that no Google My Business listing is forever. It takes constant effort to continuously rank truly high. 

In this post you will learn where to find the missing listings and, perhaps more importantly, how to never lose track of them again. Let’s get started!

Optimising your Google Maps listing is your responsibility

First, let’s tackle the low search visibility of your listing. It need not be gone, it may have simply been ranked low.

Unless you are an absolute trail blazer and a market leader, you must factor in your competition. Your competitors incessantly work to maintain their high ranking. So should you. 

Just because your listing came first in search results yesterday, doesn’t guarantee a success tomorrow. The situation is, however, not without its advantages. All you need to do to solve this problem is to focus on optimising for Google Maps. 

Yet, if you think your business positioning has been set optimally, if only for a short while, be patient. You may not be able reach the top 3-pack from the get go, but in time your efforts should yield satisfactory results. 

Here now, gone tomorrow – keep an eye on your listing

As business listings are re-ranked constantly, you will need to monitor your listing on regular basis. It only takes a few minutes a week. Consequently, you will be able to react quickly, should trouble arise.

Occasionally, Google will delete or block a listing. The reasons behind such actions vary. Most often, a listing is removed due to any activity in violation of the terms of use. Sometimes, though, a listing is deleted because the user failed to verify it correctly.

Avoid bans on Google My Business listing

Google suspends, or in extreme cases, deletes listings to protect its users. Often the decision is connected with the nature of the business as Google will occasionally decide to ban a user, revoking their right of access to the service. 

You will find a detailed set of rules governing Google My Business, and business listings, in section All Google My Business policies.

Google account — where it all begins

Let us say a few words, first, to all of you who just assumed that a business listing will magically appear on Google Maps. Well, it is possible, although unlikely, unless another internet user, your customer or an avid service consumer, adds your business as a new location. 

Should this happen, though, you will be unable to manage such a listing, which is hardly advantageous. To control such a listing, you must request to claim it directly from Google. You are better off moving ahead to create a listing yourself. First, you manage the listing from the very start and, second, you control its content to a high degree.

How to create a Google Maps business listing?

Creating a Google listing is not a complicated process, actually, it’s quite intuitive. To start, you will need a Google account, and then just use Google My Business. We will post a detailed guide to help you set up a business listing soon.

Google My Business and a verification code

We have already mentioned that you will need to verify your Google listing. Truth be told, this is the only difficulty you will need to face. Verification is conducted via traditional post, which has always been inconvenient and currently amounts to more than problematic.

Be aware that the parcel bearing your verification code may be delayed.  Sometimes it takes up to a few weeks. However, the issue is imperative enough not to be neglected.

The older, the better — listing history

Listing history is one of the factors which influences listing visibility. Keep in mind that the older a listing is, the better its visibility. Moreover, any changes to your address, business category or name will reset your listing history.

Avoid changing such data, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Choose your initial content wisely and stick to it!

Continued optimisation drives your business listing

You now realise that the question of visibility in Google Maps is a complex issue. Undoubtedly, the way you manage your SEO affects your visibility in Google Maps.

Ranking your business higher and higher is a never-ending battle. For this reason, it’s advisable to prepare a SEO strategy, encompassing both local and general activities. Likewise, a clear plan on optimising for Google Maps is equally recommended.

Here you will find a few tips to help you heave your listing to top result hits. You might also want to have a look at our comprehensive post on how to optimize your business listings. Having gained new insights, you are ready to start.

Business listing category

Your business listing should fall within a specific category. Google is responsible for the list of available categories, which at times makes it difficult to find a category suitable for a given business.

If you find the categories puzzling, feel free to research your competition to see which categories they have chosen. It is a fast and easy method, after all you will race against your competitors to appear on the local top 3-pack in search results.

NAP and its accuracy

Make sure you enter NAP data, or name, address and phone information, first. It’s not just a question of credibility, but also a possible means of contact for your prospects.

Please make sure your data is accurate. Regardless of place, it’s essential that you always enter consistent information. Not only does it promote confidence in your brand, but also it has a positive influence on your listing SEO.

Health & safety attributes 

It turns out that the pandemic has affected not only the physical, but the online world, too. Google has introduces new health and safety attributes in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Their number varies, depending on the business sector. You can choose yourself which attributes to add to your listing, which we recommend. Certainly, your customers will appreciate the information on pandemic restrictions, such as a facial mask requirement.

Pay attention to verify any attributes added by your customers. Such attributes need not be factual, and surely, you wouldn’t like to be accused of misleading your customers or perpetrating falsehoods.

Posts & Services functionalities

Google has enabled its users to publish posts as part of their GMB functionalities. By using this functionality you create positive content for you listing and help to build a community for your brand. Some content is better than no content at all – this simple rule applies to SEO, too. That’s all and that’s it.

The other functionality, Services, gives you the power to state specific services that your business can render. This allows you to showcase your offer in an exact way. Let’s assume you run a car garage. Using the Services functionality you can quickly specify whether you repair cars, lorries or perhaps only French brand cars. Make use of it as much as you can!

Last but not least — Your customer reviews

Be mindful not only to collect positive reviews on your listing, but above all to interact with users who wrote them. Comment and respond to queries. If you have received a positive review, thank its author; if you were reviewed critically, accept it and respond. Don’t argue, just draw conclusions and implement new solutions in your following projects/products.

The sum of all your actions

Frankly, it’s (almost) all up to you. Lost listings are most often just a result of neglect. If you comply with our suggestions, pay attention to your listing, provide good content and wait patiently, you will achieve positive results. Trust us, it’s worth it.