We’re taking a deep dive into Google My Business, now called Google Business Profile, and answer the most common questions we get from our clients.
Why was my Google Maps marker suspended all of a sudden? [00:40]
If you’re a business owner, you might be using Google Local Profile, for the millions of people that are looking for you every single day. Likewise, every single day, your customers are looking for a business just like yours.
Whether you’re at a gym or you’re at a grocery store, if they don’t find you, they’re going to wonder whether you went out of business or something else happened. If this happens to you, it might mean that there is some policy violated with Google.
It might mean that maybe there’s a customer photo that was posted and it was inaccurate – maybe someone flagged it. Maybe you changed some information, or maybe there was something else that happened within your profile. Maybe it was a review that was flagged that violated the Google Business terms.
You can find out in some of the Google Business Local Profile Policy information that’s available on Google Maps, or from the Google Business Listing Support.
There are at least ten things that could have gotten you suspended.
Maybe you changed attributes, or maybe you registered for a new Google Business listing within the last 24 hours. Immediately after you do that, if you change the name, that will get you suspended. Or maybe you changed the address or the phone number – that will also get you suspended.
My Google Business profile has been suspended. What should I do? [03:18]
What you need to do is submit a Rectify Support Ticket with Google Business Support right away. You’ve got to do this as quickly as possible. For that reason, you’ve got to find out what happened to the listing, and why it got suspended, and remove those things that got you suspended – to get your listing back on Google Maps.
Contact Google Support. If you log in to your profile on the right-hand side, you’re going to notice there’s a little Contact Support button.
They’re going to go through a number of FAQs. You could go through that. You’re going to fill up some form information and upload your business incorporation documents – the ones that show your business name, that you’re a legal entity with your business number, and where you operate.
You can show them that you are a real business and you’re trying to set this up. That should be enough for them to rectify that, verify your profile, and get your listing back. It could take up to 72 hours, but in most cases, it will be a lot faster than that.
What should I do if my Google business profile has been marked as a duplicate? [05:15]
This might have happened because maybe you started working with another agency or a friend, or another marketing department, and they weren’t quite sure how to get into your listing. They tried to get access to it, and by accident, they created two different duplicate listings.
Or if you didn’t know how to log into your original listing, and you tried to claim that business and it was already tied to another email, it would create a duplicate listing to verify the new owner.
Now you have two listings, and one of them is an obvious duplicate of the other one. And it doesn’t have all the reviews.
For that reason, Google sees these two and it doesn’t want both to appear on Google Maps. It might have the same name, address, and phone number. For that reason, it’ll mark it as a duplicate.
Verify the listing that isn’t the duplicate as soon as possible.
There are a couple of different ways of verifying a listing. You can verify by snail mail. You can verify by text. You can verify by calling. If Google calls, you’re going to get a robotic call. They’re going to give you a five or six-digit number (G – number). You’re going to plug that number into your listing and verify the listing. If it’s by text, they’re going to do the same thing. If it’s by snail mail, it will take up to seven days.
If none of those things work, you have to contact Google Support. Again, there’ll be a form on the right-hand side, and you’ll be able to use that form, contact them, and verify them with your business incorporation documents.
My business location and address are changing in a few months, so how do I prepare my Google Business Profile? [07:58]
This is a great question. During Covid, it was an even greater question because a lot of businesses had to close down, move to a smaller location, figure out new ways to pay their rent, and were not able to provide their essential services in a way that was possible for them.
One way you can prepare is you have to identify where your name, address, and phone number are on the website, and on your Google Business Profile. Your Google Business Profile is the pillar of your local SEO, and there are probably at least 350 different websites out there that are local business directories, which also include your name, address, and phone number – places like maybe Bing Maps or maybe Apple Maps.
So how do you get those people? How do you get some of that market share? One thing you can do is you’ve got to find out where your businesses are listed, and what locations they are in. They are going to maybe be on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, or your website.
You’re going to have the name, address, and phone number, maybe on the bottom left-hand side or on the contact. You’ve got to change all that. You should also update all the local business directories or local SEO citations.
In most cases, most businesses probably only have about 26 or 30. They don’t know about the other 330 listings that they have access to. If you do move locations, I would change all of it – the name, address, phone number, and locations, as well as do a local SEO citation to enhance and boost your local SEO to that location.
What are local SEO citations, and why do they matter to an existing business that has moved to a new location [10:17]
Local SEO is local search engine optimization. If a business is operating as a brick-and-mortar business or maybe as a service-area business, what you want to do is build these citations or local business directories.
These business directories – maybe they have less than 0.1% market share, but what they do is act as little pillars of your foundation. The foundation of your business, your virtual business, is your Google Business Profile, and it represents a massive foundation because Google dominates most of the search engine market share.
For that reason, a Google Business Profile will get you up to 15% or more traffic just by appearing on Google Maps. But it doesn’t just take that presence. Google needs to see that you exist on multiple different platforms, that have different backlinks coming into your website. One way you can build these backlinks is by creating citations.
These are copies of your name, address, and phone number on various other places all across the internet. Places like Apple Maps or Bing Maps, Facebook pages, your Instagram profile, or YouTube. You can have a YouTube account with your website on it and that will give you a backlink back to your website.
At least in Canada, there are at least 350 local business directories like this. In the US, I think there’s more, maybe 450. What I would advise doing is work with a digital marketer that can show you where you currently rank, what are all those local citations where your business exists, with a name, address, and phone number, and in some cases, social media.
Update them with your new name, address, and phone number, and it will probably even give you a boost in your new location, probably within the first 30 to 60 days.