Google My Business has gotten more complex over the years. Here are five common issues with Google My Business and how to fix them.
Google My Business (GMB) used to be so simple.
GMB listings used to basically include a business name, address, phone number, and website URL.
That was about it.
Over the years Google has made GMB profiles so much more robust, which is very exciting.
Businesses can now create a Google My Business profile that really shows off what their business has to offer.
And it allows them to stand out above their competitors that neglect GMB as an effective local SEO and marketing strategy.
But these features and enhancements have also made using Google My Business much more complex for users.
So when problems with GMB profiles happen, the fixes can be more complex, nuanced and can often lead to confusion.
Google has laid out the guidelines for when, if, and how businesses can represent their businesses on Google My Business.
But even those guidelines can be confusing.
People often take liberties with interpreting these guidelines which can cause spam and fraudulent listings.
It can also trigger business listings to get suspended and cause other issues to arise throughout the course of GMB management.
Here are five common Google My Business problems users encounter and how to solve them.
1. There Are Spammy and Fake Competitor Listings Dominating the Search Results – What Can I Do?
For SEO practitioners, the word “spam” has a negative connotation.
And GMB spam is no different.
Whether it’s a totally fake business listing or a keyword-stuffed business name, these types of rule-breakers can cause harm to many people – both for searchers and other local businesses.
But there are ways to combat GMB spam.
Sometimes it’s as easy as suggesting an edit.
For instance, if you see a business that is keyword stuffing their business name, you can click on the Suggest an edit link and edit the business’ name to get rid of the extra keywords.
Once you make the suggested edits to the name, address, hours, or other section of the GMB listing, Google will review your suggestion(s).
Sometimes the change you make will take effect almost immediately, but sometimes it can take some time.
And, unfortunately, sometimes even legitimate suggested changes may not be made by Google at all.
If changes that you suggest aren’t made or if a business is blatantly breaking the rules it is time to fill out a Redressal form.
Blatant rule-breaking examples are: displaying a home address on their GMB profile or if they are a lead-generation company or online-only business.
The Redressal form is a much more formal “complaint” form and requires more information from you as to what the violations are and what business is being impacted.
When you fill out the Redressal form you can even upload files and images that help back up the reasons why the business is in violation like:
Once you submit the Redressal form, you should receive an email letting you know that the form was received by Google.
Each Redressal form will have a unique case number.
It’s a good idea to keep track of the case number for your records and what business you reported attached to that case number.
Typically, it takes around two weeks for Google to act on Redressal form/spam.
2. Why Did My Google My Business Listing Get Suspended?
Ahhh…The dreaded “Suspended” notice!
Nothing is more troubling than seeing this warning in your GMB dashboa
There are many reasons why Google My Business listings get suspended – and most are legitimate.
So even if you think you aren’t breaking the rules, chances are you are violating Google My Business’ Terms of Service (TOS) or your GMB profile wouldn’t have been suspended.
Now, flukes do happen – like if you make too many changes to your listing in one sitting – that can sometimes trigger a suspension.
But if you take the time to look carefully at your listing and the rules/guidelines, you will probably be able to identify what rule you are breaking.
Let’s look at just one example.
Here’s a panicked business owner that posted about their suspension on the Google My Business Help Forum:
Notice how this business owner says that the suspension is “without cause” and his listing was “suspended for no reason.”
If you dig a little deeper, you can clearly see why the listing was suspended.
When asked, the business owner stated that he originally had his business address listed as his home address.
According to Google’s guidelines, you cannot display residential addresses on Google My Business profiles.
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