Time to Flag Up a potential issue - Google Map Listings
by David Dwyer on 28/09/2015
Verification – The Final Step To an effective Google Map Listing
Being found on Google should be a key objective for any website owner. We acknowledge that ’other search engines are available’, but with 86% share of the UK search market - Google has to be UK business owners prime search focus. That’s why all the sites we create for our UK based clients are ’Google Friendly’ which means they appear in Google search results for the relevant search terms we’ve targeted.
But a search result for your business can be greatly enhanced by registering your business via Google My Business - providing the major side benefit of getting listed in Google Maps. This gives you both the opportunity to display your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) in the Map Listing and appear in the Organic Search listing. Essentially you can appear more than once on a search result page (SERP).
More importantly, depending on the type of search performed, Google will give prominence to the Google Map listing element on their search result pages.
Why is this good? Well it means that as the Google Map Listing comes straight after any Adwords results (Sponsored Listings) you can leapfrog all the other Organic Search entries by having your business featured in the Google Map listing. That’s why we recommend that all our clients focus more of their attention on optimising their Map Listing.
We’ve spoken to some business owners over the last few weeks that have noticed changes to how their business shows up when local Google searches are performed. In some cases, their telephone number or website address has been omitted from the results. We’ve also heard cases where entire listings appear to have been removed, which is particularly concerning as it can give the false impression that the business in question has ceased trading.
Naturally, this can hamper your goal of being found online. So why is it happening?
It appears that Google is finally clamping down on unverified listings.
Verification is the final stage in registering your business online with Google. It is the element that confirms that you are who you say you are. Without verification, anybody could attempt to claim business ownership of any address. It’s a simple process that sees Google either calling the noted phone number in the listing or sending out a postcard to the address shown on the unverified listing. The postcard contains a unique verification code that is entered via your Google account.
(FYI - the postcard approach was adopted as unscrupulous competitors were actively delisting their competitors by claiming they were no longer trading.)
So why do some businesses fail to complete the verification process? There have been instances where postcards have gone missing; we had to re-request a postcard for a client three times before it arrived. In the majority of cases though it boils down to a mix of forgetfulness, laziness or simply just not appreciating the implications of not doing so.
We recommend you read the recent statement from Google that, while friendly in nature has one sentence that just like your verification – shouldn’t be ignored.
“If your account remains inactive after receiving a notice from us, then it could run the risk of being de-verified, or in rare cases, removed from Google Maps.”
Google My Business
Google has received a fair bit of justified criticism for how they support local businesses. They've moved the goalposts on many occasions as they wrestle with the simplest way to deliver services to local business owners.
Their latest incarnation is the ‘Google My Business’ service, which replaces both ’Google Places for Businesses’ and ‘Google+ Local’.
Register your business with ‘Google My Business’ and follow the verification process and you will go a long way to protecting, and in some cases enhancing your local profile on Google.
To borrow a slogan from a well-known footwear brand - ‘Just Do It’. You’ll be glad you did.
Inspire Google Search Marketing Services
Our advice to all our clients and all businesses is to take advantage of the free marketing opportunities that Google offer. These powerful tools can have a dramatic effect on your ability to be found online. We also know that some businesses would welcome support in really leveraging all that Google has to offer. If that sounds like you, then we can help.
We offer a range of Google Marketing services to take the pain and hassle out of being found on Google in the most efficient way possible. If you don't have the time, or the inclination to take on this task yourself then get in touch with David at Inspire on 01738 700 006. We'll take the time to understand your business & create a tailored Google Marketing plan, because, in the land of Google, one-size does not fit all.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos
Digital Trends, Google My Business, Inspire Web Services, Local SEO, Location Based Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation (Web Copy), Web Consultancy