Fix Google My Business problem

By firstplaceseo.co.uk
Published:

h 3 Table Of Content

We address common hurdles in managing your Google My Business (GMB) profile from combating spammy listings to reclaiming ownership, take actionable steps against Google Business Profile suspension and other Google Business issues.

Article Content:

  • Combatting Spammy and Fake Listings: Uncover tactics to address misleading listings created by competitors, safeguarding your business’s online reputation and customer trust.
  • Navigating Suspensions: Understand the reasons behind GMB profile suspensions and learn the steps to rectify issues and submit reinstatement requests effectively.
  • Handling Negative Reviews: Gain insights into managing negative reviews from ex-employees, ensuring your online presence reflects your business’s true values.
  • Regaining Ownership: Explore methods to reclaim control of your GMB listing from previous employees or third parties, safeguarding your business’s digital identity.
  • Addressing Rejected Posts: Learn how to revise and resubmit posts that may have been rejected by Google, maintaining compliance with posting guidelines.

What Are Some Common GMB Issues That Can Affect Your Business?

The common issues we see that businesses encounter when managing their Google My Business (GMB) profiles, along with how to address them are:

Spammy and Fake Listings

Competitors may use spammy tactics like creating fake listings or stuffing business names with keywords. This not only affects search results but can mislead potential customers. To combat this, you can suggest edits to correct inaccuracies through Google’s interface or report the issue using the Redressal Form, providing evidence such as screenshots or documents.

Suspensions

Business listings can get suspended for various reasons, often for violating Google’s Terms of Service. Common triggers include too many rapid changes to your profile or incorrect business information. If your profile is suspended, carefully review Google’s guidelines, rectify any issues, and submit a reinstatement request, ensuring to provide evidence that your business complies with Google’s policies.

Negative Reviews by Ex-Employees

 Negative reviews from ex-employees can be flagged as they violate Google’s Conflict of Interest guidelines. If such a review appears, you can flag it as inappropriate and provide evidence (like screenshots from LinkedIn showing previous employment) to Google to support your claim.

Regaining Ownership of Your Listing

If someone else has claimed your business listing, perhaps a previous employee or a third party, you can request access through Google Business Profile management. If the current owner does not respond or denies your request, you can follow the steps to verify your affiliation with the business, such as submitting a verification form with relevant business documentation.

Rejected Posts 

Sometimes, Google may reject your business posts if they contain sensitive content, specific words flagged as offensive, or include phone numbers and URLs. To resolve this, revise your posts to remove such elements and comply with Google’s posting guidelines.

Addressing these issues promptly and effectively can help maintain the integrity of your business information on Google, improving visibility and interaction with potential customers. Here is the link to Google’s business profile policies:

Google My Business Policies: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177

How Do You Handle Suspensions and Fake Reviews on GMB?

Handling Suspensions:

  • Review the Violation: Start by understanding why your profile was suspended by checking the email from Google or the notifications in your GBP dashboard. 
  • Correct the Issues: Ensure your business complies with Google’s guidelines. This might include updating incorrect business information or removing prohibited content.
  • Submit a Reinstatement Request: Once you’ve made the necessary changes, submit a reinstatement request through Google’s official form. Provide any required documentation to prove your business’s legitimacy.

Handling Fake Reviews:

  • Flag as Inappropriate: You can flag suspicious reviews directly in your Google Business Profile for Google to review.
  • Provide Evidence: If you know who wrote the review, providing evidence of bias or conflict of interest can help your case.
  • Respond Professionally: Address the review publicly by responding professionally, showing other customers your commitment to resolving issues.

If you don’t have an SEO working for you and don’t want to pay a consultant or agency to deal with your suspension or fake reviews you can reach out to:

Google My Business Help Center: https://support.google.com/business

Google My Business Community: https://support.google.com/business/community

Redressal Form for Reporting Google My Business Issues: https://support.google.com/business/contact/gmb_redressal_form

What Steps Should You Take to Appeal a GMB Suspension and Prevent Future Issues?

Appealing a Suspension:

  • Identify the Reason: Review the suspension notice to understand the specific reasons.
  • Fix Compliance Issues: Correct any issues that violate Google’s policies.
  • Appeal the Suspension: Use the appeal process provided in the suspension notice, ensuring you provide clear evidence that the issues have been resolved.

Preventing Future Issues:

  • Regularly Review GBP Guidelines: Keep updated with Google’s policies and ensure your business continuously complies.
  • Monitor Your GBP Regularly: Regular monitoring helps catch and resolve potential issues before they lead to another suspension.
  • Educate Your Team: Ensure anyone managing your GBP is fully aware of Google’s guidelines and best practices.

Why Is It Crucial to Manage Third-Party Services and Ensure Compliance with Google’s Policies?

Managing third-party services is crucial for several reasons:

  • Avoid Misrepresentation: Incorrect or misleading information managed by third parties can lead to consumer mistrust and potential suspensions.
  • Maintain Ownership: It’s important that businesses maintain ownership or co-ownership of their profiles to prevent issues like unauthorized changes.
  • Compliance: Third parties must comply with Google’s policies, and failure to do so can affect your business profile’s visibility and operation.

How Can You Resolve Duplicate GMB Listings? 

Resolving Duplicate GMB Listings

To resolve duplicate Google My Business (GMB) listings, you can follow these steps:

Identify Duplicate Listings: Log into your Google Business Profile Manager and check for any duplicate listings under “Manage locations.” Google will flag any location that has been previously verified by someone else as a “Duplicate location.

Remove or Merge Duplicates: You have the option to remove duplicate locations directly from your Google Business Profile Manager. To do this, select the locations you want to remove and choose “Remove location” from the “Actions” menu. If you wish to merge duplicates:

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Select the location you believe is a duplicate.
  3. Click on “Suggest an edit.”
  4. Choose “Close or remove,” then “Duplicate of another place,” and select the correct location if available.
  5. Submit the suggestion.

Verify the Remaining Listing: If the remaining listing is unverified after removing the duplicate, you will need to verify it. Make sure to transfer any important information from the duplicate to the remaining listing before removal.

How Do Duplicate Listings Occur and What Are Their Impacts on Business Visibility and SEO? 

Causes and Impacts of Duplicate Listings

Causes:

  • Duplicate listings can occur due to errors in data entry, multiple users creating profiles for the same location, or changes in business locations not being updated properly.

Impacts:

  • Duplicates can dilute your business visibility and SEO efforts by splitting your reviews and interactions between multiple listings. This confusion can negatively impact your local search ranking and lead to a poor user experience.

What Is the Process for Identifying, Claiming, and Merging Duplicate GMB Listings? 

Process for Identifying, Claiming, and Merging Duplicates

  1. Identifying Duplicates: Regularly review your listings on Google My Business and Google Maps to identify any duplicates.
  2. Claiming Duplicates: If you find a listing that you haven’t created, request ownership by following Google’s process to claim a Business Profile.
  3. Merging Duplicates: After claiming the duplicates, follow the steps above to suggest merging the duplicate into your primary listing through Google Maps.

What Are Some Tips for Maintaining a Singular, Authoritative GMB Listing?

Tips for Maintaining a Singular, Authoritative GMB Listing

  1. Regular Monitoring: Regularly check your Google My Business profile for accuracy and unauthorized changes.
  2. Prompt Updates: Update your listing immediately whenever there are changes in your business details such as location, contact information, or services.
  3. Engage with Reviews: Actively manage and respond to reviews to enhance engagement and maintain a positive reputation.
  4. Comprehensive Information: Ensure your listing includes comprehensive and up-to-date information about your business to improve its relevance and authority in search results.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively manage your Google My Business listing, prevent the issues caused by duplicates, and enhance your visibility and interaction with customers.

How Do You Correct Inaccurate Information in GMB Listings?

To correct inaccuracies in your Google My Business (GMB) listing:

  1. Claim Your Profile: Ensure you have claimed your GMB profile. This gives you the authority to make changes.
  2. Regular Checks: Regularly check your GMB profile for accuracy. Google may not always notify you of changes made by its algorithms or by public edits.
  3. Make Corrections: If you find incorrect information, log into your GMB dashboard, find the inaccurate data, and click on the pencil icon to edit. After making changes, click “Done” then “Save.” These changes will be reviewed by Google, usually within a few minutes, but more significant changes may take longer.
  4. Maintain Consistency: Ensure your business information is consistent across all platforms (website, social media, other business listings) to prevent unwanted changes by Google’s algorithms.

Common Types of Inaccuracies in GMB Listings, Particularly NAP Data

Common inaccuracies in GMB listings include:

  • Name: Businesses often find their names incorrectly listed, especially if they have changed names, branding, or ownership.
  • Address: Addresses may be outdated or incorrectly entered. Confusions like street names, suite numbers, or city names are common.
  • Phone Number: Incorrect or outdated phone numbers can be listed, which can confuse potential customers and affect local SEO.

These inaccuracies can lead to reduced customer trust, confusion, and a decline in local search ranking.

Procedures to Update Information and Ensure Ongoing Accuracy

To update and maintain the accuracy of your GMB listing:

  1. Regular Audits: Regularly review your GMB information for accuracy.
  2. Update Promptly: Quickly update your information whenever changes occur in your business to ensure your GMB reflects current details.
  3. Add Managers: Consider adding trusted team members as managers to help maintain the profile.
  4. Use Structured Data: On your website, use structured data to help Google understand and display your business information correctly.

Importance of Regular Auditing and Proactive Management

Regular auditing and proactive management of GMB listings are crucial because:

  • Minimizes Risks: It helps identify and correct errors that could mislead customers or negatively impact your local SEO.
  • Enhances Operational Efficiency: Ensures all business information is up-to-date, reflecting an accurate image of the business.
  • Builds Stakeholder Confidence: Customers and partners gain confidence in the reliability and professionalism of your business.
  • Prepares for External Audits: Keeps you ready for any external audits or reviews from regulatory bodies.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular audits and updates contribute to the continuous improvement of business processes and customer service.

By regularly auditing your GMB listing and proactively managing your business details, you ensure the ongoing accuracy and reliability of your online presence, enhancing both customer trust and local SEO performance.

How to Claim and Secure Your Unclaimed GMB Listings

To claim and secure an unclaimed Google My Business (GMB) listing:

  1. Search for Your Business: Go to Google Maps or the Google My Business website and search for your business.
  2. Claim the Business: If the listing is unclaimed, you’ll see an option that says “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” Click on it.
  3. Verify Your Business: Google will require you to verify your association with the business, usually through a verification code sent via postcard, phone call, or email.
  4. Review and Update Business Information: Once verified, review the information and make necessary updates to ensure accuracy.
  5. Regular Monitoring: Keep a regular check on the listing to ensure information remains accurate and secure from unauthorized changes.

Risks Associated with Unclaimed GMB Listings

Unclaimed GMB listings carry several risks:

  • Misinformation: Incorrect details can remain uncorrected, leading to customer confusion and loss of business.
  • Brand Reputation: Unclaimed listings can be susceptible to unauthorized changes by others, potentially damaging the business’s reputation.
  • Competitive Disadvantage: Competitors may claim your unclaimed listing and control the narrative, directing potential customers away from your business.

Best Practices for Safeguarding Your Business Information Online

To protect your business information online:

  1. Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits of your online presence to ensure all information is accurate and consistent across platforms.
  2. Strong Authentication: Use strong, unique passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication where possible.
  3. Control Access: Limit who has access to your business’s online accounts and review these permissions regularly.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of new security features and updates for platforms where your business has a presence.
  5. Respond to Reviews: Regularly monitor and respond to reviews to maintain a positive online presence and address any potential misinformation.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively manage your online presence and minimize risks associated with digital platforms.

How to Optimize Business Photographs for Your GMB Listing

To optimize your Google My Business (GMB) photos effectively:

  1. Proper Sizing and Quality: Ensure images are of high resolution and properly sized. The ideal size for GMB photos is typically around 720px by 720px, and they should be clear and not pixelated.
  2. Minimal Text: Avoid excessive use of text in images; Google prefers clean and straightforward visuals.
  3. Appropriate Content: Ensure that the images represent your business accurately. Use real photos of your business rather than stock photos to give a genuine view of what customers can expect.
  4. Cover Photo: Choose a compelling cover photo as it’s prominently displayed. Make sure it’s attractive and represents your business well.
  5. Frequent Updates: Regularly update your photos to reflect your business’s current status, including promotions, seasonal changes, or any new additions to your services or facilities.
  6. Responsive to Feedback: Monitor and respond to user-uploaded photos and feedback. Engaging with customer photos can encourage others to post their own, increasing your listing’s engagement and visibility.

Importance of Accurate and Professional Photographs for GMB Listings

Accurate and professional photographs are crucial because:

  • First Impressions: Photos are often the first thing a potential customer will notice about your GMB listing. High-quality images create a positive first impression and make your listing more attractive and engaging.
  • Consumer Engagement: Listings with professional photos receive more clicks and interactions. According to a study, listings with more than 100 images can get significantly more calls, direction requests, and website clicks than those without.
  • Brand Trust: Professional photos enhance the perceived credibility and trustworthiness of your business.

Guidelines for Selecting and Updating Photographs for GMB

When selecting and updating photographs for your GMB listing, consider the following guidelines:

  • Relevance: Each photo should add value by showing off aspects of your business that are relevant to potential customers.
  • Diversity: Include a variety of photos showing different aspects, such as the interior and exterior of your premises, staff at work, and available products or services.
  • Currency: Keep photos up to date. If your business undergoes significant changes, such as a renovation, update your photos to reflect this.
  • Compliance with Google’s Guidelines: Follow Google’s photo and video guidelines strictly to avoid penalties or removal of images.

Strategies to Enhance Engagement and Trust Through Images

To enhance engagement and trust through images on your GMB listing:

  • Showcase Customer Interactions: Photos of happy customers or busy scenes can convey positive experiences.
  • Highlight Unique Selling Points: If your business has particular amenities, unique products, or specialties, highlight these in your photos.
  • Encourage Reviews with Photos: Encourage satisfied customers to upload their own photos with reviews, increasing authenticity and trust.
  • Regular Updates: Keep adding new photos to keep the listing fresh and engaging. This can also signal to Google that your business is active, potentially improving your search rankings.

By implementing these strategies and adhering to Google’s guidelines, you can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your GMB listing, attracting more customers and fostering trust in your brand.

Here are some frequently asked questions we get about managing a Google My Business (GMB) profile, now known as a Google Business Profile (GBP):

How long does the appeal process take?

Google review and sort out the majority of requests within three to five days.

What happens when a profile is removed?

If we remove:

  • A profile:
    • Gets taken offline and your can’t edit it. 
    • The profile will get reinstated if the owner gets the suspension lifted.
  • The owner’s Google Account:
    • All locations get removed from the account.
    • The locations get reinstated when the owners account does after the suspension.
  • A manager’s Google Account:
    • If a managers account gets suspended it doesn’t take the locations offline.
    • The manager’s Google Account gets access to the locations again once the suspension is lifted.

If you need more detailed help or have specific questions, consider visiting the Google Business Profile help center or looking into community forums where other users share their experiences and solutions or contact the Google My Business Experts (First Place SEO), the choice is yours.

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