With the advancement in internet usage, people are increasingly using technology in their daily chores. Be it shopping or watching review videos, masses are dependent heavily on the internet for every need. As this trend has increased, marketers saw potential in the online market, and tech giants such as Google have introduced novice platforms to make the most of these digital platforms. These digital tools not only aid the inconvenience of potential customers, but businesses are also using them to expand their coverage in the industry.
All the search engines, including the giant Google, have become a prominent part of your digital life in various forms. These include Google assistant, video search engine, YouTube, voice assistant, or merely a simple chrome search on your smartphones. It is omnipotent!
But for the local businesses, Google has an offering called “Google my Business.” To expand your business, all you need is robust SEO optimization to push your website on higher rankings. It includes a local SEO concept which enables local businesses to rank on the SERPs within a specific geographical location. With Google, My business tool, Google tends to solve the problem of small businesses that struggle to secure better rankings on search engines.
To know the answer, let’s dive deep into the concepts related to Google My Business.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a multi-featured, free tool that enables local businesses to manage their online presence on Google maps and Google search. A GMB listing is not like other listings on third-party websites; instead, it’s found directly on Google Maps search results and Google. Google My Business enables you to manage and optimize your business profile on Google. This business profile appears in the local search results of Google search and maps.
Building a business profile on Google is similar to adding a place to Google Maps. All you need to create a GMB profile is a business name, category, and location. The confirmation is done by Google to discard the discrepancies, if any, and to ensure the information is legitimate. Once it is done, your GMB profile is created for that location. This GMB profile is then open for customers who can give feedback on your product or services via reviews, ask questions, add photos and even answer questions. Google can also stuff your business profile with the information that it finds across the web.
You might be thinking, what does it mean? It means that a business profile can reside independently, and it doesn’t necessarily require a GMB account. Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether you created your business profile; you can’t manage the reviews it gathers or the information it exhibits. So here, GMB comes into the frame. Building a GMB account helps access, control, customize, and enhance your business profile on Google.
You would be amazed to know that Google My Business serves a much more purpose than it shows. The audience hugely uses it for the following objectives –
- For finding directions to a local business, or its address
- For making online bookings
- For reading and writing reviews about a local business
- For asking and answering questions about a local business
- For finding out a business’s opening times
- For seeing photos of a local business and its products/services
- For visiting the business website
- For calling a local business without needing to visit their website
- For viewing the available services and products
Do you know precisely at what places this Google My Business listing shows up? These are the following places where you can see it –
- Google Maps –
You might think by the name that Google maps are just helpful in getting the directions of a location on Google. Well, you are right, but it has so much more to offer! A Google map is an application and browser-based service on the mobile or desktop used for getting directions and finding businesses and locations. Not only this, it is considered as an authentic place for local companies to gain visibility.
- Google Knowledge Panel –
Whenever you perform a branded search for your business, a box appears on the top right-hand corner of Google search results on desktop. That box is known as Google Knowledge Panel, and it holds vital information about your business.
- Google local finder/ local Pack –
Google finder is a part of business listings that is available below the map in search results. It appears when a user searches anything with local intent. You can expand to see all the profiles available.
Who Keeps Updating the Google My Business Listing?
Being a digital marketer, you might have encountered the situation where you explain how optimizing Google My business is vital for local firms. But it is not a one-time task; you need to watch GMB listing updates and regularly check if Google makes the alterations. It is a common problem faced by businesses when Google keeps changing the information to incorrect one on your GMB profile without your consent. The data includes the name of the listing, business hours, phone number, categories, and others.
These changes might seem no big deal but can cause significant issues with tracking and ranking. It displays wrong information about your business which can mislead potential customers and result in a sudden drop in the rankings. So it’s suggested that you keep checking the updates from Google and monitor the listings for unauthorized edits. You would be wondering as to how these unauthorized edits in GMB listings affect your business. It causes iterations in three major factors –
- Tracking –
Tracking is the most vital function that helps in measuring the overall performance of businesses. Continuous incorrect updation in the information affects the analytics and the way you do the business. Using call tracking phone numbers or UTM codes can be removed or altered from the listing, deserting incorrect information in Google analytics.
- Ranking –
The ranking is the most vital matter. Altering your business data without your knowledge is very perilous and can completely swap how you rank on search engines. For instance, it has been observed that when even any specific data is altered, suppose the primary category of an AC repairing company from “AC repair service” to ‘” AC contractor” the ranking dropped tremendously. As the primary type encapsulates more weight, it has a significant impact when it’s altered.
- User Experience –
User experience is yet another issue that arises when your unauthorized GMB listing edits happen. It can be understood by the example where Google changes your listed business hours and potential customers visit the store at that time and find that it’s closed. It ultimately results in a terrible user experience, and that customer might not see the store again or give negative feedback on your business profile. Google also tries to avoid this inconvenience to the users as it may turn off the customers and slams the chances of potential business.
As you have seen above, how an auto-updating Google My Business listing can affect the businesses, we would like to bring to your knowledge where you can notice these auto-updating changes. There are majorly four places where you can observe changes in your business data, namely –
- Third-party applications –
There are many third-party apps you might have used over the years by giving them access to your listing. Unfortunately, people tend to ignore this and wonder why the data on their profiles keeps changing now and then. Some apps you don’t use anymore but still manage to alter or affect your profile.
The best way is to cease those third-party apps from accessing your information is to remove the authorization or turn the setting off or make sure that the data in the apps is correct. In addition, you can keep a check on which apps have access to your GMB account in the security section of your GMB account settings.
- Your website –
Google is apt in adding a lot of services to the listings recently. You can find the massive range of listings added to the service menu in the GMB dashboard and remove them. A business’s website is the primary source that results in these changes.
- Another manager/owner –
Giving access to your employees and skipping to remove them when they leave is why you may see changes in the listings. Many people overlook this, but you need to review all authorized users promptly to check who has access to change the data. Any user on the listing may alter the information, so it’s vital to access only trustworthy ones.
- A public user –
GMB and Google maps allow people to make edits to the listings. It’s paramount to know that the modification made by anyone doesn’t need to go live, but if it’s done by a source that has a high trust level, just like Google maps users, it’s likely to get approval and will be changed.
What to Do if Google Auto-Updates Your GMB Information?
If you have hands-on experience with the Google My Business account, you might have known that it tends to mess with the business information you have put in the GMB dashboard. Sometimes it corrects the data you’ve fed, sometimes vacates the fields you have filled, or many times pours in the data, which is incorrect. Yes, Google auto-updates your Google My Business account, and this is an arduous process to keep a check on it all the time!
Moreover, Google frequently eliminates or overwrites information you might have fed on your GMB dashboard years ago. So, do you know how to deal with GMB listing changes? Well, you can follow these tips when you find these stubborn edits in your GMB account.
- When Google keeps updating Google My Business listing and doesn’t inform you much about it, it’s advisable to update the GMB landing page or home page (most likely) on your website and feed the data you want to put in your GMB dashboard. It means making your website’s landing page filled with all the information you want on your GMB page. Ensure that if Google is altering your business name repeatedly, the name on your GMB page is in the main body content in your landing page, on your contact page, in the footer, and others.
- Secondly, suppose Google is altering or rejecting your service fields or categories or both. In this case, you should include a blurb on all the service offerings and a link to a dedicated page where the offering is well explained.
- If Google declines to accept some regions or towns in your service area, you should mention those regions in your footer and on the landing page. Likewise, if the appointments link or COVID-19 information link is wrong, ascertain that your landing page includes at least one easy-to-find link to that page.
- You may also find Google messing up with your phone number, address, and business hours; in that case, updating your landing page with the same data might be a solution. But you can also update your other non-Google listings before Google stops with auto-updates.
- Likewise, if your website or landing page URL is wrong in the GMB account, it’s because you have an incorrect URL on your other listings, or it can be a canonical problem. So all you need is to ensure all the data (text & not video, image, or animation) fed by you on the landing page of your website is correct and is crawlable.
The above mentioned are how you can follow when Google auto-updates the listings and ensure your business doesn’t get affected by these changes.
Wrapping Up –
Google My Business is a feasible solution to a chunk of local businesses which compete hard to make their mark on SERPs. Of course, there might be some bloopers in the functioning, but these can be taken care of by monitoring the updates and taking the necessary steps at the correct time. Above mentioned are some of those solutions through which you can dodge the bullet and leverage this product of Google for taking your local business to higher rankings and flourishing business.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that allows local businesses to manage their online presence on Google Maps and Google Search.
How does Google My Business benefit local businesses?
Google My Business helps local businesses improve their visibility in search results, attract more customers, and manage their business information and customer reviews.
What are the main features of Google My Business?
The main features of Google My Business include creating and updating business profiles, managing customer reviews, adding photos and videos, monitoring website analytics, and engaging with customers through messages and posts.
Where can Google My Business listings appear?
Google My Business listings can appear on Google Maps, Google search results, and the Google Knowledge Panel, providing valuable information to users searching for local businesses.
How can businesses deal with auto-updates to their Google My Business listing?
To address auto-updates to their Google My Business listing, businesses can update their website with the correct information, including service descriptions and links on their website, ensure accurate contact details are displayed, and monitor and correct any discrepancies in other online listings.
I am 10-year experienced digital marketing expert with experience of managing Local SEO, PPC, and Social media accounts.