One of the top things your SEO provider should tell you is to verify your business listings and be sure you are managing them. Often, the SEO provider will manage them for you, keeping them active and updated. When Google searches through the listings, it will flag ones that are old or don’t seem to be current. Google gives you a warning through an e-mail or phone call, but often, these warnings are simply deleted or ignored. Why? Business owners see them as spam or junk mail because the e-mail comes from a google.com address. Or, business owners simply don’t have the time to deal with these issues.
The consequences are bigger than you think. If Google unverifies your listing, you give others the chance to verify it and claim it. You also tarnish your good reputation by not responding, which, in turn, leads Google to mark your business as unresponsive, resulting in a lower search engine ranking.
The catch? There are LOTS of companies out there calling businesses every day to try to get your business… and doing so by warning that your Google listing is unverified and offering to help (for a fee, of course). We actually get these calls on a nearly daily basis here at our offices, and we know first hand that we’ve verified our own listings. You have to be careful not to get taken. And the only way to do that is to know about, claim and verify all of your Google listings in-house.
In addition to updating and managing your listings, be sure that you only list your true physical addresses. Google is also flagging businesses who try to appear larger than they actually are. These are the people who take advantage of offers of a physical address from companies like The UPS Store or Mailboxes, Etc., but they use it to make it look like they have a presence where they don’t actually exist. Google has been known to disable these business’ dashboards so that no updates can be done, and in extreme cases, it has suspended the entire business listing. If your business listing is suspended, it’s very difficult to get back into Google’s good graces with the same company name, address or phone number. The besmirched information carries the stigma everywhere it goes. So, verify your listings and keep them updated. Otherwise, Google will do it for you – in their own way.