Starting on July 28, Google began to shut down unverified and inactive Google+ business pages. If you are a small business owner, this could have a big impact on your customers’ ability to find you online. Read on to learn why this is important and what you can do about it.
What are Google listings and why do they matter?
Google listings are simply pages on Google+ for local businesses. They work a lot like a Facebook page – they show potential customers the name and address of your business, give customers a place to review your services, and give you the ability to upload pictures and run promotions. However, because Google uses this information in search results and in Google Maps, they have allowed anyone to create listings for businesses.
Any listing created by the public doesn't contain much more than the name and address of the business. If you want to use your business page to its fullest, you need to claim and verify it, which means that Google will send you a code that you can enter to prove you are the owner.
They’re important because Google uses these pages to determine what search results to deliver when someone searches for a local service or product. For many searches, Google delivers a list of local businesses right at the top of the results, and most of these results will be links to the businesses’ Google+ pages. If you want potential customers to be able to find your business online, it’s important that your business has a Google+ page.
So why is Google removing them?
Google’s goal has always been to provide its users with the best, most relevant search results. Unverified listings have not been claimed by the business owners, so Google doesn’t know whether or not the information on them is reliable. Similarly, verified pages that have not been access by the owner in a long time may no longer be reliable – as far as Google knows, the business may even be closed!
Google wants to make sure that all of the information they’re giving their users is up-to-date and reliable, so they are removing all the listings that they aren’t sure about. If you have been relying on an unverified listing to attract customers until this point, or you verified your listing but have since neglected your page, it may have already been removed. If not, it will likely be removed soon.
What can you do?
If the unverified listing for your business is still there, then all you need to do is create a Google My Business account if you don’t already have one, and then find your business and verify it. If you already verified the page, just log in – and hey, while you’re there, you might as well check to make sure your info is correct and maybe post an update.
If your page is already gone, then you’re going to have to recreate it. If you had any information on there that you want to get back, like a Business View tour, you can contact Google’s support team to get it back. Just make sure you get your Google+ page up and running as soon as possible – you don’t want to miss out on business while the page is down and not showing up in searches.
What if I am a LinkNow customer?
If you’re a LinkNow Media customer, we’ve got you covered. If you are using any of our marketing services, whether it’s Find Me Local or one of our other Traffic solutions, our SEO experts will verify your Google+ listing and customize your profile by adding your photos and logo – among many other services we provide! To find out more about how our marketing services can help you build your business online, contact LinkNow Media today. The web is waiting for you!