So you've just created your Google My Business listing, but when you go to Google Maps, it's nowhere to be found! This can be a pretty frustrating experience. It also leaves you wondering where to start with fixing this problem.
Luckily, with a little detective work and some patient effort, you'll not only be able to find your listing, but help potential customers find it as well.
First we'll eliminate a couple of common technical problems that can transport your business into Google Maps oblivion.
Ensure that the Google My Business listing is verified
This might be obvious to some, but it's good to eliminate this possibility upfront. Have you gone through the verification process with Google? You're unlikely to find the listing if this process hasn't been completed.
Google will usually send a postcard as a means of address verification. This postcard usually takes around 5 days to arrive, and will contain a code that you re-enter on your Google My Business dashboard.
Is it possible that the Google My Business listing has been suspended?
Suspensions are another common cause of disappearing listings.
If you operate in a sensitive (i.e. a high rate of spam) category such as locksmiths, then Google My Business is especially touchy when it comes to edits of the profile. Simple actions such as changing a name or category can cause an immediate suspension.
Name changes in particular may cause Google to demand re-verification, sometimes including a request for a video walk-through showing relevant business signage. This is a reaction to rampant name spam, where businesses "stuff" keywords into their names.
Suspensions come in two forms: soft suspensions and hard suspensions.
In a soft suspension, you will no longer be allowed to make edits, but the listing remains live on Google Maps.
In a hard suspension, however, the listing will disappear from Google Maps entirely. In this case, you may be able to appeal this situation and recover the profile, including the reviews. A service like SteadyDemand can help you navigate this situation.
The dreaded Kansas Bug
If your existing business is not showing up on Google Maps, and it also hasn't been suspended, then it's possible you've fallen prey to the Kansas Bug.
So named because businesses are transported to Kansas, this bug resets a listing's location to the center of the United States. As a last thing to check, you might try centering Google Maps at 39.85, -98.57 and searching for your business.
If this bug is impacting your listing, then Google My Business support should be your next stop. Unfortunately not all support personnel seem aware of the issue, so it may take some explaining.
Lastly, but perhaps most commonly, your listing simply hasn't accumulated the authority that it needs to rank highly on Google Maps.
Google Maps rankings take into account prominence, relevance, and proximity.
- Prominence is a measure of how authoritative or well known your business is to the community. This is measured in a variety of ways, such as review count and score, as well as the strength of your website (how it ranks off of Maps, in organic search).
- Relevance measures how likely your listing is to satisfy the intent of the searcher. You are never likely to appear for the search car dealership if you've chosen dentist as your primary category.
- Proximity is the measure of how far your business is from the person that is searching for results. On Google Maps this can mean your listing goes from the top spot to the bottom very quickly as the distance increases.
How hard you'll need to work to rank your GMB listing will depend on the category you're operating in. A plumber in a small town, for instance, can rank a GMB listing much easier than a law firm in New York City.
The plumber may only need a handful of positive reviews and a few links from directory sites like Yellowpages.com. The law firm, on the other hand, may need to hire an agency to help them build content and gather hundreds of links to their site.
Checking your GMB Ranking
It's harder to get an accurate picture of your GMB ranking than it might seem. Proximity plays such a large role that it's easy to get the wrong impression about how your listing is performing.
The most accurate way to check is to use a Maps grid scanner. This will check for your listing across a grid of points, almost as if you had driven around with your phone, checking from each point.
Grid scans are also a great way to understand how the competition is performing. You can quickly find which listing is the top performer, and from there figure out what kind of effort is necessary to rank in your local market.
Google Maps Ranking Check
You can use Persuaded.io for hyper local rank tracking, spam busting, and much more. New users start with a credit, and you can try it without any signup required.