Troubleshooting Google my Business
Posted on 2/26/2021 by Jamie Belcher
|Google my Business (GMB) is a service from Google that allows local businesses to display their business information prominently in search results. You have probably seen Google my Business listings in search results when you search for a business by name, or when you are looking at businesses in Google Maps.
Google my Business listings can contain a wide variety of information, including contact information, address and office hours, website links, business description, photos, products and services, and more. In fact, when you claim and update your GMB listing regularly, you are much more likely to rank higher in Maps and organic search results.
Those that have mastered Google my Business know how beneficial it can be when a GMB listing is optimized to perform well. But unfortunately, the GMB platform is not perfect, and there are some potential complications that can end up causing problems for your business if you aren’t careful.
How Google Collects Data for Use in Google my Business
Data in GMB comes from several different sources:
|Information submitted by verified owners
|Auto-generated information by web crawlers (robots)
Because there are multiple sources of data, there can sometimes be errors or wrong information, as well as “spam” which has historically been a big problem on Google my Business.
The best way to manage your business listing is to officially claim it, verify it, and keep it updated regularly. The verification process is in place to make sure you are affiliated with the business and is typically completed via phone or mail. Once you own the verified listing, you can edit the business information through the GMB Dashboard.
But even when you are doing all the right things, sometimes you will still see errors when you search for your business. These errors are typically generated by the other data sources. It could be spammers, competitors, or simply accidental errors from a bot.
Below are some common scenarios that we sometimes see, along with recommendations for fixing them.
If something like a phone number, website link, or other data field is incorrect, you can usually edit the information through the GMB Dashboard if you own or manage the verified listing. It’s important to review this information somewhat regularly. Any Google user can “suggest” an edit to business information at any time, and a Google bot will review the edit to determine whether to accept or reject it.
Google bots also crawl your website occasionally and try to extract information from your website to automatically add to your GMB listing. Sometimes this works well, but these bots aren’t perfect, and they can generate unintended results.
Fake or Bad Reviews
Reviews on Google can make or break your success. You can’t remove a bad review as long as it follows Google’s terms, but some reviews can be removed. If you have received a review that comes from a fake user, or that was never a patient, you can always report the review.
Any review can be reported for the following reasons: Not relevant, conflict of interest, offensive or explicit, or for privacy or legal concerns. When you report a review, a Google bot will review the report and either remove it, or rule it fair and leave it up.
If you’ve received a bad review from a dissatisfied patient, it’s important that you respond to the review in a professional manner. Google takes into account that not every business will receive nothing but 5-star reviews, and they value when a business takes the time to interact with users on their platform. Not to mention prospective patients will be more understanding of bad reviews when they see a business trying to make things right with their clients.
It’s best to have only one GMB listing per physical location of your business. If you notice two or more listings for the same location, you can either remove the duplicate listing, or merge the two together. If there are Reviews you want to keep on both listings, merging them would be ideal. However, it can be tricky to do this, and sometimes it takes time.
To merge two listings, they need to have matching data for most of the main fields, like the name, address, phone number, and website. You can try to edit the listings to match exactly, and then contact GMB Support to request that they merge the listings. The case will be reviewed and they will either accept or reject the merge request.
Removing a duplicate listing is also complicated, because there is no true way to fully remove or delete it from view. Typically these will get marked as "permanently closed" and still appear in results for a period of time, which can cause confusion to patients.
To avoid accidentally creating a duplicate listing, always do several Google searches for your practice name and/or provider names before creating any new GMB listings. If you find a GMB listing already exists for you, you can click "own this business?" to begin the process of claiming and verifying it.
Opening a Support Case
If you can’t solve the problem through typical means, the next step is to try Support. Opening a case with Google brings the issue to a GMB Support rep who will review the information as presented. They will sometimes require proof of ownership of the business, and of the business name.
Proof can be in the form of:
|Photos of exterior permanent signage that shows the business name exactly how it appears on GMB
|Matching information between duplicates, including phone number, website, and address
|Verification via phone, email, or postcard
If you are unable to provide the proof requested, or if the Support Rep determines that your request does not meet their requirements, they may choose to reject the request.
Let Us Help
Managing and optimizing your Google my Business presence is extremely important for any dental office to be successful. Monitoring and enhancing the listing with updates and images is an ongoing process that will engage potential new patients.
At WEO Media, our Search Engine Optimization specialists are experts at Google my Business and can help get your business discovered in search results. Contact us today to learn more.