February 10, 2017 6:00 am
Hi, It’s Us — Again.
Today, we’re going to do our best to answer a question that many of our customers end up asking us at one point or another: “Why do I have to do this again?”
More specifically, “Why does my Google business listing need to be verified again?”
We’re going to look at why you may find us metaphorically knocking at your door for a second (or third, or fourth) time, your business’s Google listing once again in hand and in need of some work. “I thought we were good with that thing,” you say. “Wasn’t that all taken care of?”
And you would be right in that belief! We wouldn’t say that we were done with our work for you unless we meant it. Unfortunately, Google’s policies— like the price of gas, or our willpower around something with too much sugar — is unpredictable. Fickle, even. So when we say that we’re done putting your things in order, what we mean is: “Yup, we’re finished … for the time being.”
We know that the life of a business owner isn’t a quiet one and that you probably have a dozen other things that you’d rather be working on instead of fielding another string of calls from our team and a Google representative. We’re a rapidly growing small business too, and we know there’s no shortage of things that need doing each day. But when we say that we manage your listing(s) for the lifetime of your business, we aren’t just spouting big promises. We mean it, and that requires us to continually check up on those ‘finished’ jobs to make sure that your internet presence is always accurate and complete.
That’s easier said than done, of course, because big shots like Google are constantly working to improve their usability in a continual stream of fixes, tweaks, and additions. But with changing features come changing policies, and being the internet juggernaut that it is, Google is pretty strict about keeping their rules enforced, no matter how often they’re rewritten.
To put it simply, then: getting verified by Google is a tricky process, but staying verified is the real challenge.
What it Takes to Keep a Google Listing Verified
What’s involved in staying on top of something so in flux? A good deal of detective work, mostly.
Google seems to throw another wrench into the routine every other week, which leads to plenty of research (and perhaps a phone call or two) on our part so that we can relearn how to do something that we previously had down pat. With a worldwide reputation to uphold, Google keeps a very close eye on its listings for quality-control reasons, and will not only make the initial verification process more demanding (hello, postcard!), but also make it easier for listings to be unverified for perceived issues…
…which often aren’t very clear or consistent. What may prompt a do-over for one company may not for another. Similarly, the likelihood that we’ll need you to get involved is anybody’s guess, depending as it does on the particular issue. Still, we can sketch some general guidelines for what situations will require a re-verification, and what has to be done to complete it.
Why Does a Google Listing Become Unverified?
Google can require a re-verification of your business listing for a multitude of reasons. Here are a few of the most common scenarios.
A major piece of information is changed
Such as the company’s name, address, or phone number. We won’t do this unless you ask us to, or a hiccup in Google’s system causes something to be displayed incorrectly. If you’ve requested access to the listing and changed details yourself, you can either do it yourself or let us know so that we can take care of it!
In this scenario, we will likely be required to send you another code. Which method will be available for doing so — automated phone call or postcard in the mail — tends to be a roll of the dice, however, so we’ll give you a heads up once we know for certain.
A Listing is Suspended.
This is usually an automated process that is triggered by Google’s routine scans, and therefore isn’t foolproof. It will frequently flag businesses if they possibly violate the company’s terms of service, or include details that appear to be inconsistent or out of date. As you might expect, these flags aren’t always right and can target accounts that are perfectly correct. If this happens, we’ll double-check to make sure that everything is in order before we move to get your profile unblocked.
In this scenario, your involvement may or may not be required. Depending on the reason for the suspension and the Google representative that we reach out to, the solution could require only a call on our part, a verbal confirmation from you over the phone, or a code through the above methods.
A Listing is Inactive
If a profile simply goes untouched for an extended period of time, Google may want to confirm that the company in question still exists. Nothing wrong here, if so — we just need to reassure Google that you’re still up and running!
In this scenario, we will have to send you a code. Probably. That’s the fun thing about Google: you can never be sure of what to expect.
And, finally, your listing could be unverified simply because, like all technology, Google is unpredictable; you can never be certain when or how it might shake things up. An update to their system, a change to the profile layout, a new rule — any and all of these can come about unexpectedly and upend your hard-won verification. In fact, Google appears to be in the middle of a major revamping effort right now, having rolled out new and significant changes to Google My Business and Maps every few months within the last six, with no sign of slowing down.
Many of these updates are somewhat piecemeal in their implementation to boot, only impacting certain accounts while leaving others in their original state for the time being. In this scenario, there’s no telling what may or may not be required to correct the issue, but you can rest easy knowing that, whatever it may be, we’ll work with whatever and whoever is necessary to get you back on track quickly. Another positive: In most of these cases, your listing will remain visible to customers even if it isn’t verified, though we will want to re-verify your listing as soon as possible so as to prevent Google from potentially deleting it somewhere down the line.
What to do if Your Google Listing Becomes Unverified
So there you have it: a quick overview of what can happen once your business listing is up and kicking on Google, and what we here at BizIQ will do to help. And remember: this service is a one-time fee, so whether something goes wrong next week, next month, next year, or beyond, we will be here and ready to help – for the life of your business.
Thanks for reading. And until next time, keep an ear out for the phone. It could be us, and we promise that we’re not calling just to ask you about your day. (Though we always love to hear about that too!)
Categorized in: Local Search Marketing
About Paul Beimers
An English major who had trouble staying within page limits and under word counts, Paul is most often looking for new books, listening to new music. Since the Summer of 2016, Paul has been a local listings specialist who works primarily with Bing accounts and directory consistency.