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11 June, 2015

Poke Your Google My Business Listing

Several years ago Google recommended business owners periodically go into their pages and then save the page with no changes. Doing so helped keep the data about your business “fresh” and let Google know your business was alive and kicking. It became known as “poking” your listing.

Then G decided if you did that you were a spammer, so the best advice was to leave your listing alone unless genuine changes were needed.

A few days ago we did a time warp.

In an official announcement from Jade Wang, it seems going into your page “regularly” is required again.

According to the announcement, business owners will get a preliminary email from Google. Word in the forums and discussion groups says the emails are not as forthcoming as stated, and that “regularly” means at least once in six months, probably once a quarter to be on the safe side.

In short, it can be as simple as just edit/submit, without changing anything (providing all the info is correct). Steps outlined in an email that was broadcast to many Australian businesses early last year included:

Simply follow these three easy steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google My Business account. Click here if you have any trouble signing in.
  2. Review and update your information for each page.
  3. Click the “Done editing” button.

In theory, simply logging into your Google My Business dashboard is sufficient. You’d do this if you were regularly posting to your page (once a fortnight is my recommendation for local businesses).

To be on the safe side though, I would say follow the three steps above a few times a year as well, especially if you have “bulk” listings (typically more than 10 listings on one dashboard).

While this may seem inconvenient, in the long run this is in your best interests as both a business owner and as a customer of other businesses.

Many local business owners think their local page is a “set and forget” exercise. Later they’ll move, their phone number changes, their business hours change, or they go out of business entirely. For thriving businesses and for customers, this clutters up the local packs and keeps good businesses locked out.

As well, spammers tend to do a hit-and-run – create multiple bogus business listings with fake google accounts and then move onto the next victim. If these bogus listings “expire”, then there’s a much better chance for your business listing to be and stay in the local pack.