A colleague sent an email to me yesterday following up on a conversation three of us had a few weeks ago. We were discussing how their customers (mostly retail stores) could make better use of Google My Business.
Earlier this week Coleby had a conversation with one of the store owners. As they were talking, they discovered Google thought the business was closed. That was news to the store owner – as far as they knew they were still open!
I’m seeing this same situation cropping up more and more on the Google My Business Support Forum. Thing is, it isn’t new. This has been happening for some time now, it’s just that owners are noticing it more since Google introduced that big red bar in the last couple of weeks. Now it is far more obvious.
And, if you’re like a lot of shop owners, it probably never occurs to you to Google your own business. But potential customers do!
How does a business get wrongly marked as closed?
The “closed” status could be Google getting it wrong, a competitor / disgruntled customer / ex-employee doing nasty things.
The impact of a store being marked as closed not only creates the wrong impression when people search for your business name, it also ensures your business does not show in the local pack when people are looking for your kind of business in your area.
Assuming there is no foul play here, I’m not surprised Google decided the business is closed. The page is reasonably old (probably a few years), and unclaimed. Looking at the history of edits to this business listing, it has been marked as closed since July of last year!
So is this a big deal? Maybe so. What is the potential impact of having a closed business listing?
- How much business have would they have missed out on?
- How many $ went into someone else’s pocket?
- How many potential customers never got the chance to know about them?
To satisfy my own curiosity I did some research. If we assume the business set up their Google local page and their website well, they would have had the chance to be seen in more than 950 searches per month, just in their local area. That doesn’t include people around Australia (or the world) looking for a store in their city.
In the past 11 months they missed out on more than 10,000 opportunities to be seen, more than 10,000 opportunities for new customers. What would even a percentage of those people to their shop have meant for their bottom line…
So what do you do if you find your business closed when it’s not?
How to re-open your listing
Cover your bases and take a two pronged approach. Report the listing ad then contact Google My Business support.
There are two ways to report it:
- Click on the red bar, and click the “report” button where it says Your Business Name is recorded as closed at this location. If that’s wrong, please report it.
- Go to the Google+ page for the business and click on the link in the Contact Information box on the About tab This place has closed. Not true? It will take you to Google Maps. In the upper left hand corner is a “report a problem” box, with a message Place is permanently closed or doesn’t exist and a Yes/No slider. Change the slider to No.
You’ll receive an email when your report has been published. This can be as quick as a day or two or months, which is why you now contact Google Support. We’re not leaving anything to chance.
Depending on the time of day, you’ll likely only have the option to send an email. It can take up to two weeks for Google Support to get back to you and when they do, it’s usually around or after 5pm (in my experience). So if you close shop and don’t answer the phone after business hours you could be waiting a very long time…
Keep it fresh
You’ve claimed your listing, updated the contact details, business hours and verified your listing. What then?
Google Local pages are not a set and forget. You will *still* need to log in and “refresh” the info about your business at least once every six months. Not doing so means you run the risk of the listing being marked as closed again. This is a (old become new again) requirement to re-assure Google your business is still alive and kicking.
Since you’re in there, why not consider making Google Plus part of your marketing strategy as well?
I have been working with local businesses as a Local SEO specialist since 2010 and as a Google My Business Product Expert (formerly called Top Contributor) since 2016. I write about GMB suitable for most folks, business owners included.
When not working for clients, I volunteer with the local businesswomen’s network, volunteers on Google’s forum, and the Local Search forum.
Away from the keyboard I’m a very busy mother with two boys, nine chickens, two cows, three sheep, a cockatiel and a stupidly happy dog.