Is Google Un-Verifying GMB Listings that are Inactive for 6 Months?

Linda Buquet

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We all know that quirky things can happen with Google Local AND that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances.

AND we all know sometimes we get info from GMB support that is just not accurate.
So I want to stress that the story I'm about to share is unconfirmed at the moment.

HOWEVER a bunch of consultants at our Pro Community have complained about finding multiple listings in their bulk accounts that had become UNverified, so possibly this is why?

Just in from Brian Barwig.

<a href="http://www.integratedigitalmarketing.com/google-un-verifying-gmb-listings/">Google is Un-Verifying GMB Listings | IntegrateDigitalMarketing.com</a>

I asked him why several of the listings were unverified and he stated they were inactive for at least 6 months. This means Google is UN-VERIFYING LISTINGS in GMB accounts if there is no update or post in at least 6 months!
What I quoted above was sort of the main point of the thread, so head over to read the surrounding story.

FYI I had planned to say I wanted to get feedback and see if this was happening in more than this one case - then I would escalate to Google once I had more cases to back it up.

BUT I saw that Mike just escalated this to Google and asked if it was true.
So will let you know if they tell us anything we can share.


Thanks for the head's up Brian. And for escalating Mike.
 

Linda Buquet

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BTW for a long time Google support was recommending 'poking' listings on a regular basis. And I recommend in my Advanced GMB course to check client's listings at least once a month and while you are in there, give it a poke to ensure Google knows this is a proactively managed account with accurate data.

Sounds like poking is still a good idea. But I know with huge bulk accounts, easier said than done.

STAY TUNED and we'll try to get a definitive answer from Google
 

Brian Barwig

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Thanks for sharing Linda.

Id like to see if any of the TC's or GMB power users who've had this same experience or know if this is the real answer as to why these accounts are being disconnected.
 
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This is interesting news. Can't wait to see what the escalation brings out. Iv'e seen some where listings have become unverified but on the other hand I also see clients who haven't touched it in years and there is no change.

By "poking" a listing are you referring to just logging in Linda or are you actually making an edit or post?
 

Linda Buquet

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By "poking" a listing are you referring to just logging in Linda or are you actually making an edit or post?
Poking is something I've stressed in training for years and something support OFTEN used to tell folks to do. I have an old old post, let me go find it.

From 2012 - <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/google-local-important/169-google-local-pokes-how-when-poke-your-listing.html">Google+ Local POKES - How and When to Poke your Listing</a>

Colan 2014 - <a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/nap-categories-dashboard-data/19030-return-poke.html">Return of the "Poke"?</a>

NOW read those for background and a ton more info BUT the dash has changed
so the instructions for HOW to poke in those old posts have changed.

Basically just log in, click to go into the edit business details section. Double check everything is correct then hit submit. So it's just edit/submit, without changing anything, assuming it's all correct.

Do you guys remember all the posts I did maybe a year ago where Google was deleting a ton of listings in AU and Canada???

Those businesses all got emails (or were supposed to) telling the owner to check their listing data and hit submit OR their listing would be deleted.
(i/e poke it.)

So essentially all this equates to ways Google tries to get you to verify the data is correct, esp if the listing seems to be dormant.

FYI Google replied. Waiting for something I can quote.
 

Linda Buquet

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By "poking" a listing are you referring to just logging in Linda or are you actually making an edit or post?
Oh and re that last part Casey - I don't know for a fact but strongly suspect just posting does not get it. Someone could be paying someone to do social posting or have something set up to auto post from their blog. BUT not be actively managing their data.

So it's not just signs of life on the listing - it's actually going into edit screen to verify data is correct. (I'm pretty certain.)
 

Cori Shirk

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Looking forward to hearing what Google has to say. This could be a huge annoyance for those of us who manage large GMBL accounts if simply re-uploading a bulk sheet doesn't do the trick!
 

Linda Buquet

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DIRECT QUOTE from Google and the email they are supposed to send out giving 2 weeks notice before they unverify.

We?re asking users to log in in order to prove they still own the Page, and explaining that if they fail to so within 2 weeks, the Page will be freed from current ownership. We're doing this in order to continue to provide people with the best experience when they?re looking for local businesses like yours.

Here's a copy of the warning email -


Important information about your Google My Business account

Dear business owner,

Thanks for being part of the small business community on Google. This email requires action from you so your Google My Business pages can maintain their current ?verified? status. It?s very quick?it shouldn?t take more than a couple of minutes.

We're doing this because we haven't heard from you in a while, and we want to make sure that people looking for your following businesses find the most up-to-date information on Google:

?
Googleplex (business name)

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.

That?s it! Please note that if you don?t take action before May 29th, 2015, you?ll have to verify your pages again for future updates to be shown on Google.

If you have any questions, you can contact us anytime. Thank you for helping us make Google Maps better.

Sincerely,
The Google My Business Team


So it seems this is somewhat similar to what they did in AU and CA previously.
 

Linda Buquet

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Mike just posted:

<a href="http://blumenthals.com/blog/2015/06/04/google-now-requiring-null-edits-to-keep-accounts-active-in-us/">Google Now Requiring Null Edits to Keep GMB Lisitngs Active in US | Understanding Google My Business & Local Search</a>

So I'm sure there will be more commentary there.

Plus we are trying to get a little more clarification on this, so will let you know if any more info comes to light, especially about timing and how long a listing needs to be active before it triggers this email.
 

Linda Buquet

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Here is the additional clarification we just got from Google.

We may contact Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page. If a user is unresponsive to our attempts to contact him or her and has not logged into Google My Business for a significant length of time, then we may unverify pages in the account. We're doing this in order to continue to provide users with the best experience when they?re looking for local businesses like yours. If you find that a page in your account has been incorrectly unverified, please contact support to get assistance restoring verification.
 

Brian Barwig

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Thank you for the confirmation on this Linda. I never received an email notification stating this information though. Seems odd the listings would simply slip into unverified status without notification.

Looks like Ill have to take a different approach to these Bulk Feed listings now.

I'll email you additional information as you requested.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Brian!

Sorry was just in an important business meeting so didn't get a chance to tell you guys yet.

But Jade posted about this in the Google forum to help clarify and it gives us something to point to if clients or anyone needs confirmation about what's going on.

Pages or locations unverified in your account?

In some cases, we may contact Google My Business users via email to confirm that they are still actively managing a business page. If a user is unresponsive to our attempts to contact him or her and has not logged into Google My Business for a significant length of time, then we may unverify pages in the account. We're doing this in order to continue to provide users with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses like yours. If you find that a page in your account has been incorrectly unverified, please contact support to get assistance restoring verification.

It's a good idea to keep an eye on the inbox associated with your Google My Business (Locations) account. It's also a good idea to regularly log into Google My Business (Locations) to confirm that your business information is current and accurate.
 

Linda Buquet

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Sorry Brian, nothing specific for bulk.

But just got further clarification from Google.

They said to avoid this issue "pokes" AKA "null edits" are not needed. All you have to do is log in to show the listing is active.
 

Brian Barwig

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I was told the same thing yesterday but simply logging in to the Bulk Account doesnt work, or the listings would not have been unverified. It seems you need to login to the Bulk Account and physically make an edit - or poke - the listing. The listings I touch regularly were fine, but the listings I dont were being disconnected.

Im not sure what G is getting at here. Im in the Bulk Account everyday and there are still listings which are unverified. How can that be if all we need to do is login to show activity? Something isnt adding up.
 

Linda Buquet

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I suspect when she said, just log in, she was talking about regular GMB accounts.

Maybe that is not enough with "Locations", which has additional complications usually it seems. I will ask.
 
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It is good to see that Google is responding to the inquiries on this issue. More so, I am glad that the information they are providing as to why they are "un-verifying" listings gives professionals the signals they need to stay ahead of this.

To put this in perspective, while I know it's inconvenient, Google is following a very common best practice in terms of data signals. Look at it this way... let's say there are 30 million US businesses on average at any given time. While many of those businesses don't have a front door someone would want to locate on a map (oil drilling LLC companies come to mind as a great example), all of those records still need to be verified and optimized over time.

Now, going to the Small Business Association (SBA) and taking a look at the number of businesses that go out of business every year, you'd see a number (depending upon the economy) of around 10% to 15%. This doesn't take into account all the businesses that barely survive and merge, move, or get put on life support. Which, doing the simple math, puts us at about 4.5 million businesses per year that are no longer in business. It's closer to 6 million if you include those that are being "shelved" but still technically are in existence.

So on a 6 month basis (if that ends up being the true time frame) Google has the problem of trying to identify which businesses fall into the roughly 3 million over that time frame that are no longer in existence. They can do this a number of different ways, but a great way is to combine signals from content online with signals from the businesses themselves, to serve as "proof of life".

If they don't do this, you will see an absolute massive problem in literally just a couple of years where roughly half of all online business listings are for companies that went out of business, and then the problem just spirals out of control from there.

So their insistence that we as professionals that work with Small Businesses update data, or send "pings" as signals is something we all have a vested interest in and is, while probably a little extra work, well worth it!
 

Linda Buquet

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Excellent points all Christian.

I was focused more on correct NAP, due to moves, new phone #s etc.
So many SMBs set it and forget it and don't keep their listings up to date.

Had not even thought about all the companies that go out of business.
So once you quantify all that it becomes clear, why this is so necessary.

And thanks for pointing out it's in everyone's best interest in the long run.

EXAMPLE:
I don't know if anyone here remembers maybe 18 months ago when that really bad one box problem came up that lasted for like 8 months. The biggest problem is that it was surfacing all these dead and spammy listings. Dead phone #s. Totally defunct businesses - expired domains with host landing pages, etc. Those dead business listings were all scoring a one box that locked YOUR clients out of the pack.

So that's where it can really help everyone, culling out some of the old dead listings that take space in the pack and don't help anyone, not even consumers.
 

Debi Davis

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As part of a case study I helped ten local businesses get verified about six months ago, and most of them have been completely inactive since the. It has been JUST SIX MONTHS at this point, and they're all still verified. But, I'll put a note in follow-up for next month and see if Google un-verifies them.

I'll post my findings in this thread.

-- Debi
 

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