Should you *delete* your GMB listing if you're a "national" business?

Tim Colling

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Local Search Expert
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See Results of Removing My Google My Business Listing

In this article, Bill Hartzer states that his company's search rankings improved after he deleted his GMB listing. His business is a national business, not a locally-focused business.

So is my niche-focused SEO agency (A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing), so this really has made me wonder about whether I should do this too. We have a few "local" (ish) clients, but our target market includes all entities in the USA in our niche. So, one of the main (perhaps only) reasons for our agency to have a GMB listing is to be able to receive Google reviews.

I'm still just in the "thinking about it" stage on this. What do others here think about this?
 

socalocmatt

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Sep 10, 2018
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Caveat: I don't use a GMB because we aren't a local business under the terms of GG.
also:
This just my personal opinion and I have bupkis worth of data on the topic.

The question really deals with search intent. Google, as we know, want to fulfill the wishes of their client. Thus, results attempt to match the searcher's intent or answer the query. Nothing new here.

But, let's apply this to the question.

We can determine the current bias in what Google believes the intent of a search is by performing that search. Competitive analysis.

This is where your niche comes into play. If you perform SEO for eComm sites, you're more aligned to being the best answer for "SEO for eCommerce websites." These results don't show a Map pack and omit locally targetted results. Similarly, we find national results for "SEO agency for my business."

We see local results when a city is in the search though: Los Angeles SEO Agency

So, there is a mix of local and national results based on the query. Great. Zero surprises. Now what?

Now the question is: Who do you serve and what is your niche?

If your an SEO or marketer who works specifically with businesses in your local area, then a GMB listing makes sense because you're aligning your goals with the intent of your intended target. If your niche is eComm SEO, then a GMB is probably misaligned with your intended client's intent.

So, in theory, I can see how GG would be less prone to show an SEO agency in a national intent SERP if that agency is aligning itself as a location-specific result.

Now, this isn't to say that content on a location-specific site can't be returned in the SERPs outside of that location. We see spill-over all of the time where a blog on a local biz site in Kentucky shows up for a search in Los Angeles. That goes more towards "best answer."

Thanks for letting me ramble and y'all have a productive day!
 

Jo Shaer

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Jul 27, 2012
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Ooh, I like your thinking. We're an SAB who works more with national rather than local these days. But, like Joy says, I would be worried about losing my reviews. So it would be a very brave step to take. Because, obviously, once you delete it, there is no going back as far as those reviews are concerned.
And I do like that the listing with phone number comes up in the sidebar when someone does a Google search on your name.
 

Tim Colling

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I feel the same way about my Google reviews. However, if this is hurting our ability to rank organically for relevant terms, in national searches, then it’s a big deal to me.

In the case of @JoyHawkins' company, she has the advantage of being a much more well-known brand. Not so much, for my little boutique agency. Therefore it’s more likely that people would search for her company name, than for mine.

What to do, what to do…?
 

Jo Shaer

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How many reviews are you talking about? Are they from national companies? EG do they relate to what you do now? I'm thinking that a lot of mine may not. Will people really care if they are not relevant to the services that you are currently providing. Just thinking aloud.
 

bhartzer

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Oct 15, 2013
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I don't think I'll ever do it for Sterling Sky because I really like having our reviews.
Do the REVIEWS bring you new business? If you're a 'national' company or an "international" company, and they technically don't visit your offices for the service, Joy, then you probably wouldn't qualify for a GMB listing anyway?

If you're concerned over reviews, there are other places where you can get them posted. And you can just have them posted as testimonials on your website.

My point here is that you're most likely losing out on organic search traffic if Google has you tied to a particular location when you're really a national or international business that only does business online.
 

bhartzer

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Oct 15, 2013
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I feel the same way about my Google reviews. However, if this is hurting our ability to rank organically for relevant terms, in national searches, then it’s a big deal to me.

In the case of Dryer’s company, she has the advantage of being a much more well-known brand. Not so much, for my little boutique agency. Therefore it’s more likely that people would search for her company name, then for mine.

What to do, what to do…?
Tim, you're losing out on organic search traffic. I get what you're saying regarding the reviews, but I see reviews as something that helps with conversions... if you don't have the traffic you can't get the conversions.
 

AllanDanilo

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Nov 27, 2018
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What I would like to know, is how did he manage to completely remove your GMB listing? Did you just delete the listing from dashboard? you reported it on maps? did you do it via GMB support?
 

bhartzer

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Oct 15, 2013
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What I would like to know, is how did he manage to completely remove your GMB listing? Did you just delete the listing from dashboard? you reported it on maps? did you do it via GMB support?
The first time I removed it, I removed it myself through the GMB dashboard. I had to make some changes to which Google Account was managing the YouTube channel, as the YT channel is removed/deleted when you remove the GMB listing. But I was able to get it to get the GMB listing removed.

After one month, I then added the GMB listing again and re-verified.

After 90 days, I got GMB support to disable it (essentially it's removed). I essentially told them that the business doesn't qualify for a GMB listing, which it doesn't. I actually had someone from GMB support use the online chat function on my own website. They asked me questions about the business, if it had a location where customers visited, etc. etc. and then the next day it was disabled/removed.
 

Yan Gilbert

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Oct 15, 2016
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What about a secondary company to promote nationally separately?

The national company could be a parent company that owns your "smaller" "local" company that you have listed in GMB?
I thought a similar thing... use a separate website for the GMB listing which contains more local data.
 

bhartzer

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Oct 15, 2013
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>> use a separate website for the GMB listing which contains more local data.
It's possible, but you'd have to be certain that these are separate businesses. Then you risk someone going in and creating a GMB listing for the 'website' one.

Similarly, I've actually helped an online-only business 'recover' from a negative SEO type attack, where someone went in and created a "location" for that online-only business. They were based in the Israel, and was ranking really well in just about every country worldwide...until someone went and created a GMB listing for that business/site in the USA. It wasn't even verified in GMB. But since Google associated the biz with a location in the USA, they lost a majority of the traffic.
 

BenFisher

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Nov 19, 2015
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IMHO there is not enough scientific data to correlate a decline/suppression of ranking due to having a local entity. I have examples too, a worldwide hosting company did not have a local presence (even though they had an office and met customers). They turned up a local listing and traffic is up for them, sales are as well.

For this to be even close to a theory, there would need to be testing, on a wider scale.
 

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