Google has recently revealed that it may remove Google My Business listings that appears to be inactive or outdated. If you haven’t logged in your Google My Business Account for six months or more, your Google local listing for your business may be in danger. At first, Google will send an email warning you of your inactive listing, and then, if you fail to respond to it, your business listing will be…cancelled and you will lose your Google map listing.
Considering how many consumers use Google Maps to find local businesses on computers and especially on mobile devices, losing your Google map listing can be a serious blow to your company, significantly reducing your online visibility. More than that, you will lose esteem in the eyes of your customers, since today consumers have come to expect any serious brick-and-mortar business to have a Google listing.
The revelation that Google removes inactive business listings was first made in a recent post in the Google and Your Business Help Forum posted by Google’s Jade Wang. Ms. Wang explained that Google does this in order to continue to provide users who are searching for local businesses with the best experience. She went on to say that Google may contact by email certain Google My Business users to ask for confirmation that they are actively managing their Google My Business listing; if they do not respond, Google may proceed to remove their listing.
Ms. Wang did not actually mention that Google removes business listings after exactly 6 months of inactivity. This information comes to us via search engine optimization (SEO) expert Brian Barwig, who, finding several of the Google Business listings he was managing unverified, contacted Google My Business support and was told by an Ann Arbour call center representative that the listings in question had been inactive for at least 6 months. The listings had been originally verified, hence the cancellation of the listings came as a surprise for Brian. A good sign for all Google My Business listings that have been unverified was that Brian was able to have them re-verified on the phone.
One thing’s clear — your Google My Business account activity matters to Google. If you want your business to stay in the Google listing, as well as on Google Maps, you must log into your account regularly, preferably not just once every 6 months. If your online marketing and SEO efforts are centered on your website and social media profiles, it’s easy to forget about your Google My Business listing, which, let’s face it, is what many local business owners do. But now it has become clear that you cannot afford to do that.
If you’re managing one or just a few listings, keeping them online won’t be a problem, but if you use large bulk accounts with thousands of listings things become a bit more difficult. At this point it’s unclear whether updating the Bulk Feed via spreadsheet qualifies as updating, but Brian thinks not and recommends logging into a Google My Business account and updating manually or creating a new post to show Google you are active.