1. Google removes listings marked as “permanently closed.”
It used to be that you could look at a list of local businesses, only to find that three of the five that displayed in the search results were marked as “permanently closed.” You probably felt a bit frustrated as a user, knowing that you want to call an open business, not a closed one. And if you were the owner of a permanently closed business, it was probably frustrating to have that listing pop up—especially if you had opened a new business and would rather have that one ranking instead! However, Google has removed these "permanently closed" listings so that the search results are higher quality. This is great news for all business owners because it means there are more slots available for you to appear in when you rank on page one!
2. Google My Business has taken precedence over Google Plus.
Google My Business now has all the necessary information a local business needs to rank: Name, address, phone number, website. This used to be available on classic Google Plus up until this year. Google has quietly removed the phone number, address, and reviews from local business pages, so there’s really not a lot on classic Google Plus that can help a local business rank anymore. Instead, Google now pulls information and ranking signals from Google My Business, so there’s really not any point in updating your Google Plus page unless you’re already getting a lot of engagement there.
3. Google My Business thrives on updates.
Yes, you read that right: this is not just some fill-in-the-blank thing that you can forget about when it’s finished. Google My Business sends ranking signals through things such as reviews, so if you don’t respond to reviews or monitor what people are saying about your business, Google might start to devalue your listing in favor of businesses that keep up to date with everything. Here are a few things you should strive to keep updated:
Name, address, phone number—don’t use a PO box or 800/888 number
Website address—be sure to keep your domain and hosting current, and make sure your URL doesn’t redirect to a different site
Choose accurate categories for your business
Fill out everything—Google needs all the information they can get to accurately place your listing in the search results
Be sure your hours are correct, including holidays and weekends
Use high-quality, relevant photos
Encourage customers to leave reviews—you need at least 5 for the review average to show up
Every time something changes, be sure to change it right away!
Are you unsure of how to properly set up Google My Business? Do you want help monitoring your listings? Zoek can help! Simply contact one of our friendly Personal Marketing Consultants today or sign up for a free demo of our services. We specialize in helping local businesses make it to the front page of Google. It’s the Zoek Promise!