For some time now Google has offered “Google My Business,” an all-in-one account for business owners to manage their online presence. An account lets you take ownership of your listings on Google sites such as Maps and Google Plus. That means getting to respond to reviews, make your listing look pretty, and make sure all your information is accurate. It’s a good tool.
There’s just one problem: Google is now saying that they will unverify business accounts that are inactive too long. Getting unverified means you lose control over your account and the benefits of having one are revoked.
Does that worry you? Given the importance of local search and SEO, and the huge roll that Google My Business plays in it, it should. So it’s important to understand who will get unverified, why it’s happening, and what to do if you’re one of the businesses affected.
Basics of Unverification
Over the past few years millions of businesses have realized how important their local SEO is and have signed up for My Business accounts. For many, this was a one stop shop: take control of your account, put up some good copy, make sure the contact info is right, and then never touch it again. That is the easiest approach for many overworked small business owners, but it’s not what Google wants to see.
Google’s reason is simple: if you don’t touch your account for years at a time, the information on it may be out of date. For example, your business may have moved and you forgot to update your address on Google Maps. And Google hates out of date information.
By unverifying you, Google frees up your listing to be corrected by users. It’s a good thing from Google’s perspective, but not necessarily from yours. Here’s what you need to know:
- Any account that has been inactive for more than six months could be unverified. Being “inactive” means you haven’t signed in for that long.
- Google will attempt to contact you at the email address connected to your account and warn you first. Make sure you monitor that email address.
- If you do get unverified, reclaiming your account may not be as easy as it was the first time around. Instead of a simple signup form like before, Google says you need to contact support. It’s not cleat what kind of information the support team will want before they restore access.
Ideally, your business never got inactive in the first place. Logging into your account periodically allows you to reply to reviews, manage your local SEO and add new photos or information about your business. If you don’t do it personally, your SEO team should.
But we all know how easy it is to fall behind on managing online accounts like this. I would recommend two simple precautions to every local business:
- Go sign into your Google My Business account right now. This will guarantee you’re not inactive and also help you familiarize yourself with the process.
- Make sure that someone in your organization is tasked with regularly maintaining this account. It can be a simple to-do item on a support staff or web/social media staff’s work plan: sign in weekly, check for new reviews, and make sure all contact info is up to date.
Another option is to leave it to the professionals. EverSpark Interactive can manage all aspects of your online presence, from SEO to Google My Business to content for your blog. Contact us for a free consultation about your needs today.