In a previous blog post, my colleague drew a unique parallel between SEO and mowing the lawn, now I’d like to present to you why maintaining a Google+ Business Listing is like babysitting a toddler in a glass menagerie. Google is the toddler and your data are the adorable figurines that are on a low, easily accessible shelf and are twinkling in the sunlight. You tell the toddler not to touch them. You double check the locks on the display cases, and you keep a watchful eye as you try to distract the toddler with other games and tricks. And still, when you turn your back for a split second, the toddler has managed to open the case, remove the figurines, and wreak havoc! (Disclaimer: I love kids. This is not a commentary on tiny humans being the worst).
Let’s step back for a minute and answer the question “What is a Google+ Business Listing?”
Your hotel’s Google+ local listing, now called “Google My Business,” is a one-stop shop to get your business information on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+. It is of the utmost importance that businesses ensure their listing is active and up to date so your guests and customers are presented with correct information.
This is what Google My Business looks like in action:
A. Google+ Page is connected to your website in organic search results
B. Google Map pin is connected to your website in organic search, presenting searches with a quick view of your address and phone number
C. Your business displays in the Google Knowledge Graph
How Does Incorrect Information Get to a Google My Business Listing?
Google’s mission is essentially to give searchers the most accurate data at any time. They created Google My Business so business owners have the option to input their correct business information and control how their business displays when users are searching for them on Google.
You may be thinking, “I updated my Google+ Local business listing last year, so Google already has all of my correct information. I guess this article isn’t for me after all.” WRONG. There are a number of reasons your business data could be incorrect on Google, without you even knowing it.
A quick peek at the Local Search Ecosystem from Moz shows that Google is being inundated with data from many outlets.
Google sifts through all of this data (specifically looking at: Business Name, Address, Phone Number, and URL) and ultimately displays what it sees as the “official” business information. If a hotel has incorrect or differing information across any of these sites, this information could eventually make its way to Google. Not only does an incorrect phone number or address create a confusing and frustrating customer experience, but it also negatively affects your local SEO.
There was also a change behind the scenes at Google recently that could have affected your hotel listing on Google. They recently finished transferring the final group of listings from Google Local to the new Google My Business platform. This transfer caused some issues of old data rising from the dead, pages being marked as duplicates, or pages that were once verified and updated becoming unverified.
Hotel brands can sometimes throw a kink into this local search ecosystem as well, making the information confusing or inconsistent. For example, a brand could push out the brand 800-number instead of a hotel’s local number. If that new phone number reaches Google, it would likely update that information on your hotel’s Google+ listing. Like we mentioned before, this could lead to a negative customer experience if the guest is just looking to speak to your front desk and not the call center, but it also negatively affects SEO to have an inconsistent business name, address, phone number, or URL on the web.
Although it can be frustrating to have to continually check your Google+ Business listing, it is important to do so regularly so you can proactively take steps to update any incorrect information or fix any issues.
If you haven’t checked your listing recently, go ahead and check it now….I’ll wait….. If your Google+ Business listing displays incorrect information, read on.
Here are four tips to fix incorrect business information on your Google My Business Hotel Listing
Tip #1 – Check Your Verified Account Listing
If you have incorrect information displaying on your listing, login to your Google+ Business Manager account and check your business information. If something is incorrect, edit it and save. It could take a couple of days for the information to go live on your public listing, so set a reminder to check again in a few days.
Is the information correct in your account, but still displaying incorrectly on your public Google+ Business listing? Jump to Tip #2.
Is there a message about your listing being de-activated or marked as a duplicate? Jump to Tip #3.
Tip #2 – Update Your Business Information in Google Map Maker
Google Map Maker is a wonderful and under-utilized tool for businesses and marketers. It allows users to add and update geographic or business information, which is then reviewed by Google Listings Editors. It’s important that you use the same Google account for all of your Map Maker edits as your credibility grows the more your edits are approved.
If your hotel has incorrect information on your live Google+ Business page but correct data in your verified account, check your Map Maker data. Follow the steps below to make edits:
- Search for your hotel at google.com/mapmaker
- Click “Edit” below your business listing
- Select “Edit this place” from the drop-down menu
- Submit changes to your business information
Is your business information correct in Map Maker or are your edits being denied? I invite you to join me at Tip #3.
Tip #3 – Contact Google Local Help
Google has actually ramped up their help team over the past year. Gone are the days of help tickets going unanswered for months or being ignored altogether. You can either email or call Google Support, and they’re actually very helpful! This is the best option if your listing has magically become unverified or if there is data that you can’t seem to get updated.
Did you work with Google Local Support and are still having issues with bad data on your listings? My friend, you have one option left…..on to Tip #4!
Tip #4 – Do a Major Local Listing Audit
Typically bad data shows up on a listing because that data exists somewhere out there on the internet. When you partner with Blue Magnet Interactive for hotel SEO services, we begin by performing a full local listing audit. This ensures that all the major data aggregators (anywhere from Acxiom to Yelp) are claimed, updated, and consistent. This grueling, often mundane task is crucial to the success of your hotel. As seen in the local search ecosystem matrix above, it is very easy for incorrect information on one local listing to spread through the tangled web of listings like wildfire. Soon enough, your hotel will have incorrect information listed everywhere.
If you regularly have issues with your Google+ Business Page, complete a major local listing audit and make any necessary updates across the web. Check all listings for accuracy and consistency on things like:
If your information is correct and consistent across the web, chances are it will stay correct on Google. If there is one rogue YellowPages.com listing with an incorrect phone number – Google could once again prove to be the metaphorical toddler in the glass menagerie and overwrite your correct Google My Business information.
Hopefully, these four tips will help you navigate any Google+ Business issue you run into. If you’ve never done a full local listing audit, you’re in for a real treat. But we promise, the payout is well worth the effort. Guests will be able to find correct information about your hotel and easily book a room.
If you’re still continuing to have issues after following the four steps above, then I’d like to chat. At Blue Magnet, we love Google. We (well, I’ll speak for myself) love cleaning up bad data through local listings, and I’d love to get your Google+ Business listing in tip top shape.
written by Abby Heft