By Kenneth Domingo
On July 28, Google began shutting down unverified Google My Business pages, producing some positives and negatives for business owners.
This initiative aligns with Google’s dedication to promote a positive user experience by providing the most reliable information possible, as quickly as possible. To preserve local search visibility and optimal engagement with the local search audience, it is critical for local businesses to verify and maintain Google My Business Listings. Given the emergence and continued growth of on-the-go searches (i.e., on mobile phones and tablet devices), this is a vital step for local businesses.
Only businesses that have not verified their Google My Business listings are at risk. Although the listing information will still appear in Google Search and Google Maps, it is important for businesses to maintain control over their own information, especially if there is an associated Google+ page. Additionally, if you allow an unverified page to expire, you will surrender access to useful features, including:
- Insights, for intelligence into a page’s recent activity
- Reviews, for monitoring and responding to individual reviews, which is important in managing online reputation
- Consolidation via the Google My Business dashboard, which is useful if you’re using Google+, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc.
The positive effects of this move include elimination of duplicates and prevention of unverified listings ranking above verified listings. Google wants local businesses to be more involved with Google My Business, so taking the necessary steps to verify and maintain your listings and pages will prove beneficial for both sides.
Acronym strongly recommends taking the necessary steps to verify all your Google My Business pages to successfully reach consumers and help improve your local search rankings and presence. In addition, business owners should regularly log in to their Google My Business account to confirm all business information is accurate and optimized to increase exposure. If you have many unverified listings and Google attempts to contact you via email to confirm that you are still actively managing a business page, you should respond ASAP.