About Your Google Listing
Things change fast on the web. If you weren’t paying attention, you may have missed Google’s 12/09/21 announcement. The name of its local listing platform, formerly ‘Google My Business (GMB)’, was renamed ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)‘. And you are busy doing your job, so does the platform’s name really matter? Maybe not, but with updates, there is often change.
Google search results do matter. Particularly, if you wish to maximize visibility with locally motivated searching leads. And while only website pages can truly define a unique brand with the depth of valuable information a discerning consumer appreciates, your ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ listing should still be a priority. When people search locally, they will find a) various advertisements, b) a local map pack of ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ listings, and then c) the organic search results where those website pages rest. And while most people’s eyes roll right past the advertisements, many of them are going to consider that local map pack of Google listings. Some people click on the ‘Paid Ads’, but did you know that it is LESS than 10%? Approximately 94% of all search traffic rolls past the advertisements to the organic search results, including that local map pack of Google listings.
Assuming that you have a completely consistent well-managed & active Google Listing, you’d like to believe you’re all set. Not so fast! What are these ‘Suggested Edits’ in the Google listing (GBP) dashboard? Wait, can random people actually edit my Google listing?
What Are ‘Suggested Edits?’ For A Google Listing?
While it may seem absurd, Google’s algorithms will suggest changes as if you failed to detail your own listing. It will also allow anyone to suggest changes to the information displayed on your ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ listing. Yes, the general public or a competitor or a nefarious ‘for hire’ hacker can just click that prominent ‘Suggest An Edit’ link and enter whatever changes they want. Yes, they can influence the information critical to your business, including business name, hours of operation, phone number, category, products, services, and even whether your business is permanently closed. It’s all there for anyone who wants to TRY and make changes by clicking that “Suggest an edit” link. It is important to mention that just because some random person suggests an edit, it does not always mean it will go live, but if Google’s system even remotely trusts the source (e.g. Google Maps user with trust) then it has a high probability for approval live.
You Are Still In Control of Your ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ Listing!
As frustrating as that all may be, you are (or should be) the owner of your Google listing. You must know what this “suggest an edit” feature is, how it works and how you can maintain control over the information displayed! While competitors, a disgruntled former employee, hacks, and pretty much the entire general public can make suggestions for your listing – you will always have time to see and reject all of them. Fair or not, it does mean that your Google listing requires attention. It means that if you are not paying attention to your GMB listing, it can result in incorrect business information visible to potential leads and existing clients.
The good news is that when a ‘suggested edit’ is submitted Google sends an email alert to you = the owner. In addition to that email, Google will display any suggestions in the ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ dashboard. These suggestions are highlighted in different colors, including Orange for ‘New data from Google’ or ‘Data removed by Google’ and Gray for ‘Data replaced by Google’. Just login to your GBP listing dashboard, click on the ‘Info’ tab and view any changes displayed there. Then you can go through it and either reject or accept the ‘suggested changes’. Again it seems absurd, but Google does not necessarily disclose how long you have to catch and either reject or accept suggested edit changes so pay attention to your email from Google (GBP)!
Ultimately, Google has enormous numbers of people searching online every day, including for the very products & services you offer. And Google wants accurate information for their searchers, so unfortunately it means that your FREE listing risks being wrong. So, manage your ‘Google Business Profile (GBP)’ Listing with discipline, concern, and care!