Navigating through the labyrinth of the digital world can be as complex as wandering through an unfamiliar city without a map.
One of the pillars supporting local businesses in the virtual marketplace is Google Maps, a tool that, when utilised effectively, can significantly enhance a business’s visibility.
However, it’s not uncommon for businesses, especially small to medium-sized ones, to encounter challenges in appearing on Google Maps, subsequently missing out on potential customers and opportunities.
In this article, we’ll unravel the common culprits that keep your business cloaked on Google Maps and provide practical solutions to overcome them to improve your local seo.
Unearthing common visibility issues: 17 reasons your business isn’t appearing on Google Maps
Reason #1: Incorrect Business Information
Incorrect business information is one of the most common culprits that can lead to visibility issues on Google Maps. When the details about your business such as its name, address, or contact information are inaccurate or outdated, it hampers the credibility and discoverability of your business. Potential customers might get confused or frustrated, possibly leading them to your competitors instead.
How to fix your incorrect business information:
To rectify this, ensure your business details listed on Google My Business are accurate and up-to-date. Regularly review and amend any inaccuracies or changes in business details like address, contact information, and operating hours. Keep the information consistent across all online platforms to maintain credibility and enhance visibility
Reason #2: Not fully Completing Your Business Profile
An incomplete business profile on Google Maps can severely hinder the visibility of a business. Without essential information like business hours, contact details, and services offered, potential customers might lack the confidence to consider your business, causing you to miss out on valuable opportunities. Additionally, an incomplete profile means Google has less information to understand your business and services, affecting how and when your business appears in search results.
How to fix an incomplete business profile:
Fill out every section of your Google My Business profile thoroughly and accurately. This helps Google understand your business better, ensuring it appears in the most relevant searches. It also builds trust with potential customers who view your complete and informative profile. Regularly review and update your information to keep it current and maintain your visibility and reliability on the platform.
Reason #3: Your business has a new address
A frequent issue we encounter is businesses forgetting to update their address on Google My Business after relocating. This causes significant discrepancies, leading to potential customers being misdirected and creating frustration. Additionally, having inconsistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) information across the internet can harm your SEO, as it confuses both Google and your potential customers.
How to fix your business having the wrong address:
Nice and simple – Ensure that your business’s NAP information is consistent across all online platforms, directories, and websites. If your business has relocated, promptly update your Google My Business listing and any other online listing you have.
Reason #4: You have duplicate Google My Business listings
Another common complication we encounter is the existence of duplicate Google My Business listings. This usually occurs when more than one listing is created for a single location. Duplicate listings can confuse potential customers and dilute your local SEO efforts, as it can split reviews and other essential information between the listings, diminishing the impact of your online presence.
How to fix your duplicate Google My Business listings:
Identify and remove any duplicate listings that exist. To do this, claim ownership of the duplicate listings and then merge them or remove the unnecessary ones. Keeping one accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive listing is crucial for maintaining a strong and clear online presence, ensuring customers find the right information, and bolstering your local SEO efforts.
Reason #5: You Have Fake or Spammy Reviews
Having fake or spammy reviews can significantly damage your business’s online reputation, mislead potential customers, and tarnish your brand’s image. Google highly values the integrity and credibility of the review process, and it doesn’t hesitate to penalise listings with fraudulent reviews, consequently affecting your business’s visibility on Google Maps.
How to fix fake or spammy reviews:
Promptly address any spurious or irrelevant reviews by flagging them for removal. Google provides mechanisms for business owners to report inappropriate or fabricated reviews. Regular monitoring and management of your reviews are crucial to maintain a clean and trustworthy review profile, which is essential for both your online reputation and Google Maps visibility. Encouraging happy customers to leave positive and genuine reviews will help fortify your business’s credibility and counteract any negative, false reviews.
Reason #6: Your Google My Business listing has been suspended
When a Google My Business listing is suspended due to violations of Google’s guidelines or policies, it can be a massive blow, especially for businesses that have invested time and effort in accruing reviews and developing their listings. The suspension means your business will disappear from Google Maps and other Google services, profoundly affecting your ability to draw in new customers and maintain relationships with the existing ones.
How to fix a suspended Google My Business listing:
To resolve a suspension, review Google’s policies and guidelines to identify any potential violations and rectify them immediately. Once the issues have been addressed, you can submit a reinstatement request to Google. Being meticulous about adhering to Google’s guidelines going forward will help avoid future suspensions and maintain consistent visibility on Google Maps. Regularly updating and checking your listing for compliance is also crucial.
Reason #7: You Selected that You are a Service Area Business
Choosing ‘Service Area Business’ as your business type might be limiting your visibility if not accurately representing your operation. This setting is suitable for businesses that serve customers at their locations, like plumbers or delivery services. If this does not accurately reflect your business model, it can hinder the accuracy of your listing, consequently impacting how and when you appear on Google Maps.
How to fix being incorrectly listed as a Service Area Business:
Evaluate whether your business truly fits the ‘Service Area Business’ designation. If it doesn’t, modify your listing type to more accurately reflect your business model, ensuring your services, address, and operation details are accurate and up-to-date.
Reason #8: Your Business Lacks Authority on Google Maps
The prominence of your business on Google Maps is significantly influenced by the authority it has established online. Businesses deemed more authoritative by Google typically secure more visible positions, even when users are zoomed out on the map. If your business lacks authority, it may only appear when users zoom in closely to your location or navigate to deeper pages of results.
How to fix a lack of authority on Google Maps:
Work on building your online presence and authority. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, maintain an active and engaging presence on relevant social media platforms, and ensure your website is optimised for search engines.
Reason #9: You Share an Office Space
Businesses sharing an office space or located within a co-working environment can sometimes face visibility issues on Google Maps. This is because Google attempts to prevent duplicate listings and may have difficulty distinguishing between different businesses sharing the same address, especially if they operate within the same industry.
How to fix shared office space visibility issues:
Be meticulous when creating and updating your Google My Business listing. Ensure that your business name, suite or unit number, and contact details are accurate and distinctive. Regularly update your listing with unique content such as photos of your specific office space and posts about your business activities. Being precise and unique in detailing your business information helps Google differentiate your business from others sharing the same location.
Reason #10: Your Listing Has Inaccurate or Missing Category Tags
The absence or inaccuracy of category tags in your Google My Business listing is a common visibility obstacle. Google utilizes these tags to categorise your business and helps users find services they are looking for. Not only should you select a primary category that best fits your business, but you should also ensure that it and any additional categories accurately reflect your services. Incorrect or missing categories can lead your business to be overshadowed or not appear in relevant searches.
How to fix category tag issues:
When managing your Google My Business listing, ensure that you choose an accurate primary category and relevant additional ones if applicable. Keep in mind that every category should genuinely relate to your services. Double-check that each category correctly represents your business, avoiding irrelevant ones as they can be detrimental. Regularly reviewing and updating your categories to match your current services will assist in maintaining your visibility on Google Maps.
Reason #11: Your Business is Located Outside the Local Market Area
If your business is situated outside what Google deems as the local market area for a specific search, your listing won’t show up on Google Maps for queries within that area. The further your business is from the searcher’s geographic location, the lesser the chances of your business appearing on Google Maps when users search in that vicinity.
How to fix this location-based issue:
Ensure your business address is accurate and that your service areas are correctly listed in your Google My Business profile. For businesses that serve customers at their locations, accurately listing the areas you serve can help in appearing in local searches for those areas. Also, focusing on building your overall online presence and relevance through customer reviews, accurate business information, and content can improve your chances of being shown in nearby areas even if you are located a bit further.
Reason #12: Impact of Poor Website Experience on Your Listing
Having a poorly developed website may potentially impact the visibility of your Google My Business listing in the Map Pack. Google’s algorithms prefer websites that are well-coded, mobile-friendly, secure, and load quickly and are not a fan of spammy, slow, and hacked websites.
How to fix Poor Website Experience:
Optimise your website for speed, mobile-friendliness, and security. Ensure that the content is relevant, well-structured, and SEO-optimised. Investing in your website’s quality and user experience can not only enhance your site’s SEO performance but may also positively influence your Google My Business listing’s visibility in local searches.
Reason #13: Lack of Customer Reviews
Having no or very few customer reviews can impact the visibility of your business on Google Maps. Reviews play a significant role in local SEO, and a lack of them may make your business appear less trustworthy or established in the eyes of both Google and potential customers.
How to fix a Lack of Customer Reviews:
Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews by sending follow-up emails or messages and making the review process as straightforward as possible. Address any negative reviews professionally and promptly.
Reason #14: Not Using Google My Business Posts
Not leveraging Google My Business posts can result in lost opportunities for increased visibility. These posts are a handy way to enhance your listing’s prominence on Google Maps, offering a snapshot of your business’s latest updates, offers, or events.
How to utilise Google My Business Posts:
Create compelling and pertinent posts frequently on your Google My Business account to keep your audience informed about your business’s latest happenings, thus enriching your listing’s appeal.
Reason #15: Not Responding to Reviews
Neglecting to respond to customer reviews, be they complimentary or critical, can detrimentally impact your business’s perceived reliability and authenticity on Google Maps, potentially diminishing your visibility.
How to fix your review response:
Pretty straight forward, upon recieving notification of a new review, ensure you’re proactively and courteously responding to every one, addressing any issues raised and expressing gratitude for the feedback. This not only fosters a positive image but also enhances customer relations.
Reason #16: Insufficient Business Description
An unclear or inadequate business description can hinder your business’s visibility on Google Maps. A well-crafted description is key, providing essential information to both Google and prospective customers about what your business offers.
How to fix an insufficient business description:
Craft a clear, concise, and detailed business description, highlighting your unique offerings and services, to give a clear overview of what customers can expect.
Reason #17: No Photos or Low-Quality Photos
The absence of photos or the presence of subpar images can adversely affect your visibility and engagement levels on Google Maps, as high-quality, relevant photos are a key driver of click-through rates.
How to fix having no or low-quality photos:
Upload high-quality, relevant, and high-quality, relevant, and engaging photos to your Google My Business listing to visually represent your business, products, or services, thereby enhancing your listing’s appeal and credibility.
Conclusion: Navigating the Google Maps Landscape with Confidence
Understanding Google Maps and how it impacts your business visibility is crucial. With the right information and actions, appearing on Google Maps becomes less of a challenge and more of an opportunity to connect with your local customers and grow your business.
Remember, it’s about making your business easy to find and attractive to your potential customers. If you’re feeling lost, we’re here to help guide you through each step to improve your Google Maps presence.
Ready to enhance your business’s visibility? Let’s get started! If you have further questions or need more tailored advice, feel free to get in touch with us.