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Tackling Common Google My Business Queries with Ben Fisher (TECHIE)

Tackling Common Google My Business Queries with Ben Fisher (TECHIE)

 

How to maintain and optimise your GMB profile

When was the last time you checked out your Google My Business profile?
Now this is not a set-and-forget project, people.

Much like planting a bushy hedge, your GMB listing needs love and attention.

Sometimes you need to prune back old images, or shape it into your new branding, fertilise it with a few fresh posts, or spruce it up with a nice flowering promo.

Occasionally you get pests or spammy reviews, and you need to know the best way to treat them, organically of course.

Is the bush analogy wearing thin yet? I don’t think so.

Anyhow, today we’re going to be looking into some of the common questions that arise and how to make your Google My Business profile bushy and flourishing.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • How smart businesses are using their Google My Business listings to stay on top and win more business
  • Why your business may not be showing up in GMB
  • How to stay in Google’s good books by following the Google My Business Compliance Guidelines
  • How to tackle spammy listings and reviews
  • What to do if a genuine review is removed by Google
  • How to reinstate your listing if it has been suspended

 

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And big thanks to lc00dk from Australia for their lovely review.

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Kate’s podcast is almost like a must-have in your SEO toolkit! I love that there is always something to learn or dig deeper on.

 

Much lighter to listen to than most SEO podcasts.

 

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About Ben Fisher

 

Ben Fisher is a Google My Business Platinum Product Expert and an experienced veteran in SEO and social since 1994.

He is also a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Study.

He’s the co-founder of Steady Demand, which works with agencies and businesses to maximize outsourced Local SEO and Social Media.

He can be reached on Twitter at @TheSocialDude or @SteadyDemand.

When Ben isn’t busy in the world of SEO he collects weapons like swords and daggers and oversized coffee mugs. He’s a sword-wielding caffeine junkie.

 

Connect with Ben

 

Useful Resources

 

Transcript

Kate Toon:
This episode of the Recipe for SEO Success is proudly supported by Supermetrics.

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Kate Toon:
When was the last time you checked out your Google My Business profile? Now this is not a set and forget project people, much like planting a bushy hedge, your GMB listing needs love and attention. Sometimes you need to prune back old images or shape it into your new branding. Fertilise it with a fresh new post or spruce it up with a nice flowering promo. Occasionally you get pests or spammy reviews. And you need to know the best way to treat them, organically, of course. Is the bush analogy wearing thin yet? I don’t think so. Anyhow, today we’re going to be talking, looking into some of the common questions that arise from how to make your Google My Business profile bushy and flourishing. Hello, my name is Kate Toon, I’m the head chef at the Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things search engine optimization and digital marketing.

Kate Toon:
And today I’m talking with Ben Fisher. Hi, Ben.

Ben Fisher:
Hello, Kate. How you doing?

Kate Toon:
Good. Now Ben and I met by the wonderful medium of Clubhouse back in the days when Clubhouse was cool.

Ben Fisher:
Irrelevant.

Kate Toon:
January. Now I still on there, I still pop in there now and again. But there was a brief heyday where I met you, I met Noah who’s coming on to the podcast and we just were having a grand old time, weren’t we Ben?

Ben Fisher:
Absolutely. Are you kidding me? It was fan for fantastic. We loved every time you jumped in the room.

Kate Toon:
We’ve had a lot of fun and it was really nice to find some other SEO humans who are inclusive and friendly and don’t try and bamboozle people. So if you are on Clubhouse, go and find Ben and go and find Noah. I think you run a regular room now, on is it Fridays, where you are?

Ben Fisher:
It’s Friday for you. But it’s Thursday for me, so-

Kate Toon:
Just say what time.

Ben Fisher:
Five o’clock Pacific. So that’s what? 5 am your time? Something like that.

Kate Toon:
Lord knows. Well anyway, I’ll include a link to Ben’s Clubhouse profile in the bar, in the episode message if you want to go and check him out. And if you’re not on Clubhouse, then don’t forget you can download a guide to how to use Clubhouse on keeptuned.com. Anyway, we’re not Clubhouse today, we’re talking about Google My Business and why have I asked Ben to speak? Because he is an expert in all things Google My Business. I’m going to read out your bio now, Ben are you ready? It’s always awkward when someone calls you an expert but it’s in your bio, so I’m going with it.

Kate Toon:
Ben Fisher is a Google My Business platinum product expert and an experienced veteran in SEO and social since 1994. He is also a contributor to the Moz Local search rankings factors study. He is the co founder of Steady Demand, which works with agencies and businesses to maximise outsourced local SEO and social media. When Ben isn’t busy in the world of SEO, he collects weapons. Swords and daggers and oversized mugs. He is a sword wielding caffeine junkie. My goodness. Let’s see that, he’s just showing me a very cool what’s that creature called? I failed.

Ben Fisher:
It’s 16 ounces a BB8.

Kate Toon:
BB8s.

Ben Fisher:
And Star Wars.

Kate Toon:
Was that the sexy R2D2, isn’t it really?

Ben Fisher:
I think so, something like that.

Kate Toon:
R2D2.

Ben Fisher:
R2- Do do

Kate Toon:
R2 do do. One of those little creatures that wear the brown cloaks and have red eyes and they have thick brown chains.

Ben Fisher:
The wookies.

Kate Toon:
No, not the wookies, the little tiny ones that fix robots?

Ben Fisher:
Yeah, they’re the, I’m totally failing.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, you’ve already failed. Anyway, one of the things they say is “ooh te de” My God. Did that noise just come out of you?

Ben Fisher:
It did, it did, I can make noises.

Kate Toon:
As long as making noises, you can also talk to us about Google My Business. So let me-

Ben Fisher:
Yes, I can.

Kate Toon:
Before we get started. Google business is a free tool you can use to help customers find your business. You can tell your story, showcase your brand, collect reviews and win new customers. If you’re not familiar with Google My Business, check out the episode of Daniel Lamb called grappling Google My Business. Where we outline the benefits of GMB and went through a step by step guide on how to set up a listing because we’re not going to talk about the basics today, we’re going to talk about a few more techie bits, a few do more elements that come to pass when your maybe Google My Business has been around for a little while and encountering some issues. So Ben you get to see lots of businesses using Google My Business listings. At best practise level, what are they doing? If you could give our listeners a really quick takeout, maybe top three tips that good businesses are using on Google My Business? What would those top three tips be?

Ben Fisher:
All right. So at the highest level, what you have seasoned, Google My Business, you could say quote unquote, experts, right? They use their GMB profile as it’s meant to be for their business model. It’s so important to understand that. So for instance, when we’re in Clubhouse, and we’re talking in Noah’s room, he has a lot of photographers that keep on coming in, right? 100s. So he really, they have started to hone in on how can they can use it best for their business. So like for a photographer, you’re going to use your GMB almost like a business card. You’re going to be putting up photographs on a regular basis, you’re going to be getting reviews, you’re going to be driving people to read reviews about you. And then you’re going to be using it for new customer acquisition.

Ben Fisher:
But all of those things, all three of those are geared towards return on investment in one way or another. And, if you want to talk return on investment, come on, GMB brings 90% of business usually for the average business owner. And it doesn’t cost anything. So anything that you do, that’s going to make your phone ring, your website form hum, is basically a good return on investment, you have zero experience. Zero reason not to do it. I can keep on going, but well you said top three things, right?

Kate Toon:
Top three. Yeah. So the first three, is this fit for purpose, fits the industry? Yeah.

Ben Fisher:
Exactly. And then realistically, let’s get to the thing that everybody wants to know. And that is, well, how can I do better with Google My Business, right? The people who are at the top of the game know that basically, it’s going to end up becoming a really your category, the name of your business, believe it or not, unfortunately right now. And the reviews that you’re getting. The URL that you’re linking to that has a little bit of an impact. But those are going to be the ranking factors, right? So now we’ve got, go for purpose, a couple of little things for a ranking factor. And then the final thing is that you want to continually feed information that the consumer wants. You want to always be answering their questions, if you’re answering their questions, you can’t help but get business.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I love that. I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent. There’s a few questions I want to ask this first, because I’m thinking from the listener perspective, hang on a minute, doesn’t Google My Business really only show up when people are already searching for me? So they’re searching for my brand name. So really, I’ve already got them by the time GMB shows up. So no wonder it delivers 90% of whatever, what are your thoughts on that idea that it’s really about branded search?

Ben Fisher:
That it’s not all about branded search at all, I think that’s really the simplest way to put it. The fact of the matter is, if you’re looking for a dentist or a lawyer near me, if you’re looking for whatever, with or without the word near me, by the way, you’re going to run into either a three pack on desktop, you’re going to run into a two pack on mobile, or sometimes, you’ll run into the unicorn. And that’s the one pack, where you get one person in a metro in a geographic area that’s coming up for crazy head term, head term being personal injury lawyer, for instance. So that being said no, it’s not just your branded search. Now in the example that we were giving previously about with somebody who’s a photographer, and that you are sending them to you as a brochure in a sense, yes, that is a branded search, you’re right 100% of the time and you’re going to convert that 90%. But you want that 90% on the other on the other searches, but non-branded searches.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, that’s it. We want people who want what you do, but don’t know who you are. So it’s important to just explain to the noobs listening, the Google My Business fuels a couple of elements in the search. So if you do a branded search, it will fuel the content in your knowledge graph panel, that panel that comes up on the side of the search results. But it also fuels the local pack as you refer to, or the three pack or the two pack, I love two pack, or the one pack as well. So once you see that little map and you click through on that result, it’s taking people to their Google My Business and that appearance in that local pack is entirely driven by Google My Business. Doesn’t have a huge amount to do with your website, does it?

Ben Fisher:
A little bit to with your website, actually. Believe it or not Google My Business does feed off the information that’s on your site. So for instance, if you’re not coming up for a certain type of query, and you go ahead and add a page to your website, magic. You’ll actually start to show for that keyword. Same goes for photos too. But that’s a whole other story we’ll talk about.

Kate Toon:
So let’s clarify that. So you’re saying that this is different to what I’ve heard before, that you’re saying that having local content on your website influences your position in the local pack?

Ben Fisher:
Correct. Absolutely, absolutely. One of the things that people don’t really know very well is that the local algorithm and the organic algorithm actually share a tonne of the same components. As a matter of fact, the local algorithm is actually bolted on top of the organic, well, maybe to the side algorithm. Okay. And so what does that mean? That means that there is 200 and some odd godawful signals for the organic algorithm, right? That’s doodle links that you see in everything else, that you see in search. But when you get organic, that you’ve got proximity, you’ve got relevance, and you’ve got prominence. There’s a couple other things, of course, that are going to go in there. But that’s kind of how you can put those together in the buckets, right? So yes, absolutely. When you’re making changes to your website, it can absolutely can impact how you’re going to rank for new key terms, as well as increase some of your existing ones, how you can see this really cool stuff.

Ben Fisher:
What you do is go into Google My Business, click on insights, jump through a hoop and then click on see new performance report. What that’s going to do is it’s going to bring you out to your Google My Business queries. When you go to your Google My Business queries, they seem a little bit useless when you’re looking at them initially. But as you expand down and go further into the list, you see the less than 15 searches next to it a phrase, that’s what you want to work on. Because this is raw data, it’s coming from Google servers. And it’s actually what people are using to find you. So you can take those terms, add those terms to your site, make sure they’re pretty well filled out as far as good copy, etc. Right, we’re always talking about copy, aren’t you Kate?. So make sure you do that. And then magically, you’ll start to actually to rank for those keywords locally.

Kate Toon:
Okay, so that’s a couple of things to break down there for listeners, the local results have two elements, we’ve got the local pack, the local results, and the organic results. And you’re saying that by taking data from Google My Business and using that data in your content on your site, your organic listing will improve, and that in turn will influence your pack listing as well.

Ben Fisher:
You could say it that way, it might not always predictably work out like that. But yes, because it might not impact organic at all. But it might impact you locally. And it could happen vice versa, by the way, too. So it all depends.

Kate Toon:
That’s the most confusing answer you could possibly give Ben, thank you very much.

Ben Fisher:
You’re welcome.

Kate Toon:
I think the important thing though, that you’re saying is that there is a relationship between the two. They’re not entirely divorced, organic content isn’t entirely separate from local pack results. Yeah, they’re layered on top of each other. And they’re intertwined. I guess it’s just a lot of people do a bad job of taking those organic keywords and working them through their content, they just shove a location phrase into every page, into every title tag that, they’re doing it in a ham fisted way, then it doesn’t work. And they think, well, organic can’t influence the pack. But it’s just because they’re not doing it in a great way. Let’s get back to the trail, we’ve wandered off the trail, stay on the path. I’m coming back to the questions again.

Kate Toon:
So I’ve answered that once, I’m coming back to it. So, one of the big things that people struggle with, with Google My Business. Once you’ve gone through the basics and you’ve added your details, chosen your category added photos, is what we want is reviews. And we want to encourage people to get reviews, they really are not supposed to incentivize reviews necessarily, I’m sure people do. But then what happens obviously, is people leave dodgy reviews or spammy reviews. And there’s two different classifications here. So let’s first off talk about spam reviews. These are reviews from people who haven’t actually worked with you. They don’t know you. How do those even occur? Is it a bot or is it just people being cruel?

Ben Fisher:

It’s usually a person behind, it’s usually not a bot. That’s number one. I’m sorry, I know you have like to have faith in humanity but in this case, there is none. There’s two styles I say that they’re out there. Well, okay, technically three. The three styles are going to be this. Is that somebody who’s just trying to get points. They’re Google gamified, what’s called this local guide programme, which is where people can go out and answer questions and do all sorts of things and gain little points, they gain free movie tickets and stuff like that. It’s actually kind of a useless programme. But anyway, that aside, so what they’ll do is they’ll go out, and they’ll just look around and be like, here’s a bunch of little local businesses near me, or in this area, whatever. And I’m just going to go ahead and I’m going to click, yeah, that’s the one star one star, one star, three star, one star, one star review, and just keep on going on down line, just bomb the heck out of it.

Ben Fisher:
Unfortunately, you might end up getting caught in that. And you might get this one star, no content review. So it still falls into fake review, but it’s also malicious at the same point, at the same time. So you got those guys. Okay, nothing you can do about it, by the way. Well, there’s something you can do about it, which I’m sure we’re going to get into. But they’re very difficult to get rid of, if they have no content. The second type is somebody who actually is, they’ve got it out for you, basically. And this can be usually in the form of a ex customer, an ex-employee, jilted lover, something like that. And-

Kate Toon:
So many jilted lovers of mine, I’ll tell you. They caught my reviews jilted lovers, terrible.

Ben Fisher:
I’ve seen some interesting bombs that happened from that, actually. So and those, again, your control level is very, very tiny, unless they’ve gone ahead and specifically stated, I used to work for blah and they’re the worst human being in the entire world or whatever they’re going to say. The fact that they said that they used to work for you, right there more than enough. Another actionable tip, why not, is if somebody has left a review for you, they did work for you, and they have you still on their LinkedIn profile, you can also get it removed too by the way because that’s a form of authoritative proof that they work for you. No, a pay stub will not do it, Google will not get in between you and your legal paperwork, sorry.

Ben Fisher:
Next thing, so let’s see what we’ve gone over? So we’ve gone over the spammy person with the local-

Kate Toon:
Jilted lovers? Yeah.

Ben Fisher:
Yes, and the local guides. So and then the last one, these are a little bit more rare, is going to be in the form of people who buy or sell fake Google My Business profiles. What they will sometimes do is they will sometimes try to make their profiles look really good by doing the same thing that actor number one did, which is just going out and reviewing maybe a couple of their own little fake reviews, fake listings, but they’ll just go into the same exact area and say, one star, one star, two-star, three-star, five-star and you might just end up getting that fake one star. And it just makes them look a little bit more quote-unquote, natural, which actually it doesn’t. But unfortunately, you bear the burden of it.

Kate Toon:
o let’s talk about strategies for dealing with all those different types. You mentioned that there is a way to report them to Google. Do you want to talk us through that? What is that process? You’ve had a review whether it’s a spammy one star no content, a jilted lover or a genuinely disgruntled customer. Can you get those removed by Google?

Ben Fisher:
ll right. So we’ve talked about the employee version of this, right? The reason why I was talking about the employee version is because those are the easy ones to get rid of. For the jilted lovers and the fake ones, not so easy. There has to be a pattern. And unfortunately, usually, in those scenarios, there is no pattern. They left one review or two reviews, or they’ve hidden the reviews which is also extremely common. The jilted lover, you might be able to get that one removed because they’re probably going to say something personal about you and that they dated you or whatever, whatever it was. So that is going to be removed purely because it violates one big rule and that is they did not have an experience with your business. They might have had experience with you, but not your business. So these-

Kate Toon:
I want to do a hold up, so I know jilted lovers now, how jilted lovers influence your SEO strategy, I love this, keep on going, sorry.

Ben Fisher:
Jilted lover SEO, the positives and the negatives. So-  a book by Kate Toon – so the other ones that are really difficult to get rid of because they’re not going to leave a pattern behind. And that’s a big problem. And we see it all the time in the product expert forums, where people come in they’re like, these were not people were not our customers. We have 505-star reviews. Our review rating is now down to a 4.9 This is not fair. Can somebody do something about this? We want to sue Google. They always leave off with we want to sue Google, I don’t know why. Probably because they want to sue Google. So but the case and the point is that A, you’re not going to sue Google. That’s number one. Okay? Just get that out of your mind. Yes, you’re pissed, I get it. But let’s get into reality. So the reality is that there is a mechanism and this mechanism is not fair by the way.

Ben Fisher:
The mechanism basically is, is that you have to go into your dashboard, there’s this go, click on reviews, find the offending review, from the jilted lover and then there’s these three blue dots next to it, over on the right hand side, you click on those three dots so you can now dispute the review. And then you’re given with these all these beautiful choices, I believe it’s about seven of them, conflict of interest, harassment, bullying, all sorts of things, sorry, jilted lover is not in there. Spam, that’s in there. So either way, you pick the one which is the best and then you go ahead and you report it. Now, that’s not the end of the story, though. Within three days, 72 hours, you’ll get an email back from Google beyond the first one, which says we’ve gotten your request. You’ll get either a success or denial, sometimes you get it in 24 hours by the way, which is cool.

Ben Fisher:
So once you get this, let’s just say they deny you. Okay, boohoo, yeah, you’re going to get pissed, you’re going to slam your computer monitor, it’s going to get thrown out through the window. But now, when you come back down to reality and you take a chill pill, you can go ahead and you can contact Google support and you can ask them to look at it one more time, please. And then they’re going to come back, and they’re going to tell you if they think that it should be removed or not. And most of the time, it’s not, there’s something called a review economy out there. And the number of reviews that Google gets is one of the metrics that they use for success. Like it or not, but if something doesn’t fall into the criteria for their removal, they’re just not going to remove it. And so what do you do in that case?

Ben Fisher:
In that case, by the way, you have not responded to this review. If you respond to these reviews before you get them removed, this legitimises them and reduces your chance for Google to actually remove them. So now, but at the end of all of this, you do want to go ahead and respond. And respond not for yourself and not for the person or the sleazebag who left you this fake review. But respond instead for the person who’s going to be coming and reading this review. Now about 86% of people will go ahead and read reviews and review responses in the last two weeks.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, that’s really crucial. We all do that, human nature is the first whenever I look at anything, the first thing I do is read the one-star review. And then I go on and read the five-star reviews. And I think this, we’ve talked about this on the podcast previously, you have to maybe give yourself some space. So you’re not emotional when you respond to that review. You handle it really professionally, you give the opportunity for that person to get in contact with you to have a discussion, you acknowledge whether or not they were a real customer. Hi, Ben, thanks for the review. We have no record of you being a customer of ours. But if you’d like to speak to us, here’s our number, blah, blah, blah. And it shows that you are taking the moral high ground. And as well, we’ve all seen that meme, which is come and have the worst sandwich anybody ever ate in such and such.

Kate Toon:
You can turn some of these reviews to your advantage. You can use them in social media, you can have some lightness about them because it’s the internet. And people tend times more likely to leave a complaint review than they are to leave a compliment review. But the thing that I have encouraged my members to do is yes, go through the exact process you mentioned and I love the fact that you mentioned it, very, very important that you don’t respond to the review before you ask for it to be taken down. You don’t legitimise it. But if you’ve gone through the process, Google won’t get rid of it, you respond and then you move on. And you focus on getting more positive reviews.

Kate Toon:
And I’ve actually read from usability studies that 4.9 rating is far more believable than a 5.0 rating. If all your reviews are five stars and you’ve only got 20, then there’s this inference that maybe they’re all from your mates. Having a few low reviews is not the end of the world.

Ben Fisher:
I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it, I’m perfect 1,000%.

Kate Toon:
Of course, you are Ben, of course, you are. I can’t remember how many I’ve got, but I’m going to double-check now, let’s see. 278 five-star reviews online. I’m not saying, I have got some negative ones but the average is evened down. Those one-star fakers. Which I think you did, Ben didn’t you just before the episode just to be bit cruel. Yeah.

Ben Fisher:
I left three one stars.

Kate Toon:
Thanks very much. That’s very good. Logged into all your different accounts.

Ben Fisher:
Of course, with different internal links, through different IPs, and they have all sorts of stuff. I’ve got a 155-star review, right? And out of those, I have two one stars, I think. And they’re from small, crazy lunatics, by the way, they are.

Kate Toon:
And from jilted ex-lovers. Well, look, let’s move on from reviews. We can talk about reviews all day. 

Kate Toon:
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Kate Toon:
But what I want to talk about is the mistakes that people make that actually get them a black mark from Google themselves, not following their compliance guidelines. So if your listing breaches their guidelines, it could be suspended. Can you explain some of the key compliance no no’s, and what common mistakes you see businesses making when it comes to Google My Business compliance?

Ben Fisher:
We only have how much time left?

Kate Toon:
Well, let’s pick a couple.

Ben Fisher:
Jeez, Kate. All right. I’ll condense this down really quickly. And if you have questions, you can reach out to me after the show. How’s that? So our guests reach out to me anytime. Anyway, so biggest mistake that everybody makes is this, is that there’s a lot of “me too” attitudes. And meaning “me too” as in, I go out and I look around and I see all of these people have got the name of the city, they’ve got the keywords in there, the stuff that they do. And they’ve been there for months. You know what? There must be nothing wrong with this, and Google must be okay with it. Incorrect, Google’s not okay with it. They just haven’t gotten caught yet. You do it, chances of you getting caught? Much higher. Why? Those guys have probably done it a long while ago. You do it now? You’re raising the bar for Google to look at you directly.

Ben Fisher:
Next thing, location. So a lot of people will say, well, you know what? I looked at that address for that lawyer and they’re in a UPS Store. I can do that too, right? And I’m just going to go out, and I’m going to get a UPS store in every single city across this country. And you could do that. But you’ll end up on a blacklist. Again, you might get away with it for a little bit, but it’s not going to be a very long time. And trust me when I can say this, is that it’s not worth destroying the entire brand of your business. Just to game Google. I’m going to give you a small story. Very, very short one. Okay? This one company that I was doing some consulting with, they thought they were a franchise. They thought they had a number that was as cool as 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

Ben Fisher:
And so they started putting up bunches of fake, well, they weren’t really fake listings, they just put up the listings on behalf of another company, using the same 1-800 number. Google caught up to him, suspended them. He tried to do it again, Google caught up with them, suspended them. Now that phone number is forever blacklisted. He spent untold amount of money on that, getting that phone number, built an entire business plan. And now it’s gone, cannot be resurrected. So watch what you do. Name needs to be the name of your business. If you don’t like the name of your business and you want to add keywords, contact me or talk to somebody and that will get you in compliance and you could do it the right way. Location, must be a location that you have permanent authority over. Can’t be your brother’s house, can’t be your sister’s house, can’t be your contractor’s house. It’s got to be your place of business. Those are the two biggies. Now, here’s what it comes down to. There’s a third, but we’ll go with those two.

Kate Toon:
We’ll come back to the third. I just wanted to come back to you. So one of the things you mentioned those people shoving keywords into their name, and that’s obviously something you can easily report, you can click on their profile and you can suggest an edit. When you suggest an edit, people because if you see someone who’s in your zone, and they’ve shoved keywords in and you’re like that’s not fair, I’m going to suggest an edit. Can the person sees that you were the one that suggested an edit?

Ben Fisher:
No, however, they can subpoena, well they can sue Google. And they can subpoena Google to release your personal identifiable information PII. So it’s very rare, usually it’s only lawyers that do this, of course. But if you’re constantly going in there and playing around with their listing and they can absolutely go ahead and sue Google. So, and if they sue Google to get your information, Google will email you and say, “Hey, by the way, just so you know this guy wants your information, why are you doing this?”

Kate Toon:
But if you’re doing it for a legitimate reason, because they’ve shoved keywords into their name, surely that’s-

Ben Fisher:
Not necessarily because realistically the keywords in the name are only a violation if they’re misleading or fraudulent.

Kate Toon:
Okay, so you can put keywords in your name? You’re going back and forth with that.

Ben Fisher:
Not necessarily. 

Kate Toon:
It depends on, you need to give some clarity, so you can just now not throw keywords in your name, but now you’re saying you can as long as it’s not misleading, which is it? Sorry.

Ben Fisher:
Sorry, it’s neither nor, it’s both. So you can get the guy, no, you don’t like and you’ll want to hear this. But this is how, believe me trust me, it’s worse when you’re dealing with Google. But so they sometimes talk one way and then they talk another way. So but seriously, it’s you will get caught if you’re putting keywords in your name, and you’ll get suspended. Right? On the flip side of that, is that Google will give information if they’re sued, if it falls under misleading and fraudulent. Because misleading and fraudulent is something that’s illegal, okay? And that’s why they stand by that. However, their guidelines apply to everything outside of legality, and inside of legality. And so those are the guidelines that they have, and that they enforce sometimes.

Kate Toon:
Okay, right. 

Ben Fisher:
Just don’t do it.

Kate Toon:
Let’s move on. I would air on the side of caution and not shove keywords into your name. So I’m going to say that. Okay, let’s get down to the final couple of questions. Your phone has stopped ringing. People aren’t coming to your shop and you discover that Google My Business listing has been suspended. How do we get our Google My Business listing reinstated?

Ben Fisher:
Okay, well, getting reinstated unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as you think, sometimes. So let’s go with straight forward and then talk about how come not. Straightforward is, is that okay, so you’ve been suspended, you’ve got this red message in your dashboard or you’re looking it on your phone? Well, if you’re looking at it on your phone, stop, go to your dashboard on the desktop, look at it, look it on the web, there’s going to be a reason for that in two seconds. Next, once you get to your listing, it’s suspended, you beat your head against the wall, you have no idea why? Nobody has an idea why by the way, as a matter of fact, 1% of people have an idea as to why. So go ahead, first thing you’ll do is read through the guidelines. Specifically read through the guidelines on name and address. Those are your two most common problems. So make sure you’re following the guidelines. And you’re not copying somebody else. Once you’re good to go.

Ben Fisher:
Then on the suspended message it says read more, click on read more. That’ll bring you to the page that tells you all about suspensions on support. It’s not very helpful by the way, click on the reinstatement link and that will bring you to a form, fill out the form to the best of your ability and then attach whatever kind of proof that you can that you are a real baby boy or girl and then usually within 24 hours, if you’re successful, you’re going to be reinstated, your rankings come back in 72 hours from that time. Okay? Now, that all being said, this is where things start to get a little bit complicated. If you haven’t heard back in 24 hours, then that means that there is a big problem that you’re not aware of. And what I do say is this, is that a lot people say they never get an email from Google. After you’ve submitted the reinstatement form, go ahead and pause for five minutes. Exactly, by the way, five minutes. Then check your email and you will have an email from Google with a case ID that basically shows that they did actually get the message, okay?

Ben Fisher:
The reason I say that is because if anybody is going to help you, they need that. You have to have that case ID. It’s imperative that you get that case ID and you write it down somewhere. Okay. So the next thing is that, okay, so what do you do after that? So fine, okay, no problem. Google came back and said you’re not real. But I am real, I’ve been around for 30 years, I have 500 views, I’ve spent $100,000 a month with Google. They don’t care how much you spend, by the way. In that case, the only thing that you can do is you can basically reach out to standard support and basically say, “Hey, I think I’m real, here’s why.” And then they can review your case. At that point, they’re either going to approve you or deny you. If they deny you again, then basically what you have no choice, you either need to reach out to a professional, or you can go to the Google My Business Community.

Ben Fisher:
Difference between the two, if you reach out to a specialist, you can get it taken care of immediately, right? Pretty fast. If you reach out to the community, we have to triage it, then we have to decide whether it’s worthy of being escalated or not. And then once we escalate it, we have to wait and hear back from Google. So that’s a lot of stuff. Where do you want to go from there Kate?

Kate Toon:
I want to stop there. Okay, well, let’s wrap up with one question from a member of the I Love SEO group on Facebook, Lynda Leith, from Celebrate Love asks. I received a wonderful five star review on my Google My Business listing from a client recently, but it was removed. When I raised the issue with Google, they said it was removed because it was spam. The issue was then escalated and today I was told it would not be reinstated. Is there anything I can do about that? So I don’t think she reported it as a spam, they just decided it was a spam.

Ben Fisher:
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. They decided it was spam. So in this case, they’ve recently turned up the filter on reviews. And so they’re getting a bunch of false positives. So in this case, my recommendation is you go to the community, you need to come with a screenshot of the review itself, and then basically say this got removed. I don’t know why, it’s a real review, can somebody please look at this. And of course, include your link to your listing itself and then we can escalate it and we can get you a final answer. Now, the answer we come back with will be the final answer by the way. There is no appeal process after this. So but at least, if they deny you, you have peace of mind knowing that you’ve done all you can to get that review.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, and then focus on getting more five star reviews. It’s probably more effort to chase this one individual review, than just focus on getting more. But yeah, good luck with that. Thanks for asking that question Linda. I want one final tip and I want it Ben, for the love of God, make it black and white man. This is a classic. I’m going to bring out a brand of SEO T-shirts that just say it depends on them. What is your number one tip for giving your Google My Business profile a real boost? A universal tip that would work for most businesses, what would that be?

Ben Fisher:
All right. So universal tip beyond don’t smoke in bed, all right. Let’s see. With Google My Business, make sure you have your categories well done. So I’m going to say is that there is a Chrome plugin that you can download that is called GMB Spy. So Google My Business Spy, GMB Spy. It’s free right away. With this, you can go ahead and you can visit any Google My Business profile, click on the little icon, it’ll tell you the categories and the subcategories that they’re using. Do this to enough competitors, you get a pretty good idea of the categories that you should be using. Copy that, put them into your profile, as long as they relate to what you actually do and you will be getting, start showing up all over the place.

Kate Toon:
You’re so brief then, I wasn’t ready to come back. Thank you.

Ben Fisher:
I’m saying.

Kate Toon:
I know, I’m not used to it. No, it’s good, it’s good.

Ben Fisher:
I’m done being long winded.

Kate Toon:
No, you’re not being long winded. This is it, sometimes with SEO there isn’t black and white answers. We want them but they just don’t exist. And there’s layers of complexity. So I get it. I get it. It all makes perfect sense. GMB Spy, I’ve included a link to that in the show notes, that’s a fantastic tip. Ben, it’s always wonderful to talk to you. And what I think Ben does a great job of on Clubhouse, if you want to go and listen to him is digging into these problems that aren’t black and white. You’ve approached Google, you’ve read to the community and you’re still not getting the answers that you want. And Ben, one of your things you’re great at is you’re able to see the subtleties that maybe aren’t apparent on first glance, and that’s important. And that’s why you’re good at what you do. So thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Ben Fisher:
Absolutely. Thank you for having me Kate, absolutely. And hopefully everybody learned a little bit something today.

Kate Toon:
Well, I certainly did. So I’ve included links to the steady demand website and then on Twitter as well. And also those useful links are in the show notes also. So thank you so much Ben.

Ben Fisher:
Thank you for having me, Kate.

Kate Toon:
That’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about top tips on using Google My Business, the bang at your business drum, head to the I Love SEO group on Facebook. I like to end the show with a shout-out to one of my lovely listeners and today it’s LC00DK from Australia, a podcast for your SEO toolkit. Kate’s podcast is almost like a must have in your SEO toolkit, all those sweet side, I love that there’s always something to dig into deeper, I’m not even reading this correctly, much lighter to listen to, the most SEO podcast anyone can listen, you don’t have to be a guru to get something out of it. If you wants to start somewhere with SEO, start here. Thank you for that lovely, lovely review, and thanks to you for listening.

Kate Toon:
If you like the show, we would love some five star ratings and reviews, real ones, not from jilted lovers, on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you heard the show. It will help other people find the show and also learn more about the wonderful world of SEO and digital marketing and you’ll get a shout out. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, you’ve heard this outro all before. If you want to find out more about Ben, I’ll get a link to that great little tool that he mentioned, then head to the show notes. There is also a full transcript in the show notes for those of you who have difficulty understanding my accent. A few people have been complaining about my accent recently, it’s I cannot help it, it’s just how I talk. Anyway, until next time, happy SEOing, bye bye.