HARTENSTINE Search Engine First Marketing

This is the unvarnished version of the Ultimate Google My Business Guide, calling-out all those happy horse shit blogs about the so-called “support” that Google My Business (GMB) provides.

The Ultimate GMB Guide is here but that is just a rehash of Google guides – just a bit more straight forward.

But if you are here reading this, it means that The Ultimate Generic Guide won’t solve your problems, nor will it make your pain disappear.

Unlike the SEO “experts” writing blogs which make Google’s support sound like a pleasant walk in the park, I’m here to tell you it is anything but. I am one of those webmasters that actually does the work first-hand, and this is my experience.

#1 – Contrary to the what the experts write, you need to be disabused of the idea that GMB support DOES SOMETHING for you. When you ask them to actually “do something”, they will say “we can only guide you sir”. They explicitly say THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING.

Now here is one of those happy horse shit blogs https://searchengineland.com/problems-google-business-use-phone-support-221305

They write “staff is still incredibly helpful” and “they’ll be able to shut them down immediately“. Sounds like bullshit, because it is. GMB support is just following instructions on their screen. They won’t actually do anything except say rote-friendly things like “I understand your frustration” and “thank you for your patience” and they will not shut anything down.

Here are a few tips that might relieve some pain and speed your recovery.

#2 – Understand that Google probably (theory) makes more money if your GMB is screwed up. So no reason to think they are going to solve your problem quickly – thus the slow-motion labyrinth you currently find yourself in.

When you have 2 GMB listings that are causing your website to rank poorly – and I can prove that 2 listings will cause your website to NOT show up in Business Card where the big clicks are, you will be then compelled to spend more on ads to get the same traffic. (this part is not theory)

#3 – Google probably does not delete anything. First and foremost, Google is in the data mining business and they archive EVERYTHING. This has several negative implications for us when (supposedly) deleting location information like GMB listings and you can see that logic as things unfold…

#3a – If you manage to claim a listing (now you have 2 – a Published listing and a Duplicate listing). Regardless of what your support rep tells you, and in spite of what the final delete screen shows, the NEWER LISTING WILL BE DELETED.* It just happened to me. I was told the duplicate would be deleted – duplicate to whom?

I was given conflicting instructions from different GMB support reps. I was first told not to remove the duplicate listing. And that once I claimed the duplicate, the 2 listings would be merged. Well that never happened. On the next support call, I was told to remove and delete the duplicate. I asked (in writing) “will you confirm that nothing will be lost”? “No sir”.

Once that duplicate was deleted, the newer listing was gone. There goes a years worth of content! And we were left with a listing we did not create and with content that was now over a year old.

*Reviews will not be deleted. (see #3) Reviews will be MERGED, but everything else will disappear never to be recovered. Curious how that works, No?

(in this scenario, the business was purchased from a prior owner, the owner created a NEWER listing, while there also existed an OLDER listing which was never transfered due to lost logins).

Lesson learned: Google is going to delete the NEWER listing! You have no say in this! Google does it their way and support tells you what you want to hear AND THEY DON’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING!

#3b – Now you have Manager access of the OLD listing. You need Owner access. You get to start over and request Ownership and wait 7 days again.

#4 – When something goes wrong (in our scenario in #3a), your support rep will do 2 things, a) refer you to Adwords support (Really? Really! It just happened to me) and/or b) they will stop responding to your email.

#4a – When you call in AGAIN, and your rep is now curiously never available. The rep who answers your call this time will say “They will be in touch shortly. Thank you for your patience.” Click – end of the call and funny…I never get the survey at the end of those calls anymore.

Here is a twist. If you are trying to claim a listing, for reasons known only to Google and the current “Owner” (usually an agency) you may be given only Manager privileges. What good is that? You need Ownership to do many important things (besides the principal of the matter – that you are the owner of the business). KNOW THIS: you need to make the OWNERSHIP request using a DIFFERENT email than the email that is currently a Manager. What? This makes no sense and no one would normally arrive at that conclusion by themselves. I was told something like “its for your own protection”. Yeh, where have I heard that before?

I can document everything in this post. I have the email. I thought carefully before writing this post. I would like to provoke a response from the Google sycophants or from Google, who should take steps to see that their support is not giving advice that is destructive with no recourse otherwise. Where do you go when support screws up? We lost a years worth of content and then support won’t answering email or making things right (recover our lost content).

Some will say that the service is free and therefore we should not expect anything but a “best effort” from support. I argue that you overlooked how much money we spend on Adwords which is not “free” and Google My Business is fully integrated with Adwords. GMB has a huge affect on the efficacy of Adwords (ads).