In the world of digital marketing, change comes whether you want it to or not. Though this is typically a figurative statement, it’s becoming all too real for some small businesses. Many of the largest and most widely used platforms have begun instituting changes to small businesses listings dependent on their level of engagement with the listing company. This isn’t just a small problem either. It’s happening to businesses in every single sector; changes that are costing businesses paying customers and negatively impacting rankings every minute they go unnoticed and unaddressed.
Three of the major companies making changes that affect small businesses are Google, Bing, and Facebook. These companies are automatically performing actions on listings in Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Facebook for Business. Some of the changes you may encounter if you don’t keep a watchful eye on your business listings include:
Bing is un-verifying listings and removing hours: There have been some startling trends with business listings lately. One of the most impactful is the new implementation of culling listings based on activity. Bing has begun to de-verify business listings and remove hours after only three months of inactivity.
Without vigilant tending it can be easy to let a business listing laps. Many small businesses don’t have the resources to follow up on multiple accounts, or may not even be aware of these changes at all. That can lead to a loss in phone calls, sales and a business left with no idea why it’s happening.
Google is un-verifying listings: Google has been rendering a one-two punch to small business owners who haven’t been active on their business platform. It was suspected that Google would un-verify inactive listings. This has proven to be the case. Without regular activity, local businesses have found themselves facing un-verification. This has even occurred when businesses have been making simple changes to operating hours within their listings as well. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Google is shutting down unverified Google My Business listings. That means many businesses have been dealt a double blow.
Inactivity had led to an un-verification. That same unverified listing may now be removed. Digital marketing isn’t just about following rote procedures. As a constantly changing industry it requires a small business to continually stay on top of industry changes, specific company changes, and current trends in technology usage.
Facebook is automatically changing your business page and deleting accounts: According to the latest Facebook for Business tactics regarding business pages, silence equals consent. Facebook has been making suggested changes to the pages of small business owners. These have a limited window of opportunity. Suggested changes include changes to hours, phone numbers, addresses and more. These changes can seriously hurt your business, and if you don’t decline them in time, they will be automatically carried out. Businesses have recently begun experiencing complete account deletions without consent if activity wasn’t regularly occurring within the business page.
Having and making the time to regularly check your social business listings for accuracy is crucial. When these change it can affect your entire web presence down the line, rendering certain citations useless and having a negative impact on your rankings in search engines like Google and Bing.
Stay vigilant or hire someone to do it for you. You have options. You don’t need to hire a marketing company to manage your social media if you are making absolutely sure to do it yourself. That means keeping up on the latest search engine blogs and news from major players like Moz and Search Engine Land. It also means listening to the rumor mill surrounding optimization-related actions by companies like Google and Microsoft, and responding to them as soon as you receive concrete information.
You’ll want to make sure to regularly log into and remain active in all of your associated accounts. That means updating your site with new pages and regular content additions like blogs. Maintaining these accounts provides valuable backlinks to your website that can increase page rankings across the board. If you do not have the time to put in the energy, let a marketing company handle it for you. You know it will be done correctly and it allows you to focus on your business instead of your marketing.
Whatever you do, don’t let the companies you depend on make these decisions for you. Take the steps you need to in order to stay verified and updated for your listing hours, location and phone number.
Monique Rice is VP of sales and marketing for Effective Web Solutions. She can be reached at 888.400.4002.