If you keep up with the Google and Your Business Forum, rarely a day goes by when someone doesn’t post about a call from Google Maps and then their business disappearing from the listings.
I had the unexpected pleasure of a call from Google Maps yesterday…
Google Maps Called Me
The call was from a Dublin number and the lady had an Irish accent. At first I thought, “Scam” and launched into my, “If you’re selling I don’t want it…” rant. However, she was insistent that she was from Google Maps and as Google do have an office in Dublin I thought I’d better answer so I don’t get removed from Maps!
One thing is certainly clear, the caller isn’t there to answer questions and you need to be very obvious with your answers.
Service Area Businesses
If you are a service area business, ensure you hide your address through the old Google Places dashboard. This is a requirement of Google’s guidelines.
When asked to confirm your address, state the full address followed by the line, “My address is hidden in the Google Places dashboard and I am in compliance with the guidelines, please do not remove my listing”.
If you are asked, “Are you an online business?” reply, “I am not an online business, I see customers face to face and I am in compliance with the guidelines. Please do not remove my listing.”
I received the call about 5pm and was also asked if I had set opening hours. My opening hours are 10am-6pm and I was asked if that is why she could contact me now. I thought it was an odd thing to ask as my opening hours are available on Google Places.
These calls from Google Maps are mainly directed at service area businesses. However, should you receive a call and you have a business that people can visit during your opening hours, make it completely clear that you see customers at your premises during your opening hours and repeat the line, “Please do not remove my listing.”
Google Maps reps are obviously following a script and your answers can result in your business being removed from the Map manually rather than corrected to fit in with current guidelines.
Remember, Google will never ask you for login details, passwords or credit card details over the phone – never give this information out!
Merging Google+ Local and Google+ Local Business Pages
As a service area business, to stay within Google guidelines my business address must be hidden. Readers of the blog will know I merged my Google Places with my Google Plus Business page a few months back – against current guidelines.
Recently my verified merged Google Plus Local page decided to show my full address, I’m not sure if this is what triggered the call. You no longer have the ability to hide your address from public view on Google+ Local pages.
I remember reading to remove the address and just use the city and state. I changed my address to Widnes, Cheshire through the Google Plus page. The change was rejected.
Now I have my address hidden in the Google Places dashboard and showing on the Google+ Local Business Page, yet it shows to the public and via Google Maps as Widnes, Cheshire – confused yet? I am! Google certainly is…
On a good note, unlike many hapless business owners who have received such abrupt calls from Google Maps, I still seem to be on Maps, Places dashboard and Plus!
I wonder how long that will last? It was one of the risks I took by verifying the merge in the first place.Google Maps Called Me: What To Say If Google Maps Call Your Business by Jan Kearney