Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is an excellent tool for raising your company’s local profile. It is free to use and shows your profile on Google Search, Google Shopping, and Google Maps, helping to make your business much more visible to potential customers.
The power of Google is undeniable. Not only does it have a vast reach, but it’s also incredibly effective for local businesses.
This means there are plenty of people out there looking for your business, and local SEO is essential for them to find you. To learn how to get listed and found in Google, here’s our complete Google Business Profile playbook.
It’s no wonder so many businesses choose to create a profile. However, things may not always go as smoothly as planned.
Why is my business not showing up on Google Maps?
If your profile isn’t showing like you want on Google Maps, it’s likely one of these two problems:
- Profile not showing in the top three: Not showing in the top three results of Google Business Profile listings is like not showing on the first page of Google. Even though your profile exists, it is unlikely to be seen by users, making it less effective. This is because Google Business Profile only shows the first three results as the default.
- Not showing at all: Some profiles may not show at all regardless of the competition. See below for some of the common reasons why your profile may not be showing up.
There are various potential reasons why your business listing is not appearing in the top three results, or not showing up on Google Maps at all. The first seven reasons on this list are the most common explanations for why it’s not showing in the top three. The final three on the list are likely reasons your business listing is missing entirely.
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1. You don’t have keywords in your business name
Google’s algorithm gives a lot of power to the words in your business name when it comes to ranking. This focus means that not having specific keywords in your business name will give your competition an advantage if they have a keyword-optimized business name in their profile.
However, don’t keyword-stuff your business name or you risk having your account suspended. Carefully follow Google’s guidelines and avoid adding keywords that aren’t necessary.
Some businesses are fortunate enough to have a business name that naturally includes keywords, boosting their online visibility. Those with their location in their business name have an advantage, as do company names that mention specifics of their services.
For example, instead of naming your Detroit-based electrical service Adam & Sons, choose the much more SEO-friendly Detroit Voltage. Important keywords for potential customers will be your city name as well as the service you provide.
If you haven’t registered your business yet, consider which keywords to include to help you gain more visibility on Google Business Profile and elsewhere online.
2. You haven’t used enough Google Business Profile categories
Not using enough categories is another potential reason why your business is not showing up on Google Maps.
Google lets you add up to 10 business categories to your profile. There are thousands of categories to choose from, and each will give Google more information that helps them rank you higher in search results.
Remember that every category you select needs to reflect your business accurately. It’s not necessary to use all 10, but the more you use, the more visible your Google Business Profile will be.
Your primary category should be the one that describes your overall business most accurately. For example, if you sell computer accessories, the “Computer Accessories Store” option will likely be the best choice for your primary category.
The other categories you choose should describe what your business does in more detail, such as “Computer Support and Services” if your business offers these services as well.
3. Your Google Business Profile isn’t complete
The more information Google has about your business, the more accurately it will list your company. If your Google Business Profile isn’t complete, Google may not have enough information to match your business with users’ search intent.
For example, you may be reluctant to add your business address. But a lack of location information can prevent Google from effectively listing your business. If you don’t want the public to see your address, you have the option to add your address to your profile without making it visible to the public.
If your business is not showing up in the top three on Google Maps, check your account to make sure you’ve provided Google with as much information as possible. Every detail Google has about your business will help them better understand what you offer, so they can make you visible to users who are searching for your products or services.
4. You’re too far from your business location
Google Maps focuses on local SEO, meaning it shows results to people according to where they are in the world. For example, if you’re searching from a particular part of a specific town, the search engine will know and will use that information to bring relevant results to you.
However, if you’re searching too far from where your business is located, your profile is unlikely to show up. You can increase the reach of your business on Google Maps by enhancing your profile, such as by getting more Google Reviews.
5. You need more Google reviews
Google is a big fan of using reviews to drive how companies rank, and for reasons that make a lot of sense.
Reviews are arguably the best method of social proof there is. For example, suppose many people are saying they had a good experience at a particular restaurant. In that case, other people will know they are also likely to have a great good experience there, and Google will know that too.
Google, like any other business, wants its customers to use them again. This means providing search results that answer search intent.
So, it makes sense that business owners should try to get plenty of reviews for their business so they can show Google that they provide what their customers are searching for.
To help you become visible in the top three on Google Maps, encourage your customers to leave reviews for you. However, it can take time before you gather the reviews you need, especially if there are already established businesses like yours in your area.
You will need to be patient because it will take time to get enough reviews to challenge your competitors. Remember to focus on delivering great quality service because quality is more important than quantity as far as Google is concerned.
6. You have a service area business
A service area business visits or delivers to customers instead of the customers coming to the business. Examples of such businesses include plumbers, electricians, and pest control companies.
Service area businesses don’t have an address on their profile, and having a physical address is a ranking factor. This puts service area businesses at a disadvantage against brick-and-mortar businesses, but it’s still possible for them to get into the top three.
7. You don’t have enough NAP citations
NAP (name, address, phone number) citations are references to your business details on the web. When your business is mentioned elsewhere on the internet, it helps give Google more confidence in your business, encouraging them to rank you higher.
You can acquire NAP citations on high-quality online directories, and services like BrightLocal’s Citation Builder will help you create the citations you need.
8. Your profile is not verified
As mentioned previously, some profiles won’t show up on Google Maps regardless of the competition. This will sometimes be because your account is suspended, but not always. Another common reason is that Google hasn’t verified your Google Business Profile. It won’t appear on Google Maps until they do.
To tell whether your listing has been verified, use Google to search for your business using your business name and location. Your business should show on the right-hand side regardless of whether you have verified the profile.
When you’ve found your profile on Google, you should see an option that says “Suggest an edit.” Look immediately to the right, and if you see an option that says “Own this business?” your listing is not verified.
Or it may give you the option to “Claim this business.”
Verifying your profile is made easy for you.
- Go to your account, select your listing, and click “verify.”
- You can either verify through email or Google will send you a postcard that can take up to 14 days to arrive.
- When you receive the email or postcard, go back to your Google Business Profile account.
- Click on “Enter verification code.”
- Enter the five-digit code on the postcard you received, click “verify,” and your account should be verified.
9. You’re using an unrelated search query
If your listing isn’t showing, there’s a chance you’re using a search query that isn’t sufficiently related to your business. You can add keywords in your business description section without many restraints when adding keywords to the company name.
However, you will need to take care not to stuff your description with keywords and make sure the descriptions read naturally.
Remember that keyword research is important. You can use free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner that will help you choose which keywords to use on your profile for optimization. It’s best to aim for keywords that have a high search volume and low to medium competition.
10. Your account is suspended
There are two main types of suspension: soft suspensions and hard suspensions.
A soft suspension is the most common and is usually temporary. It means your profile has been deactivated until any issues are remedied, and reverifying your account will solve the problem. Provided you’ve fixed whatever caused the suspension in the first place.
Your business won’t show on Google Maps during the suspension, but once you’ve reverified your account everything will return to how it was before the suspension with no harm done to your rankings.
Hard suspensions are usually bad news and are often the result of serious breaches of Google’s guidelines. Hard suspensions can also occur because Google has deemed the business to be unsuitable, such as those involving pornography or weapons.
With a hard suspension, all details involved with your account are removed, including all your reviews and any images. Such a suspension will occasionally be lifted on appeal, but they are usually permanent.
The best way to deal with suspensions is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This means following Google’s guidelines when you set up the account, and regularly reviewing the account to ensure it continues to meet guidelines.
The matter is made more frustrating by the fact that usually Google won’t tell you the specific reason why your account has been suspended. Google deliberately avoids telling people details to help prevent users from “gaming” the system to their advantage.
The lack of information you receive from Google means you must review your profile to find the problem yourself.
Some of the most common reasons for suspension include:
You’re using shared office space
Many companies share office space with others, which can be problematic when it comes to Google Business Profiles. Google does not like having more than one profile at the same address. If there are more than one, all profiles at that address are likely to be suspended.
In most cases, the problem is easily fixed by adding a suite number to your business address. This will help Google recognize that you are a separate company from those around you, allowing them to approve your profile.
However, in some cases it might be necessary to speak with Google Support directly to solve the problem.
Similarly, if you try to create more than one profile for your business, then they are all likely to be suspended. However, you can have a profile for each of your business locations.
Another potential problem is that you verified your profile using a verification code that was sent to a P.O. box or virtual office. Google only allows profiles for businesses that use a genuine business address for their listing, even if the address is hidden from public view.
You changed your business address
If your business moves location and you don’t tell Google, they will probably still pick up on the address change regardless. But if your new address doesn’t match the address on your profile, Google will likely suspend your account.
Solving the issue is as easy as updating your account with your new address and requesting a new verification code via a postcard. Remember, you might have to wait for up to 14 days for the postcard, so try to plan ahead to limit the impact on your company.
Your profile shows the address of your service area business
As mentioned previously, a service area business is one where the business goes out to meet customers rather than customers going to the businesses location.
Google Business Profiles for such companies are not supposed to show the company’s address. If the address is shown, the profile is likely to be suspended. However, such a suspension would usually be a soft one and easy to address.
Get your business noticed on Google Maps
Creating a Google Business Profile is quick and easy to do, and it won’t cost you a penny. However, creating a profile that will give you maximum visibility will take more time and consideration, especially when you have competition.
You will need to read Google’s guidelines thoroughly to be sure you are following them, otherwise you could face temporary or even permanent suspensions.
You will also need to perform keyword research, and don’t forget how effective reviews are. Encourage your customers to leave a review and maintain high standards of service to help ensure your reviews are positive.
Aside from the occasional minor problem that leads people to wonder why their business isn’t showing up on Google Maps, most users will find their Google Business Profile easy to use and a useful business tool.
Use it to help get your business noticed locally, bring more customers to your business, and improve your bottom line.