Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Jason Hyungchul Kang on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, December 20, 2018).

Do I need Google My Business?

My uncle is a sole distributor in the U.S. for an international product and currently runs an e-commerce website selling those products. He does have an office where he stores all of his products and works at (few hours a day) and when I search the brand name, his office and address actually shows up on Google My Business on the right. I`m just wondering if he needs a Google My Business because the physical location isn`t actually a store and it`s an e-commerce business. From what I know, an e-commerce website does not require a Google business listing unless there are possibly other reasons why it may require one. In this case, should he just keep his GMB listing or advise him to get rid of it?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Michael Martinez: GMB is technically only intended for companies where customers can walk into the physical location (or drive up to a window). For some strange reason, Google appears to be generating these listings for ineligible companies. We have a client who reaped a whirlwind of trouble with Google after learning they had a GMB listing they knew nothing about. It would be prudent to take ownership of the listing and delete it if customers don`t need it.
  • Travis Bailey: It`s another way to be found. Don`t get rid of it. And perhaps encourage him to get a call center service, to handle calls when he`s not in the office.
  • Michael Martinez: If the company is ineligble for listing Google WILL penalize the Website. Their enforcement may not be consistent for everyone but I`ve run into two enforcement actions in the past couple of months. People need to be absolutely sure these listings comply with Google`s guidelines before leaving them in place, regardless of how they came to be.
  • Travis Bailey: So let`s walk it back a bit. Google put up a listing. Then Google penalizes the website for the listing they put up, without the proprietor`s knowledge? Sounds a bit hinky.
  • Travis Bailey: Are there any `textbook` cases you can share? I`ve been out in the weeds for a couple years.
  • Michael Martinez: This is all new behavior to me. The first incident involved four listings that were made by the business owner (different companies, same physical location) PRIOR to the December 2017 rules change. He got by with the violation for many months and then Google delisted his sites. He`s back in after much bowing and scraping, but only for one company. The second incident occurred after that. The client received a call from Google (or, in my opinion, possibly a Google partner but she is convinced it was Google). The "Google" rep indicated on a very confusing call that "they" had created the listing, and would she be interested in some upsell services (suspicious, I know, but client says the phone number is traced to Google). Client declined. Google delisted the site. Client had no interest in the listing, no need for it, and it was clearly in violation of Google guidelines. Maybe "the truth" will emerge after a few more people share their stories publicly. Meanwhile, my advice to everyone is be absolutely sure your GMB listing is compliant. Otherwise, delete it because Google WILL delist your site from the main Web search.
  • Michael Martinez: And there is NO "manual action" warning in Search Console.
  • Travis Bailey: Pardon my French, but Fuckin` Wow, they`ve made it super easy for scam services.
  • Michael Martinez: Yup. It`s gonna take a whole lot of scremain` and yellin` before this one gets sorted out. I hope very few people have to go through this.
  • Michael Martinez: And I have NOT written about this on a public blog. Everyone reading this discussion, PLEASE keep it discreet. We don`t need to help the bad guys.
  • Travis Bailey: Seems like my sabbatical came at the right time.
  • Tara Robertson: What does he sell?
  • Jason Hyungchul Kang: shoe sanitizers.
  • Tim Capper: Send me the details Jason and I can have it removed. Or you could claim it - brand it - and switch the category to corporate office.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, December 20, 2018).

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