How to Keep Your Google “My Business” Listing Active and Healthy

Action will delineate and define you.
—Thomas Jefferson

Fresh from a conversation with Google’s My Business group, here are some ways to keep your listing in top shape, working 24/7 to bring in more business.

Let’s assume that your listing 100% complete, accurate, and ready for the world.

Once that’s done, the key to keeping your listing healthy is ACTIVITY — both on your part as the listing owner, and from users.

Activity may be clicks, reviews, adding photos, or many other actions that we’ll detail below. Google tracks all activity and uses that data to understand user behavior and preference.

Law of the Jungle

Every wonder why the same cluster of listings dominate top search results?

More activity = more visibility. More visibility = more activity.

Success builds upon itself. Worthy listings reach the top and tend to stay there until disrupted by a better listing. Remember Google’s goal is provide the best experience for users. They monitor user signals — listing activity — as a key component of the feedback loop.

If you don’t touch your listing for months at a time, that’s an indication to Google that either your business lacks vigor, or is not particularly concerned about the user experience.  Google is not likely to reward your business with higher rankings.  Similarly, if your users don’t engage your listing or website from search, there won’t be much independent social proof that supports higher rankings.

  • Sign-in to your listing and do something
  • Induce users to engage your listing and website

How to help yourself (as the listing owner)

  1. Sign-in occasionally to check your listing. Is everything current? Update hours, holidays, basic business information
  2. Reach out to customers for new reviews
  3. Respond to all existing reviews, and to new reviews as they come in
  4. Add high-quality photos on a regular basis, show what’s happening at your business
  5. Use the new Google listing Posts feature for events, announcements, new posts, etc. Posts expire in 7 days, so this is a weekly task. How to Create a Post. How to Make Great Business Posts.
  6. Encourage people to click on your listing by linking to it (instead of to your website) from email messages you send out, within social media updates, etc.
  7. Add fresh, optimized content to your website
  8. Get some advice on how to build a reasonable number of backlinks to your website
  9. Make sure your website is fast (loads within about 2 seconds) and is fully responsive on a mobile device

How others can help you by interacting with your listing

Especially if you have a new listing, one that’s unloved, or buried in the search results, prime the pump.

Get some outside activity going that proves engagement with your listing. Maybe friends of your business can help? Consider hiring some of this activity done for you by assistants (on their own devices!).  Doing so is largely uncharted territory though — terra incognita — so be prudent and don’t go crazy with it, OK?

Not all of these actions are available simultaneously; it depends on how you’re viewing the listing (desktop vs. mobile), and time of day (during open hours or not).

  1. Search to find your business in the local results, then click to see the knowledge panel
  2. Add photos
  3. Scroll and view photos
  4. Click on a review
  5. Like (thumbs-up) a review
  6. Get directions
  7. Visit the website
  8. Call the business
  9. Send a chat message to the business
  10. Click “Learn more” about a post
  11. Share a post
  12. ​Share a listing
  13. Send the listing to your phone
  14. Download an offline map
  15. Save as a favorite, want-to-go, or starred place

The big picture

Google often repeats their core mantra: Ranking is all about the actions you and your users take to influence Proximity, Relevance, and Prominence (website authority). That has not changed in many years. For local businesses, listing optimization and activity are an important facet of the game.

Local Search Ecosystem 2017: Drive Visibility by Listing Your Business in All the Right Places

The folks at Whitespark just released the 2017 Local Search Ecosystem graphic. Here’s how to use it to boost your visibility in search.

In a nutshell: To maximize your search engine rankings, your business must be accurately listed on directory sites that match your industry and location, plus general directories and major search engines.

Practically speaking, that means accurate information about your business, at least the name, phone number, and street address —  a citation — should appear on most of the sites shown in the graphic below.

Use the interactive version.  Zoom the image.local search ecosystem


Where should your business be listed?

  • Primary Data Aggregators (Factual, Acxiom, Localeze, Infogroup)
  • Major Search Engines (Google, Bing, Apple)
  • Key Sites (Facebook, Yelp, YP, Dun & Bradstreet, others as shown )
  • Vertical Directories (eLocal, WhitePages, MapQuest, others as shown, plus directories in your industry)
  • Geographic Directories (Manta, Dexknows, Brownbook, others as shown, plus directories in your local city or region)

Trust through consistency

It’s obvious how darned complex the interactions between these sites have become. There’s a great deal of information sharing.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business information is consistent across the board. From a search engine perspective, consistency means it’s more likely the information is correct, and therefore, trustworthy.

Trustworthy sites get the edge in search.

How to eat this elephant, one bite at a time

(No actual elephants were harmed in this metaphor)


  1. Start with the big boys: Google, Bing, and . . . Apple? Are  you surprised to see Apple listed as a core search engine? Yahoo has imploded to less than 4% of the search market worldwide. Meanwhile Apple is driving a lot of mobile searches through iPhones. Something else: Google now supplies the bulk of Apple’s search results. So it gets down to Google + Bing. Microsoft’s Bing is a significant player, especially in desktop search.
  2. Next, square away your listings at the primary data aggregators (Factual, Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze). You’ve probably never heard of these companies unless you’re an insider, but they send a great deal of data downstream. Important!
  3. Check all the Vertical and Geo directories in the graphic. Is your business listing present and accurate? If not, submit your information directly if the site accepts it; otherwise, wait until they get it from outside sources.
  4. That leaves local and industry directories. These will be unique to you and your local competitors. Want to know what citations sites your competitors are using? We have a tool that does just that; reach out to us for more information. A search for “your-niche association (or organization)” and “your-city association (or organization)” will reveal opportunities.How many local and industry citations do you need? My snarky answer is “more than the next guy”.  To get in the top tier of search results, you’ll likely need 50+ general citations, 10+ local citations, and 10+ industry citations. The reputation of the site matters too; it’s better to get a citation on than

    Consider joining some local organizations and industry associations, there are also many free directories.


  • List your business everywhere it makes sense
  • Business information should be entirely consistent down to the punctuation
  • Get listings on general sites, plus sites specific to your industry and location
  • Need some help with this? Give us a call or send a message

How to Verify Your Apple Maps Listing

Apple Maps provides a good citation opportunity; it’s worthwhile to make sure your business information is correct and verified on Apple’s system.

We have already found or created your listing. All that remains is the verification process, which is best done from your location, at your convenience.  It only takes a minute or two.

Step 1: Make sure you can receive a call in the next few minutes on your business phone number.

Step 2: Sign-in to Apple Maps Connect  using the Apple credentials (username and password) we have provided.



Step 2: Click the Alert link “Answer a call to this location”. If you see two or more listings, choose the listing that matches the business name you provided in our Questionnaire.


Step 3: Click the “Call me now” to call your business number. The automated system will call you and provide a code. Enter that code on your screen. That’s it! You’re verified. Thank you.