In fact, we never have been in Kansas, but Google seems to disagree.
In November 2020, Google suddenly decided that Local SEO Guide, Inc, a business located in Pleasanton, CA, was actually located in Fawn Creek Township, KS.
Not only that, we had also apparently opened a hotel (in the midst of COVID no less – we are in fact optimists at heart):
Pretty dumb of us though to open the hotel in California when Google thinks we are in Kansas. Not a lot of operating efficiencies with that set-up.
Jason Brown notes in “Breaking Free of Your GMB Independence Issue” that this Kansas stuff may have started in September 2020.
We don’t really rely on on our GMB page for leads so I shot off a note to Google My Business support and figured they would fix it at some point. Meanwhile it might give us some insight into how their Rube Goldbergian system works. Then I kind of forgot about it.
In February, while in a 20-person Zoom meeting on how much we should freak out about Core Web Vitals, I logged into LSG’s GMB dashboard to see if maybe we had been moved to Colorado (hopefully near Aspen). While in there, for some reason, I decided to add “SEO agency” as a Business Category. “SEO Agency” must be on the double-secret do-not-use list because as soon as I added it, our listing got suspended.
I get it. A lot of SEO Agencies are how shall we say “sketch” businesses. It’s a red flag. But surely GMB would realize that LSG is an established sketch business? And it’s certainly no less sketch than Psychic or Cat Hostel.
All I had to do was delete SEO Agency as a category, plead my case via Google My Business’ Reinstatement Form, and it would be cleared up in a few days/weeks as GMB support worked through its queue.
Did I mention that we are in fact optimists at heart?
As of last week I had heard nothing back. Of course this page on fixing suspended business listings has been updated, but at the time it said something like “If you have already submitted a request, do not re-submit it. It will really annoy us.”
Just for kicks I asked Steven Saldana, LSG’s GMB problem-solver extraordinaire, to give it a try. My initial request went something like this, “Hey GMB, I added a new service category and got suspended. I deleted the category so please un-suspend us. Thanks!” Steven’s request was a bit more forceful. It basically said the same thing but he also added “This is our corporate listing and it must be reinstated ASAP!” It worked.
Of course, we’re still in Kansas, but that’s certainly better than being in GMB purgatory.
I guess the point of this story is thus:
- If you are relying on GMB for a large part of your business, you have my thoughts and prayers
- The fact that shouting in ALL CAPS seemed to make the difference is kind of crazy.
- If you are a business in Montgomery County, Kansas, you may want to double-down on your SEO. The Local Pack results are pretty much littered with out of state businesses so I’ve got to believe the locals don’t really trust them and are clicking on the Local Organic results.
And if you are looking for a great restaurant in Fawn Creek Township, KS, Google recommends Vegos Food Truck. Don’t worry that it’s actually located in Albuquerque, NM. It’s a truck, so you never know when it might show up in your hood.