Tag: Listing

NEW: Claim Your Agency Directory Listing

Claim your listing on the new BrightLocal Agency Directory to begin generating leads from businesses that are searching for help with digital marketing right now.

Every week, BrightLocal’s Customer Success team receives requests for recommendations of top-rated agencies that can help our local business customers with their digital marketing. And, just as often, we receive requests from agencies and consultants to be added to our legacy lists of Top SEO Agencies.

We wanted to help bridge this gap between businesses in need of digital marketing assistance and the many talented agencies and freelancers operating in the US and actively seeking new leads. 

Introducing the Agency Directory


Today, we launched the Agency Directory – an in-depth directory of digital marketing agencies and consultants offering services including local SEO, PPC, SEO, and web design, in 1,000 cities in the USA*. 

A listing on the Agency Directory allows you to show off the key business information that potential leads need to know about when searching for services, so you can start generating leads right from your listing. 

Getting listed on the Agency Directory means you can feature on up to 5 lists of the top-rated agencies in the nearest city to ensure you’re being seen by businesses at the time they want to buy. Whether a business is looking for a local SEO agency in New York City, the best web designers in West Des Moines, or a great PPC provider in Portland, we have local lists aplenty!

*We plan to extend the Agency Directory in the near future to Canada, the UK, and Australia later this year.

Becoming an Agency Directory Partner

It’s free to claim your listing and enjoy the benefits of appearing in local lists for the services you offer.

However, if you’d like to improve your chances of impressing potential customers, you can upgrade to become an Agency Directory Partner. 

Becoming a Partner allows you to:

  • Get priority positioning on local lists to help your agency be seen by local businesses in need
  • Show off your key clients and case studies to tell the story of your agency’s best work
  • Remove links to Similar Companies on your listing to make sure searchers are only focused on you
  • Select and display the industries that you specialize in
  • Link through to your website to help potential customers learn more your business
  • See daily updates of your latest Google reviews, so your reputation stays up-to-date and your listing remains fresh! 

And, of course, it also means you can enjoy the whole BrightLocal toolset – including our brand-new grid tracker, Local Search Grid!

Partner status is reserved for BrightLocal users on a Multi Business, SEO Pro, or Enterprise plan. You can also enjoy these bonus features during your 14-day free BrightLocal trial.

So, how do I claim my Agency Directory listing?

We wanted to make sure the Agency Directory was helpful for local businesses from day one, so we’ve added a number of agencies to the Directory to get started. But this is where you come in. 

Whether you’re already listed or not, if you’re a digital marketing agency or consultant based in the US, you can claim your listing right now. It’s entirely free to join the Agency Directory – all you need is a BrightLocal login. This applies to both BrightLocal customers and non-customers, with no purchase necessary to claim and maintain your listing.

1. Head to the Agency Directory to search for your agency

Browse the list of local agencies in your city or state, or search for your agency to find your listing. 

No listing? No worries! Head straight to the brand-new Agency Directory Details section of your BrightLocal account to add in all the information about your agency.  This lives in Account Details – Agency Directory Details. 

2. If you find your agency is already listed, click ‘Claim Your Listing’

This will connect the listing to your BrightLocal account.

If you’re completely new to BrightLocal, you’ll take a short pit stop to register and get your account set up and ready to connect.

3. You’ll be taken to Agency Directory Details to edit your details

Whether you’re adding a completely new listing or claiming one that’s already live, Agency Directory Details is the central hub of all the information displayed in your listing.

Agency Directory Details

Here, you can manage a number of key elements of your listing, including your contact details, information about your agency and clients, Google reviews connection, and links to your social media profiles. 

Once you’re happy with your information, hit ‘Submit For Verification’ at the bottom of the page. 

4. We’ll verify your listing, and email you when it’s live

To ensure the Agency Directory is as useful as possible for businesses (and free of spam!), we manually verify every listing to ensure they are in the correct location, are legitimate digital marketers, and belong to the person claiming the listing. 

During particularly busy periods, this may take us a little bit of time, so please bear with us. We’ll email you once your listing has been verified.

5. Relax!  

Once your listing is live, you can sit back and rest assured your listing is in safe hands. 

If your agency catches a lead’s eye, they can email or call you from the details supplied on your listing. Emails will land in the inbox of the directory contact you designated in your Agency Directory Details. 

In the near future, we plan to introduce additional functionality to our Agency Lead Generator to help you keep track of the number of calls, website clicks, and views your listing gets – as well as to help you see all of the email leads you get in one place. Watch your inbox, as we’ll be sure to update you when this is live. 

You can update your listing details at any point in your BrightLocal account, and update your clients, case studies, and industry specialisms to reflect your latest work.

Reviews also update automatically to help ensure your listing stays fresh – you don’t need to touch a thing!  As an added bonus, any time you update your listing, you will be featured on the main page for your city to be even more visible to potential leads. 

Want to know more? 

To find out more about the Agency Directory, visit our Help Center: 

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to BrightLocal support or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

[Quiz Result] Are Appointment-Only Businesses Allowed a GMB Listing?


We had 817 people answer this question in our 2020 Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz. The correct answer is yes.

Here’s how the answers broke down.

appointment GMB's

Google My Business currently doesn’t have an option for hours to allow businesses to indicate they are available by appointment only.  If a business is appointment-only, Google states that it shouldn’t provide hours on their listing.

For example, the home-based massage therapist can set themselves up as a storefront as long as they don’t set business hours because they don’t want people walking up without making an appointment.  If the customers are coming to the massage therapist’s house they would want to keep the address visible (not hide it).

This does not mean that virtual offices that are used to meet clients occasionally (by appointment) are allowed since they would not be regularly staffed.

So What?

Google My Business has never had a perfect way to indicate that you are a by-appointment-only business. However, removing your hours, as well as adding a blurb to your GMB description, and perhaps even your Google Posts, is a great way to indicate to customers that you are only available by appointment. Lastly, make sure to select the “Appointment Required” GMB attribute that was launched in 2020.

Latest posts by Colan Nielsen (see all)

[Quiz Result] Can a Food Truck Have a GMB Listing If They Don’t Have a Permanent Location?

can a food truck have a GMB listing?

This is part 1 in a series of posts that will dive into the questions, and answers, from the 2020 Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz. If you haven’t taken the quiz, head over there now and give it a shot. 

Here are the scores from the following quiz question.

Can a food truck have a GMB listing if they don’t have a permanent location?

We had over 900 respondents answer this question. Here’s how the answers break down. The correct answer is Yes.


Food Trucks are businesses but are often unable to use Google My Business due to their inability to receive mail.  If they don’t accept mail at their location, or their location isn’t permanent, they have two options:

  1. If they want to utilize Google My Business, they are allowed to set up a listing as a service area business using their home address but it won’t show their location or have a pin on the map.
  2. If they do have a permanent location but just can’t get mail, they can technically be added as a place on Google Maps but wouldn’t be allowed to utilize Google My Business.  This would be a better option if having a map pin & driving directions outweighs the need to respond to reviews or do posts.   According to a post on the MapMaker Forum, which has since closed:

“If a truck is always in the same spot from X o’clock to Y o’clock on (a) particular day(s) of the week then I would interpret the guidelines as saying we can map it, whether it moves at night nor not.”

To add a location via Google Maps, follow these instructions. Note: With this option, it won’t be possible to manage or verify the listing via Google My Business but the listing will still rank.

Stay tuned for part 2 in the Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz results series. 

Latest posts by Colan Nielsen (see all)

What is a Google Guaranteed GMB Listing? How Do I Upgrade my Profile to get the badge?

More importantly, from a consumer perspective the Google Guarantee acts as protection from poor quality of service, up to a lifetime maximum of $2,000. So if you hire a business and the work quality is extremely low and you can’t resolve it with the business, you can submit a claim to Google. 

How much does it cost to upgrade your GMB profile?

Google advertises Google Guaranteed upgraded business profiles for $50USD/month and is subscription based, so if you cancel – bye bye badge. 

What are the add-ons that are included?

Google mentions additional add-ons in their advertisement within the GMB dashboard, these include recorded phone calls and dedicated support. Enabling the upgrade creates a Local Services Ads account, so this will likely utilize the same interface as LSA offers to listen to recorded calls. I believe the dedicated support will be specific to the LSA features of the upgrade since LSA support appears to be the staff you’ll be routed to if you have issues.

This is likely how the badge will appear on the listing of a business that has enabled the upgrade:

Who is the upgraded GMB listing available to?

While this new offering is available for “eligible businesses”, it’s unclear at this point which businesses this includes. I spotted this inside the Google My Business dashboard for a US-based HVAC business. Based on testing I’ve seen I believe it will only be available for some home service business categories including HVAC, plumbers, electricians, roofing, carpet cleaning, house cleaning, pest control, water damage restoration, tree services, and landscaping.

When did the upgraded GMB listing become available? When will other businesses get access?

I first noticed this on July 22, 2020 and I believe it is limited to a small percentage of listings. Just because you are in one of the impacted categories doesn’t mean you will have the option to upgrade. It is unknown if and when it will expand to additional businesses or categories.

How can you apply for an upgraded GMB listing?

The first eligible businesses were notified within their GMB dashboards and there’s currently no way to apply for the program if it’s not yet available for your business.

What’s involved in the screening process?

The screening process appears to be the same as it is for Local Services ads. This varies a little based on the category of the business but generally involves license, insurance and background checks. More information about the screening process can be found here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6226575

Does it make sense in light of this new upgrade, for businesses in the eligible categories to apply for Local Services Ads now in hopes of having future access to the GMB profile upgrade?

I initially assumed they would start with businesses already in Local Services Ads for two reasons:

  1. The businesses I saw with the option to upgrade were already in LSA
  2. It would be easy for them to enable the feature since they had already successfully completed the screening process to be in LSA

From what I’ve gathered since, that appears to be incorrect. I believe the GMB updated program, at least initially, is intended for businesses that are NOT already in Local Services Ads

Is Google done with Local Services Ads now?

Absolutely not! If anything, Google Guaranteed business listings may be a supplement or doorway to Local Services Ads, not a replacement. 

Local Mailbag: How can I get access to my GMB listing and remove the users that have claimed it?

My Request Was Denied, Now What?

In the event that you are denied access to your business listing, you should receive an email that states

“Your request to access [Business Name] on Google My Business was rejected.”

At the bottom of the email there should be an option to appeal this decision. When you click this link, you will be prompted to follow steps to verify the listing and take it over. Verification will either be via phone or postcard and in some instances you may be asked for additional information.

Important: If the original owner of the listing does not grant you the access, then anything added by that owner will not transfer with the listing, including photos and review responses, if access is gained in the appeal process. But customer reviews and photos will still be attached to the listing. 

Tip: Before starting the request ownership process for a business listing, make sure that the address and phone number published are correct. If this business information is wrong, use the Suggest An Edit feature first to update the Business Profile. 

If you are unable to Appeal the decision (some people have encountered instances of not having the appeal link in the email). We recommend that you:

  1. Get in touch through one of Google’s support channels
  2. Reach out to product experts for help via the Community Forum

Managing User Roles

How to Transfer Primary Ownership
Only the primary owner can transfer ownership of a Business Profile, and only to an existing owner or manager. If the person that should be the primary owner is not currently added as a user on the listing, add them as an additional owner or manager, and then transfer the role of Primary Owner to that user.  

  1. Log in to the GMB dashboard
  2. In the Menu on the left, select Users
  3. From the list of users, select the user whom you’d like to transfer primary ownership to. Their user role will be noted to the right of their name with a dropdown menu. Open the dropdown menu and select Primary Owner.
  4. Click Transfer and Done.


How to Remove or Limit a User’s Access
Only an Owner can add or edit another user’s access. 

  1. Log in to the GMB dashboard
  2. In the Menu on the left, select Users
  3. From the list of users, select the user whose role you’d like to change.  Their user role will be noted to the right of their name with a dropdown menu. Open the dropdown menu and select Manager, Site Manager, or Remove from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click Done

Listing Management Best Practices for Business Owners

Who should be the primary owner? 
The business owner should always be the primary owner of their business listing.

Who should have access and at what level?
Sometimes marketing agencies may need Owner access to sync tools or reporting, but should be trusted by the business owner before this high level of access is given. GMB listing Owners can remove any other Owner

Did You Know: You can add an agency as a user by entering their Agency ID. This confuses a lot of businesses owners, however you can add an agency by entering their 10-digit agency ID in the field where you can add a new user by email address.

Our Google My Business Management Service optimizes every feature of Google My Business listings, syncs with external reporting software and tools and does not require Owner access. In fact, if a business gives us Owner access, we demote our access to Manager. Why? It’s better for marketing agencies to have the manager role to “silo” the business from any flagged activity from other users or business listings they own. 

Can I use my personal email to manage my GMB? Or must I use an email with my business email domain? Why?
You can use any email address to create and manage your GMB listing. We recommend using your email address at your business domain for a stronger trust signal to Google Support that you are the legitimate owner of the business. This can be very helpful in gaining access to your listing if it’s currently owned by a Google User whose email address is not associated with your business domain. 

Successfully taking ownership of your GMB listing from another user can be a long and trying process, but it’s worth the effort to unlock your Business Profile.

Have a Local Question? Send it Our Way

That’s it for this edition of Whitespark’s Local Mailbag, but if you have a local search question that you need help answering, leave it in the comments or email our team.

Is Your Google My Business Listing Getting Filtered?


This article is part 1 of 9 from my LocalU presentation from March 2020.  If you missed the event, the videos are available for purchase here.   

The local filter has existed for a long time but became much more obvious after the Possum algorithm update in 2016.  The local filter is kind of like the organic filter in the sense that it filters things it considers to be similar or duplicates.  The local filter will filter out listings based on the following information:

  1. URL & business name.  If you have multiple locations for the same business, Google will often show the one with the highest relevance and filter others.  For example, this lawyer in Houston decided to open a new office in Katy, TX.  Because his Houston office has so much prominence & relevance, it continues to rank in Katy for many terms and filter out his newer office (that has a lot less authority).  In this example, you’ll see that Google is showing me his office that is 26 miles away instead of the one down the street.
  2. Address & Proximity.  In this example, there are a bunch of personal injury lawyers using the same virtual office address.  In this image, the ones in red are all filtered.https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

How can you Tell a Listing was Filtered?

In some cases, the filter causes listings to be completely removed from the Local Finder results unless you zoom in.

To see all the listings that got filtered, pull up the Local Finder for a given query and scroll on your mouse very slightly to zoom in on the map once.  You should see a bunch of listings appear in the list that weren’t there before.  It helps if you have the 2 windows side-by-side so you can compare the 2 views and see who appeared that wasn’t there before.

Part of how I was able to spot these changes in the SERPs was due to utilizing Bright Local’s ranking tracker and setting my reports to scan daily and take screenshots of the SERPs.  Comparing the screenshots day-by-day allowed me to see and confirm that these listings rarely appeared together but would sometimes switch out.

In other cases, the filter causes the ranking of a listing to be suppressed but not completely removed.  Essentially, if your listing is too similar (based on criteria above) to a listing that outranks you, it will cause your listing to rank much lower because Google is trying to “diversify” the search results.  We see this all the time with lawyer listings.  We had one case where a lawyer’s listing dropped from 1 to 6 due to being filtered by another attorney in his building (different floor) and then went back up to the first position later once his relevance got stronger.  We have done testing on this and in one case saw a listing that was ranking 15+ move up to the number two position within hours after getting the listing removed that was causing it to be filtered.

How Does it Decide Who Avoids the Filter?

The listing that has the most ranking authority for that particular keyword is the one that will rank.  For example, one attorney ranks for “personal injury attorney palmdale” but a different attorney ranks for “auto accident attorney palmdale” (both are using the same address). Because a listing is filtered for one keyword does not mean that it will be filtered for other keywords.

For more case studies showing the impact of the filter and tips to avoid it, please check out the extended guide on the local filter in our training.

Latest posts by Joy Hawkins (see all)

How to Find the CID Number of a Google My Business Listing


Updated March 12, 2020

A CID number is kind of like an identification number for a specific business listing on Google Maps.  It is good to know because if Google ever created a new record for you or merged listings, you would know.  It also will allow you to get to different views of the listing (like coming from the Local Finder to Maps).

A fellow Google My Business Product Expert provided me with a tip on how to find the CID number of a business listing on Google Maps.

The CID number is good to know and document for any business because:

  • It helps you connect the different views (Maps, Local Finder, Search etc) for a single listing
  • It helps you know if a listing somehow got a new record if something was merged.

Using the GatherUp Chrome Extension

This is currently the quickest and most effective way to get a listings CID number. The best part about this method is that you can get the CID number from any view (Search and Local Finder). Another reason that this is a great method is that it automatically provides you with the CID number already inserted into a Google Maps URL.

  1. Install the GatherUp Chrome extension
  2. To get the CID number of a listing pull it up in Search or the Local Finder
  3. Select the GatherUp chrome extension https://www.sterlingsky.ca/
  4. You can now copy the Maps URL with the CID number in it https://www.sterlingsky.ca/

Using the “Company Information in Google” Chrome Extension

Tom Waddington, a fellow Google Product Expert created a chrome extension that is another great option for grabbing a GMB’s maps cid URL. It is called Company Information in Google.

If you like testing things out and tinkering with Google here are a few more methods for you to test out.

From Google Maps

Helmut Geissler & Hector (treebles) showed me today that if you have the business open in Google Maps:

  • Do a search in Google Maps for the business name and make sure it’s the only result that shows up.
  • Replace http:// with view-source: in the URL
  • Click CTRL+F and search the source code for “ludocid”
  • The CID will be the string of numbers after “ludocid\u003d” and before #lrd

Example: If this is the code, the CID is in red. ON+L3Y+4V8\u0026ludocid\u003d18208190227674681406#lrd\u003d0x882ace1b6df9d1db:0xfcb07c8a7b49d03e

From Google Maps for an SAB Listing (with hidden address)

  • Pull up the listing on Google Maps
  • It will be some super long URL like this: https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Sequoia+TreeScape/@44.0537056,-80.5823363,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x882ad2157062b6c3:0xe060d065957c4103!8m2!3d44.0591868!4d-79.4612559
  • You want to look for the super long set of characters that start with 0x (there are 2 of them and the second ends before the exclamation point). I highlighted one red and 1 blue in the above example.
  • The second of the 2 (the one in blue above) lists the CID in hexadecimal after the 0x (leave that off). In this example you’d be talking about e060d065957c4103
  • Throw that into a hexadecimal converter and you will have the CID number (In this example you should have ended up with 16168151796978303235)


Can I Stop People From Adding Images to My Google My Business (GMB) Listing?


In most scenarios, businesses cannot block people from uploading photos to your GMB listing via the “upload to public” feature.  The one exception to this is if the business is getting slammed with tons of inappropriate photos from users due to a public media incident.  For example, the stone supplier referenced in this article had the ability to add a photo disabled after users uploaded tons of statues of genitalia after the social media scandal.


If a public user has uploaded an image you would like it removed from your listing, and it also breaks a Google guideline, you will need to flag it to have removed.

If flagging the pictures was unsuccessful after a few days then you can contact GMB support directly using this form.


Google My Business Listing Suspensions 101

When you decided to start your own business, did you ever think you would be concerned over the status of a few intangible pixels? Having your Google My Business listing (GMB) suspended can mean losing control of your online presence, decreased visibility, and total invisibility on Google. You hope it will never happen to you, but the truth of the matter is that GMB suspensions are a common occurrence.

Continue reading “Google My Business Listing Suspensions 101”

Closing for Renovations? Here’s How You Temporarily Close Your Google My Business Listing


A few weeks ago, I was going out for dinner with my family and when we got to the restuarant there was a sign on the door saying they were closed for renovations. As you can imagine, we were not happy (and probably a little hangry). I had checked their hours on Google My Business (GMB) before we left and we used Google Maps as our GPS. Their listing didn’t mention this closure anywhere. I then pulled up their website and saw it – “(restaurant name) is currently under construction. Re-opening in Fall 2019”. Clearly, stating it in tiny letters on their site wasn’t enough.


How do you temporarily close your Google My Business listing?

There is a way to get your Google My Business listing marked “temporarily closed”, but you have to contact support to do it for you. We have outlined all the different ways to contact GMB support here . It’s important to use “temporarily closed” since the only other option is “permanently closed”, which is misleading since you will be re-opening.

One thing I need to point out is that even when you mark your business “temporarily closed”, it will still show as open on the Google Maps app. So when you see this, don’t panic! The best solution here is to take advantage of the business description, questions & answers, or an event post to let your customers know that you’re under renovation and will be re-opening at a specific date.

Renovations are a great thing! It means your business is doing well. Don’t let bad customer experiences during this time affect your business when you re-open.

This tip was added to the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO back in February 2019.