Making Changes To Established Listings
Steps Before Verifying New GBPs
Use these steps for all new GBPs including new lead gens, agencies & new client listings.
In my experience this set up works for more than 90% of new listings I create depending on location, industry, etc.
Trust Factors to Consider
Age of the account – Aged accounts are always more trusted by Google
Online presence – Listings with established business/online presence will already have built a good amount of trust with Google
State of the listing – A GBP could be a few years old but if it’s missing key information like business description etc. it may still be untrusted
Current URL – if the GBP is linking to the wrong URL
Review count – accounts with reviews are always more trusted
Review Consistency – A regularly reviewed business always builds trusts
Google doesn’t like changes it isn’t expecting, or changes made without supporting evidence.
Try these steps before making changes to accounts that haven’t been altered in over 6 months or when you bring on new clients with an established GBP.
1. Warn Google about coming changes
Before changing something on your GBP, you can let Google know it’s coming beforehand.
Take particular caution when changing the name, number, address, or category.
Use GBP/social media posts, and changes on the attached website preceding the changes on the GBP.
Essentially this gives Google an idea of the change you’re about to make so it has already associated it with your online presence.
For example – A social media post can be used as an announcement the business is about to change its phone number or trading name etc.
2. Changing the name, number, address (NAP), or category
These are the most ‘sensitive’ areas of a GBP and most likely to lead as they are the core business elements that technically shouldn’t change if set up correctly.
Avoid using a VPN if possible. Google is distrusting of any GBPs that are set up and operated with a VPN.
This isn’t always an option for lead gens so instead try to stick to the same server you connect to each time you access the GBP.
Use step 3 to make small, single changes.
2.1. Installing a tracking number for aged listings with citations
Make sure your tracking number is a local number to the area of the GBP. Avoid toll free where possible.
Start by adding the tracking number as a secondary/alternative number.
Make sure all foundation listings are updated with the new number. This isn’t always possible so do your best.
Give Google time to index the changes.
Swap the primary number to the tracking number and place the previous number as the secondary number.
Once accepted you can move on to your next changes.
3. Make small changes
Make small changes over a period of days/weeks rather than a bunch at once.
Allow Google to accept the change then give the listing time to ‘settle’. Unfortunately, there is no exact time limit for this as it depends on how often Google is currently indexing your listing/s.
Usually 1-3 days per change is enough in my experience but depending on the state of the listing sometimes much longer.
For newer accounts & domains, this will be slow and you need to give Google time to find the supporting evidence of your changes (social media posts/website changes mentioned in Step 1).
4. Virtual assistants/remote workers
Personally I don’t allow my VA’s to make changes on any GBPs. Google doesn’t like seeing overseas IP addresses manage GBP listings.
It is possible to allow GBP access to VAs via a VPN and not have a problem. Be aware this definitely increases chances of suspension if not managed correctly.
If you have the resources, I recommend using a third party app like Local Brand Manager for scheduling posts/adding images.
This way your VA doesn’t have direct access to the GBP dashboard.
If you sign up, make sure you select the option “I don’t want a white labeled platform” to avoid requiring API access from Google.