Getting a business onto Google Maps and keeping it there

Everybody knows that successfully running a business is a PITA.  You have to constantly be worrying and networking and thinking about your business.  Mine is no different.  Complicating matters is the recent removal of my business’s listing from Google Maps.  You can read about it here.  Or, you can read my summary

1.  Google removes my listing from Google Maps

2.  I ask google why they removed my listing via email as they recommend

3.  4 weeks later they respond and say that my business listing doesn’t meet their quality criteria, and that my business’s category, locksmith, is very contentious.

4.  I renew questions on a thread I started about my deleted listing, because I already made one when google deleted my business listing the last time.

5.  Some guys that hang out in the Google products forums respond, and basically tell me that my business looks sketchy and they can’t tell my business from all of the other sketchy locksmiths around, even though my business is registered with the city and the state and I only have one listing.  They tell me that they would reinstate me, but they just don’t have enough evidence that I run a legitimate business.  They suggest I should join ALOA amongst other things.  Apparently seeing my business registered with the state is not enough for them.  They also suggest that my business name is an example of keyword stuffing, even though my business name is succinctly expressing my location and my profession.

This all reminds me of the time my parents started a winery, and the city of Lacey made up some arbitrary rule that they couldn’t have a sign on the freeway advertising a winery unless they also had a vineyard.  So my father planted a grape vine next to the door of the warehouse we are using as our winery.  Unfortunately, these guys want me to jump through far more hoops.

I am getting more business now than I ever have before thanks to positive reviews on yelp and also references from happy customers, so now I am just tilting at windmills trying to get reinstated because I am angry about getting kicked off of Google Maps while a bunch of obvious scammers’ listings remain.  I report all of these listings, and yet they remain.  As a result of Google’s actions I am planning on running my own email server and weaning myself off of all google services including gmail, which I happily used for the last decade and also set up those I know who are technically inept with.  Harder will be the process of removing their software from my Android hardware.

If you are a locksmith thinking about paying for adwords, don’t bother.  Just go with Yelp.  Yes, they charge more per click, but you are going to get a better return.  Nobody is going to click on your ads on yelp trying to learn how to lockpick in a video game, or find out where to buy a deadbolt.  And chances are after you invest $800 in adwords like I did, Google will decide that your business isn’t real and delete your business listing from Google Local, a.k.a. stab you in the back.  So, consider yourself warned.

Update: It has been almost two months since Google deleted my listing and I am still waiting for Google to tell me what I did wrong.  The most they can tell me is this:

Dear Bjorn,

Thank you for your inquiry.
Thanks for contacting Google. Your account has been suspended due to quality violations and we will be unable to assist you further. For more information on our quality guidelines, please see this article: http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107528

 

Sincerely,



Mike S
Thank you ever so much, Mike S.  You and Faride deserve a pat on the back with this in depth customer service and sending me a link which confirms that there is nothing wrong with my listing.
Something new happened though.  Google actually called me and asked me what my business address was.  This guy with an Indian accent.  So I gave them my business address and he said thank you and hung up.  That was four days ago.  My business is still not on Google Maps.

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you’ve been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.

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