Top 5 Google My Business Concerns FAQs, Solved

Find answers to the questions that come up most often in the GMB Help Community Forum and learn how to solve common local SEO issues.

Google My Business Concerns

Google My Business (GMB) is one of the best ways for a local business to rank higher on Google.

Whether it’s through the local 3-pack, the local finder, or Google Maps, having your business on GMB helps you get found by interested shoppers, consumers, and clients.

But it’s not always easy. Every day, we see dozens of questions from local business owners and digital marketing agencies on the Google My Business Help Community Forum.

Many of the issues there are unique and require a deep dive into their specific situation.

However, there are some more common questions users have about Google My Business. Here are five GMB problems users often encounter and how to help solve them:

  • Why are changes we didn’t make appearing on our GMB profile?
  • What if I can’t find a category that fits my business model?
  • Why do I get an error when I enter the GMB postcard PIN?
  • My edits still say “Pending Review.” What can I do?
  • My PIN postcard didn’t arrive. What should I do?

1. Why Are Changes We Didn’t Make Appearing on Our GMB Profile?

To keep your GMB profile as accurate as possible, Google uses data from a variety of sources around the internet to check for accuracy and completeness.

Google will sometimes add or change information on your GMB profile based on what it finds online.

For example, Google may check your website and add services to your profile based on what you have listed on your site or on other resources it finds online.

Ironically, Google did this to my digital marketing agency’s GMB profile a little while ago. They added the service “Pest control” to my services list.

So along with digital marketing services, we also (evidently) do pest control in our spare time.

How did this happen?

Apparently, Google scraped our website and read a section on our site where we mentioned one of our clients – a pest control company. They mistakenly assumed that my digital marketing agency did pest control services.

(I never said Google was perfect.)

Google will also check other online directories/citation sites, social media platforms, review sites, licensed content, official business accrediting websites, and other online resources for more information about your company.

It may add data it finds from those resources to your GMB profile – or even make changes to your listing to reflect that information.

If sources report the information provided by a business owner is incorrect or outdated, your GMB profile may be updated by Google.

As the business owner, you can review these updates. (This is why it’s important to log in and check your GMB listings frequently.) If edits have been made to your listing, you’ll see a notice at the top of your GMB dashboard. To see the specific edits made to your listing, click on the Info section.

GMB listings frequently

If you manage more than one profile, you can see the profiles with edits because they will have a red dot next to the pencil icon:

GMB listings

Different types of updates show in different text colors:

User Suggested Edits

User Suggested Edits

User Suggested Edits

Another way your information can get changed is by users. Users can report issues with your GMB listing, too. First, anyone can use the Suggest an edit feature on your company’s GMB Knowledge Panel or profile:

In the GMB profile above, it’s pretty obvious that this business is keyword stuffing their business name.

Adding any extra words to your business name violates Google’s Guidelines.

(Additionally, this Service Area Business is displaying its physical address in its GMB profile. After checking on Melissa.com’s handy address checker, it was discovered that the owner is running the business out of his home. This also is a violation of GMB’s rules.)

After checking the company’s website and doing a search for the business’s name on the Better Business Bureau website, it was easy to find out the company’s real name was simply XXXX Company Plumbing — not XXXX Company Drain and Plumbing Repair – Drain Cleaning | Slab Leak Detection & Repairs.

If you see one of your competitors violating the guidelines or beating you in the rankings because they are breaking Google’s rules (or if you just want to do humanity some kindness) you can report GMB rule violators through the Suggest an edit link.

This would be used in cases where you know the business has permanently closed or if a Service Area Business (SAB) is showing their home address in their GMB profile (which goes against Google My Business guidelines.)

In some cases, these suggested edits can go live quickly (sometimes within an hour or less.) And these changes can be made to the GMB profile without the business owner even knowing about it ahead of time.

If you suggest changes to a business profile, you will receive an email letting you know whether Google made your suggested changes – or not.

For instance, in the example below, Google made the suggested edit live (published it):

Whereas they are still “reviewing” the edit that was suggested to this business profile:

Warning: Third-Party Apps Can Make Unintended Changes to Your Listing, Too!

2. What If I Can’t Find a Category That Fits My Business Model?

Selecting your categories – especially your primary category – is particularly important because your categories directly impact rankings.

You must choose from the categories Google provides you. (You can’t make up or add your own category.)

Google offers more than 3,000 categories. The problem is that it’s hard to see all categories available to you just from typing a few seed letters or a keyword into the Category section in your GMB profile.

Before you select your categories, take a look at the Pleper.com website for a list of all the Google My Business categories available.

From what I understand, this file is updated frequently. If you can’t find the exact category for your business, select the closest match.

Remember, Google is getting smarter and smarter all the time when it comes to making associations.

So if you select “Fitness Center” as a category and someone searches for “Gym,” Google is intelligent enough to know that your business should show up in search results, too.

Warning: Changing your GMB category too often can sometimes trigger a suspension or cause Google to re-verify your GMB listing. Select your categories carefully and don’t make changes unless you absolutely have to.

3. Why Do I Get an Error When I Enter the GMB Postcard PIN?

There are a few reasons why you might get an error when entering your PIN code. The PIN verification code is only valid for 30 days.

So if it’s been more than 30 days since you requested the postcard, that code is invalid.

Also, if you made edits to your GMB business profile while you were waiting for the verification PIN code to arrive, Google might deem it necessary for a new verification – which invalidates the code that is in transit.

(That doesn’t always happen but making changes to your GMB profile before you receive your postcard can cause issues like this.)

If you’re receiving an error, you should log in to your GMB dashboard and request a new verification postcard. While you’re waiting, don’t make any changes to your listing.

4. My Edits Still Say “Pending Review.” What Can I Do?

When you make changes or edits to your GMB listing, they are reviewed by the Google team to make sure the changes follow Google’s Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google. Edits pending review usually takes about 48 hours for the Google team to evaluate.

(In India – and some other areas – Google takes extra steps to verify that the phone number is correct.)

If you’ve made changes to your GMB profile and Google hasn’t evaluated or approved your edits yet, you’ll see one of the following messages:

“Some edits are pending” at the top of your GMB dashboard.

“Pending” status in the field on your computer or underlined on a mobile device.

New GMB listings and most edits made in the GMB dashboard will show as pending or under review. Typically, you will just need to wait until Google reviews these changes.

However, there are some reasons why your listing might be still pending review or show as under review.

What industry are you in?

If you are in an industry where spam is more common — such as with locksmiths, garage door companies, plumbers, etc. — GMB Support might be looking at your profile with extra scrutiny to make sure that you have a legitimate profile/business.

Another reason many GMB profiles get stuck in pending status is if they are Service Area Businesses (SABs).

If you are a Service Area Business and don’t have a physical location/storefront where customers come to you, you cannot show your address in your GMB profile. That is a violation of GMB’s terms.

If that fits your situation, delete your address in your GMB listing and select service areas (cities, states, counties, or zip codes that you serve).

Then contact the GMB support team and explain that you fixed your address/listing and ask them to approve the pending status.

If the SAB displaying your address example doesn’t fit your situation and it’s been more than 48 hours, you will need help from the Google My Business Support team.

5. My PIN Postcard Didn’t Arrive. What Should I Do?

First, Google needs to verify a business by physically mailing you a postcard to ensure you have a legitimate physical business address and are not fraudulently trying to set up a Google My Business listing.

It typically takes 5-14 days for the postcard to arrive at your location. If you’re able to get other mail at your location, there’s really no reason that you shouldn’t be getting the GMB postcard.

Sometimes when we see issues with people not receiving postcards, it’s because they are violating address rules or are using fake addresses.

If you’re trying to use a PO Box, UPS box, fake address, virtual office, or co-working space as your GMB address, you are not eligible to have a Google My Business listing.

If you are not using a legitimate address or your business is not an eligible business as outlined in Google Guidelines, Google will not verify your listing.

If you don’t receive your postcard after approximately 14 business days, log in to your GMB dashboard and request that another postcard is sent to you.

(Keep in mind that the new postcard PIN request will void out the first postcard that you requested.)

When requesting a new postcard, double-check to make sure that your address is following all of Google’s address guidelines and that it can be found on Google Maps, too.

When you fill out the request for a new postcard, be sure to include your contact name so that when your company receives the postcard, it is delivered to you personally by whoever gets the mail at your business.

Also, let the people who get the mail know that you are expecting a postcard from Google. (The postcard looks like junk mail, so the postcards often end up in the trashcan.)

If you do not receive the second postcard either, reach out to Google My Business support.

Please be ready to provide GMB support three to five unedited photos of:

Your business’s storefront as seen from the street and/or in front of your store.

Permanent signage showing the name of the business and the entrance to your business.

The inside of the company as a customer sees it when entering.

If available, provide a link showing Google Street View imagery of the street and/or neighborhood where your business is located.

And if applicable, provide the name and website URL of the location where your business is located (e.g., shopping mall, office building name, etc.).

If you are a Service Area Business, you will need to send pictures of your service vehicles with your business’s name/signage on them or some other valid proof that you are a legitimate, official business operating at the address you provided Google.

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