Google My Business As a local marketing professional that works with small businesses, I’ve always known on a theoretical or intellectual level that making sure a local business has the correct contact information listed on Google My Business is a “best practice” when it comes to search engine optimization.

I’ve even seen many times how, once the correct contact information is listed, a business will get more website traffic from Google search results.

However, I recently experienced in dramatic fashion just how important it is that this information be correct–and how quickly it can make an impact when it is changed.

Here’s what happened:

I was working on a marketing project for a ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning franchise that involved publishing a new website and updating their local online directory citations, among other things.

It was a unique situation, because some of the online directory listings–including the listing on Google My Business–had been claimed and verified by the corporate office rather than the local franchise owner.  So, in order to change contact information on those listings, we had to put in a request to the corporate office rather than being able to change it ourselves.

Shortly after launching the new website, we requested that the URL listed for the franchise on Google My Business be updated so that it linked to the domain of the newly published website.  This was done, and immediately we started noticing in Google Search Console that the website was getting clicks from organic search.  The franchise office also started getting quote requests from the form on the new website.  So far, so good–that’s how it’s supposed to work.

About two weeks later, for some reason, the corporate office inexplicably decided to change the URL in the Google My Business listing back to what it was before.  Immediately, the clicks to the website stopped, as did the leads coming from the new website.  Since the website was brand new and using a new domain, it wasn’t getting much traffic from organic search results.  This created a unique situation, in that the impact of changing the business’s Google My Business listing was more observable than it would have been had the website been an established site that was getting lots of clicks and traffic.

It took about two more weeks to get information on the franchise’s Google My Business page corrected for the second time.  During those two weeks, the website got very few clicks and no leads.

Finally, we were able to get access to the Google My Business page and get the information corrected.  I know the exact date and time that this occurred, because I was on the phone with my client at the moment it was changed.

Within ten minutes of the time when the information was corrected, my client got a quote request from a form on the new website.  Conversion tracking in Google Analytics showed that the quote request came from an organic search.

Ten minutes! 

That’s all the time it took for making this simple correction to have a huge impact on the business.

Kinda makes you wonder how many quote requests the business in question missed out on during the time when the listing was incorrect, doesn’t it?

It also makes it all the more astonishing that so many local businesses are paying no attention to Google My Business whatsoever (or any other local online directory citations, for that matter), while at the same time spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on marketing tactics like radio ads, newspaper ads, or direct mail campaigns.  If those folks new how much money they were potentially leaving on the table, it would probably make them sick.

So, the lesson is that you simply must take care of your local citations, and especially your Google My Business listing, before you do anything else when it comes to SEO and even offline marketing tactics.