Google My Business is Free and Doesn't Expire
If you have recently received a call, either robocall or via telemarketer, stating that your “Google listing” is at risk or has expired, this is likely a sales scam. No, your Google business listing has not and/or is not expiring. Since 2011 when Google Local was gaining internet traction, a new form of business scam has been growing. Automated robocalls have been hounding business owners with false claims of working “for Google” or “with Google” and claim that the business owner’s Google listing has expired. This trend has been growing to the point that Google is now suing a California company which it believes is behind most of these unscrupulous tactics.
As a business owner, you cannot go without answering the phone, so you may find yourself hounded several times a day with automated spam calls. But do know that if you are already working with a Local SEO company that has claimed and manages your Google My Business (GMB) listing, that it will not expire and you do not have to pay to have it re-claimed.
First of all, Google is free. All the platforms formerly known as Google Local, Google Maps or Google Places, all collectively known now as Google My Business are all free services. So whether you created a listing for your business in Google Maps, which then became Google Local, which then became Google places, the search engine has migrated any verified business information into the new channel platforms and not deleted or expired any business listing. If a company closes, moves or goes out of business, Google has methods in place for internet users to report that as such, allowing any new business taking over the space to create a new listing.
Google associates will never ask businesses for paid inclusion in their organic search results. Google does not offer fee-based services to manage online profiles or for organic search engine ranking. Google AdWords is a very specific paid advertising platform available.
Second, even a company as large as Google does not have the resources to contact every owner of every website on the internet. Nor do they want to. Google has been known to use direct mail to advertise it’s paid features, but the search giant does not engage in telemarketing cold calling to sell its products.
What Google Recommends
There are several actions recommended by Google on their Safety Page that business owners can do when they receive such a call.
- First off, hang up, do not push any button as that indicates to the robo system that a live individual has been reached and may result in further automated calls.
- Second, the FTC has a new resource on robocalls in addition to the DNC (do not call) registry to guide individuals on what is being done to tackle the illegal robo calling.
- You can also report automated phone calls to the FTC Do Not Call website.
- Report any calls that falsely identify or associate themselves as representing Google using this form from the Google Safety Center.
- Definitely never share your Google account information including passwords or verification codes with anyone claiming to be representing Google.
There are rare instances in which Google may send a text or call, but in my years of experience, I’ve only encountered that once. In verifying a business listing, Google more often reverts to direct mail to as the method to claim a valid business.
Google My Business Listing
By claiming your Google My Business Local Listing you have the tools to engage with your customers from their phone, tablet and computer for free. If your business isn't already listed in Google you can create a Google My Business page. You can list your business location, your business hours, your address and phone number. This helps to increase your online presence and helps potential customers find you. This allows people to leave reviews about your company. There are other citation sites out there, but people trust Google reviews. Getting listed in a business directory is helpful, but having a business page or Google pages for your business is essential for local SEO.
As a Google Certified Partner, and Google Trusted Verifier, Infront SEOs are vetted and certified by Google and able to automatically verify local businesses for clients.