Business Permanently Closed on GoogleOr Is It?

A whole new wave of bad karma is blanketing the Local Search Marketing world with people informing Google that “This place is permanently closed,” when in fact, it is not.

The New York Times published an article in their September 5, 2011 issue entitled:  “Closed, Says Google, But Shop’s Signs Say Open” The article was about two business which Google showed as permanently closed, when they were actually alive and thriving, that was until something bad happened. And that something bad had to do with competitors or dissatisfied customers or dissatisfied employees informing Google that each business had been permanently closed. Like I said, Bad Karma.

How did this happen and what can you do about it if it happens to you?

Before you read another word, please go to your business place page on Google and see if your business has been permanently closed. If it has, I’m going to show you what to do to get it back on line. If your business is still open, I’m going to show you how to insure that it stays open.

Back To The NYT Article

The instant I read the NYT article, I contacted Charlene Cowan, the owner of the Macadamia Meadows Farm, a bed-and-breakfast in Naalehu, Hawaii, which had been tagged as “permanently closed.” I wanted to find out from her first hand what happened and what, if anything, she had done to get her business back on line with Google.

According to Charlene, her bookings for the month of September plummeted and she couldn’t figure out why, that was until she discovered that her business was permanently closed on Google. She tried to contact Google on multiple occasions for a resolution, which did not come. Fortunately for her, a NYT writer discovered her request on the Google Place Page help forum and wrote an article that was seen by millions of readers and the people in charge of Google Maps in Mountain View, California. At that point Charlene told me that Google jumped on her issue and she was back on line in short order.

I know what you’re thinking. Good for Charlene, but I doubt if the NYT is going to write an article about my business being permanently closed on Google, and you would be right. So, here’s what you can to do.


Google seems to be much more attentive to this issue after the NTY article exposed this kink in their Local Search armor. Last week I received a call Anne Oishi, the owner of Island Honda here on Maui. She told me that her business had been tagged as permanently closed by Google and asked me what to do. Here’s the good news. We were able to get her business back on line in less that 24 hours. And here’s more good news. It was not that hard to do.

If your business listing is off line, you will see one of two things when you go to your Google Place page.

  • “Reported to be closed. Not true?”
  • “This place is permanently closed. Not true?”

In both cases you have an opportunity to click on the “Not true?” link and tell Google that your business is still open. In the event of Island Honda, I asked the owner to ask her friends to click on this link and indicate to Google that there was an error. In less than 24 hours, Island Honda was back on-line (and showing up very high in the search results for all of their primary keywords). It’s really that easy.

And, If Your Business Is OK?

Please, do not be apathetic about visiting your Google Place page. In the case of Island Honda, they caught the error early. If you don’t check your place page frequently, you will not know that there’s a problem until your business declines.

Bob Sommers

For more information about getting your business listed high on Google Maps and generating tons of 5 star reviews, go to






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