Back in March of 2023, a large number of businesses started seeing an ominous message on their Google Business Profile interface saying that their business “was not visible to customers.” This can be especially troubling because, most of the time, Google doesn’t say explicitly why this might be the case.
As it turns out, for some businesses, it was only a temporary bug, and it never impacted their visibility online. Google put out a report claiming to have fixed it in as short as a day. However, some businesses are still seeing the message. Despite what has been reported through official channels, this has been affecting some businesses since November 2022.
As a dedicated local SEO agency, Succeeding Small understands the urgency of this situation and is well-equipped to assist businesses in deciphering the underlying reasons behind this message.
So, let’s discuss some of the things we should consider to determine whether you’re experiencing a bug or if there are additional steps that you need to take to resolve the issue.
Common Reasons the Non-Visible GBP Message Might Appear
Because this message appears in multiple contexts without any explanation, here are some circumstances to consider:
- If a listing has been just recently verified in the last two weeks, this message might appear. After 10 to 14 days, the message should disappear. After this period, if you continue to see the message, you might need to take additional steps.
- Lately, Google has been asking for more than one verification method to reduce spam and increase trust. For example, even after verifying your listing using the postcard method, Google may also want you to do video verification. In this event, your agency can’t take care of this for you. Instead, you the business owner have to use your cellular device to verify your business, which is a little more involved. So, if the message indicates that you need to verify, even if you just did, you might attempt that second method.
For more details on using the video verification method, check out our full guide on video verification.
- There is also a possibility that your business name includes a sensitive term that is triggering Google’s sensibilities. You might see the message: “Your business might not show up on Google because it contained a sensitive search term.” An example of this can be found here. What this means hasn’t been explicitly defined.
- There is a bug where you’ll see the message if accessing your profile through search.
- The message that your profile isn’t visible might still show after being restored from a suspension.
How To Diagnose the Issue
If you’ve just been recently reinstated or were recently verified, the message that your profile isn’t visible should disappear after a short time. If you are getting the message that you should verify, go ahead and try to do so again, even if you already have. The message should disappear soon after.
If you are getting this message because you’ve been suspended, you should immediately file a reinstatement request.
If none of the aforementioned conditions are applicable, and if the listing remains visible to the public while receiving the message within the Search editing environment but not in the Google Maps editing environment, you are encountering the bug.
1. What are the possible reasons for the message “not visible to customers” on a Google Business Profile?
There are five potential reasons: recent verification, sensitive business name terms triggering Google’s response, a bug when accessing the profile through search, restoration from suspension, or encountering a bug within the Search editing environment.
2. Can the “not visible to customers” message be caused by a temporary issue?
Yes, for businesses recently verified or reinstated, the message might disappear after a short time without further action.
3. How does Google’s request for multiple verification methods impact the appearance of the message?
Google might ask for additional verification methods beyond the initial one, such as video verification. If the message persists even after verification, consider trying a second method.
4. Can a business name with sensitive terms trigger the “not visible” message?
Yes, a sensitive term in the business name might trigger the message, suggesting that the business might not show up on Google. However, the exact criteria for this are not explicitly defined.
5. Why might a business see the message when accessing their profile through search?
There has been a bug that causes the message to appear when accessing the business profile through a search query.
6. What should a business do if they still see the message after restoring their profile from suspension?
If the message persists even after restoring a suspended profile, further action might be needed to address the underlying issue.
7. How can businesses diagnose the issue causing the “not visible to customers” message?
When a business has recently been reinstated or verified, the message could disappear on its own. If the message persists despite verification, consider re-verifying using a different method. If none of these apply, it might be a bug.
8. What should a business do if they encounter the bug causing the message within the Search editing environment?
If the business profile remains visible to the public despite the message appearing in the Search editing environment, it’s likely a bug. Businesses might need to wait for a fix from Google or seek assistance if needed.
Succeeding Small Can Help You Address Issues With Your Google Business Profile
Understanding the inner workings of Google can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out alone. At Succeeding Small, we help small businesses optimize their Google profiles and boost their online visibility. For more information and to learn more about how to address common bugs within Google, contact us today.