Unfortunately, it’s true. Anyone, including your competitors, can make suggestions to edit your Google My Business listing, possibly leading potential customers in the wrong direction. There’s an increase in spammers updating Google My Business listings with the intent to disrupting existing businesses and sending leads elsewhere.
To help alleviate any fears that customers may have, Google sent an email out to account owners, ensuring them that all changes made to a listing will be sent directly to the account holder’s email. However, this is a fairly recent move and has only been in effect since late 2017. To understand this predicament better, it’s best to take a step back and look at the basics.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is Google’s easy-to-use tool targeted at businesses that want to have an online presence across Google products like Maps, Search, Local Finder and Local Pack. The free listing on Google includes information about your business, like locations, phone numbers, operating hours and the types of payments you accept. This product is essential if you want to appear on search results for local queries. You can use Google My Business to upload photos that give a visual representation of your business to potential and current customers. In addition, you can put up regular Google posts for promoting products, special events and even highlighting special offers. The platform also allows your customers to leave reviews and comments about your services, which are critical for local SEO ranking.
Claiming your free listing is easy, as long as you follow the instructions provided for signing up and verifying your business.
How a Competitor Can Edit Your Listing
While completing your Google My Business profile, you’ll be asked various questions that provide valuable data that makes it easier for potential customers to find and get in touch with your company. If for one reason or another, you don’t complete the information, anybody else can. In fact, anybody can make suggestions that will change your business-critical details, including your competitors!
All the person has to do is click on your listing and find the “Suggest an edit” option. Clicking this option gives anyone the right to make some dramatic changes to your listing. Some of the things they can change include your company’s name, address, hours, phone, website and category.
You should be aware that Google encourages people familiar with your business to answer questions. To do this, they simply need to click on “Know this place? Answer quick questions.” Some businesses have fallen prey to competitors leaving malicious comments or falsifying their answers.
According to Google, account administrators ought to get an email notification in case of an edit suggestion. However, few people receive these emails while Google reviews the updates. Instead, the emails are sent out when an edit has already gone live.
One way of ensuring that you don’t miss edits is by regularly checking for updates in your Google My Business dashboard. Such edits show up in the dashboard as “Updates from Google.” Since there is no way of denying an edit, you need to edit the listing manually to revert it.
Your customers heavily rely on their mobile devices to find local businesses. If you want your business in local results, you must include its information in as many directories as possible, including Google My Business. However, you need to ensure that your listing is accurate to attract traffic. At WebTech, we value the importance of local map optimization. We will work with Google Maps to ensure your profile is complete, accurate and up-to-date. We’ll also complete profiles for your business on over a hundred online directories such as Manta, YellowPages.com, Bing, Google+, Yahoo Local Business Listings, Yelp and more. Contact us today to find out more about our local SEO services.