Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small business, your online reputation is at risk if you have not verified Google My Business. In this Clairiti Clips video, Robert Riggs and Brad Besancon discuss a presentation by @joyannhawkinds to @DFWSEM about local SEO and Google My Business. If you own a brick and mortars business, it’s imperative that you set up and verify Google My Business for your locations. A nefarious spammer may already be siphoning off your business traffic.
Robert: So, if you’re a bricks and mortar business. If you have a physical location, the first impression of your business is going to be in Google search when somebody looks for you. And it’s up in that right hand corner. It’s called Google My Business. Now we’re showing you here A1 Affordable Garage Door Openers. We know them and we know they do it right. But we were all really lucky to hear from Joy Hawkinds out of Toronto, who’s one of the top experts in this part of the world on Google My Business. And here’s what she has to say.
Joy: So a lot of businesses either don’t know about it or don’t pay attention to it. And when usually they find out it’s too late. So a lot things we hear about with reviews, for example, is someone will research Bob’s Plumbing and all of a sudden see a bunch of negative reviews on Google that the business owner wasn’t even aware of. If they had verified their listing through Google My Business, Google would actually alert them every time they get a new review; so they would actually be aware of what people are saying online about their business. Also make sure that people get driving directions to your office if they’re after it. And that obviously the things that they’re seeing about your business are what you’d want them to see. It’s always a good idea to have lots of positive reviews, lots of pictures; not leave it to the users to decide what’s out there.
Brad: So one of the second points you heard, too, when you went to this DFWSEM seminar was something about verification. What does that mean, Google verification?
Robert: Well as she just explained, that’s important to go claim your Google My Business or a competitor or somebody up to no good can hijack your Google My Business.
Brad: So, let’s put that in perspective. Let’s say you have Robert Brick and Mortar A and I’m Brad Brick and Mortar B; and you haven’t verified your business; I could go verify it and basically take that business?
Robert: Not only that, she’s going to explain how spammers can go in and change the phone number to their number so that anybody looking for you is going to them. And then they might call you up and try to sell leads back to you.
Robert: Here she is.
Joy: So, unfortunately Google Maps, because it’s become cloud-sourced, users can submit edits to Google Maps and they can do things maliciously, unfortunately. So a lot of times the spammers out there actually know more about how Google works than the legitimate businesses do. So we see a lot of fake listings that get created. If you’ve a plumber that wants to rank everywhere around Dallas, they will create 15 different listings; one for every zip code, even though they’re not listed there, and try to out rank the real businesses that are in the area. That’s common abuse. And then also to take it to an even further extreme, we’ve also seen businesses actually hijack listings for real businesses that are ignoring their listings; by either changing the phone number on it or actually updating the website on the listing to go to their website instead of the actual business.
Brad: So we’ve been talking about this Google My Business, this verification process, the other night from DFWSEM. What’s the take home message that you heard and what’s important for a person out there who owns a small business or a brick and mortar, to think about when they’re looking at all this stuff.
Robert: As soon as you finish watching this video, go claim your Google My Business, and we’re going to let Joy close this out with the big take away and her advice. And that’s the Clairiti Clip of the week.
Joy: If you haven’t done so, I would go to google.com/business and make sure that your business is verified; and then also do a couple brand searches on Google to make sure you know what actually comes up when people are searching your brand. And check to make sure, you know, driving directions on Google Maps are accurate and routing people to the right place.