The importance of Google Business Profile
If your goal as a retailer is to improve your Local SEO and drive web-to-store visits, it is essential to have your retail information present in Google Maps. This can easily be done through Google Business Profile. However, there are some intricacies that need to be taken into account. Let’s dive into the biggest security risks and learn how to avoid them.
Risk 1: Unverified listings
Putting your business information in Google Maps can be done in a matter of minutes through the Google Business Profile dashboard. However, in most cases this only leads to an unverified listing, which means that anyone can claim ownership and control that specific listing. Sometimes this will lead to innocent pranks, like pupils of Hornsea School and Language College did, but it’s not hard to imagine what could happen if someone with nefarious intent claims ownership over your listing.
Risk 2: False listings using your brand name
Given that Google Maps is an open platform, any individual can create listings, this also makes it possible for anyone to do so using your brand name. This happens very rarely, however, we have seen some cases where – brand names and visuals – with phishing links in the URL section were used. This could not only have grave consequences for a Google Maps user clicking this link, but also for the brand.
Risk 3: Duplicate listings of your brand
Sometimes listing initiatives start small, a local manager or business decides to put his business on Google Maps. When multi-branch organizations eventually decide to increase their online presence by releasing their business data in bulk on Google Maps, chances are that the original listing will coexist as a duplicate. These unmanaged duplicate listings still appear in Google search queries and over time will display outdated information (i.e. old opening hours, closed branches, old store front pictures, etc.). As more people trust Google, they could end up at closed or non- existing businesses. This will impact your brand’s reputation and puts extra pressure on customer care. Be aware that this could also be the case if a non-employee created a listing using your brand’s name (see risk 2).
Google Maps is an open platform where individuals can create listings with your brand name. Listings published by your brand, but not claimed, will still pose security risks. Visitors keep the brand accountable for correct, trustworthy and up-to-date data. Even for information not managed by your brand on an open platform like Google Business Profile and Google Maps.
So, what can you do to avoid this?
- Claim your businesses and get your listings verified in Google Maps
- Be aware of false duplicates and get them removed or claim ownership
- Screen Google Maps on a regular basis
- Contact Localyse to assist you
Security, trust and reputation is key for branches such as banking and recruitment, brands like ING Bank, ABN AMRO and Randstad. They have chosen Localyse to help secure and manage their Google Business Profile data in Google Maps.