For many businesses, a solid ranking on Google Maps is vitally important. Unfortunately, it’s very easy for competitors to sabotage your listings. Are you keeping a close eye on things?
You can learn more about this over on this post at Search Engine Roundtable.
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If you have a small business, particularly one with a public storefront, your listing on Google Maps is incredibly important. However, due the largely collaborative effort that Google opens to everyone on the web, it’s common for companies to sabotage their competitors listings.
Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable recently wrote a great article about this, and there are a few points worth sharing.
First, this is indeed a real problem and it doesn’t have a great solution. People can “recommend” malicious changes to your listings and they’ll often go through. People have been asking Google for years to give more control to business owners, but so far no luck.
Second, the only way to keep your listing strong is to keep a close eye on things and re-edit malicious changes when you see them.
At high level, Google’s openness makes sense. Most business owners don’t use these features, and so allowing the community to contribute makes sense (and most of the time, works great). However, if you’ve taken the time to claim and validate your listing, Google should offer some ways to tighten things up. Barry gave the suggestion of notifying businesses of potential changes and give them two weeks to reply. This still allows the community to pitch in with changes (particularly if a business closed and the owner is unlikely to update that tidbit on their own) while still protecting the integrity of the data.