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Are You Making These 9 Common Google My Business Mistakes?

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Are You Making These 9 Common Google My Business Mistakes?

Jason Brown
Are You Making These 9 Common Google My Business Mistakes?

Have you set your Google My Business (GMB) up to succeed or to fail? Your GMB Knowledge Panel (KP) should be chock-full of awesome and vital information about your business. It is your opportunity to let your customers get the much-needed information that they crave.

When was the last time you checked out your GMB KP? If it has been a while, you need to double check your information to ensure all of your information is added and correct. Here is what a standard KP looks like, using SEMrush as the example.

semrush-kp.png

The vital information Google displays:

  • See Photos
  • See Outside aka Streetview
  • Map 
  • Website
  • Directions
  • Reviews
  • Address
  • Hours
  • Phone number
  • Questions and answers
  • About 

If you are not monitoring any of the above information not only are you are providing a bad user experience, you can be losing out on new customers. Below are the nine most common GMB mistakes business owners make. They are all easily rectified. You need to monitor your listing, or these mistakes might affect your listing. 

Nine Common "Google My Business" Fails

1. Unclaimed Listings:

Unclaimed GMBUnclaimed GMB

If you do not claim your GMB, how are you going to manage it? You will not be able to reply to reviews. You can suggest edits on your address, phone number, website URL, and hours. You can upload photos, but it will be from a customer and not the owner. The Google My Business team will not be able to assist your concerns while the listing is unverified. You will not be able to use or create Google Posts.

If your listing is not claimed and left dormant long enough, a user can suggest an edit that the listing does not exist and Google more than likely will accept that edit and delete the listings. If your listing is unclaimed, you run the risk of another company coming in and either claiming your listing or editing your information and adding their telephone number and website. Since the listing is left unclaimed, Google will not be able to alert you that the information has been updated or changed and your business can be hurt.

The easiest way to claim your GMB listing is directly from the Knowledge Panel. Click the "Own This Business" and follow the steps.

2. Closed Businesses:

How to close a GMB listingHow to close a GMB listing

If your business shut down, please mark your business as permanently closed. I understand that you may no longer need for the listing, but it presents a bad user experience. If a potential customer attempts to visit you only to find out that you are closed, they will become upset when they discover that they wasted their time. In your Google My Business dashboard. Google filters out closed GMB listings to prevent them from coming up in the map pack. 

3. Missing Information:

Missing GMB informationMissing GMB information

If you have set up your GMB listing and have not checked in on it in a while, your listing could be missing vital information. The most common missing pieces of vital information are hours, website URLs and phone numbers. How are your customers going to know when you are open or how to contact you if this information is missing? Potential customers are going to go to your competitor if they are unable to reach you.

I don't know any business that wants to lose potential customers to their competition. Log into your GMB account and check that all of your information is A. listed and B. correct. 

4. Incorrect Information:

Negative review over operating hoursNegative review over operating hours

Having incorrect information is actually worse than not displaying information. If you do not update your hours and potential customers show up at your location only to find out that you are closed, that will upset them. I had to take my car to get smogged. I checked the hours of the business I was going to, and they did not open when they said that they would. I left a negative review for them, went to their competitor and left them a positive review; this is how it works.

5. Map Pins:

Map pin in the streetMap pin in the street

Map pins are often overlooked, and too often in the wrong place. I have found map pins on the opposite end of a shopping center, in the middle of the parking lot or in the street; this doesn't help potential customers. More and more people are using GPS programs, and they don't want to be directed to the wrong spot. If they can't find you, they may call or just assume that your business is gone and go elsewhere. 

6. Reviews:

Ignored ReviewsIgnored Reviews

I don't know why but reviews are one area I see business owners mess up the most. For starters, they ignore or don't reply to the reviews, positive or negative. Consumers want to see a business that is engaged with their customers. If you don't reply to the reviews, you are showing potential customers that you don't care and they will go elsewhere. Reply to both positive and negative reviews.

I booked a massage for my wife's birthday. She enjoyed it so much that I left positive reviews on all of the review platforms they were listed on. The owner, replied to me directly to thank me for my review and kind words. It felt great to be appreciated and acknowledged. 

Replying to negative reviews is tough and not enjoyable. Sadly, I see business owners respond in anger, lash out, and insult the reviewer. While you may want to tell the customer to take a hike, you need to know that future customers will see your reply and judge you on your response. Your future sales are also dependant on your response. 

Some ways to reply to a negative review:

  • That is not how we want our customers to feel.
  • We are going to address this and ensure that it won't happen again.
  • Please contact us so we can address this with directly.
Google Customer missed Q&AGoogle Customer missed Q&A

Q and A is a new feature, and because of this, they get ignored a lot. There are a lot of questions from potential customers that could translate in new sales. If you don't answer them, they will be left unanswered or answered by somebody else, and what if the answer that is provided is wrong?

Google allows business owners to post their own questions, so post the 'frequently asked questions' you get. If users can get the information from your listing, they won't need to call you looking for the answer, and you can focus your time on the customer in front of you. 

8. Photos:

Customer posted photoCustomer posted photo

Photos are often neglected. I have seen businesses where they only have the Streetview. Sometimes the only other picture posted is from the customer. The example above is a customer sitting in their car; you can see the dashboard, and this is not an overly attractive picture for a business. Also, if you not careful, Google will pull in a photo from the wrong Facebook page or a news article.

I recommend adding five to eight exterior and five to eight interior photos with and without staff. Pictures with people look much better than empty storefronts and lobbies. Show off your personality and let people see that real people work at your business. Play around taking photos at different times of the day to see which photos you like more. Ask your friends and staff to vote on which pictures they like. You can hire a Google Trusted Photographer to take a 360 tour of your location, and they also snap staff photos. 

9. Located In:

Wrong located inWrong located in

Google now allows users to edit the located in featured in Google My Business. The example of RedBox above was shown in the wrong business; I also noticed that the hours are missing. You need to perform a Google search to verify that your GMB shows the correct "located in". If not, you can advise users that you are located in a specific store, shopping center, grocery store, building or in a mall and help make it easier for your customers to find you. 

If you have a Google My Business, you need to perform an audit on your listing. Look and see if any of the above glaring issues are affecting your listing and correct them. Your customers will appreciate it and you it might be the key ingredient between remaining in business or closing down permanently. 

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After more than a decade working in the field, I am currently the SEO manager for Over The Top Marketing. Although I have focused on local SEO for nationwide multi-location franchises since 2015, my resume includes combating and reporting fake online reviews, which includes several local and national news appearances. My comments can be found regularly in the GMB forum and I'm in the process of becoming a Top Contributor. You can find me on Twitter talking SEO and music; say hi sometime.
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RankWatch
While setting up your Google My Business account, you need to provide Google with accurate and nearly every piece of information related to your brand that can help users quickly locate and identify your business. And Jason, your post covers all the common mistakes that marketers generally commit while setting up their GMB account. Several other posts are covering the same topic, but still, marketers commit such common mistakes. Apart from that, Jason, this was a great post, and your experience in Local SEO and understanding of GMB is quite visible.
Ryan Jones
Great article Jason! I see a lot of my clients making many of these mistakes when they come to Imaginaire Digital to improve their online presence, and this is always the first thing we ensure is spot on before we commence any sort of campaign for them!
I'm trying to set up a listing for one of our activity sites where no listing currently exists. To verify the listing I am being asked for a postal address for a postcard to be sent out with a verification code, that is the only option given to me. I didn't realise this was the case when I put in the initial information for the listing and entered the address that's used for customers/parking but cannot receive any post. I am unable to edit the address of the listing and I can't request the postcard is sent out as it won't arrive anywhere. I have currently listed this business as closed because of this. I have tried to set up another listing with an address where post can be received but have been unable to do so. Is there a way to edit the existing listing to have a different address, receive the verification code in the post and then edit the address back to what it was? I have requested an online with Google over a week ago.
I'm trying to set up a listing for one of our activity sites where no listing currently exists. To verify the listing I am being asked for a postal address for a postcard to be sent out with a verification code, that is the only option given to me. I didn't realise this was the case when I put in the initial information for the listing and entered the address that's used for customers/parking but cannot receive any post. I am unable to edit the address of the listing and I can't request the postcard is sent out as it won't arrive anywhere. I have currently listed this business as closed because of this. I have tried to set up another listing with an address where post can be received but have been unable to do so. Is there a way to edit the existing listing to have a different address, receive the verification code in the post and then edit the address back to what it was? I have requested an online with Google over a week ago.
Claude Corry
How do you share posts from your connected website to GMB?
Jason Brown
Claude Corry
I am sorry but there currently isn't an option or interface for this. You will need to either use a 3rd party software or log into GMB directly. If you have over 10 locations in your account, then Google won't allow you to use a 3rd party scheduling tool. There are some tools that are able to skirt the TOS, however, I have heard that it caused more issues when Google caught the business.
I add posts in the Google My Business weekly for businesses that I manage web marketing for. Every week.
I find these posts are viewed, 'view more' and other links are clicked adding to traffic. I make sure all new articles or pages to the web sites associated are posted on GMB. This is helping to get those pages indexed fast.
Jason Brown
Errol Schmidt
Indexing or ranking? You should be submitting all new URLs to Google Search Console. Use Fetch and Render and then index the URL.
Jyoti Thapa
Hello Jason,
Thank you for such informative post on Google My Business. Thank you for pinpointing on these 9 mistakes which we should avoid for a better visibility and thereby increase overall sales.
Bryan Victor
Timely post! Google business has updated their UI. It looks amazing. I went in to clean up my profile. Much thanks for the nudge :)

Where can I find the "located in" function?
Jason Brown
Bryan Victor
It can only be done via editing the listing in the expanded view. Google has not rolled it out to be included in the GMB dashboard yet.
Claude Corry
I have had Google my business for several of my websites and all info is entered that I can see. The very first optimisation number one says this -The easiest way to claim your GMB listing is directly from the Knowledge Panel. Click the "Own This Business" and follow the steps. I have looked all over my GMB account and can not find any such heading or setting as described. Does anyone now where this setting is? Would be much appreciated.
Fred
Claude Corry
If "Own This Business" is not displayed that it means that the listing has been claimed and verifed by someone.
Claude Corry
Fred
Where on the page should this "Own This Business" be displayed and yeh I couldnt see any message like that. So how do I get it back? It still has all my info in it so what use would it be to someone else? I dont get it!
Jason Brown
Claude Corry
You own the listings so when you perform a Google search and get your KP to show up, you won't see it. All that you will see is suggest an edit if you are not logged in. If you are logged in, then Google will prompt you to edit your listing. You don't have anything to do here.
Gil Gildner
Great thoughts. We've recently just onboarded a fairly large client who had no clue about Google My Business, so implementing a complete listing is an easy win - even for clients that aren't necessarily brick & mortar focused.
Jason Brown
Gil Gildner
I feel your pain. The audit can be overwhelming but turn into quick wins. Arby's started their we have the meats campaign prior to fixing their citations. They had live listings for closed locations, wrong hours and locations that relocated. I see it all the time with multi-locations businesses. Sadly, even we tell them what to do, they still ignore our advice.
White Rabbit
Jason Brown
It really is surprising how many businesses are missing out with their My Business listing.
Devncp
I just want google to do something for the fake reviews from competitors.
Jason Brown
Devncp
There are different post for that same issue:
https://www.semrush.com/blog/time-to-end-review-spam/
https://www.semrush.com/blog/the-abcs-of-online-reviews-and-you/
I made 2 mistakes about my website [link removed by moderator]
1. Unclaimed Listings
2. Incorrect Information

We'll never make those mistakes againnnn. Thank you Semrush
Wow thats really nice advice. I try to keep them in mind and do them in my business.
White Rabbit
Nice rundown Jason. I've also noticed a common mistake that many businesses fail to add their description in Google My Business "Info" section, one benefit of this is increasing the size of the side panel and potentially appearing in more local pack results.
Jason Brown
White Rabbit
That is a great point. I wanted to add that but held off as I wanted to include it in another post I am planning. Descriptions are another way to take up space in your KP.
White Rabbit
Jason Brown
Add a link here when it's live, I'd be interested to read. Thanks
C. Alex Velazquez
I have one word for you here... YEXT. It can do all of this and more, basically on autopilot, and with a ton of other editing features that make multi-GMB management a snap. What used to take us hours to manage 25+ locations we now do in mass edits inside our YEXT dashboard in about 5 minutes. Also, if you're struggling with creating the longest, most relevant, all-encompassing JSON LD schema markup for your business entity's main page, YEXT actually creates that too, based on your information, and once you drop their Knowledge Tags on your page's header (yup, it's just a script), then you'll have the most robust JSON LD you can possibly have, working in conjunction with your GMB listing - just a note from us, we though we had great markup, until we changed it using YEXT's system... now our pages are ranking for long tails that were entered into the 'Offer' object type in the new schema powered by YEXT, all dynamically done through their dashboard... and we have just about tripled our long tail traffic on all of our main pages... 2 cents from me on this tool.... (I know it's not SEMRush, but sometimes another tool works really well) - (total transparency - I do not work for YEXT nor do I stand to gain anything from talking about them, just giving my honest opinion). Great piece on GMB too!
Jason Brown
C. Alex Velazquez
FYI: SEMrush just started partnering with Yext. I myself also use Yext, however, their platform is not 100% perfect. We had a location where a user suggested incorrect hours and our information was overridden by Google. For item 5, Yext will guess where the map pin should be just like every citations platform. I can't tell you how many times business owners, are unable to provide us with their proper map pin placement. I work with franchisees and we had to personally call the business to get the proper map pin placement if I could not use StreetView to my advantage.
C. Alex Velazquez
Jason Brown
Ah. Gotcha. Yes, this seems to be a persistent challenge in the agency world, when you're using local citations for one off clients. We use it internally, and since we are (basically) in full control of our NAP information, latitude/longitude, address data, then it becomes much less challenging for us. Google also has a nasty habit of merging GMB profiles, especially ones that it thinks are at the same (or close) locations, which is (generally speaking) a royal pain. I tend to chalk that up to Google though, and not necessarily anything that a local citations provider (including YEXT) can do too much about. Great feedback though. And great post!
Russiavisaexperts
really helpful... i m going to avoind these mistakes
Richard Chambers
Headings 1-3 are missing! No need to publish this, but I thought I'd let you know...
Alex Tsygankov
Richard Chambers
Thank you very much for pointing it out Richard! It was a glitch, fixed now.
Jason Brown
My friend and Local SEO manager Krystal, shared on Twitter earlier this week that Google is now showing an alert if they believe the map pin has not been confirmed by the business. They ask local guides to help out and place the map pin in the correct spot. The business owner needs to do this as the user that Google is asking, they may have not visited the business yet.

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