Google Maps are great right? Just type “tapas restaurant, philadelphia” into Google and in a split second you’ve got results before you, along with a handy map! Click on the links and you can visit the restaurant web sites or click on the More Info link and you can see the Google Places Page summary for the business.
Google Maps and the Places Pages they link to are great for consumers. They are not so great for businesses. Why not? If you claim your listing, you’ll show up in the Maps list for your target area and people can find you – what’s not to like?
Well, in addition to the information your provide them directly, Google pulls information from a variety of outside sources and aggregates it into your business’ Places Page. This can be problematic on multiple fronts:
- It is often hard to tell exactly where a particular piece of information on the Google Places Page is actually coming from, making it hard to correct errors
- Review and comments are prominently displayed within the Google Places Pages, but there is no mechanism for you, the business owner, to respond to a review within the Google system
- It has been widely reported that Google’s Places Pages are often quite slow in having reviews fall off their pages that have been removed from the source web site
- ANYONE can post a review about your business, including competitors, former employees or people who just don’t like you – there is no verification process that the reviewer was an actual customer of the business being reviewed
The effects of having a very negative review so prominently placed within a Google branded result can be devastating.
So what can you do? Start by claiming your listings. You’d be amazed at just how many places there are on the web where your business is probably listed. You can’t monitor something you’re not aware of…
Don’t have the time to claim and/or manage online listings? Consider hiring a professional to manage it for you – you’ll be glad you did! We’ve been doing a lot of work in this type of reputation management lately and would love to help you too!