Did you hear about Trump Towers being changed to ‘Dump Towers’ on Google My Business? It’s true.

According to CNN, for a few hours, Trump Tower in New York City turned into “Dump Tower” on Google Maps. This was actually verified in the article, “Google Gag” on Snopes.com.

The story was even covered in a CNN article, “Trump Tower Turns into ‘Dump Tower’ on Google Maps”.

Trump Tower serves as the President’s home in Manhattan. Its central location on Fifth Avenue has posed security challenges for the Secret Service and local law enforcement.

CNN affiliate WPIX had reported that a second location, the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Columbus Circle had also been renamed Dump International Hotel & Tower earlier Saturday. By Sunday morning, that reference had also been removed.

Source: Trump Tower turns into ‘Dump Tower’ on Google Maps

While this issue was quickly corrected, it highlights why small business owners need to prioritize claiming and optimizing their Google My Business listing. Incorrect or inconsistent information in any of the places where consumers search today can equate to real loss for the business or organization.

Here’s why….

According to Google’s data back in 2015, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” This makes it clear – any small business that isn’t coming up for relevant mobile searches is losing out. (Note: Google groups tablets with desktops, so this just refers to smartphones.)

The infographic below shows the most recent research I could find from 2017 indicating what percentage of time people are on mobile devices when accessing digital information.

On top of that, another stat says that 76% of people who use location search will buy within 1 business day. However, 43% of businesses across the U.S. have at least one incorrect or missing address online.

Incorrect Location Data Hurts Business Owners in Two Ways:

  1. Lowers the Opportunity to Rank High in Search Results – businesses that have incorrect or inconsistent data (specifically the Name of the Business, Address, and Phone Number) will tend to rank poorly because their most critical business data cannot be seen as reliable. This leads to fewer consumers finding them when they’re ready to buy, and ultimately results in lost sales.
  2. Discourages Consumers from Doing Business – if consumers find a business conflicting name, address, or phone information online, it’s often easier to hit the back button and quickly look for another option – especially when they’re pressed for time.

4 MISTAKES TO AVOID WITH GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Not Having a Google My Business Directory Listing

This is more common with newer businesses when Google has not yet created a Google My Business Listing for them.

It’s relevant because consumers looking for service providers in your local area, but have not become aware of your brand will search several places. Today, shoppers begin their search in places like:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Asking Siri a question (voice search)

This is why it’s more important than ever that any local business make certain their critical business information be correct and consistent across multiple platforms. Missing information or inconsistent information on any of your online profiles will cause a business to lose credibility in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm.

If Google doesn’t feel confident about the information reflecting a local business across multiple websites, it’s less likely for that business to rank well. Especially if their competitors’ information is correct and consistent across those same websites.

Not Claiming the Google My Business Directory Listing

Google has taken the liberty to create hundreds of thousands of Google My Business (GMB) Pages for local business, churches, schools, and all kinds of brick and mortar locations. However, the information on these GMB Pages is often incorrect. The only sure way to insure a business is properly represented online is to “claim the Google My Business Profile”. Below, you can see the difference between a “claimed” GMB Profile and one that is “unclaimed”.

Not Completing the Google My Business Directory Listing

Once the Google My Business Listing has been claimed, it needs to be completely filled out for several reasons.

First, incomplete listings are unable to give potential consumers the information they’re seeking when considering a purchase decision. There’s a saying in today’s digital world that goes, “Content is King!” Well, there’s truth in that statement.

For instance… here are just a few reasons why a local business’ online directory website needs to be complete:

  • Directory websites receive anywhere from 2-5x more views than a traditional business website
  • FUN FACT: When it comes to restaurants, their online directories will receive up to 10x more views than their website (this is why they should include a menu whenever possible on their GMB Directory Site.
  • Consumers today will search for a hotel with a jacuzzi tub (see image below)

Research shows that online directories/listings with all the fields completed receives:

  • 347% more searches
  • 214% more Yelp page reviews
  • 416% more listing views

than a listing with only 1/4 of the fields completed.

Failing to Update the Google My Business Directory Listing

Local businesses frequently have minor updates that consumers need to know. Here’s a short list:

  • Monthly / Holiday Special Promotions
  • Summer Hours
  • Holiday Hours
  • A Limited-Time Sale
  • Restaurant Menu Updates / Seasonal Items

Knowing that online directory sites like Google My Business receive 2-5x as many views as a business’ website, it’s critical to have the most current information listed on these directories.

As an example, see the images below:

VIDEO: HOW PEOPLE SEARCH ON GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

On the other hand, below is an example of a Google My Business listing that has been completed. You can see the level of detail will provide potential customers a good bit of insight related to their:

  • menu
  • location photos
  • popular times
  • customer reviews
  • questions and answers
  • business location and the correct phone number

Attracting New Customers with Google My Business

It’s most important to claim the Google My Business Directory Listing before someone else does. That’s what happened to Trump Towers. If a Google My Business Listing remains unclaimed, a stranger has the opportunity to claim it and change the critical business information.

However, once claimed, the only thing a stranger can do is “Suggest an Edit”.

When the Google My Business Listing has been claimed, the owner will receive all ‘suggested edits’ and they can handle them accordingly.

In addition, if someone reviews a business on an unclaimed Google My Business directory listing, the business owner will not be notified, and will not be able to respond.

In today’s world (where the star rating means everything), it’s best to stay on top of reviews left by customers. When someone leaves a negative review (1-3 star rating) there should ALWAYS be a response from the owner. While we cannot please 100% of our customers 100% of the time, we can at least be paying attention to what’s being said about our brand, and responding in a way that shows we care about the customer.

Failure to respond to negative reviews indicates one of two things:

  1. We’re not paying attention to our reviews (which leaves room for consumers to believe we don’t care our customers)
  2. We’re aware of what’s being said, but we really don’t care when customers have a bad experience

Neither of those are acceptable for businesses who want to remain in business over the long haul.

We Can Help

There are three steps:

  1. Start with claiming your Google My Business Listing.
  2. Confirm whether the information on your Google My Business Directory Listing is accurate and up to date.
  3. Complete your profile by filling out all the necessary fields.

For those who really want to maximize the opportunity to attract new customers searching online, you should consider looking at all of your online directory listings. Incorrect or inconsistent information on any of those sites will adversely affect how well your business ranks in Google.

We have a Online Scan Tool that’s completely free, and will allow any local business owner to see how well their business is represented online. Simply click the image below and complete the form on the next page. Your results will come back within 48-60 seconds.

If you’d like our assistance in correcting any errors or inconsistencies, click the button below and complete the form on that page. Either myself or my assistant LaKeshia Singleton will get back in touch with you within 24 hours or 1 business day.