9 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make in Google Local Listings

Most people who run small local businesses haven’t spent much time studying internet marketing. As a result, they often make mistakes.


These mistakes could be small and simply result in lower rankings or appearing less professional However, more costly mistakes could result in your listing not appearing in Google entirely.

Here are nine of the most common ways business owners mess up their Google local rankings.

#1 – Placing Directions in the Address

Placie directions in the AddressIf you add directions like “between the red and blue building” in your address, Google won’t be able to tell where you really are.

Google’s mapping technology only understands real addresses. Instead of putting directions in the address, add them to the description box. Or just let Google maps handle it.

#2 – Using a P.O. Box Using a PO Box

Google doesn’t like P.O. boxes. Yes, for many legitimate businesses, it simply doesn’t make sense to hire real office space. P.O. boxes are great for those businesses, as it gives them a real address without having to rent office space.

Unfortunately, Google frowns upon this practice, most likely because it’s so easy to rent P.O. boxes. Even people who don’t own real local businesses can use P.O. boxes to get rankings.

Avoid using a P.O. box. Use your home address if you have to.

#3 – Not Displaying an Address

Google Places gives you the option to not display your address if you don’t want to. Unfortunately, what Google doesn’t tell you is that if you don’t display your address, your chances of getting ranked are nearly zero.

Do not check the business address box

When’s the last time you saw a Google Places listing with no address? It almost never happens, because any listing that has no address is rarely ever displayed.

Don’t make the mistake of checking this box.

#4 – Not Using Your Main Phone Number

Phone numberSome people choose to use 1-800 phone numbers or different phone lines for different places with regards to their business. For example, some people will use one phone number for the main line, another for online orders and a third of the Yellow Pages. This allows them to track which sources of advertising brings in the most leads.

Google doesn’t like this, because they want to be able to independently verify your phone number. They want you to use your main number so they can determine if you’re really who you say you are.

Not using your main phone number can affect your chances at a good ranking.

#5 – Bad Category Field

When Google asks for your business category, what they mean is things like “Restaurant,” “Dentist,” “Lawyer,” etc.

Category Field

Don’t put anything else in this field. One big rookie mistake is to put actual products in the category. Google won’t give you a warning, they’ll just ding you for the mistake.

#6 – Fake Reviews

Fake reviewsIt can be temping to leave fake reviews. After all, just a handful of fake reviews are enough to make you look better than your competition.

Google is on the lookout for such reviews. It won’t be the first or the hundredth time people have tried to artificially make their listing look better. Doing so can get your rankings demoted or even delisted.

It’s not worth it. Instead, do everything in your power to get real positive customer reviews.

#7 – Not Correcting the Map LocationMap location

Once you’re listed in Google Places, check your location. Is it in the right place?

If your map location is pinpointing to somewhere else, use Google’s tools to correct the mistake. Don’t just let it sit there, or you could lose a lot of business from people going to the wrong place.

#8 – Creating Fake Listings

Fake listingsAnother common mistake is to make fake listings. Why would someone want to do this? Because they believe more people will see their listings if they had 10 locations instead of 2.

However, if you have a listing of a business that isn’t real, are it’ll get flagged. If it gets flagged, Google will probably be able to trace the origins of the fake listings back to your real business, resulting in your real listing getting penalized.

#9 – Making Big Changes

Finally, don’t make big changes to your listings. Google Places understands that brick and mortar businesses rarely move. If you change things around too often, Google will get suspicious.

Only make big changes if you’ve really made big changes in your actual business. Change your location only if you’ve moved, change your phone number only if it’s truly necessary.

These are nine of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to Google Places. Stay out of hot water by following the rules and avoiding these common mistakes.

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3 Responses to “9 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make in Google Local Listings”

  1. Stormy Knight on December 29th, 2011 4:28 pm

    Isn’t this called Google Places now?

  2. maddy k on January 7th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Wow nice article by the author.. Its awesome tips u have given. Thank you very much for sharing!

  3. Unique Gifts on March 17th, 2012 4:44 am

    Very good tips, I knew very little about Google local listings, but now, have a very good tips to use it. Thank you.

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