Without a shadow of a doubt, Google My Business listing is a great promotional tool that can be helpful in attracting local customers. However, there are a lot of scammers and companies that try to take advantage of users’ lack of knowledge and scam them.
If you run a local company, setting up a Google My Business profile will surely help you reach more potential customers. This type of advertising is a great supplement to SEO activities, especially since it’s free.
Unfortunately, there are more and more scammers who take advantage of business owners' misinformation and often trick them into paying for Google My Business listing services. In today's entry, we'll present some information on how these scammers operate and how you can protect your company.
Google My Business Page - what do you need to know about it?
Google My Business listing is free and easy to set up tool for managing your company's image in the search engine and Google Maps. Adding information about your company and keeping it updated makes it easier for your customers to find you among other market rivals.
As you can see in the image above, Google My Business listings are displayed on the right side in the window that the search engine shows when users enter a query. Here, you can find information such as:
A link that leads to the company's website
A link, which determines the route to the location indicated in Google Maps
A button that allows you to add a given location to your Google Maps
An average of all ratings and a link to reviews
A brief description of the business
Information about upcoming events
Any other data useful for customers
The main advantage of Google My Business is that customers can easily access information about your company. As it’s visible also in Google Maps, they’re able to reach your location.
This tool is also a great place to communicate with buyers and respond to their reviews. Remember that positive feedback can additionally promote your business as many users compare different companies based on reviews and comments found online.
Moreover, the Google My Business listing allows users to “walk around” your company building. Thanks to this feature, they can sleep soundly knowing that the business actually exists and isn’t another scam. Such elements inspire users’ trust and create a positive image of your company.
Google My Business collects data on user activity, which you, as a business owner, can analyze in the form of accessible statistics. You can find useful information on How to Add Your Company to Google My Business in one of our entries.
New functionalities, modifications and paid promotion
Over the last few years, the form of Google My Business listings has significantly evolved and now it looks quite different than at the beginning. The list of the most important changes includes the entries section, where you can place posts containing various types of news and links to your articles.
The message option allows users to easily contact the company that attracted their attention. This significantly facilitates communication and shortens the distance between the business owners and potential customers.
As mentioned a few times in this post, creating a Google My Business card and adding your location to Google Maps is free. However, there is an extra, paid function that allows you to promote your company even more.
What are the paid functionalities of Google My Business?
Location extensions in Google Ads - this option helps you place your company at the top, in the sponsored search results of Google Maps. To do this, you need to integrate Google Ads with your business page - choose the so-called location extensions option. Each click on your business listing will cost you a predetermined amount.
Interestingly, Google started sending out surveys to selected local business owners to see if they would be willing to pay a monthly subscription for Google My Business pages. According to the data that was on the form, the cost of a monthly payment could range from $25-$50. Perhaps it's a sign of upcoming changes.
Google My Business listings - how to avoid scams?
For some time now, the Internet has been full of information about dishonest companies offering paid management of Google My Business listings.Managing a company's business profile, updating its data, replying to reviews, or publishing entries are tasks that can be outsourced to third parties legally and Google accepts them.
However, it's unacceptable to intentionally mislead people in order to gain money from it.
Unfortunately, such situations happen - scammers claiming to be Google employees or partners, take advantage of business owners' unawareness and try to trick them into paying for the maintenance of their business profiles. Scammers work in different ways - they usually communicate with company owners by phone or email.
Google My Business scams - popular red flags
The most popular red flags suggesting Google My Business scams include:
Telephone or email contact from Google’s business partners - scammers frequently contact business owners claiming that they’re partners calling on behalf of Google. They usually try to scam smaller businesses that haven’t created or updated their pages yet. They’ll promise you that your rankings will improve significantly once you pay them. Indeed, there are companies that cooperate with Google. However, the list is publicly available and the collaboration is linked to Google Ads and PPC.
Being charged for setting up the page - if someone contacts you and tells you that you need to pay for creating the Google My Business listing or the initial subscription, it’s a sign that you’re being tricked.
Trying to convince you that your website equals your Google My Business page - some scammers may try to convince you that if you don’t pay the fee, Google or the scammers' will deactivate your website. It’s worth mentioning that no one is able to remove your Google My Business page or website if they don’t have the necessary access information.
Promising you a red pin in Google Maps - have you talked with someone who promised to help you create the red pin displayed in Google Maps? Well, this pin appears naturally when people enter precise queries or click specific locations. You're being scammed, watch out!
Keep in mind that setting up a Google My Business listing is free and you can do it without any technical expertise. SEO agencies often offer free creation of a company page as a part of their services.
If you’ve any doubts about whether you’re truly talking with a Google representative, ask for employee verification. Each legitimate specialist will be able to provide you with satisfactory answers. If they don’t do it, it’s a sign that you’re dealing with a scammer.
Moreover, it’s crucial to remember that Google or its partners will never ask you to give them personal information such as:
Your social security numbers or national insurance numbers
Bank account details
Credit card numbers
Date of birth
What to pay attention to when outsourcing your Google My Business page?
As mentioned above, Google accepts that some companies outsource the process of managing their Google My Business listings. On Google's support page, you can check out in detail what proper Collaboration with Third-Party Companies should look like.
Google recommends that:
You should choose wisely based on a detailed analysis of a third-party company.
It’s advisable to cooperate with a company experienced in business profile management.
You should gain expertise and learn about Google My Business and its operation.
It’s crucial to evaluate the effects based on the data available in the tool.
Be aware that you have the full right to access user activity data related to your business page. Don't trust people who guarantee a specific position in the search engine and Google Maps. Also, know that no external company has the power to remove your Google My Business listing.
How to react to scam attempts?
If you're in a situation similar to the ones described above, be cautious, don't engage in a discussion with the scammer, and don't make the payment. When a third-party company that manages your Google Business profile acts against the rules - report a violation.
Inform others about the dishonest company or person in a special category prepared by Google - "Spam and policy violations". Thanks to it, other businesses can avoid unpleasant scam situations.
The take-home message
Google My Business listing is a tool that gives you great opportunities when it comes to local SEO for your company. However, it's worth having the right knowledge about it, so that you don't get scammed by dishonest entities. This expertise will allow you to quickly identify threats and estimate the costs associated with the services of managing your business page.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.