This is a timely warning for all website owners with a Google local listing- avoid competitors being able to “close your business down” online!
The folks at Search Engine Roundtable brought this to my attention and I thought it was definitely valuable information to pass onto you all, especially with the recent update of Google Maps listings.
The problem is that anyone can make your business appear as though it has closed down on Google Maps.
Here is an example of how your listing may appear:
Now before you go all crazy with worry, competitors can’t automatically “close your business” if you have the proper barriers in place. You need to ensure that your business is verified with Google’s Local Business Center. Those businesses that are not “verified” can easily be sabotaged, which could hurt their sales.
There has been a lot of talk about this issue lately in numerous forums and Google employee Joel H explains more on the Google Maps help forum:
I just want to reiterate: there are two types of listings with the Place Closed label, and, for each type, there’s a way to remove that label.
For claimed listings through the Local Business Center (LBC): Please sign in to the LBC and select Edit to the right of the listing. On the following page, select Submit. Within a day or two the listing will appear without this label of Place Closed on Maps.
For unclaimed listings, which are open to community edits: Please select Edit below the address and choose Restore Place.
So, you know what to do – go ahead and secure your listing. In these uncertain financial times, the worst thing you can do is make it easy for your competitors to sabotage your business’s online success.