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How to Avoid the Most Costly Google My Business Mistakes

How to Avoid the Most Costly Google My Business Mistakes
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In June 2014, Google introduced a platform that would act as a business hub. Google My Business (GMB) became crucial to any business’s online presence. Over the years, entrepreneurs grew to rely on GMB to attract local customers.

However, as with any powerful tool, there is always a chance to make mistakes. These errors can reduce your visibility or flat-out turn potential customers away.

This article will highlight nine common errors jeopardizing your business’s online presence. We will tackle mistakes like incorrect business information and violating Google’s guidelines. Afterward, we will give you nine easy tips to avoid these mistakes and widen your visibility.

Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an expert in your industry, keep reading because this article is for you.

Common Google My Business Mistakes

Do you know what qualifies as a Google My Business mistake in the first place?

These are mistakes that may seem small or insignificant but can result in Google penalizing your GMB profile or favoring a competitor’s profile over yours. Take time to make sure your GMB profile is complete and you haven’t missed anything while filling out your Google My Business profile.

Common Google My Business mistakes include:

  • Wrong business information
  • Unoptimized local SEO
  • Violating Google guidelines
  • Ignoring GMB features
  • Ignored reviews
  • Lack of GMB attributes
  • Low-quality media
  • Inconsistent branding
  • Unused GMB insights

How to Avoid Google My Business Mistakes

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid making these common GMB mistakes. This section will explain how to prevent and resolve these mistakes to ensure your listing appears on your target audience’s search results.

To avoid GMB mistakes, include the following steps on your checklist:

  • Claim and verify your listing
  • Complete your profile
  • Use high-quality media
  • Feature genuine reviews
  • Respond to reviews
  • Use consistent branding elements
  • Use keywords appropriately
  • Follow Google guidelines
  • Monitor your insights

Keep reading to learn more about each of these items and how you can make sure your profile is up-to-date and in the best position to rank.

1. Claim and Verify Your GMB Listing

The first step to getting complete control over your listing and its details is claiming it.

Here’s how to do that:

  • Sign in to your Google account. Ensure it’s the one you’ll use to manage the business.
  • Search for your business name and address on Google My Business.
  • Click the “Own this business?” or “Claim this business” link.
  • Provide your business’s information, such as category, phone number, and website.
  • Choose a verification method. Google allows you to verify your profile through a postcard, phone number, or email. The postcard takes up to two weeks to arrive at your physical location.
  • Once you receive the verification code, log in to your Google My Business account and enter the code in the provided field. You now own your listing.

Sometimes, searching for your business name or address will bring back a result. If this happens, someone else claimed and verified the listing. You can request ownership of a business profile.

2. Fully Complete Your Profile

Google is less likely to suggest an incomplete profile in search queries. Take time to fill out all required fields, including your business name, address, phone number, website, category, and hours of operation.

Google lays out how to represent your business on Google My Business.

In addition to business information, you must include a description to complete your profile. This description tells people who you are and what you do. Think of it as your chance to convince potential customers that you’re the solution to their problems.

Crafting an engaging description is challenging, especially because you can only write up to 750 characters. Google will only show 250 on the search engine results page (SERP). Implement these nifty tips to create the perfect description.

  • Highlight what makes your business unique. The description is the best way to stand out from the competition. Mention your business’s services, products, or mission.
  • Mention your target customer’s pain points or needs and explain how your business will solve them.
  • Showcase the benefits customers will get from choosing your business. Whether it’s excellent customer service, fast delivery, or high-quality products emphasize what customers will gain.
  • Use a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage potential customers to take action, such as visiting your website, making a reservation, or calling for more information.
  • Use clear and straightforward language.
  • Use high-ranking keywords. We’ll explain how to find these phrases later in the article. Also, avoid keyword stuffing – Google flags keyword stuffing as a SEO manipulation tactic.

Here’s an example of a brief but impactful profile description.

Fully Complete Your Profile

3. Use High-Quality Photos and Videos

Some potential customers will skip over your description and focus on your photos. They are keen on your establishment’s aesthetics and ambiance. Here’s how to appeal to them.

  • Invest in a good quality camera or smartphone with a high-resolution camera to get sharp shots of your business premises.
  • Mind your lighting. Natural light is the best choice for photos and videos. Use soft, diffused lighting to avoid harsh shadows if you’re indoors. Avoid direct overhead lighting or strong backlighting.
  • Take images and videos of your products or services in action.
  • If possible, capture genuine interactions between your staff and customers. Interactions are an excellent way to ensure potential clients trust you.
  • Keep it authentic and avoid over-editing or using extreme filters that misrepresent your premises, products, or services.
  • Optimize your file formats and sizes to ensure your profile loads fast. 
  • Encourage your customers to share photos and videos of their experiences at your business. Feature this content on your GMB listing with their permission.
  • If you want professional photography, hire a Google-trusted photographer

4. Feature Genuine Reviews

Feature Genuine Reviews

Reviews are a critical part of any attractive GMB listing. They prove that people enjoy your services and convince potential customers to choose your business.

Getting these reviews, however, takes a lot of work. Here are some pointers to help you get glowing testimonials:

  • Provide exceptional customer service. The best way to get reviews is to give people something to commend you about. Go the extra mile to meet their needs within reason. Train your staff to be polite, attentive, and responsive to customers.
  • Make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Provide clear instructions on where and how to leave a review. You should also post direct links to your GMB review page online or have a QR Code in the office that links customers directly to your profile to leave a review.
  • Ask for reviews from satisfied customers. You can do this in person, via email, or on your website. Remember to request testimonials while the experience is fresh in their minds! Additionally, make your requests personal by mentioning specific details about their interaction with your business.
  • Avoid offering any incentive for reviews. Doing so violates Google’s review policies.

5. Respond to Reviews

In addition to getting reviews, you must interact with them. Potential customers consider your responsiveness as a commitment to offering excellent service. And, Google views these responses as a sign of an active profile and is favorable toward active GMB Profiles.

Responding to positive reviews is straightforward, but what do you say to the negative ones? Remember these tips when addressing negative feedback.

  • Remain calm and professional. Responding angrily or defensively always escalates the situation and discourages potential clients who see this interaction.
  • Acknowledge the concerns the customer mentioned in the review. Apologize to the customer even if you believe the complaint is unjustified. Avoid shifting blame or arguing with customers.
  • Offer a solution or compensation if there’s no way to resolve the issue. You can invite the customer back for a better experience and offer them a discount.
  • If the interaction seems to worsen, take it offline. Encourage the customer to contact you through email or phone to resolve the issue in private.

6. Consistent Branding

Create a recognizable brand using the same elements on all your platforms, including GMB. Use your logo as your profile photo, and select a high-quality cover photo. Find your brand’s voice and tone to ensure your messaging is consistent.

Remember to update your GMB any time you make any changes to your branding. You should have a consistent brand across all online and offline platforms so customers can easily identify your business.

7. Use Your Keywords Sparingly But Effectively

Use Your Keywords Sparingly But Effectively

Using keywords is essential to have your business show in search results, but must be used sparingly to create a natural listing. Google penalizes profiles that use keyword stuffing and other search manipulation tactics.

Here’s how you can achieve this balance:

  • Choose a relevant business category. Doing so will remove the need to repeatedly mention category keywords in your description.
  • Use GMB attributes. These features let you describe the amenities you offer without including keywords.
  • Include keywords in your description, Q&A, review responses, and posts, but be careful not to repeat the same keyword continuously.
  • Use synonyms instead of repeating keywords.

8. Follow Google Guidelines

Whether you consider Google’s policies strict or not, it’s undeniable that violating them will harm your online presence.

Remember these tips when setting up and updating your GMB profile:

  • Choose accurate categories for your business. Avoid misrepresenting your business by selecting the ones that don’t match your offers. Doing so will earn you terrible reviews and get you penalized. 
  • Do not exaggerate your products or services
  • Only claim and verify a business on GMB if you are its legitimate owner or authorized representative. 
  • Do not use P.O. boxes or virtual offices as your business address. Provide a physical location where customers can visit. 
  • Do not use copyrighted content without getting authorization from the creator. 
  • Monitor your reviews for speech that discriminates, promotes violence, or spams your profile. 

9. Monitor Your GMB Insights

Regularly review your GMB insights to make informed refinements to your business strategy.

GMB offers many insights, such as:

  • The search queries people used to find you
  • People who viewed your profile
  • People’s devices (mobile vs desktop)
  • Direction requests
  • Website clicks
  • The number of bookings

Adjust your listing depending on the data you find on GMB insights. You can add more photos, respond to customer reviews, or tailor your offerings to align with customer behavior better.

Helpful Hint: If most of your searches are from mobile devices, take time to make sure your website’s mobile page speed is good.


Google My Business, lets you attract, engage and convert potential customers. However, mistakes can limit your visibility and put your profile at risk of suspension from Google.

Avoiding these mistakes requires deliberate actions.

The first is to claim and verify your listing. Doing so gives you granular control over your listing.

Verification also prevents anyone from making unauthorized changes that will harm your profile.

You must also complete your profile by including accurate business information.

Invest in high-quality photography to get everyone’s attention. Remember that photos and videos can better explain your business’s aesthetics than words.

Feature human reviews in your profile to build people’s trust in your profile. Respond to these reviews (the good and the bad) as an attentive business focusing on customer satisfaction.

Remember to follow Google’s content guidelines and keep track of your analytics. A well-optimized GMB profile will set you up for success.

You do not have to go through the process of setting up your GMB profile yourself – our expert team at Searchific is here to help. Learn more about our services and tell us about your business, whether you have an established Google My Business Profile you’re looking to optimize or you’re looking to get started on marketing your business for the first time on Google.