Most local businesses have some form of competition.
That's a healthy part of any economic market.
But what if your competition isn't exactly as honest or ethical as you are?
Your Google My Business page is one of the most important things you need to have.
It's crucial that you provide accurate NAP info (name, address, and phone number), and that the page is filled in completely.
But what if someone else could edit your Google My Business page without your permission?
And not only that, but they could do it without hacking your profile outright?
Due to some troubling oversights on Google's part, there are ways that someone could spam your page with inaccurate “updates.”
Usually, the goal of this is to steal your leads and direct them somewhere else.
You probably had no idea that this was going on. Most people don't.
But it's something you need to watch out for.
A recent article from Moz details exactly how this happens, and what you can do about it.
Spammers update legitimate information on Google as a way to send more leads somewhere else.
This might shock some readers, but it was old news to me since spam of this nature on Google Maps has been a problem for almost a decade.
Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business (which is free to use), are notified via email when edits are suggested.
Spammers and others with negative intent are a problem for consumers, businesses, and technology companies that provide local business information.
We use automated systems to detect for spam and fraud, but we tend not to share details behind our processes so as not to tip off spammers or others with bad intent.
That might sound nice, but turns out it's not totally accurate.
The author did some research and testing of his own and found Google's statement to be.. not totally accurate.
Here's how I would edit that original response from Google to make it more factually correct:
Merchants who manage their business listing info through Google My Business (which is free to use) are notified when edits made by others are published on Google.
Sometimes they are notified by email and the updates are also shown inside the Google My Business dashboard.
Google allows users (other than the business owner) to make edits to listings on Google, but the edits are reviewed by either automated systems or, in some cases, actual human beings.
Although the system isn’t perfect, Google is continually making efforts to keep the map free from spam and malicious editing.
So be careful about checking your Google My Business dashboard — because of Google's oversights, someone else could wreck your entire listing, and you wouldn't know about it until the damage had already been done.
You can get the full scoop on this insidious sabotage technique over at Moz.