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How Google Maps Can Destroy a Business, and How to Protect Yourself

A good web marketing/SEO team will help you in ways you weren’t even expecting.

This week, Wired posted an article about how Google Map hackers can destroy a business at will. It was the story about a 75-year-old businessman in the Washington, DC area who closed his restaurant after 40 years due to a 75% drop in customers. As it turns out, he had incorrect information on his Google Maps listing (these are the listings that appear in the search results for local businesses with an address, and a map on the side). New customers that found him and existing customers looking up his restaurant saw the business as “closed” on Saturday and Sunday, traditionally his busiest and most lucrative days of the week, and never showed up.

The saddest part is that this could have all been avoided.

Because our world is rapidly changing, especially in technology, it is essential to keep up on trends. Being unaware of trends or sticking our heads in the sand doesn’t change their reality. This man’s business went down not because of something he specifically did, but because of something he wasn’t even aware of. If you can’t keep up on trends (and let’s face it, most businesses can’t), you need someone who can on your behalf. Medical practices are way too busy keeping up with changes in the medical field. Attorneys are busy with clients and changes in the law. Keeping up with Internet trends just isn’t possible. And that’s where a good web marketing/SEO team comes into play.

Understanding the Changes

Our changing world requires businesses to have someone looking out for them, especially in the marketing world. For example, if you think SEO is the future, you’re wrong. Many practices are just getting caught up, but SEO is already here (and don’t worry, it will continue to be here for a long time). What does the future look like?

  • Video – Video is huge, and it’s growing rapidly. YouTube is the #2 search engine behind Google (not Yahoo, not Bing). Users are consuming video at a rapid rate and it is becoming the preferred method of content consumption. If you’re lacking video, you’re quickly falling behind.
  • Mobile – It is estimated that in 2015, over half of Internet searches will take place on mobile devices. For many of our clients, approximately half of their website traffic is already mobile. What does this mean? Mobile is becoming more important than desktop. Yet, many still fail to consider how their website appears on mobile devices.

These are just two of the major trends that can significantly affect your business. Yet, most practices are unaware. The Google+ issue that destroyed the DC restaurant was a minor change in comparison. Changes like this are happening all the time, and if someone isn’t looking out for you it could be problematic.

Who Is Looking Out for You?

Marketing agencies and SEOs keep up with the trends like you never could. Are they worth the money? Maybe the better question is “can you afford to not have someone looking out for you?” And remember, this is really more of a peripheral benefit to the overall lead generation that a solid marketing agency can provide.

For example, we have a medical client with multiple locations. We found that though their listings were correct, there were negative reviews associated with one specific location from unhappy patients, but they were shown in a Google search for the company name. With over 20 locations, how many people do you think saw this review in a given month? Hundreds? For arguments sake, let’s say just 5 people decided not to go there per month. At $2,000 per new patient, that’s $10,000 per month in lost revenue. $120,000 every year, and that’s with the low 5 person estimate. It was likely much more. We were able to catch this review and help manage the reputation of the business with a peripheral service. And that’s just one example.

It’s Your Turn

Know what you can do, and know what you can’t. If you need help figuring out what you can and can’t do, give us a call. We also help with overall marketing strategies and can help you figure out where to invest your money the most wisely so that you can capitalize on what you know, and what we know.