We highlighted the importance of Google Places listings for local businesses in a previous post. What we wanted to expand on, and didn’t highlight in our previous post was some things you may not know about when it comes to your Google Places listing that could make your listing ineffective and an open playing field for your competitors.

googles places mistakes 1.) No owner verification – Owner verification is one of the most notorious things people forget to do for their Google Places listing. After you create your Google places listing, the next step is to verify your listing with a verification code they give you either over the telephone, or by postcard.

2.) Address Listing – If you work out of your office at home and list your Google Places address as your home address, make sure you use that address as your business address and only use it only once per each business you may have. Google will allow you to enter a P.O. box that is not associated with your home address but it is ineffective.

3.) Keyword Stuffing – Have you tried to keyword stuff your Google Places listing? You may have thought that adding a large list of keywords relevant to your business would help you significantly in search engines, but you would be sadly mistaken. Google may penalize your listing if it recognizes that you are trying to game the system by adding an abundant amount of keywords.

4.) No picture – If you’re going to make a Google Places listing, you might as well fill out the whole profile, otherwise you are missing opportunities. Always make sure you add a picture of your business or a logo.  Make sure the one you want displayed as the main picture, is the first one you upload because Google assigns the first uploaded photo as the main picture for your listing.

5.) No categories – Make sure to add categories to your listing so that you are more easily found for the services or products you offer. Google allows you to add up to five categories that you think best fit your business. This will really help aid your Google Places listing to show up in a general Google search.

6.) No reviews – If you know how Google works, you would know that the more good reviews it sees in a Google Places listing, the more emphasis it places on showing that particular listing as an authority in Google search results ie. higher ranking in search results compared to others in its industry with no reviews(or negative ones). You can request reviews in an email blast, or try to offer incentives to get a review.

7.) Ignoring your listing – Are you one of those people that create a Google Places listing and completely abandon it? If so, you are opening yourself up to potential competitor sabotage and/or negative reviews from unhappy customers. Make it a habit to check your Places listing at least once a week.

If you have fallen victim to any of these 7 deadly Google Places sins, hurry and go fix them! For more information on Google Places listings, visit the Google My Business Help Center.