5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid on Your Google Business Listing


A Google Business Profile is a crucial part of your business’s web presence. As soon as business owners realize how important it is, they often scramble to get the listing up.

Simply having a Google listing isn’t enough; your Google Business listing needs to be a valuable resource for potential clients and customers. Here are five incredibly common mistakes that folks make on their Google Business listing:

Low Quality Photos:

Never underestimate the power of visuals. For a huge percentage of your potential customers, your GBP listing is their first impression of your business. High-quality, authentic photos will entice customers to take a closer look. Low-quality photos make users click away as fast as they can.

Considering how many impressions your Google Business listing gets, you can’t afford to keep bad photos on your Google listing. When it comes to online listings, users definitely judge a book by its cover.

example of low quality photo and high quality photo

Big Takeaway:

Use high-quality photos to show your business in its best light. If you don’t have good photos of your business, get busy taking them!

Category Confusion

Google Categories can be a huge source of confusion and frustration. Lumping your unique business under a broad umbrella is sure to ruffle feathers, but it is absolutely crucial to your Google business listing.

Google Categories are a major component to local search. Categories define your business at a glimpse, and (hopefully) helps customers find what they’re looking for. These categories are made by Google, and you cannot make your own.

Luckily, Google has a massive list to choose from, with more showing up all the time. Some are pretty weird.

Make sure your primary category (the one you choose first) is as correct as possible. Your primary category determines which customers search for you.

Getting your categories wrong can result in angry customers, bad reviews, abysmal rankings, and an extremely tedious phone call with a Google customer service rep.

Big Takeaway:

Though it’s probably not a perfect explanation of your business, use the most accurate Google category. It’s an ordeal for everybody when a business’s category is wrong.


Wrong Information

When it comes to Google, consistency is key. There shouldn’t be any inconsistent information between your Google Business listing, website, or any other place on the web. The most important information to get right: NAP.

NAP is short for Name, Address, and Phone Number. You need to make sure that any instance of NAP is consistent, down to the tiniest detail.

google hates conflicting information

Does it say “suite” on your site, but “ste.” on your listing? Fix it.

Does one say LLC and the other doesn’t? Fix it.

Did your business move, and you forgot to update the address and number on your listing? Fix it, ASAP!

Big Takeaway:

Inconsistency makes customers and Google angry. Improve your customers’ user experience and your Google rankings by keeping your information correct and consistent.

Mismanaging Google Reviews

This is a big one.

Google reviews have a huge influence on customer impressions, and is central to your business’s  online reputation. A high overall star-rating is attractive to searchers, and has a significant effect on your rankings.

A lot of businesses fail to manage their reviews in the following ways:

  • Not inviting happy customers to leave reviews
  • Getting in bitter arguments with unhappy customers
  • Fake reviews and obvious employee reviews
  • Never interacting with customers
  • Giving your direct competition bad reviews

Businesses should encourage customers to leave reviews, and even teach them how, if the customer isn’t savvy. Responses should be professional, and should never devolve into a childish flame war.

Some clients “buy” 5-star reviews in bulk from sketchy businesses overseas. This may seem like a get-rich-quick marketing hack, I’d strongly advise against it. Buying reviews is illegal, Google penalizes it, and you’re really not fooling anyone. Bought reviews are notoriously (and hilariously) poorly-written. Just earn positive reviews the old-fashioned way.

If a review is inappropriate, you can flag it for removal. There are no guarantees that Google will remove it. If a customer legitimately disliked your business and gave it a 1-star review, there’s a good chance that review will stay. Respond positively and constructively, and there’s a chance that angry customer might have a change of heart.

Big Takeaways:

Your Google reviews can make or break your business. Respond to each and every review, and keep it positive.

Duplicate Listings:

This happens all the time.

If your business has a duplicate listing, it will show up twice in local search, and Google will strike your listings down with extreme prejudice. Duplicate content is a ranking-killer, it confuses customers, and it makes your business look sloppy and disorganized. It’s also against Google’s terms of service.

A lot of businesses try to make a new Google Business listing when they open a new location, or move. They shouldn’t do this.

Instead of making a duplicate page, update the listing you already have to reflect any changes, including new locations.

If you have duplicate listings, remove or report them. If that doesn’t work, get on the phone with a Google rep, and don’t take no for an answer.

Big Takeaways:

A duplicate listing can be devastating to your web presence. Remove it, before your business is penalized!

Your Google Business Profile is a wonderful resource that helps you connect with customers. Make sure your business listing is optimized, consistent, beautiful, original, current, and has a well-groomed online reputation. You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t want to do it yourself? Learn more about our Google Business Profile optimization and management services.