Your Google Business Profile is a powerful tool for attracting customers and providing them with accurate information about your business. However, neglecting to claim your profile can have significant consequences. You risk losing control over the displayed information, leading to confusion, dissatisfaction, and missed opportunities for potential customers. Moreover, failing to claim your profile means you cannot engage with customer reviews, missing out on valuable feedback and the chance to enhance your reputation. Additionally, unclaimed profiles result in missed promotional opportunities, inaccurate representation, decreased search visibility, and a lack of valuable insights.
Key Points: Claimed vs Unclaimed Google Business Profiles
- Lack of control over information can lead to outdated or incorrect data, causing customer confusion and dissatisfaction.
- Unclaimed profiles prevent business owners from responding to reviews, missing the opportunity to engage with customers and address concerns.
- Claimed profiles allow businesses to promote events, updates, and discounts, increasing visibility and attracting customers.
- Without claiming the profile, businesses have no control over the content and media representing them, potentially leading to misleading impressions.
- Unclaimed profiles have decreased search visibility, while claimed profiles have higher chances of appearing in local search results.
- Google My Business provides valuable insights and analytics, helping owners make informed decisions about marketing and operations.
- Unclaimed listings are vulnerable to tampering or incorrect edits, which can harm the business’s reputation and lead to lost customers.
- An unclaimed profile reduces consumer trust, while claimed profiles signal professionalism and commitment to customer service.
Lack of Control Over Information
When a business owner doesn’t claim their Google Business Profile, they surrender control over the information that appears on their listing. This can lead to potentially harmful situations where outdated or incorrect data is displayed. For example, a restaurant that has moved to a new location could lose potential customers who end up at the old address listed on an unclaimed profile. Similarly, wrong business hours could lead to customer dissatisfaction when they show up only to find the business closed.
Furthermore, incorrect information can create confusion and diminish the customer’s experience. For instance, if a clothing store is incorrectly listed as a shoe store, it can lead to missed opportunities with customers searching specifically for clothing. Thus, claiming your Google Business Profile allows you to ensure the information about your business is accurate and current.
Unable to Respond to Reviews
Online reviews significantly impact a business’s reputation. The owner cannot engage with these reviews if a business listing is unclaimed. When a business owner actively responds to reviews, they value customer feedback and are committed to improving their services. For example, responding to a negative review with an apology and a solution can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
Moreover, without the ability to respond, businesses miss the opportunity to clarify any misconceptions or inaccuracies in reviews. For instance, if a customer leaves a one-star review because they believed a product was overpriced, the business owner could respond to explain the value and quality that justify the price. This addresses the customer’s concerns and provides context to other potential customers reading the review.
And reviews are a huge deal for local businesses:
- 15% of users don’t trust businesses without reviews.
- 89% of customers won’t take action until they read reviews (source: Web Tribunal).
- Only 6% of consumers don’t trust customer reviews at all (source: Statista).
- 93% of people read online reviews before making a purchase (source: LocalIQ).
Missed Promotional Opportunities
Claiming a Google Business Profile enables business owners to actively engage with customers by posting updates, events, and promotions. For instance, a local bookstore could use this feature to inform customers about an upcoming book signing event or a limited-time discount.
Without claiming the listing, businesses miss out on these free promotional opportunities. This could lead to lower visibility of events and offers, potentially resulting in fewer customers and lower sales. By claiming their profile, businesses can directly communicate their promotional activities to both existing and potential customers, increasing the likelihood of their participation.
A claimed Google Maps listing allows businesses to curate the content that represents them, including photos and other media. For example, a hotel owner would want to ensure that the photos on their listing accurately represent their rooms and facilities. Without this control, a user might upload unflattering or irrelevant photos, such as pictures of a neighbouring construction site, which can give potential customers a misleading impression.
Similarly, user-generated content can sometimes be inaccurate or misleading. For example, a café might be mistakenly tagged as a nightclub, leading to confusion and misaligned expectations. Claiming the listing allows business owners to moderate this content, ensuring that their business is accurately and attractively represented.
Decreased Search Visibility
Google’s algorithm favours claimed and well-maintained business listings when determining search rankings. For example, if two similar restaurants compete for visibility, the one with a claimed and regularly updated Google Business Profile may appear higher in local search results, potentially attracting more customers.
On the other hand, an unclaimed listing may be viewed by Google’s algorithm as less relevant or reliable, resulting in lower visibility. This could mean missing out on potential customers who use Google to find local businesses. By claiming and maintaining their business profile, owners can help increase their visibility to users actively looking for their services or products.
Lack of Insights
Google My Business provides valuable insights and analytics, such as understanding how customers discover your business—whether they’re finding you through a direct search, discovery search, or seeing your posts on their Google feed. It can also show where your customers are coming from, whether it’s from Google Search, Google Maps, or other sources. These insights can help a business owner make informed decisions about marketing and operations. For example, if the data shows that most customers discover the business through Google Maps, the owner might prioritise adding more photos and information to their Maps listing.
Without claiming the business profile, owners miss out on this crucial data. It’s like flying blind in an age where data-driven decisions can significantly impact business growth and success. Therefore, claiming the Google Business Profile gives control and provides valuable insights that can help shape the business’s future.
Vulnerability to Tampering
Unclaimed listings are vulnerable to tampering or incorrect edits by other users. For example, a competitor or disgruntled customer could intentionally provide misleading information about your business hours or services, causing confusion and potentially leading to lost business. In one instance, a restaurant owner found their business listing had been erroneously marked as ‘permanently closed’, causing significant confusion and loss of customers until the error was noticed and corrected.
Claiming the business profile can help prevent such issues. As the owner of a claimed listing, you can quickly rectify any incorrect edits made by other users. This ability to promptly address and correct false information is crucial in maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the business listing.
Reduced Consumer Trust
Having an unclaimed Google Business Profile can reduce consumer trust. An optimised Google My Business profile signals to customers that the business is established, active, and invested in serving its customers. It’s akin to a shop owner keeping their storefront clean and welcoming.
In contrast, when potential customers see an unclaimed listing, it might give them the impression that the business is less professional or perhaps not as committed to its customer service. For example, if a customer is deciding between two local bakeries, and one has a claimed, well-maintained Google Business Profile with recent photos, updates, and responses to reviews, while the other has an unclaimed, outdated profile, the customer is likely to choose the former. Therefore, claiming and maintaining a Google Business Profile is an effective way to build trust and attract customers.