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Monday
Jul072014

How Your Competitors Might Be Destroying Your Medical Spa Business Using Google Maps

Almost anyone can damage your medical practice business or reputation by turning Google against you.. and it's not very hard.

medical spa google maps

Here's an example from Wired Magazine detailing how a restaurant's business was destroyed: Read the article.

It began in early 2012, when he experienced a sudden 75 percent drop off in customers on the weekend, the time he normally did most of his business. The slump continued for months, for no apparent reason. Bertagna’s profits plummeted, he was forced to lay off some of his staff, and he struggled to understand what was happening. Only later did Bertagna come to suspect that he was the victim of a gaping vulnerability that made his Google listings open to manipulation.

He was alerted to that possibility when one of his regulars phoned the restaurant. “A customer called me and said, ‘Why are you closed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday? What’s going on?’” Bertagna says.

It turned out that Google Places, the search giant’s vast business directory, was misreporting the Serbian Crown’s hours. Anyone Googling Serbian Crown, or plugging it into Google Maps, was told incorrectly that the restaurant was closed on the weekends, Bertagna says. For a destination restaurant with no walk-in traffic, that was a fatal problem.

In the case above the business owner is actually trying to sue Google, claiming that a competitor manipulated the restaurants business and that Google didin't do anything about it.

He's not going to get anywhere with that, but it serves to highlight just how vulnerable a local business can be if you're not keeping abreast of what's going on.

Beneath its slick interface and crystal clear GPS-enabled vision of the world, Google Maps roils with local rivalries, score-settling, and deception. Maps are dotted with thousands of spam business listings for nonexistent locksmiths and plumbers. Legitimate businesses sometimes see their listings hijacked by competitors or cloned into a duplicate with a different phone number or website...

Small businesses are the usual targets. In a typical case in 2010, Buffalo-based Barbara Oliver & Co Jewelry saw its Google Maps listing changed to “permanently closed” at the exact same time that it was flooded with fake and highly unfavorable customer reviews.

“We narrowed it down as to who it was. It was another jeweler who had tampered with it,” says Barbara Oliver, the owner. “The bottom line was the jeweler put five-star reviews on his Google reviews, and he slammed me and three other local jewelers, all within a couple of days.”

The first thing you should do is go to Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and Bing and search for your business in different ways using your street address, name, zip code and your name (with misspellings if that's possible) and see what the returned results are. That should give you a sense of whether or not you might have an issue. All of the search engines have a method for creating a local business listing and changing it once you have it.

Not addressing new technology is really just whistling past the grave yard. Your business and reputation are vulnerable and makeing sure that you have clean information online is the first step.

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