Protect Your Google Location from Being Claimed by Competitors

Google Maps, Marketing, SEO

We’d like to help business owners by letting them know about simple marketing tasks they can easily complete in less than 5 minutes. This month, we decided to cover something a little different but really important. It’s a growing problem that we’d like to help business owners educate themselves about and prevent from happening. Today, we’ll explain why this is a growing concern and how to prevent it from happening to you. Let’s get started!

The Intended Purpose of The Transfer/Claim Ownership Request

There is a process on Google to claim ownership of a business location by simply submitting a request. Almost anyone can request ownership of almost any business location on Google. The purpose of this feature is to help business owners to claim or re-claim ownership. A few reasons for this feature are:

  • You no longer have access to the email address/Google account connected to it
  • You have lost contact with the person who was managing or originally claimed it
  • You purchased a business and the original owner doesn’t know who has access to it

How Your Competitors Can Obtain “Ownership” of Your Google Location

After the request is submitted, Google emails the people listed as the “Owner” or “Manager” of the location to approve or deny the transfer of ownership. Google will typically wait for only 3 days to receive a response. The major flaw with this is that if the email is missed for any reason, then you could lose access to your location. What can happen from there varies, but the competitor will commonly mark you as “Permanently Closed”. This will effectively eliminate any chance of your location being shown in search results.

Our Personal Experience with This Growing Problem

We are admins on many Google locations and will receive emails with these fraudulent requests. Typically, we’d receive 2-3 fraudulent requests every year. However, we noticed a drastic increase to dozens in just the last 30 days. Most requests are made in the middle of the night to increase the probability of the email being missed.

Why We Think This is Happening

In our opinion, we believe this is because Google has made it easier to transfer/claim ownership. In previous years, you’d usually need to wait 1-2 weeks for Google to reach out to the people listed on the location multiple times. Furthermore, another form of verification (business documentation, phone call, postcard, etc.) was typically required to complete the transfer. Now it appears that if one email is missed for 3 days, you can possibly lose ownership of your location.

How To Prevent It

The good news is that preventing it is relatively easy. All you need to do is ensure that you and/or someone you trust is listed as an admin on the location and has been receiving emails from Google about the location. They typically send emails about monthly statistics, new reviews, updating holiday hours, etc.

If you’re not sure if you have access to the location, follow the steps below to find out:

1. Log into the Gmail/Google account you think has access to the business location.

2. Search for your business on Google.

3. If you don’t see any administrative options like the ones below, then try a different Gmail/Google address.  If none of them seem to have admin access, it’s time to contact whomever you think may have access to it and ask them to add you as the “Owner”.

4. If you can’t find out who has access to it, then see our previous blog about claiming your Google Location.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Larchwood Marketing can manage your online presence to ensure you’re protected from fraud like this, then contact us! Give us a call or use the buttons below to schedule a meeting.