Warning: Don't let your Google Local Listing get Hijacked
Recently I visited a restaurant client of mine because they would like to start doing some paid advertising on social media. While I was there the restaurant manager came over to me and asked, "Why are the prices on our website different from our menu?" I informed him that I designed the menus and handle the social media, but I did not build the website. I said let's go over the website pricing and I will speak to the administrator and have it corrected. While I was looking at the website from my phone I didn't see any discrepancies, but the other gentleman was seeing something different.
I glanced over and noticed he was not on the restaurant's website. I asked him how did he get to that website and he showed me he landed on this site by doing a google search for the restaurant and then clicked on the website button under the local listing. As I looked closer at the Google Local Listing, the menu url was pointing to a different site as well. The URL had the original web name with a nyc.com. When I asked the owner, when did he start working with this specific online order company and what type of agreement he had with them he said, "I don't have any agreement with them, they send us some orders now and again." I had to break it to him, his local listing was possibly hacked, but definitely hijacked by EatStreet. Hijacking has been a common offense by the online order companies, such as EatStreet for sometime now.
What is a Google Local Listing Hijacking?
Basically, it is when someone modifies your Google Business Profile in order to drive traffic to their website to benefit their business model. This allows the "bad-doer" to steel your traffic, build their customer base and keep a percentage of the sales. They have accomplished this by filling out forms in Google that can trigger a phone call or a post card mailing of security code. Once they gain access they make the changes without you even knowing.
How to Prevent This?
1. Never allow Third Party Ordering platforms access to any proprietary information (i.e.:website, Google Local Listings or Social Media channels.
2. Never share ID's, usernames or passwords with anyone
3. Audit Yourself! Monitor and stay current with all listing information on the web.
Correcting this type of issue can be more than tedious or stressful, so please stay vigilant. If you have any questions or are looking for a trustworthy marketing consultant give Hospitality Marketing a call. Hospitality Marketing is a family-owned Full Service Boutique Marketing Agency specializing in small businesses.