Every digital company aims to successfully rank high on search engines and maintain a large community of loyal customers. Since 2018 is here, what better way to start achieving your business goals with a fresh and clean slate. Listing your business in Google My Business helps businesses boost search engine ranking and gain more visibility. There are various SEO practices that help bring in more organic traffic, attract new customers, and lead to more conversions.

Common Practices that are Bad for SEO

Implementing bad SEO practices (a.k.a. Black Hat Techniques) can sometimes bring more traffic and good results to your website; however, it only will only last for a short time before Google penalizes your website. To avoid any Google penalties, here is a list of bad SEO practices:

  • Using Inappropriate Addresses for Google My Business Listing

Many online businesses do not have offices and are only using their home address when registering in GMB. However, there are various legible reasons to avoid this practice. Failure to follow the guidelines could result in removal of your business from Google listing. According to Google’s guidelines:

    • Your page should be created at your actual, real-world location.
    • Precise business address, including the suite, floor, and building numbers, is required rather than listing the broad city names or cross-streets.
    • Do not use “temporary” or virtual office that is different from your main business.

Solution:  If you ever find yourself doing this, stop and self-report your business to Google. It may sound frightening and awkward, but GMB forum Top Contributor, Joy Hawkins, said that entrepreneurs reporting this type of problem were never penalized by Google for self-reporting.


  • Various Entities Sharing Phone Numbers

When different business entities share the same contact information, it can confuse both Google and customers. Google guidelines state that:

    • A local phone number should be used instead of a central helpline number.
    • The phone number should be under direct control of the business.
    • The phone number provided should be directly connected to the individual business location.

Solution: Invest and provide a unique phone number for each business entity and location to avoid confusion and penalties. Once you have a unique contact information for your business, edit the existing citation to reflect the changes. Use the Moz Check Listing, a free tool that allows you to easily locate any old and existing citation and correct the information manually in your spreadsheet.


  • Keyword Stuffing

While adding the city or zip code keywords into the footer may work in ranking a website, Google eventually figured out this strategy and imposed penalties on websites violating its guidelines. Incorporating irrelevant keywords in GMB listing to manipulate search engine rankings can do more harm than good and result in negative user experience.

Solution: Since keyword stuffing can lead you to getting a penalty from Google, entrepreneurs should learn the true and long-term values of brand building using good SEO practices. Both smart business owners and marketers prefer to build a lasting brand than ranking high through tricks. If you do not know how to address this problem, talk to an expert local SEO company for assistance on how to legitimately build local brand recognition.