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Competitors can put you out of business using Google Maps

Competitors can put you out of business using Google Maps
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

If you're a brick-and-mortar business owner, you should know exactly what pops up when someone searches for your business on Google. Ignoring Google could give your competitors a chance to hijack Google's information about your business.

Click here to learn how to get free alerts every time you or your business is mentioned online.

While Google's massive online reach may seem all-knowing, its business listings are mostly user-created. The company lists businesses and their addresses according to local White Pages books, and then lets business owners "claim" their business's posting.

To prove you actually own a business, all you have to do is mail a letter. Anyone can do that, though.

How easy is it to falsify a real business's listing? After 40 years of business, a Washington, D.C., restaurant was shut down when someone changed the owner's business listing on Google to tell customers that he was closed on weekends.

Next page: Hear the owner's story
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