In this week’s video, I share two important tactics for fighting Google My Business spam. Whether competitors are stuffing keywords in their business name or creating completely fake listings, I walk through the steps to help fight the spammers. Watch the video for all the details!
Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m going to share a few quick tips for fighting Google My Business listings that are cheating and breaking the rules, or listings that are flat out fake. Yep, I’m gonna help you fight spam.
There’s nothing worse than Google My Business spam. Most of us play by the rules, but there are lots of dirty cheaters out there. Let’s face it – sometimes it’s pretty easy to cheat when it comes to GMB listings. Some verticals are worse than others, but as a Local SEO, you should always know how to fight the spam listings.
First, you need to know what kinds of spam are out there.
One of the most common spam tactics is stuffing keywords in the business name of the listing. Here’s a hilarious example where someone went WAY overboard. Whether it’s product or service keywords or city names, additional keywords aren’t allowed in the business name. Google My Business guidelines state that you can only use your actual business name.
Cheaters will also create multiple listings for a single business. This happens pretty often with service area businesses – they’ll typically use residential addresses to set up additional listings, but you’ll notice they all go to the same website and have the same phone number.
You’ll also see straight up fake listings where a business doesn’t actually operate out of the listed address. The cheaters will use a residential address or a virtual office to set up fake listings to show up in other areas. Sometimes these spam listings aren’t even real businesses, they’re only created to capture leads that are funneled to other businesses.
If you’re trying fight spam listings, there are two routes to take.
First, you can use the “suggest an edit” feature on a listing. The link shows just below the main information in a GMB profile. When you click the link, you’ll see two options: Change name or other details, and Close or remove.
If you’re fighting keyword spam in the business name, you’ll want to go with the first option. You’ll have the ability to enter new information for any of the main fields of data – business name, category, address, hours, phone number, and website link. Type in the corrected information and click “send” – it then shows up as a suggested change in the company’s GMB dashboard. Typically, you’ll have to suggest an edit multiple times, since the business will keep changing the info back to what it was before. Luckily, if someone’s a repeat offender, after a few suggestions, the changes will happen instantly.
If you’re trying to get a fake listing nuked, choose the second option. You’ll select one of these reasons for reporting the business. Support will be notified and after review, decide whether or not to remove the listing.
The second spam fighting tactic is helpful if your edits don’t get accepted, or the business keeps changing the info back, or when it’s a clear case of a network of spam listings.
A few years ago, Google released the Business Redressal Complaint Form, which lets you submit a complaint directly to Google My Business support. The URL is long and wonky, so I made a bit.ly link so it’s easier to get there. Just go to bit.ly/report-map-crap and you’ll be able to submit your complaint.
The cool thing about this form is that you can submit proof of your claim. If someone’s using a virtual office to create a fake listing, you can submit a few photos that show that there’s no permanent signage and no one present at the office. Or if you’re reporting keyword spam in the business name, you can submit screenshots of the website and photos of the sign that prove the GMB name includes extra keywords.
It’s not always fast, and sometimes you’ll have to submit multiple times, but it’s a helpful tool in your utility belt if you’re constantly fighting spam GMB listings.
That’s all the time we’ve got left for today, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.