How to Identify GMB Spam Listings
Customers who search for a certain kind of business on Google, or your firm particularly, will see a specialized listing as a result of a helpful algorithm developed by Google. There are an endless number of possibilities within these listings for digital marketing opportunities, but there is one thing that hovers over the entire company like a dark intimidating thundercloud: GMB Spam.
GMB Listing spam is the thorn in the eye for businesses who are following the rules. That’s why it’s crucial to be able to identify the problem and take care of it before it threatens your brand’s future.
How a GMB Spam listing looks like
What does spam look like? You may have seen it on Google My Business listings before. It is often the result of people who are trying to game the system for ranking purposes. An example of this is keyword stuffing in the titles, or the same listing showing up multiple times in the same geographical area.
This blog post will help you identify what GMB spam looks like so that you can avoid it in your account and review others’ accounts for these problems.
Most Common Forms of GMB Spam Listings
1.) Keyword Stuffing: Spammers will use keywords over and over again changing their Business title, description etc. Or they will add their address in the business title. We have even seen businesses using references to popular brands in their title to gain social trust. All of these tactics are strictly forbidden by the Google policy. The business title should include the exact name how you have registered it with the government.
Some people actually use the keywords in their official business name, this a grey area, but it is allowed if this is your actual registered business name.
2.) Ineligible Businesses: These are businesses that do not meet the guidelines to be listed on Google Maps or Google my business. This means for example:
- Businesses that are not open yet.
- Businesses that don’t have a physical location.
- Using GMB for properties that are for sale or rent. Sales or leasing offices, however, are eligible for verification.
- An ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.
- Lead generation, virtual business addresses, agents or companies.
3.) Duplicate Listings: Spammers might create multiple listings of a business, or they might copy another legitimate listing. This 100% goes against Google’s policies, and will result in suspension. If you are managing multiple GMB locations be sure to read our step-by-step guide that will help you manage your multiple Google my Business listings in an efficient manner.4.) Incorrect Addresses: Google Maps is a mapping service, so the most important piece of information in a listing should be accurate. Spam can often appear in GMB listings with an incorrect address. Spammers also try to circumvent this by using a P.O. Box, this also is not allowed!
How To Report Spam Listings
Suggest An Edit
Google’s algorithms are unable to identify this sort of GMB spam. It is not presently feasible to spot a phony review or a complex brand name. Furthermore, irritated GMB users may be more willing to pay for a local service ad in order to stand out against the real and fraudulent competition (which obviously benefits Google!).
To combat GMB spam, Google has enlisted the help of individuals to report it when they see it. They are quite fast to respond and will make justifiable modifications to any GMB listing’s brand name as quickly as 24 hours or less. Anyone can request that Google change a listing’s brand name if they can show keyword stuffing. You can do this by “suggest an edit” that you can find within the knowledge panel next to the search results.
Please see an example below:
Suggest To Remove The Entire Listing
You can also suggest to Google to remove the entire listing. If you’re attempting to get rid of a spammy listing due to its fraudulent or duplicate nature, be honest and make sure you have evidence. Use Google Maps’ Live View feature to see whether the business is really located at that address.
It may be hard to tell if it’s a suite within a bigger building, but sometimes you can tell if the listing is fake by just checking the building’s outside through Live View.
This is harder to determine if the company is located within a bigger building that houses multiple other companies, but in most cases you can determine this by checking the building through Google map`s live view.
If you can’t do it through Google live view, you can try sending an email to the buildings administration by asking if this company is located here. And use the email for proof!
Submit a Business Redressal Complaint Form
If you find instances where a certain firm has numerous spam listings, you should submit a Google My Business Business Redressal Form. These forms should not be completed for minor issues such as keyword stuffing in one local listing.
Alternatively, the Redressal Complaint Form is intended for serious fraudulent activity in your Local Pack. If you find spam that qualifies, Google asks that you provide as much specific data as possible.
How To Outrank GMB Spam Listings
Surpass ghost and unclaimed listings on the local 3 pack by strategizing to add value in content that will increase relevance metrics. Mirror GMB posts of pages for current service or product information with an eye towards boosting behavioral metrics, like clicks and shares.
- Claiming or verifying your listing won’t improve rank, improves your listing credibility over time. Google wants you to complete the verification process because they can have more control of the data and published content you create from a verified account.
- The Google 3 pack ranking algorithm is a complex system of three parts: proximity, relevance and prominence. In any given city or location Google might look at one or another of these in deciding who ranks well for their searches; Google has a complex ranking algorithm that considers various “invisible” factors to determine who gets ranked higher. These include high-performing listings, web page strength and third party reviews as well. Proximity is an important factor in ranking, but that doesn’t mean that a searcher will always see results in order of proximity. It can also be overlooked by other signals.( content, on-page optimization,etc etc ). Using our Chrome local rank checker will allow users to pay attention to their swing in the pack on top of organic results across all 20 listings on Google maps. Explore your rankings on Google map setting your search location from your targeted Zip code, address, neighbor and city. A business’ rank can be seen in different geographic areas to show clients what they’re up against and how well their competition is doing. It’s also helpful for determining any potential GMB listing who may have spent money on advertising.
With our local serp tracker feature, you can see who has been advertising the most locally as well!
The Ad spenders are labelled on the rankings report as AD, all other results appear with green pins and yellow pins depending where they fall in relation to Spot 1’s rank.
- Google uses a lot of signals to determine what your business does. One important signal is relevance, which refers to how well the listing fits with other categories and sites that are related in some way (such as category or third-party site).
- Prominence is all about the activity around your listing; this could be a number of reviews, relevant local content etc. It also helps if you can get loads of quality links to your site and keep your GMB listing up-to-date with new photos as well as manage any negative feedback that may arise from them. This works in tandem with other marketing strategies such as making sure both listings align accordingly and ensuring there’s enough engaging publishing for everyone who visits.
- Google is always on the lookout for a good story. But how can Google trust that an entity actually exists when there’s no way to verify their identity? You should tie all the bits and pieces of facts about your business together in a way where there’s no room left uncovered.
- You can create a GMB listing that matches the content on your blog, ensuring it is cited correctly and boasts consistent information. You should have citations for all data points in order to make any authoritative statements about what people say about you business online as well!
- Optimizing GMB is all about being valuable to the end-user. Anything that helps Google understand your business better and add more nuance can be useful. The foundation of local search engine optimization strategy is NAP consistency.
- You should run an NAP audit to first ensure that all your citations are consistent across the web.
- The goal here should not just focus on optimizing web traffic, but maximizing customer experience by making sure people click through from their search results page and visit one of our pages engaging with great photos and posts.
The process of detecting and removing spammy listings may be difficult as well as time-consuming, but it is definitely worth the effort when spam begins to go down and your listing rises in the Map Pack. And overall it’s helping the fight against spammers by making their work more difficult, and hopefully encourage them to change their ways and do things the proper way!
SEO Lover, my motto is Action Over Words.