IS YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PAGE UNDER ATTACK?
The Threat is GMB Spam … How to Defend Your Google Ranking
You have a website, hopefully a strong one that is attractive to online consumers. The key is to ensure that prospects for your products or services are able to easily find your company online and distinguish your offerings as desirable. It’s estimated that as much as 90% of buying decisions are made after reviewing ratings and reviews on your website.
To enhance your visibility, an important adjunct for your online sales success is a Google My Business page. You probably have one and if not we strongly urge you to do so. It’s a free Google offering that helps consumers to find local businesses that meet their search criteria.
Your GMB listing will include such info as your business name, link to your website, contact information, hours of operation and a Google star rating. The key is to make it easier for your company to be found … and Google maintains that, “The average well-maintained Google My Business listing gets five times more views than listings which haven’t been claimed by their owners.”
OK … you have a GMB page or intend to set one up.
The next issue is to protect your turf against the increasing onslaught of GMB spammers.
The Menace Called GMB Spam
Spam swindlers act to either inflate the Google Search rankings of their (or a client’s) business or inflict damage to diminish the rankings of a competitor. What are the tactics employed by these fraudsters? Typically their actions include the following:
- Keyword Stuffing in the fake GMB business name
- Listing businesses that are not eligible to be on Google Maps
- Initiating multiple listings for the same business
- Listing businesses at locations where they don’t physically exist
Unfortunately, it proves to be a low-risk, high-reward strategy as Google does little to police the practice. Google doesn’t make it easy for a spammer to set up a fake address, but it can be done … and then employ the above coupled with a bunch of bogus reviews.
The net effect can be domination over competitors … especially prevalent in certain industries.
Local service area businesses are among the most targeted GMB spam victims. Google considers location to be critical to ranking service area businesses in Google Searches. So using a fake address by a spammer is an attractive move to outstrip the competition.
One obvious reason is that many service businesses don’t have customers come to them. For example, a plumber or other tradesman will work at the customer’s site. Likewise, businesses that transact via the phone or email may be prime targets for the bad guys to target.
So if a spammer’s business is located in one area and the intent is to appeal to online searches in another … say a neighboring town or suburb … Google doesn’t make it easy for a spammer to set up a fake address, but it can be done.
In contrast, a restaurant, clothing store or home & garden center must have a physical location for customers to visit, so an unlikely candidate for mischief.
It’s tough enough to compete for Page One Google Search rankings.
GMB spam swindlers throw up greater barriers to your success … at your expense!
When We See This Happening, We Have Our Clients …
The first part of the form is pretty much self-explanatory. Focus your concentration on the last section … be sure to explain in detail why you believe the content on the above URLs is malicious to be on Google Maps. * We strongly recommend that you include abundant detail to make your Google review staffer’s job a bit easier. Of major significance, be sure to draw the line between your complaint and how it is in conflict with the Google guidelines referenced above.
So maybe Google will become more proactive, aggressive and effective in stemming this rising tide of GMB spam. In the meantime, stay alert to possible spam threats to your Google Search ranking and keep reporting spam with the Business Redressal Complaint Form. Until next month, we hope this helps you grow your business!
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