Hardest Truths of Google Maps Spam

Hardest Truths of Google Maps Spam

It’s hard enough to keep a lid on competitors’ Google Maps / Google My Business spam.  That’s even harder if you don’t know what to expect, or or if you give up because you assume you’re doing it wrong.

You probably know at least the basics of what I call spam patrol: you identify competitors who have violated the Google My Business “quality guidelines,” and you submit edits in Google Maps, in the hope that Google will correct or remove those competitors’ spammy listings.  (As I always say, if competitors are to outrank you, might as well make them work for it.)  The post I linked to describes the basic process, as does this great guide.

But you’re probably less clear on what to expect if you start or continue an anti-spam effort.  How long will you need to do it?  How often?  Will it get easier?  What will Google tell you?  When are you wasting your time?  And so on.

Here, in no particular order, are a few things I’ve learned about Google Maps spam.

  • Google will never approve all your edits. It’s a question of batting average
  • Don’t know who makes malicious edits
  • No apparent penalty for repeated offenses on the same page
  • Nothing prevents the same offender from putting up the same listing in a different account
  • Google has crowdsourced most of its spam patrolling. We’re all in gen pop.
  • Google has crowdsourced most of its enforcement, in the form of Top Contributors
  • Google doesn’t tell you when an edit is rejected
  • Google doesn’t tell you when it will accept or reject your edits
  • Review spam is the least-overseen of all, and most damaging. Much more than fake listings
  • Google doesn’t seem to take leaps of faith on reviews by consistently correct editors
  • Google doesn’t automatically or instantly approve edits it had already approved before negated by a spammer
  • Google doesn’t tell you why your edits were rejected
  • Google doesn’t give you a dispute option
  • Doesn’t matter much if you advertise on a phrase that’s being spammed. Spammers can still get a foothold
  • Advertisers appear more likely to get away with spamming: http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2019/04/22/does-google-look-the-other-way-when-a-local-pack-advertiser-spams-the-google-maps-results/
  • If you get a name fixed, the listing doesn’t stop ranking immediately or at all. Historical data seems to help it rank, at least for a while
  • The less info is on a GMB page, the harder it is for Google to determine whether your edit is correct, so Google is even less likely to act on the listing. That’s the case when the website is missing.
  • Google seems not to know what kind of address a given address is
  • Google doesn’t tell business owners that their edits are private. They fear reprisals
  • Google doesn’t give you a “comments” field or another way to provide evidence, other than the photo-upload option, which isn’t anonymous
  • You’ll probably need to do it for as long as you’re in business

Hardest Truths of Google Maps Spam
Source: Local Visibility System

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