Local SEO Spam Tactics Are Working: How You Can Fight Back
Posted by Casey_Meraz
For years, I’ve been saying that if you have a problem with spammers in local results, you can just wait it out. I mean, if Google cared about removing spam and punishing those who are regular spammers we’d see them removed fast and often, right?
While there are instances where spam has been removed, it seems these are not fast fixes, permanent fixes, or even very common. In fact, they seem few and far between. So today I’m changing my tune a bit to call more attention to the spam issues people employ that violate Google My Business terms and yet continue to win in the SERPs.
The problems are rampant and blatant. I’ve heard and seen many instances of legitimate businesses changing their names just to rank better and faster for their keywords.
Another problem is that Google is shutting down MapMaker at the end of March. Edits will still be allowed, but they’ll need to be made through Google Maps.
If Google is serious about rewarding brands in local search, they need to encourage it through their local search algorithms.
For some people, it’s gotten so bad that they’re actually suing Google. On January 13, 2017, for instance, a group of fourteen locksmiths sued Google, Yahoo, and Bing over fake spam listings, as reported by Joy Hawkins.
While some changes — like the Possum update — seemed to have a positive impact overall, root problems (such as multiple business listings) and many other issues still exist in the local search ecosystem.
And there are other technically non-spammy ways that users are also manipulating Google results. Let’s look at a couple of these examples.
It’s not all spam. Businesses are going to great lengths to stay within the GMB guidelines & manipulate results.
Let’s look at an example of a personal injury attorney in the Denver market. Recently, I came across these results when doing a search for trial attorneys:
Look at the #2 result listing, entitled “Denver Trial Lawyers.” I originally thought this was spam and wanted to report it, but I had to do my due diligence first.
To start, I needed to verify that the listing was actually spam by looking at the official business name. I pulled up their website and, to my surprise, the business name in the logo is actually “Denver Trial Lawyers.”
This intrigued me, so I decided to see if they were using a deceptive logo to advertise the business name or if this was the actual business name.
I checked out the Colorado Secretary of State’s website and did a little digging around. After a few minutes I found the legally registered trade name through their online search portal. The formation date of this entity was 7/31/2008, so they appear to have been planning on using the name for some time.
I also reviewed their MapMaker listing history to see when this change was made and whether it reflected the trade name registration. I saw that on October 10, 2016 …read more
Source:: Moz Blog