GBP Spam Listings: How To Find & Fight Them Back

In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is super important for businesses. But sometimes, there are fake listings on Google that mess things up. In this guide, we’ll look at why it’s important to fight these fake listings, how to spot them, what signs to watch out for, and how to fight them quickly. 

Why You Should Fight Fake Listings

Setting up a Google Business Profile is really important for getting your business noticed online, especially in local searches. But some businesses do sneaky things like using too many keywords, making up fake reviews, or putting up lots of listings to try to trick the system.

It’s not just bad for your business — it’s bad for everyone!

Here’s why you should stand up against these tricks:

1. Get Seen in Google's Local List

Imagine you’re looking for a local service, like a plumber or a restaurant. When you type in your search, Google often shows a list of nearby businesses right at the top of the page. 

This list is called the “local pack,” and it’s a prime spot to get noticed. But here’s the catch: if there are spammy listings in that pack, it’s harder for legitimate businesses like yours to stand out. 

By fighting against these spammy tactics, you increase your chances of making it into the local pack and getting seen by potential customers.

2. Keep the Game Fair

In any game, it’s important that everyone plays by the same rules. But when some businesses use spammy tactics to boost their rankings, it creates an unfair advantage. It’s like trying to run a race when someone else is cutting corners — they’re going to get ahead even if they didn’t play fair. 

By standing up against spammy listings, you’re helping to level the playing field for all businesses. That means more opportunities for everyone to succeed based on their merits, not their ability to cheat the system.

3. Create a Pleasant Experience for Your Audience

When people search online, they want to find accurate and trustworthy information. But when they come across fake reviews or misleading listings, it can leave them feeling frustrated and distrustful. 

By fighting against spammy tactics, you’re helping to create a more positive online experience for everyone. When people can trust the information they find online, they’re more likely to engage with businesses and make informed decisions. 

And that’s good news for you because it means more satisfied customers who are eager to do business with you.

How to Know if a GBP Listing is Fake

Check the Name:

First, look at the business name on the listing. Make sure it’s the real name of the business and not just filled with extra words to try to get more attention online. 

Some businesses add extra words to their names to try to show up more in searches. But that’s against the rules and can trick people. So, watch out for any extra words that don’t seem right.

Look at the Address:

Next, see if the address is real. Check if it’s a real place where the business operates, not just a PO box or fake address. Google wants businesses to have a real place where customers can go. If the address looks fake, the listing might not be trustworthy.

Check the Reviews:

Reviews are important. They tell you what people think about the business. Look for reviews on the listing. Watch out for reviews that seem fake or too good to be true. Fake reviews don’t have much detail or sound the same. Be careful if there are suddenly a lot of positive reviews. They might not be real.

Watch for Duplicates:

Sometimes, a business might have more than one listing. This can be confusing. Keep an eye out for listings that seem like copies of each other. They might have small differences in the name or address. This could mean someone is trying to trick people or cheat the system.

Check the Contact Info:

Lastly, look at the contact details like the phone number and website. Make sure they’re real and match what you find elsewhere. Sometimes, fake listings have wrong contact info that leads to nowhere. Make sure everything adds up before you trust the listing.

Common Signs of Fake GBP Listings

Using too many keywords in the business name:

When you see a business name filled with lots of extra words, it might be a sign of a fake listing. Some businesses try to stuff their names with as many keywords as possible to show up more in online searches. But this goes against the rules and can be misleading. Watch out for names that seem too long or have words that don’t make sense for the business.

Using PO boxes or fake addresses:

Legitimate businesses usually have real addresses where they operate. But if you come across a listing with a PO box or an address that seems fake, it’s a red flag. Google wants businesses to have real physical locations that customers can visit. So, if the address looks suspicious or doesn’t match up with the business, it could be a fake listing.

Having lots of fake-looking reviews:

Reviews are a good way to gauge the quality of a business. But if you notice a listing with tons of reviews that seem fake or too good to be true, it’s a cause for concern. Fake reviews often lack detail or sound repetitive. They might also appear suddenly, especially if the business didn’t have many reviews before. Be wary of listings with an unusually high number of positive reviews, as they could be artificially inflated.

Having more than one listing for the same business:

Sometimes, businesses might have multiple listings on Google. However, if you spot several listings for the same business with slight variations in the name or address, it could indicate a fake listing. Duplicate listings can confuse customers and lead to mistrust. Businesses should only have one accurate listing to ensure clarity and transparency.

Having wrong or inconsistent contact info:

Lastly, check the contact details provided in the listing, such as the phone number and website. Fake listings often have incorrect or inconsistent contact information. This could include phone numbers that don’t work or websites that lead to unrelated pages. Make sure to verify the contact info and ensure it matches up with the business’s other online profiles.

Strategies to Fight GBP Spam Listings

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of classic red flags indicating GBP Spam Listings, it’s crucial to understand detailed strategies to effectively address the issue. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to fight back:

Suggesting Edits to Business Names on Google Maps:

  • Locate the Listing: Begin by searching for the Google Maps listing you want to edit. Ensure you have the correct business in mind.
  • Access “Suggest an Edit”: Once you’ve found the listing, scroll down on the left panel until you find the “Suggest an edit” button. It’s typically located towards the bottom.
  • Initiate Edits: Click on the “Suggest an edit” button. You’ll be prompted with options to change various details related to the business listing.
  • Edit Details: Choose the option to change the name/details. Carefully modify the name to reflect accurate information and ensure it complies with Google’s guidelines.
  • Submit: After making the necessary edits, click “Send” to submit your suggestions. Keep in mind that changes may not reflect immediately as they undergo a review process.

Suggesting Edits to Business Names on Google Maps:

Utilize the Business Redressal Form: Google provides a dedicated form for reporting fraudulent or spam activities directly related to businesses on Google Maps. Access this form through the official Google support channels.

Provide Details: Fill out all required information in the business redressal form accurately. Include details of the fraudulent activity, such as misleading business names or fake addresses, and provide the business’s Google Maps URL.

Submit Evidence:
To strengthen your case, attach additional files such as screenshots, pictures, or any relevant documentation that supports your claim. Providing substantial evidence increases the likelihood of Google taking action promptly.

Reporting Fake Reviews:

  • Visit Google Maps: Navigate to the profile of the business containing the fake review. Ensure you’re accessing the correct business listing.
  • Access Reviews: Locate the section displaying the total number of reviews for the business. Click on this section to access the list of reviews.
  • Report Review: Scroll through the reviews until you find the fake one you wish to report. Click on the three-dotted menu located next to the review and select the option to “Report review.”
  • Choose an Option: A new window will appear, providing you with a list of reasons for reporting the review. Select the most appropriate reason that aligns with the violation.
  • Submit: After selecting the reason, click “Report” to submit your complaint to Google. Be thorough in your explanation to ensure Google understands the issue clearly.

Escalating the Report Using Other Channels:

  • Public Forums: If your initial attempts to address the issue directly with Google are unsuccessful, consider escalating the matter through public forums. Platforms like the Google Business Community or Sterling Sky’s local search forum provide avenues to voice concerns and seek assistance.
  • Gather Evidence: Before posting on public forums, gather all relevant evidence, including screenshots, emails, or any communication related to the spam activity. Presenting comprehensive evidence strengthens your case and increases the chances of receiving support from the community.

By following these detailed strategies, you actively contribute to maintaining the integrity of local search results and combating SEO spam effectively within your community.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, tackling GBP spam is crucial for fair local search results. Stay alert for red flags and take action when needed. For hassle-free GBP listings, trust Local View. We’re here to keep your business visible and reputable in the digital landscape. Choose Local View for all your GBP listing needs and let’s build a trustworthy online community together!

For some other top-notch resources, be sure to check out:

How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews: Your Step-By-Step-Guide
The Impact of Spam Reviews on Consumer Decision-Making
Can I Turn Off Google Reviews For My Business
How Google Reviews Affect Your Business

FAQs About GBP Spam Listings

Look out for suspicious signs such as keyword-stuffed business names, multiple listings for the same location, or businesses using fake addresses. If something seems too good to be true, it might be spam.

Start by suggesting edits on Google Maps to correct inaccurate information. If that doesn’t work, report the listing directly to Google using the business redressal form. Providing evidence and details of the fraudulent activity can help expedite the process.

It typically takes several weeks for suggested edits or complaints to be reviewed and acted upon by Google. Patience is key, but providing thorough evidence can speed up the process.

Yes, regularly monitor your GBP listing for any unauthorized changes or suspicious activity. Keep your business information accurate and up-to-date to reduce the risk of being targeted by spammers. Additionally, consider using GBP verification features to add an extra layer of security.

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