The Problem of Google My Business Spam & What You Can Do
Musings on Google My Business Spam: A Conversation with Amanda Jordan
Amanda Jordan joins the SEO Rant to share her thoughts and feelings on GMB spam:
The extent of Gooogle My Business's spammy listing problem
Why Google letting GMB spam exist is so hard to understand
How you can fight GMB spam
Google My Business Spam Still Exists?!
Amazingly enough, there are still some really spammy Google My Business listings. You know, entire descriptions where all that's there is the business name and location written over and over and over. Amanda says that you can complain about these listings (because amazingly enough, they do rank at times). Google will tell the business to make some changes but then the business just reverts back to their spammy ways.
The main reason why Google's local spam problem persists is Google not doing enough to combat it.
Thus, the GMB spam problem persists.
Why Google Letting Businesses Create Spammy GMB Listings Is Hard to Understand
Amanda is of the opinion that for some reason these types of listings are just not a priority for Google. Can it really be that a company that can make a self-driving car can't figure out that a listing with their location, name, and service mentioned over and over again is probably spam? It's hard to imagine.
What's more bizarre is that Google is investing a ton into GMB. There are sorts of upgrades to the insights that are available to businesses or features that businesses can utilize rolling out all of the time. That just makes it harder to understand why Google is not taking a harder stance on these spammy listings.
One of Amanda's favorite things to do is report GMB spam and watch the listing's rank drop. In fact, Amanda says that when you suggest edits that conflict with what the listing shows, despite what Google says, that does impact the listing's rankings. Good to know.
This leads us to our next point...
How Can You Handle GMB Spam?
Become a local guide. Review businesses in your area, use the Q&A feature and take pictures, etc. The net result is that Google will take your recommendations seriously. Amanda says that when she complains about a listing's spammy ways, she gets really quick results as Google trusts her.
It's an "in the trenches" effort to clean up Google's local listings. By you taking an active role and building up your credentials as a local guide you can have more of an impact. The more Google knows who you are the more they will take your spam reports seriously.
Also, if you see a franchise is utilizing bad practices in all of their listings, don't go after one listing after the next. Go right to Google support and report the business as a whole. Report spam at scale!
Why Are Businesses Creating Spammy GMB Listings?
It's probably not nefarious. More often than you think spammy GMB listings are not the business trying to game the system. It's most likely an SEO agency telling the business that creating spammy GMB listings is the best way to get leads fast. And as Amanda points out, it might be a way to get quick leads.
This makes it hard for a business to reject what is ultimately bad advice as it might work (for a time). To a business owner who doesn't understand Google's ecosystem the advice they get from so-called SEO experts makes a good deal of sense on the surface. It's hard to blame them in a way. A business wants leads, some SEO tells them utilizing these spammy practices will work, why wouldn't a business comply?
Google really needs to create a healthier ecosystem that disincentivizes spammy GMB listings.