I hate SPAM!
I hate spam phone calls. I hate spam emails. I hate spam snail mail.
But, what I hate more than all those types of spam is Google My Business spam. After all, the other types of spam don’t cost me a dime. In fact, they cost the spammer a boat load of money and, now that I think it through, I think those companies should spend even more on their efforts 😉.
I hate Google My Business spam the most because it potentially costs me customers and therefore costs me money. The problem is, while I love Google My Business, it’s free and open to anyone including spammers who, by definition, don’t practice ethically. They aren’t playing by the same rules and they can easily rig the GMB game.
How Google My Business Spam Is Affecting Your Business
Although we are experts in running Google My Business Optimization for ourselves and our customers, we are always finding new spammers affecting our rankings on the Map Pack and have to be vigilant in our efforts to stop them.
Take for example this search result:
As you can see we are ranked fourth for this search term. Not a bad ranking. In fact, most would be okay with this and simply say to themselves that they have to work harder on that particular term. The problem is the two top businesses are fraudulent!
The first, uses a name (I wish I could say it here!) that does not match the name of their company and they actually do business in a city 50 miles away and have an office in another country!
The second has nothing to do with websites, their website is written in Chinese and their address is in the middle of a field behind a funeral home. Nothing suspicious there!
If these two results were removed we would be ranked second for this search term and we would be on the front page of search results in Google’s Map Pack. We would still work to grab the first position but I don’t mind losing to a guy who’s working the term better than me right now – I can change that.
At the minimum, we suggest you take a look monthly at several search terms and research the other businesses that come up. If you find they have fraud within their listings report them. If they are beating you fair and square I suggest you hire us to help you (shameless plug…LOL).
The Google Form
So what can we do about this?
Google provides us with the Business Redressal Complaint Form to report fraud complaints. Once submitted, we have to depend on Google’s spam team to take care of this for us. And, as you can imagine, they are super busy all the time. They can’t communicate with you after you submit the form because it is not your business. So you wait. And wait. And wait.
The good news is, if you fill out the form correctly you can get results.
How to fill out the Google Business Redress Complaint Form to get the best results
Step 01 – Personal Information
Name: Use your real name here. There is no way for the business you’re reporting to know who you are so no worries about being honest.
Email: Again, no worries about anyone seeing your email so use the email you’re signed in with or use an email you’d prefer to receive the confirmation at.
Entity: Not really necessary to fill. You should use ‘N/A’ unless you have some real proof on how the fraud is having a negative affect on your ability to conduct business.
Step 02 – Malicious Content
Malicious Content Type: There are four types of Spam you can report with this form. We suggest you submit a separate form for different types of spam.
- Title: Is the name of the listing spam? Is a company naming their listing using keywords instead of the name of their company? Are they adding keywords to their name? Are they using multiple names to get listed several times? There are lots of reasons spammers use fraudulent names.
- Address: Is the listing address in the middle of a cemetery? Is it in the parking lot of the local Walmart? Is it a post office box? Is it the address of another company?
- Phone Number: Is this a listing that lead to a lead generation scam?
- Website: Does the website button lead to a lead generation scam? Does it lead to a malicious website? Does it lead to a different company?
Public URL: This is the Google Map link for the business you are reporting. If you’re not sure simply Google the business name and location (stafford technologies stafford va) and click on the map then copy the website address and paste it in the form field.
NOTE: You can report several locations at once. This is why there is and “Add additional” link. We may cover reporting multiple locations later in another post.
File Upload: If you have some proof you’d like to upload such as a screenshot of the fraudulent address in the middle of a corn field this is where you can do it.
Step 03 – The Explanation
This is the MOST IMPORTANT step. This is where you let Google know why you think the listing is fraudulent and how it is having an impact on businesses and consumers around you. Plead your case here. Make it about the consumer being defrauded by this malicious listing and make it about how the other businesses in the community are being adversely affected.
DO NOT complain that your competition is ahead of you and you don’t think it’s fair. Google doesn’t care.
We do! In fact, we can help you with that. You can check out our Google My Business Management and Optimization Services for help… I have to apologize for the shameless plug again – I can’t seem to keep the salesman in me down! 🤪
As I said earlier, there’s not much you can do after submitting the Business Redress Complaint Form. You will get a confirmation but that’s about it from Google.
Keep your eye on the search term results and within a couple of weeks the offending listing may be removed. If not, try again. When you do, you may want to take a look at the explanation and create a more compelling argument next time.
I know this isn’t the best system for fighting fraud but it’s all we have. Be vigilant and continually check the search terms you are trying to rank for and report spam whenever you find it.
Remember, if you need help… Nah, you know what to do if you need help… 😉😉