Local SEO Spam Fighting and Reinstatement


The best ways to fight spam on GMB

Here are some of the fundamentals to know to avoid getting your account suspended.

In June 2014, Google My Business (GMB) replaced Google Places for Business and Google+ Local Pages, which seems long ago. It can be difficult for a platform that houses millions of GMB listings to moderate them all effectively. However, many changes and improvements were made over these seven years since the GMB implementation, enabling GMB to maintain quality control over listings. Today, local SEO Spam fighting and reinstatement happens to many SEO professionals who don’t follow the rules and guidelines of Google My Business and Google Maps. When you over-optimize with non-branded keywords within your business listing, suspension of accounts can happen, leading to very harmful results to your organic traffic channel. Here are some of the fundamentals to know to avoid getting your account suspended.

Four Suspension Triggers

Four actions that can trigger suspensions from Google:

  1. When signage doesn’t exactly match the branding
  2. Making suggestions from another email for other GMB listings
  3. Bad suggestions making it harder for Google to trust your edits
  4. Submitting multiple duplicate listings resulting in suspension

When signage doesn’t exactly match the branding

In the business description guidelines of the Google My Business Help Center, it’s stated that “including unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted and could result in your business profile being suspended.” Put simply, signage and branding must match. You can apply these rules to multiple issues, and you must be aware of these to avoid suspension.  

Below are some examples of what is not allowed and can cause suspensions when choosing your Business Name (the unacceptable portion is italicized):

  • Marketing Taglines – TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank
  • Store Codes – The UPS Store – 2872
  • Trademark/Registered Signs – Burger King®
  • Fully Capitalized Words – SUBWAY
  • Business Hours Information – Regal Pizzeria Open 24 Hours
  • Phone Numbers or Website URLs – Airport Direct 557-8953
  • Special Characters/Irrelevant Legal Terms – Shell Pay@Pump
  • Services or Products – Verizon Wireless 4G LTE
  • Containment Information – Apple Store at Stanford Shopping Center
  • Location Information – Holiday Inn I-93 at Exit 2.

 

Location information is probably the most controversial piece for GMB because there is a fine line between geolocation keyword stuffing and correctly naming a business. The relevant aspect is that you can’t include street address or direction information. 

Making suggestions from another email for other GMB listings

If you have an account that harbors all your existing GMBs for an agency or an in-house position, it would be wise to have another account strictly for suggesting edits to GMB listings that you find that are fake. Of course, if you need to use the Google My Business support email service for your listing, then use the associated account. If Google decides that you are making too many changes at once, your account could be suspended. If, however, you are making changes from another account, it’s not worth the risk of getting suspended if you need to make numerous changes on other GMBs.

Bad suggestions making it harder for Google to trust your edits

If you continually try to make edits to your information within the GMB platform, and these edits get denied because they are “bad” edits, Google Moderators will be less inclined to accept your new changes. For example, if you are rejected for an address or a phone number, you may want to reach out to the Google My Business support email service before you keep attempting the same request repeatedly. Continually trying to implement bad edits could cause your email to lose trustworthiness with moderators. 

Submitting multiple duplicate listings resulting in suspension

This point should be pretty clear on why it’s not acceptable to GMB Moderators. Finding loopholes to exploit Google Maps and Google My Business is not permitted. If Google Moderators start to see a trend of duplicate listings coming from one email source, the moderators will suspend the entire account and all GMB listings associated with it. Most agencies will use one email account to harbor close to 200 GMBs at a time. Functioning in this fashion means you are risking the suspension of all of your GMBs, so make decisions wisely and don’t try to take advantage of the GMB platform. 

Pro Tips for Successful GMB Listings

Below are some pro tips from moderators for successfully using GMB listings:

Start to be more involved with the Google My Business Help Community

If you have already reached out to GMB Support and they have produced you a case ID, you can go to the Google My Business Help Community, where they can help assist you further. Make sure you save your case ID so that they can investigate and try to resolve your problem where Google My Business Support left off. 

Get familiar with using the Business Redressal Complaint Form

Launched in February 2019 to replace the spam reporting area of the GMB community forum, the Business Redressal Complaint Form is important because it offers a scalable place where users can report fraudulent listings directly to Google. This form is much more efficient than suggesting an edit within the external side of a GMB listing in a search engine results page (SERP) and works well if you did not succeed with the help community or the support email service. 

Start to use GMB Scanner

The GMB Scanner works on google.com/maps and adds flags to listing map pages, and also adds flags within the listing details while allowing you to include them within your redressal form report. If you are looking to remove duplicate bad listings effectively, then this extension is a powerful tool. This tool will help analyze and quickly add to the Business Redressal Complaint Form and promptly request the removal of the GMB that violates the GMB listing guidelines. This makes writing out a Business Redressal Complaint Form more seamless. 

Start to use GMB Spy

A highly recommended tool to use when you are curious about what categories your competitors are utilizing within the same business niche is the GMB Spy. Capitalizing on categories that your competitors are using is a better way to understand your market and see ways to fine-tune your local SEO strategy for your GMB listing. 

Work With the Pros

Avoiding suspension triggers and having successful GMB listings is easy with the right tools in your arsenal, and Tandem Buzz can provide the tools that your company needs. With Tandem’s expertise in all things digital marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, graphic design, and more, we can set you on your path to success. Contact us today to learn more.