More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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We've all seen what I call the "normal side" of the review spam puzzle. That's the side most of us live on. The side where we have honest clients with honest businesses that sometimes have honest review deleted or blocked.

<img src="" alt="" title="MapOops" width="94" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-7297" align="left" hspace="3" /> Just stumbled across a post from the "other side" at Black Hat World. (No that's not one of the forums I live at and I don't participate there - this just popped up in my feedreader.)

This guy is trying different ways to post fake negative reviews to sabotage a competitor and is asking how the competitor keeps blocking them. A discussion ensues about how to bypass Google's spam filter and get fake reviews to post.

black hat world . com/blackhat-seo/black-hat-seo/512081-how-hide-bad-google-places-reviews.html (I'm not posting live link there. You can copy/paste if you want to go read the rest.)

How To Hide Bad Google Places Reviews

I've been writing bad reviews on a competitor's Google Places page.

Somehow the owner keeps "hiding" the reviews. I say hiding because when I'm logged into my Google I can still see my review but when I log out, it's not there anymore.

I don't think he's flagging it because as far as I can understand flagging deletes the review completely.

Of course WE know it's Google blocking them and good thing she does! He tries a few things to get the reviews to post and eventually some do.

I was worried for awhile because this is a black hat forum BUT even there, eventually some people started calling him out for playing dirty.

There could be a couple tips in there for how to get your LEGIT reviews to show up.

But I mainly shared this to show one of the many reasons the review spam filter is wound so tight. Google has to fight crap like this! :mad:

So once again it's the spammers and scammers that make it hard for honest businesses!
Another problem with the spammers and scammers is the Draconian action that Google takes can penalize a business doing nothing wrong.

During the whole 'locksmith spam' episode a few years ago a client had his lsiting suspended and I could not get it live until the word locksmith was completely purged. Even selecting 'locksmith' as a category caused a suspension, Google's own category!
I had to list him as a 'key duplication service'.

It's to the point now that I avoid entire categories because the water is so muddy, locksmiths, roofers and movers for example.

So Google just penalized your client for having ?Locksmith? as a category? Is there any chance that he had other categories that may have been a similar variation on ?locksmith,? or that he had ?locksmith? in the ?business name? field? Just spitballing here.

I ask because I have a legit locksmith client right now, for whom I?ve specified ?Locksmith? as the 1st category, and he?s had zero problems. So at least my initial reaction is to think that Google was whacking your client for something other than having that as a category. (I guess there?s always a first, though!)
This was a few years ago when there was a major to-do about locksmith spam. It was using the word locksmith anywhere, even the category. I could remove the word and the listing was fine but as soon as I used it anywhere, even as the category, the listing was suspended.
Ah yes, I have several locksmith clients, one is in the most competitive city in the US (I'm sure you can guess). We've been through the Google gauntlet. You're right. A few years ago Google removed any listing that had locksmith as a category. The only thing you could do was change you category as you suggested or don't touch the listing at all. We've made much progress since then, but it was an absolute nightmare for the longest time. Too bad for legitimate businesses. I still have nightmares ;-)

Yep for a long time Locksmiths were just SOL on Google. Now it seems they can at least be listed if squeaky clean. BUT still I think are under heavy scrutiny and sometimes are taken down when they didn't even do anything wrong. I don't deal with that industry at all. Just my impression from help requests at the G forum.
It's to the point now that I avoid entire categories because the water is so muddy, locksmiths, roofers and movers for example.

The locksmith issues were famous/infamous and I do recall reading some articles about issues with moving companies...but roofers? That's new to me, Iain. Can you write a bit more about your experience with that category?
The problem is 'storm chasers' that go from city to city following hailstorms. It's not as widespread as locksmiths, but they use the same tactics.

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