JillH

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One of my legal clients has a competitor that uses a wide variety of black hat tactics. Most recently, they started getting a bunch of positive reviews that are obvious fakes -some of them are from people who have only reviewed his 5 legal companies, one even talks about how he gift wrapped her item. :rolleyes:
They use a false suite number at my client's building so they can have one business called "[Local Area] Criminal Lawyer" and another one with an actual suite in the building for "[Local Area] DUI Lawyer." I reported them to Google by showing proof of the company directory and suddenly both businesses dropped from the local rankings before the one using a real address started coming back up in the rankings and the fake one stayed gone -until about a week ago, where it is live again with the same fake suite number.
They previously used paid backlinks though they seem to have stopped that practice after I reported them to Google.

I know I can report the individual fake reviews on Google, but from the sound of it, Google doesn't remove many reviews that people report as fake. I also am assuming I can report their business for using a fake address again and hopefully it will get removed again.
But is there anyway to show Google all of these things together to prove that they are up to no good and are using multiple techniques to manipulate the rankings? Is there at least a way to show that many of the reviewers all happen to have left reviews for the exact same businesses?

Any advice is welcome.
 

Phil Rozek

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@JillH, you're doing just about all you can - as in all Google lets you do. There's inherently a whac-a-mole quality to dealing with a competitor like that, in that their whole plan is to pop up wherever you and Google aren't looking at the moment. Google's "handling" of them also is whac-a-mole, in that at no point will Google ever say, "You know what, we're sick of dealing with your schemes - enjoy your DuckDuckGo rankings."

It's just a war of attrition. The only good news is you can do what you've been doing with even less effort than those competitors can do what they've been doing, so it's somewhat easier for you to keep up with.
 

JillH

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@JillH, you're doing just about all you can - as in all Google lets you do. There's inherently a whac-a-mole quality to dealing with a competitor like that, in that their whole plan is to pop up wherever you and Google aren't looking at the moment. Google's "handling" of them also is whac-a-mole, in that at no point will Google ever say, "You know what, we're sick of dealing with your schemes - enjoy your DuckDuckGo rankings."

It's just a war of attrition. The only good news is you can do what you've been doing with even less effort than those competitors can do what they've been doing, so it's somewhat easier for you to keep up with.
What about the redressal form? If I make a spreadsheet with some of the evidence of their false reviews and their fake addresses, will that at least increase the likelihood the reviews will be removed and the location with the fake address might get puled again?
 

JillH

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Fair enough, but would it at least be a little more effective?
Also, if he does this for multiple firms he has locations for, should I do multiple redressals or just try to bundle them all into one?
 

Phil Rozek

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@JillH, it may or may not matter, but I'd probably do multiple redressals. Just because presumably smaller requests are easier for Google to process, and because you'd eliminate the possibility that Google holds up all removals because it's not sure about a couple of them and handles them in an all-or-nothing way. I can envision a situation where you request action on 20 locations, and Google agrees with you on 17 of them, but wants to keep 3 of the pages around and ends up not taking action on any.

That's what I'd do, anyway, but maybe someone else can weigh in on the inner workings.
 

JeffClevelandTN

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I know I can report the individual fake reviews on Google, but from the sound of it, Google doesn't remove many reviews that people report as fake.
Hi @JillH, you may want to reconsider investing the time to report the fake reviews. The reason being, is that even if the reviews are removed, it will most likely have no impact on their ranking. Here's an article from @JoyHawkins that explains why: What Happens When Google Removes 98% of Your Reviews | A Case Study | Sterling Sky Blog

I'm also very, very frustrated with the remediation tools that Google offers in regards to "fake reviews", "fake addresses" and keyword/stuffed GMB names. However, I still try and report the bad competitors and hope that at some point Google will take it seriously.
 

JillH

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I just noticed his website has the following disclaimer. Is this something Google might flag a listing for and possibly remove it?
THIS IS AN ADVERTISING PLATFORM
This is for advertisement only and should not be intended for legal advice. Various attorneys with this platform maintain independent law practices.
 

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