Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
706
Here's a situation that I frequently encounter when working with my clients in California. The clients must have a state-issued license in order to provide services to California residents. The licenses are costly and hard to get. Moreover, every office of these companies must be separately licensed, at a cost of more than $5,000 for each office.

Consequently, many companies dishonestly (in my view) list additional "offices" on maps as SABs where those additional "offices" are employees' residences, clients' residences, etc. They cannot legally see clients in these "offices" without a license. It's very easy for them to list them as SABs on Google maps, though.

Are they violating the Google Maps terms of service? If so, under what "report an edit" category should I report them?

Thanks!
 

Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
503
Reaction score
231
Hi Tim,

In order to qualify for a Google My Business listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.

That's the guidelines, so your interpretation is correct and yes, they should be reported.

In those instances I use the Google Maps "suggest an edit", then select Place is permanently closed or has never existed, then Spam.

If you get no joy from the report (edit declined), then use the GMB forum. From there it can be escalated to the spam team for manual removal.

Unfortunately their spam detection systems aren't as robust as we would sometimes like, so the forum gives you space to add evidence to support your case. The suggest an edit form doesn't give you room for that.

It also pays to check back. Often businesses will call support, spin a story and get those listings reinstated. So you ping back on the thread, explain what's happened and it can be escalated again.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
4,080
Solutions
9
Reaction score
3,485
Google doesn't state in their guidelines that a business license is required to be listed. What they do say is what Margaret mentioned that they have to have in-person contact with their customers. This doesn't mean the contact has to happen at their office. If they have a home office, they would be an SAB if they go to meet their customers.

The second rule that would come into play is that SABs are only allowed 1 listing per the guidelines. So setting up 5 listings for the same company using employees houses is not allowed. They would all be removed except the 1 that they're allowed.

Google does use business licenses to help prove the existence of a business if it gets suspended.
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
706
Google doesn't state in their guidelines that a business license is required to be listed.

In this case it's a state professional license, a "home care organization" license that they cannot legally operate without. However, I think the point in your comments below is the one that I would rely upon to shut down the spammy location listings.

...The second rule that would come into play is that SABs are only allowed 1 listing per the guidelines. So setting up 5 listings for the same company using employees houses is not allowed. They would all be removed except the 1 that they're allowed...

Awesome! That's the best tool against these ne'er-do-wells then! You don't happen to know the URL where that rule applies, do you?

Joy, thank you very, very much! :)
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
4,080
Solutions
9
Reaction score
3,485
https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

Under the Address section: Service-area businesses—businesses that serve customers at their locations—should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can't list a "virtual" office unless that office is staffed during business hours.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
579
https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

Under the Address section: Service-area businesses?businesses that serve customers at their locations?should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can't list a "virtual" office unless that office is staffed during business hours.

Joy,

What if they have multiple offices in different cities across the state? Surely they would be allowed to have a listing per office?

If the above is true, is it just that you can't have more than 1 office in a city?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
4,080
Solutions
9
Reaction score
3,485
If it's a staffed office they can almost always have a listing. The problem with SABs usually is they aren't staffed. So people want to use employees' houses or other random addresses to get listed tons of times and that's not allowed.

So as long as it's staffed (by your own staff, not some virtual office staff), you should be fine.
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,283
Reaction score
706
...So as long as it's staffed (by your own staff, not some virtual office staff), you should be fine.

Just a sanity check: that would mean, "staffed during your normal or stated business hours", correct? In other words, if you say that the location is open from, say, 9am - 4pm, it has to be STAFFED during those hours, right?
 

Scott Rawlins

Moderator
Joined
Nov 14, 2012
Messages
1,102
Solutions
1
Reaction score
388
Just a sanity check: that would mean, "staffed during your normal or stated business hours", correct? In other words, if you say that the location is open from, say, 9am - 4pm, it has to be STAFFED during those hours, right?

Correct
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
4,080
Solutions
9
Reaction score
3,485
Yes. However, if it's a service area business they can set their hours to match when they would answer the phone. For example, a plumber doesn't have a "staffed office location" but if they answer their phone and do emergency calls at 2am, they can say they are open then.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Y One of my rivals bought 5 stars 100 spam reviews in 2 weeks Google does not care Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Conor Treacy Decor vs D?cor. Does Google care? Organic SEO 6
Lachlan_Wells Accept/Discard Google Updates - Does this feature work for you? NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 2
harmony How Does Google Choose Service Options in a Review? Local Reviews 6
NickB-Tampa Why does Google keep updating changing the main category on our listings to ones that don't make as much sense? NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 2
Steve Wiideman Does anyone have a Google My Business claiming best practice guide? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
djbaxter Google: Moz Spam Score, Domain Authority Does Not Impact Google Rankings Organic SEO 1
Danish Blackmail Review (Asking money to remove it) | Google support does not wish to take it down Local Reviews 2
Tony Wang Google now does food ordering Google My Business & Google Maps 2
K Map Pin Does Not Show When Business Owner Googles Their Address Google My Business & Google Maps 1
kathleen.rhodes Google's My Business Provider - how does a Chamber of Commerce sign up Help & Support for Google Local 6
djbaxter Google reminder: Structured Data Does Not Impact Ranking Organic SEO 0
M How Does Google Calculate Call Only Ad Charges? Paid Search and Local Service Ads 4
ashley.smith Does Google My Business prioritize reviews from Local Guides over other users? Local Reviews 7
P Does Google Use A SAB's Mobile Phone Location/s As A Signal? Local Search 7
M Does google piece together kw's from sentence? Organic SEO 4
Noelle Leahy Does responding to Google reviews in Dental Industry break Patient Confidentiality? Marketing 11
Nikki Stine Does Google remove erroneous reviews without being prompted? Local Reviews 4
D Does Google Save Data on Unclaimed Listings? Google My Business & Google Maps 2
S Does Google penalize you for using the Event post hack to get your post to last more than 7 days? Google My Business & Google Maps 6
Kevin Marshall Does Using Fetch As Google and Requesting Indexing Have Any SEO Benefits? Local Search 7
Nikki Stine Does Google remove unverified GMB listings? Help & Support for Google Local 6
G Does Google limit the amount of times you can change GMB listing? Google My Business & Google Maps 5
djbaxter Tracking Protection: What exactly does it block? Google Analytics? Organic SEO 0
A Sitemap.xml - Does Google add any new welinks that are posted here Organic SEO 1
hollypowell How Does Google Not See This? It's Obvious SPAM In the Worst Way Google My Business & Google Maps 8
MiriamEllis Does Google 'My Places' Still Exist? Google My Business & Google Maps 2
H Does Google Search Console Show impressions and clicks from GMB? Local Search 4
Colan Nielsen Why the $%!# Does Google Keep Updating My Business Hours? (A Case Study) Google My Business & Google Maps 5
iwebresults phone google maps does not match google+ address Local Search 11
D Why does Google keep reverting my changes? Google My Business & Google Maps 12
Travis Van Slooten How Long Does It Take for New Google+ Pages to Go Live These Days? Google My Business & Google Maps 12
RR415 How does Google handle street name abbreviations? Local Search 4
L Does your presence in Google local pack have an effect on your organic ranking? Local Search 6
Linda Buquet How Big an Impact Does Social Media Play in Google Local Results? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
Lloyd Silver What benefits does a business get from Google Plus other than the local pack Google My Business & Google Maps 9
A Does a Personal Stylist Qualify for a Google+ Local Page Help & Support for Google Local 9
Linda Buquet Forrest Gump does Google Local, G+ for Dentists & More Local Search 0
H Under what circumstances does a google + widget appear? Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Dustybones Does Google have more verified business pages than Facebook? Google My Business & Google Maps 0
Dustybones Does Google Re-Write your title tags in search results? Local Search 4
J Client shows up in top 3 organically but does NOT have a Google balloon! Help & Support for Google Local 6
ColoradoChris Google plus local - added keyword, but now does NAP hurt me? Google My Business & Google Maps 23
Bishop Why does Google keep messing with my Places page? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
djbaxter What Google does with duplicate content: Nothing really Organic SEO 5
deanPlumberseo Google Maps Ads - What does it mean for us? Google My Business & Google Maps 3
djbaxter Google Penguin 2.0 Goes Deep - But What Does That Mean? Organic SEO 0
prota Does Google feed local data to other sources? Local Search 0
prota Does Google Devalue Citations Citations 9
Travis Van Slooten How Does Google Know If You're Using a Virtual Address? Google My Business & Google Maps 5

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

Trending: Most Viewed

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert


Top Bottom