More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Here is a great and in-depth case study on one of our favorite pet peeves. ;)
From Sterling Sky. Colan writes:

As far as we’ve seen, Google has no way of algorithmically catching this so violators of this guideline are only punished if someone catches them and reports them.

In this study, we looked at 50 different cases to see what Google actually does to a listing once someone has reported it. We were curious about a few things...

Head over to check it out, then come back to discuss.

Does your experience line up with these findings?

What's the worst or funniest KW stuffed name you've seen?
How Does Google Penalize Keyword Stuffing?

I thought you guys would get a kick out of this article Colan published earlier this week.

We looked at 50 different cases (mostly law firms) where businesses were adding keywords to their business name in Google My Business and posted our findings of what Google did as a result.

The key takeaways:

  • Google has let a business add keywords back to its name on GMB as many as 8 times after being removed, without taking any kind of action such as a warning or soft suspension.
  • Google sent a warning (no punishment) to GMB page owners letting them know that they need to stop keyword stuffing 60% of the time.
  • Google applied a soft suspension to GMB listings that repeatedly add keywords to their name 20% of the time.
  • Google applied a hard suspension to GMB listings that repeatedly add keywords to their name 20% of the time.
  • It’s fairly easy to convince Google that keywords are part of the GMB business name by simply adding them to the logo on the businesses website or adding photos to your GMB that have the logo.
  • On a couple occasions, when Google removed the one listing (hard suspension), the user just created a new one. They also gave that one a hard suspension and then they created a third listing.
  • Suggesting an edit on the listing never stopped keyword stuffing from coming back on verified listings. The only way to fix keyword stuffing is to report it to Google My Business. Business owners added the keywords back 100% of the time on these cases.
Re: How Does Google Penalize Keyword Stuffing?

Ya I love that study you guys!

FYI I posted about it yesterday and about 150 people have read it so far, but I didn't have any luck getting a discussion going. So hopefully some folks will weigh in on this thread.
Just to circle the wagons, here is the link.
Re: How Does Google Penalize Keyword Stuffing?

Shoot - I didn't even see that so I merged the threads :)

How big of a signal do you think the keyword in the GMB business name is? We feel it's a significant signal but haven't done an official study. I'm curious with all the accounts you've looked at if you feel the same.

- Chris
In my experience it normally makes the listing move up by 1-3 positions.
based on this data, it seems like actually a good idea for businesses to consider adding their city or keyword to their names in most cases. If you add it on the website, logo and other directories, there's really no way to prove it's not the actual business name and Google likely won't take action.

It's clear that adding the city or keyword as your business name plays a big part in ranking.

If I work with a new business without a listing and the competition isn't taking advantage of the main keyword or city in their name, I always recommend naming their business/website/listings to take advantage of this ranking benefit.

EX: Plumbing Masters Brooklyn or Catering Services Tampa

As long as it's not super spammy I say why not? It clearly works.
One thing I will say is that the risk is greater for an agency than for an SMB because if Google suspends your account you will have all your clients get a soft suspension which is a nightmare to deal with.

But yes, I think rebranding is a good strategy for some business types.
good point. something to definitely consider if it's a strategy you're using frequently.
To quote the article:

Soft Suspension = This is when the business owner/agency loses the ability to manage the listing inside Google My Business but the listing is still live on Google Maps. Normally in theses cases, the ranking of the listing is unaffected.
What about Bing? Does anyone have a case study on how Bing handles keyword stuffing in the title?

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