Sep 19, 2014
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So we're working for a client who not only lives 20 minutes from his service area (i know i know, age old problem on here) but his wife has a cleaning business where they live so he cant register a business there since it would be considered spam (we've tried). I have an idea on how to set him up with a google local presence in this other city. Create a yellow pages listing, yelp, manta, etc etc. get them verified. I will use an empty address in that city that no one is likely to take for a long time, and register the yellow pages and other citations there. Google will come along and crawl it, and from there i will be able to claim the listing with a phone call to his cell, instead of a post card, which he obviously won't be able to get.

Ideally this solves both my issues, the fact that he can't list one at his home, and that he need a presence 20 minutes from his house in the larger city. Since its a niche business, i think it will be easy getting into the top 3, in fact there are only two other guys, lol, google often only shows one of them for certain searches, so I'm hoping they'll make it a 2 or 3 pack display once we are strong enough to rank. Will this strategy work in a situation where I can't get a post card in his target city Thoughts?
Oct 25, 2013
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You do know that that's super against Google Guidelines, right? I'll just assume you know that this is black hat, and you're curious if it'll work or not.

First off, spam's a huge issue with Google maps, and there's people investing huge amounts of time testing and figuring out how to cheat the system. Joy linked to a great book you might want to check out, it'll hopefully give you a little more insight into why not to do what you're suggesting, both from an ethical and from a technical perspective.

So while Google's spam prevention is obviously far from bullet proof, a fair bit still obviously slips under the radar. But here's the thing... you say you only have 2 competitors. What happens when one of them sees what's going on and reports your client's business? Do you want to have to explain to a small business owner that his livelihood has been damaged because of your bad advice? Once a business gets hit for spam, it's no joke... it can be very problematic getting a business reinstated once you're on the radar as a spammer. If you did decide to do something black hat with one of them by the way, keep them on separate accounts. I'd hate to see the wife's business damaged as well because of some bad advice they took.

To be honest though, you're right. ranking 20 minutes outside your actual location isn't something that's likely to work well in local, unless it's very rural. If the client doesn't want to get an actual location in his market, you're going to have to explore other outreach options. Organically ranked local landing pages, PPC, etc. there's no white hat solution that's going to work well for getting your client in the map, that doesn't involve him getting an honest to God address where he wants to rank.

As far as I know though, you shouldn't have run into problems having two unrelated SABs both at the same address. If your client would like to get his business verified properly at his real location, post more information and maybe that at least can get squared away. You could also just try contacting Google directly, either on phone or on twitter and you might be able to get things straightened out that way. If you were confused about whether or not this was against the rules, there might be other things you were doing that got the business caught for spam, and Google support's policy is not to disclose any reasons they might have shut down an account for spam. So calling/contacting will only help if you don't have anything else going on under the hood causing problems.


Sep 19, 2014
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Well both businesses have a very popular area name in the term, as many around here do, plus the same address, i wasn't really surprised we got hit for spam. I was planning on using a separate google account, but was also concerned that they would hit my laptops ip address and affect 15 of my other clients which would stink pretty bad. I just don't know what else to do cause i know we can't rank organically for that city very well without a strong local presence, and there is NO market for what he does in the hick town he lives in, only in this city nearby. I guess part of me said, Im not like those spammers who put 5 locations for one guy, i just wanted one location in another area.

Is this something that would work for those po box situations, where we could first do the yellow pages so we can then phone verify?

If its setup as a service area business, can other people flag it as spam?
Mar 25, 2014
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Phone verification only happens when Google has really high trust in a business. From the way you've described your potential setup I'd be struggling to see how she'll gain high enough trust to ever offer phone verification to your client.

And yes, as long as a business comes up on Maps (which is your ultimate aim I'm assuming), it is possible for a Maps user to suggest a business be closed as Spam.


LocalU Faculty
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Jul 18, 2012
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Just wanted to chime in. I would never advise this if they are paying you for SEO. They'll be paying you for a long time to build up a listing that will eventually get taken down, and when it does, they'll blame you for it and ask why you advised they invest in something that is a complete violation of Google's rules.

Like Priya mentioned, you probably won't be able to verify the listing either. This could not only put his listing in jeopardy but any others you manage as well. Google really doesn't act kindly to spammers.
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