Dave

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Has an article published by Bill Slawski on a google patent on a Local Spam Filter been discussed. The title of Bill's article, published on July 4 this year; and the actual patent title, released on June 21, 2016 are really misleading: This is ALL about a Local Spam filter that might be impacting Submissions to Google My Business.

Bill's article explains it and if you read the actual patent go to the Description and Background and that similarly explains it. This is really about a filter that Google may have installed that would serve to block local spam.

I think I've seen it 3 times this year....except it seems to be blocking new submissions to Google My Business.

The problem in each case has been that the new business occupies a space recently vacated by a business that was in the exact same category.

In two cases I've seen a business owner (restaurateur) rebrand a restaurant. Same type of restaurant, obviously same address, NEW URL, NEW NAME (sometimes the same phone number. In the 3rd case a business purchased the assets of an old business of the EXACT SAME CATEGORY. Same address, same category, completely different URL and name.

In all 3 cases the google my business submissions never get accepted. The businesses don't get cards. They simply don't get accepted.

I first saw it in early 2016 and about 2 months later with a second business and am now seeing it again. Totally new businesses in each case...but each one can't get into Google My Business and each have simply been automatically rejected with no explanation. Two of the businesses had to complain and complain and finally got in. The third is going through that process now.

The only similarity is that each of the businesses occupied a space that was previously occupied by a business of the EXACT SAME TYPE And Category. Different owners, different locations...different everythings except they tried to reopen as a new business but are immediately rejected by Google My Business.

Has anyone else seen this occur? Has there been a discussion on it? By the way, after reading the article I've discussed this with Bill and he thinks these 3 situations could have generated the spam filter, just as I do.
 
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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Thanks for the share Dave. I've definitely seen cases with businesses conflicting with each other at the same address, makes sense that you'd see that problem with old businesses at the same location as well. Joy even mentioned that as a thing to deal with when moving to a new location.

Definitely something to be aware of, when purchasing a company for a rebrand it's surprising how many business owners don't think to wrangle the online properties together along with the rest of the business assets.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Yes thanks for sharing Dave. I missed this one.

Something to keep in mind when we help folks at the GMB Community who say they can't ever get a postcard. Check location for previous business, same category.
 

Dave

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Yes thanks for sharing Dave. I missed this one.

Something to keep in mind when we help folks at the GMB Community who say they can't ever get a postcard. Check location for previous business, same category.

The problem in all 3 cases is that requests go into GMB and a card never shows. Phone customer service has been tremendously weak. 2 of the businesses spent untold hours back and forth on the phone. The third business isn't getting a response at all.

The darned thing is that all 3 businesses are real, new and not spam. But in that they are exact same categories as the previous business they seem to automatically fall into this spam filter and just get categorically rejected without any further communication from google. So you contact them again....and again....and again...and many times in the course of a couple of weeks to finally shake someone up.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Actually you should post at the GMB forum and one of the TCs could escalate. No reason to go through constant frustration.

If you do, post the link here. We have 6 Google TCs on our team here, so be sure to post link to that discussion here so one of us is sure to see it.

Could also try Twitter support which is often better than phone support.
 

Dave

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Actually you should post at the GMB forum and one of the TCs could escalate. No reason to go through constant frustration.

If you do, post the link here. We have 6 Google TCs on our team here, so be sure to post link to that discussion here so one of us is sure to see it.

Could also try Twitter support which is often better than phone support.

Thanks Linda. Its what I figured with all the TC's here. Great suggestions!!!!!!:D
 

Broland

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

If you read this patent (or Bill’s post about it), this isn’t really about getting a local business profile verified and approved on G+ at all (i.e. getting a verification postcard sent).

This patent is about demoting the ranking positions of business listings based on an assigned spam score. It sounds very similar to the method I found last year for checking Google local rankings without spam filters applied. (Coincidence or not, it was disabled a couple months after I announced it publicly.) But many of us got good use out of it and the biggest correlation we saw was seeing businesses that had duplicate G+ local pages having a -5, -10, etc. penalty applied - you could see them ranking in the top 5 with this method but in real search results they would have a -5, -10 or more penalty applied due to a spam filter.

If you are having trouble getting a new business or a new location verified on G+ local, do the basics first. If it’s a new business get some of your main directory profiles filled out with the NAP data, and get them indexed in Google of course. If it’s a change of address, update all of your other info around the web and then make the change on Google. Google looks to other sources in their index to verify the information - this should also speed up your ranking efforts as you are triggering Google to search for NAP information on that business when submitting a new business or a change.

That being said, with some recent developments of spam tactics to list fake business locations (I’ve witnessed more recently), I do think Google is employing some new methods of simply not verifying businesses based on some certain criteria - but that doesn’t seem to be anything related to this patent. Perhaps we will get to read about that patent in a year or so from now ;)
 

Dave

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

If you read this patent (or Bill?s post about it), this isn?t really about getting a local business profile verified and approved on G+ at all (i.e. getting a verification postcard sent).

This patent is about demoting the ranking positions of business listings based on an assigned spam score. It sounds very similar to the method I found last year for checking Google local rankings without spam filters applied. (Coincidence or not, it was disabled a couple months after I announced it publicly.) But many of us got good use out of it and the biggest correlation we saw was seeing businesses that had duplicate G+ local pages having a -5, -10, etc. penalty applied - you could see them ranking in the top 5 with this method but in real search results they would have a -5, -10 or more penalty applied due to a spam filter.

If you are having trouble getting a new business or a new location verified on G+ local, do the basics first. If it?s a new business get some of your main directory profiles filled out with the NAP data, and get them indexed in Google of course. If it?s a change of address, update all of your other info around the web and then make the change on Google. Google looks to other sources in their index to verify the information - this should also speed up your ranking efforts as you are triggering Google to search for NAP information on that business when submitting a new business or a change.

That being said, with some recent developments of spam tactics to list fake business locations (I?ve witnessed more recently), I do think Google is employing some new methods of simply not verifying businesses based on some certain criteria - but that doesn?t seem to be anything related to this patent. Perhaps we will get to read about that patent in a year or so from now ;)

That might be. I spoke with Bill. We've interacted on many years. After describing the 3 incidents he thought the filter might have hit these 3 totally different businesses. Can't be sure. Theoretically this filter could hit businesses the way you described and/or could hit businesses as in the 3 instances. Not sure. Its described to devalue existing businesses...but it could filter out new smbs also--automatically.

Never read your piece from last year. Do you have a link to it?
 

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

REALLY great points all Broland!
 

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

The spam score is definitely a real thing and I see lots of listings all the time that are "missing" completely from the Local Finder. What is still quite a mystery is what Google looks at to determine the spam score.
 

Dave

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

The spam score is definitely a real thing and I see lots of listings all the time that are "missing" completely from the Local Finder. What is still quite a mystery is what Google looks at to determine the spam score.

As google does things of this nature, it is incredibly difficult to deal with. Google penalizes you, but there is no communication and no way to cure.

Reminds me of dictatorships. ...and frankly I didn't know that google was appointed "lord and master".
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

As google does things of this nature, it is incredibly difficult to deal with. Google penalizes you, but there is no communication and no way to cure.

They do it so they don't educate the spammers about where lines are drawn.

But that leaves honest SMBs in the cold that have a problem like a previous totally unrelated business that was in the space before them.

But again I blame all the damn spammers that ruin it for everyone. Many listing changes are in reality spammers hijacking and changing a listing OR setting up a new fake listing at someone's business location. (Like what Brian did to the White House)
 
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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

Hi Dave,

If you haven't read it yet, you should check out Cyber Fraud: Web of Lies. It's a really quick, entertaining read, and it'll give you a good sense for why Google's hard on spam and doesn't communicate much. To be honest, Google's problem is being too lax and too inconsistent, not being too dictatorial and harsh. For those who know where to come for help, it's usually possible for legitimate businesses to get things squared up, though I know that even a few weeks of delays with getting back on Google can mean a fight for survival for some businesses in some industries. I'm not sure what the solution is, but the massive spam problem means there's a war to fight, both for the sake of consumers, and for real local businesses actually located where they say they are.

It might interest you too, Google used to not care about spam hardly at all, it took the author of the above book 'hacking' the FBI and intercepting calls to get some government fire under Google's butt.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Google My Business Local Spam Filter: Per Google patent & Slawski article July 4

James I just love the way you explain things and could not have said it better.
Totally agree.
 
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