More threads by Professor M

Professor M

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Android Police's article

An interesting snippet from the article
"You also might have noticed that calls from some businesses (ones with a Google My Business listing) display the company name and category in the caller ID. Going forward, Google is going to be relying more on users to help categorize incoming calls, and we're now starting to see the first signs of that."

Is this going to help?
Will be there more Google edits on phone numbers? For example, if a business has more than one phone number (individual employees' phone extensions/mobile phones), could this create confusion for Google?
or another door for spammers to "add" trust to profile?
 

Jon Hall

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Yes! Great find. As you point out, @Professor M, this user-sourced data from phone calls is prone to confusion and spam. BUT it is arguably not as susceptible as GBPs themselves, their content or their reviews ;-)

GBP has a spam problem. (I know, I know. Really Jon? Fascinating insight. Tell me more! LOL.)

I think we're seeing Google start to lean on phone calls and Google chat as vectors for less spammable insight into business performance. What do I mean?
  • You'd be hard-pressed to actually fabricate trust for GBPs at scale in the way suggested by this article. Who's going to spin up a hundred unique phone numbers or enlist friends and family to stage calls with a business just to game the Phone app? Some people, maybe. But not many.
  • Then there's Google call-tracking. Why now? The technology has been around for decades. The only explanation that fits Google's MO is that call-tracking data is valuable to Google precisely because it can't be spammed (easily). By pushing call-tracking now, Google knows whether a participating business is answering calls, how long they last, perhaps even the content of the call. In a GBP ecosystem that's become noisy with spam, voice calls provide valuable signal for Google to evaluate the legitimacy and performance of the actual business behind the profile.
  • It's evident to me that this same motivation is driving Google's chat product, which I help businesses adopt and perform well on. Chats give Google an exclusive window into business performance and outcomes, which they measure with their Googly metrics--MRR, HMRR, CSAT, etc.--and use to penalize (suspend) those who do poorly and presumably reward those who do well.
I, for one, expect to see these "private," less spammable communication channels become a significant source of signal for Google to rank business listings in the future. As we know all too well, Google has not adequately fought spam on GBPs. Still, the Big G is too smart not to see how unreliable their traditional sources have become.
 

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