More threads by johnlavapie_SEO

Jul 15, 2019
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Hey Everyone,

A big part of our Local SEO strategy for one company is to fight spam. And from my past experience, I was able to create a system that increased my success in removing spam from GMB. Just want to share and maybe you have some feedback or suggestions on how to increase my success even more.

First I create a spreadsheet to track my reports:

It makes it easy for me to track everything. And the link makes it easy to check the status of their profile quickly.

Next, I discover new spam by doing simple searches on Google. I only track companies above our rank. And I don't bother tracking a keyword if we are not even in the top 20 - which means we have bigger problems than spam.

Next, I use my Google Profile that has the best Local Guide level. I read somewhere that it doesn't make a difference. But might as well use it. I use that profile to report the spam based on my original reason for reporting them:
  • Either they are located in a Residential area with no Store-front and clear Business Signs
  • Never Existed
  • Permanently Closed
  • Temporarily Closed
I record the details in my spreadsheet including the date when I first reported it. This first step gives me a 25-30% success with spam.

The next step is to wait for a week (sometimes 2 weeks if I am busy). If they are not removed or changed (or sometimes changed back by the owner) - I report all of them as Spam, Fake, or Offensive. It gives me an additional 5-10% additional success.

Then I wait for another week or 2 and report them again as Spam, Fake, or Offensive.

If after 3 attempts, and they are still not removed - that is when I submit a redressal form.

With this system, I have a success rate of 50.72%.

What do you guys think? Am I missing anything?
That's pretty good. Similar to what I do.

A few possible tweaks to consider:

1. Note down the address, where applicable.

2. Submit edits on keyword-stuffed and fake GMB names.

3. Report spammers who don't outrank you. (They may in time, and you don't want it to come to that, if possible.)

4. Consider using GMB Scanner Pro

5. Use the Anonymous Ad Preview Tool to see whether you find competitors you didn't find in a simple Google search.
I think it's important to report listings below you (or your customer) for a few reasons. First, even if they are below you, customers might look to them if they have better reviews or even a snazzier name.

Second, just because they are below your listing for the exact search you did at that moment, they might be above your listing for a search done from a mile or 2 or 10 away. Or they might beat you on search terms that you never thought of.
I also suggest reporting competitors who rank below you. No need to go crazy but certainly a few positions below. I would also report spam for keywords that you don't currently rank for if you plan to rank for them eventually.

On your sheet, for the "link", I would record the maps URL with CID number. This will allow you to accurately keep track of when competitors are able to get listings reinstated.
On your sheet, for the "link", I would record the maps URL with CID number. This will allow you to accurately keep track of when competitors are able to get listings reinstated.
How do you get the URL with the CID number?

Without the CID number in the URL, if he clicks those after they are reinstated, it won't show it?
I would skip straight to the redressal form for verified listings. Suggest an Edit will take a lot longer than 2 weeks to get reviewed by a human (more like 2-3 months). Also, Google won't remove private place/home listings unless they're unverified.
Wow! Thank you everyone for the response. I definitely have a bunch of takeaways.

  • I've been thorough in checking competitors above us around our area of service. BUT it makes sense to report 2-3 competitors below.
  • @Colan Nielsen thank you for the CID info. I will definitely use it.
  • @JoyHawkins thank you for the suggestions. Now that I know Google's habit with private places, I will just report them as spam. I will limit my reporting to 1 and go straight to the redressal form.
I know others have already mentioned it, but I'll pile on a bit more, and double down on the recommendation to report listings ranking below you -- consider not only those 2-3 ranks below, but brand new spammy listings as well. The issue is that once they start building reviews (even fake ones), it's going to be harder to have them removed.

I didn't see virtual offices in your spreadsheet, and those can be pretty common in some verticals (may not apply for you, but I see it all the time with law firms for example).

There are a few useful tools (like GMB Scanner, thanks for the mention @Phil Rozek), as well as the free Single Address Lookup tool that SmartyStreets has -- if you try it out, pay attention to the Analysis and Metadata sections, where they'll show you whether an address is residential, commercial, a package store (CMRA), or vacant.

Hope that helps!

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