Tony Wang

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
168
Wow, apparently the LSA spam team doesn't have much of a budget. Best I could see, Pearson has 3 locations on their website that correspond to 3 gmb listings, which don't match up with any of this. Anyone else ever see this kind of stuff? @TomW?

screenshot-www.google.com-2020.07.12-23_17_14.jpg
 

TomW

Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
56
Yep, Tony. I doubt there's even a spam team in LSA. I haven't seen this specific example, but I've seen many examples of this same type of abuse. If I go a little broader and do a search for roofers in Dallas, I get 8 Local Services ads for that company. I also see another company with 5.

There are some parallels in abuse between Local Services and Google My Business. One area where they differ is in the business name. It has a huge impact on local results but no impact on the results for LSA. One main area where they are similar is that having more listings means more people will likely find you. If you have one Local Services ad for the entire Dallas metro area, it is not going to have the same visibility as 8 Local Services ads that are spread out across your service area.

In some ways, this is easier to abuse in LSA than in Google My Business. How is a business able to have so many listings? Because LSA does not do anything to verify the addresses of additional "locations". They may claim that they do but there is plenty of evidence like this to show they do not. Let’s assume the 3 locations the business claims to have are real and are being used as locations for GMB as well as Local Services ads. What are the other 5? Residential addresses. Probably employee homes. They are not actual locations of the business. They likely just told LSA that they have more locations and provided addresses for each. That’s it. There isn’t even a PIN postcard sent to the address or any sort of verification step they are subject to.

We know people do this type of abuse in GMB to get more listings in their service area. At least go through a verification step, even though that isn't going to slow them down much. When this happens for a new GMB listing it is obviously not going to have any reviews, so a business must work on getting them (or fake those too). LSA? No such problem. You’ll notice in your example there are only two different review counts among the 5 LSA listings. That is because 3 of the LSA listings are connected to one GMB listing and the other 2 LSA listings are connected to another GMB listing. So these additional LSA listings came with built-in reviews sourced from those GMB listings!

If anyone thinks Local Services was created due to spam this should help them think otherwise. There are simple lessons in GMB spam that should have already been known by Google and carried over to LSA. The Local Services team will have to learn them if they care to reduce abuse in their product.

Why am I pessimistic about it? Because I’ve pointed out this type of abuse before to people that should care and could do something about it, yet nothing has changed.
 

Tony Wang

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
168
Dang, Tom, it's worse than I thought. I noticed some of those listings had the same reviews, just didn't know how easy it was to do what they did.

Seems like it won't be long before LSA listings look as spammy as GMB. Marketers ruin everything, and Google is the Great Enabler :-(
 

Ryan Steinolfson

LocalU Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
46
Hey guys, the the strategy of creating multiple LSA accounts for one GMB location is one that I am in the process of implementing for one of my locksmith clients. LOL Am I part of the problem. I think not.

I think this strategy is totally ok as long as the company has field reps (technicians etc.) that take a company truck home and essentially work out of their house. It make sense because these field reps are an extension of the company and can service the area closest (and can serve that area very effectively and quickly [this is what Google wants]) to their house where they keep the company truck.

One of my GLS reps actually even suggested this as a strategy to me as long as the above requirements are met.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
3,764
Is it actually against their guidelines to do this? Having multiple listings in the GMB world is but I could see this passing for the same concept as having multiple websites that are advertising on the same page.
 

Ryan Steinolfson

LocalU Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
46
Hey @JoyHawkins , it doesn't seem to be against Google Local Services TOS's.

I have an email I sent to one of the Google Local Services program managers to see if she endorses the strategy of setting up multiple GLS accounts.

BTW, the reps that were doing the work to get companies approved (that suggested I use this strategy) did not work directly for Google (they were temps Google outsourced the approval work to). This is why I want to hear from an employee at "The Goog"

I will let you know what I find out.

This is Ryan btw and not Crystal. :) I am thinking we might want to get another account so that we can be identified by our names here in the Local U forum. What do you think?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
3,764
Hey @JoyHawkins , it doesn't seem to be against Google Local Services TOS's.

I have an email I sent to one of the Google Local Services program managers to see if she endorses the strategy of setting up multiple GLS accounts.

BTW, the reps that were doing the work to get companies approved (that suggested I use this strategy) did not work directly for Google (they were temps Google outsourced the approval work to). This is why I want to hear from an employee at "The Goog"

I will let you know what I find out.

This is Ryan btw and not Crystal. :) I am thinking we might want to get another account so that we can be identified by our names here in the Local U forum. What do you think?


Haha yes definitely!
 

TomW

Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
56
I think the main policy that would apply is Misrepresentation from Google Ads policies.

Along with this part of Local Services policies:

Your Local Services ads and the information you provide to Google in connection with Local Services must be accurate, complete, and not misleading. Even if you’re not also running ads as an advertiser, you must follow the Google Ads policies at all times.
(from here: Local Services platform policies - Advertising Policies Help)

@Ryan Steinolfson let us know if you find out any more info if you would!
 

TomW

Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Joined
Sep 1, 2016
Messages
56
FYI... Google just updated that Local Services policy page and one of the additions is this:

lsa-gmb-reviews.png
 

AndySimpson

Local Search Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
213
Well I think Tim's Local Search Summit talk today just helped so many people understand LSAs just that little bit more, great session Tim, thank you!
 

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