Mike NCM

Jan 4, 2017
Reaction score
Many many years ago when local search first became a thing, I did a lot of experimenting. One of those experiments actually turned into something I still care about today.

I created a simple website for one location based keyword. The name was 'Thing In Location'. Example would be AnytownVentCleaning.com.

I made the name of the site look like the business and just had the phone number come to me. I used a real address so I could claim the citations. I made it unit number 230 in a 50 unit strip mall...

Well, within 30 minutes I started getting phone calls from people looking for this service. So since I had a client who did that thing, I just ported the number to him. Figured he wouldn't really get much from it. A week later he begged me to let him keep it and pay me for it.

That site still churns out leads today and has for years. My client would be very disappointed if Google killed it from the index which I can't believe they have not done in the past few years.

The pages are so blatantly keyword stuffed and fake that it's shocking it's still there. Yet people call and fill out the form on the site regularly.

I am actually afraid to touch the darn thing. On the one hand I don't want to invite Google to re-crawl it. But on the other hand, if I don't do something it's just up there waiting to walk the green mile.

It still shows up in the 3 pack and is well ranked in the organics. Meanwhile the competitors are spending a ton of adwords money. Shocking to me that they have not reported the site to Google.

What I think I should do is create a DBA for the name of the website so it becomes an actual business. Then get a real address like a UPS box. Switch that info and fix the citations.

Then I'd re-do the website to remove the blackhat/old school stuff. Create content and do the proper SEO stuff. But again, I'm afraid to touch it. Feels like it's a house of cards and one wrong move will crash the entire thing.

So I am wondering if anyone here has any experience with converting a site from the dark side? I'd love some ideas/thoughts.

And I am totally white hat with my clients by the way. This was a looooong time ago and an experiment I never thought would work. Don't hate the player... hate the game.


Feb 21, 2014
Reaction score
dont touch it! if it gets into trouble, then worry about converting it to whitehat. at that point you wont have anything to lose anyway
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
It sounds like there's no way to convert this to a white hat listing, since it intrinsically is not a real local business. spammy local landing pages in the organic SERPS are a lot more of a gray area, but when it comes to actual local business listings, the rules are pretty clear.

Not every city and vertical has savvy enough competition to know how to do spam research, but you're right in thinking there's a ticking clock. It's going to take more than a UPS box to fix things though, UPS boxes are explicitly not accepted as an address, and trying to make the switch is just going to get you flagged. I honestly don't see how you could transition this to a white-hat listing without forming an actual, operating company. You couldn't even sell it to another business as a new location, since SAB's are only allowed one listing anyway. Sorry I don't have better news for you, but this really sounds like a listing that just isn't going to be brought in line with guidelines.


Oct 28, 2014
Reaction score
My experience is it's best not the call the Google cops on yourself when you're doing some 'jiggery pokery'.

If you're OK with losing the lead volume, I'd say try some stuff; like 'moving' it, but I'd go into it expecting it to be summarily executed. ?\_(ツ)_/?


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
Reaction score
If it's not broke don't fix it.

I speed read through this but why not tell your client this and offer to do his Local SEO for him? Create a new site for him, use his actual location, etc. so you have a backup plan if it does go down? Heck, you could even double rank at some point.


Jul 22, 2012
Reaction score
I think Joshua's advice is great. Plan on a psuedo-rebrand for your client and let them know. This kind of disclosure with clients is the kind that makes a "client for life."
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
raellovepie Reported GMB keeps coming back. Need Advice Spam on Google 1
J Advice Needed - GMB Listing Visibility Issues Help & Support for Google Local 7
B SAB With Virtual Address - Advice Needed Help & Support for Google Local 4
Nicole Basham Multi-service Service Area Business: GMB Optimization Advice Needed Service Area Businesses 2
AdamB In need of advice - Spam listing keeps reappearing Spam on Google 16
rutkap Spam Help/Advice Needed Spam on Google 20
M Advice needed can I have my GMB cake and eat it? Multi-Location Issues 3
Colan Nielsen [Examples Needed] GMB Support Offering Ranking Advice Google My Business & Google Maps 2
D Need advice on a bad reviews from competitors Local Reviews 7
brownaddesign GMB Business Hours - Need Advice Google My Business & Google Maps 3
djbaxter Need advice. Google post card sent. Now client says no mail delivery there. Help & Support for Google Local 3
M Need advice with this MCF Google My Business & Google Maps 0
J Advice Needed on Client My Business Listing and Maps Help & Support for Google Local 5
web50local Need Advice: Same Business Name, Different URLs and Locations Local Search 4
D Need some advice Help & Support for Google Local 7
M Client's site is over-optimized (urls, footer, anchors). Need advice! Local Search 11
comitdevelopers (x-post) Need advice on what's going on with a client Help & Support for Google Local 11
A Google Places - Is this possible? Need advice quick Google My Business & Google Maps 6
Stef Kiley Help needed with a spammy competitor Google My Business & Google Maps 1
0 Primary Owner hospitalized and has a stroke. Need to add myself as a manager. Verifying via phone calls only grants me Site Manager access. Help & Support for Google Local 2
NevenaIvanova Need help with business detail update of a Chinese business Local Search 3
dave101 Need Referral for CopyWriter Organic SEO 1
J Recommendations needed for creating a baseline Local Search 4
whitespark Everything You Need to Know About Google My Business Posts Google My Business & Google Maps 3
djbaxter PHP 8: What WordPress Users Need to Know Websites, Software, and Security 0
Kayla Adam Canadian Local SEO Agency Needed Local Search 3
LocalSEODat Need help with a suspended GMB - Client had home address as place of biz, then suspended. Fixed to meet customers and got reply with no reason Service Area Businesses 6
D SEO Audit Expert / Consultant Needed Local SEO Job Board 1
K I Need Guidance on How to Handle a Law Practice Buyout & Existing GMB Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Hammer I need help with duplicate listings All Things Google My Business [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 3
nathangdavidson Need to change the building name for a client Google My Business & Google Maps 2
RobertCarnitas Help Needed: Export/Copy List of Facebook Pages Managed Mobile & Social 4
P I need a recommendation of a person implementing Schema.org (vast experience in json-ld and SEO) Local SEO Job Board 4
Chris Ratchford Can't find call tracking on website... need to remove it Ask a LocalU Expert [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 2
danielwallace Needing to transfer reviews from local listings to 1 service area listing Google Duplicates & Merges 1
djbaxter Local SEO Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter Local Search 0
amandavantreuren Multiple Verifications needed for Delivery-Only Restaurants that Operate out of cloud kitchens Multi-Location Issues 3
EmilyW Need Help w/Requesting New GMB Postcard Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Paul Lappage Do you need to have specific User permissions to update the Attributes? Google My Business & Google Maps 2
D Do you need a Google account to leave a review? Local Reviews 8
AdamB Need Some Help with a Spam Listing Spam on Google 0
K Help Needed 30 days unpublished business profile Google My Business & Google Maps 6
j_holtslander Tool or technique needed Local SEO Tools & Software 3
Travis Van Slooten Need PPC Guru and/or Agency for Local Service Biz Paid Search and Local Service Ads 3
dave101 Need Opinion on Office Locations Service Area Businesses 7
Travis Van Slooten What are the 12 Core Citations Every Business Needs in 2019? Citations 16
A My new canvas site - Need feedback Recycle Bin 0
P Need to register Contact Us Messages 1
K Not The Best Practice for a GMB / Citations Name Change...and I need opinions. Moving or Name Changes 3
Nathan_NZ Adding New Users in Google Search Console - Help Needed Organic SEO 2

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert

Top Bottom