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I am a plumber and would like to do some spam fighting of other local plumbers, and I have some questions. I have been reading here and linked blog articles, but am still confused.

I have a very old Google/Gmail account that I use for everything: my business, GMB, and also personal (I am a Local Guide). Am I risking anything by suggesting edits of other businesses or filing Redressal Form complaints? I do not want it to seem like I am attacking other businesses for my own gain. I also don’t want it to seem like some type of spam if I report 40 listings. So should I use a different account?

Second, what should I do about all of the plumbing companies that are based out of their house yet still show their address in their Google listing? I have reported some via Suggest an Edit > Remove This Place > Private Place or Home. The ones that haven’t been claimed have disappeared. But the listings that have been claimed remain. I’ve only done that with a few for now, I wanted to get more info before continuing.

Should I use the Redressal Form for this? It seems to be for malicious activity, I am not sure if this applies. What do you think?
 

BenFisher

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As far as your account goes, be careful with your main account. If the edits do not get applied enough or Google thinks you are a spammer, your account can be hit, so build trust in a new account if you are worried about that.

Regarding those that have the address showing. It is tricky, there are some privacy issues that are going on. I have had tremendous success in removing private residences that do not have signage, but not all the time. So, if they are not licensed businesses then fee free to redress them.

Hope that helps.
 

EmilyW

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If I can piggyback on this, what does a spam business look like? What are some indicators that it is not legitimate? Thanks!
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi @EmilyW We covered this in our spam fighting guide - [2019] The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Spam on Google Maps - Sterling Sky Inc

Business Name:
  • Does the business name on the listing match what’s on their sign in Street View?
  • Does the business name on the listing match what is listed on their business license? You can look at how a business is registered by searching for them on their state’s Secretary of State website.
  • Call the phone number. How do they answer the phone? When you’re making these calls, call from Gmail so that your number is anonymous and they can’t call you back. Many spammers who create tons of fake listings answer their phone with something generic like “Hello, locksmith” or “Hello, service”. Normal businesses generally answer with their business name. If they answer as just “hello” you can always ask “Hi, I’m trying to make sure I got the right number, what business is this?”
  • Other government documents can be used to verify a business name
  • What name is listed on their website? Often these people will list their name as “keyword 1, 2, 3” on Google yet their About us page on their website lists their real name.
  • Go take a picture of the actual location. Photos can be used as proof.
Address:
  • Does Street View confirm they are at this address?
  • Do a Google search for the address. Does it return a UPS store website or mail service? (Neither of these are allowed).
  • Zoom in on Google Maps to identify other listings that are also using this same address.
  • Drive by the location. Take pictures. Is the business actually there?
  • Call the business and ask for directions to their office and see how they respond.
  • Does the address on the listing match what is listed on their website?
 

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My main concern is how to (which selections to make) report SAB's like plumbers who have their address showing in the GMB results but that address is clearly their own house.

Also, there are many small plumbing companies who have their same business name and phone number on 4-5 listings, each listing is in a different neighboring town and the address is a house. When I look up the house, the owner of the house was not the owner of the business, I think they just randomly chose addresses in those other towns. Maybe friends or relatives.

These are the types of spam listings I would like to have removed.
 

EmilyW

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My main concern is how to (which selections to make) report SAB's like plumbers who have their address showing in the GMB results but that address is clearly their own house.

These are the types of spam listings I would like to have removed.

Great point, seems like Colan's recommendations on some of the other steps would help. Even if it was a friend or relative's house, they would still answer their phone professionally, and the phone would be linked to the true owner or staff, assumedly. This is something I have wanted specifics on, and I'm glad you brought it up.
 

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I am still having trouble with spam.

An issue that keeps occurring is when another plumber has 2-5 listed with the same name, but has a different address in each town he serves (but the addresses are clearly just houses). I will choose to edit the listing, then remove it, then choose duplicate. Sometimes it gives me a choice to choose the duplicate company, other times it does not. But in either case, google never removed the duplicates. Am I doing this wrong?

The other big issue is SAB's (plumbers) using their home address. I report is and show a picture of the house. In some cases I even showed screenshots of the tax website showing that it is a single family residence, but they all still remain.
 

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Yes, that article is what brought me here to the forum originally. I think maybe it is too advanced for an end user like me (not an SEO pro). I think I might not be doing all the little things that all you pros already know. Also, yes, I have used the redressal form.
 

EmilyW

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Yes, that article is what brought me here to the forum originally. I think maybe it is too advanced for an end user like me (not an SEO pro). I think I might not be doing all the little things that all you pros already know. Also, yes, I have used the redressal form.
Its new for me too, and I think a great question your bring up. That article gave me specific steps to start on, and I'm glad you found it, too. Hoping for others to weight in!
 

Yan Gilbert

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Seems like you are doing the proper way, it's just that Google's system is what is not functioning correctly. When using the redressal form, try to point out the exact rule that it is being broken. i.e. residential address with no signage, or multiple listings in the same area for an SAB (which can only have one). It does take a few weeks on average for those to be checked as well.
 
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