More threads by Annika Neudecker

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I work with a large national retail chain. One of our competitors, also a large national retail chain, recently made a change to their GMB listings to include the city name in the listing name, e.g. Big Store - Manhattan. I live near several of their locations and know that this new name change isn't representative of their actual branding or signage, which has remained identical. It's purely an SEO move to boost their listings rankings. They've done this across the board on every location and it has made me concerned that our rankings could be taking a hit where we compete because of it.

The question is, is it worth attempting to report their listings? In the world of name spam, this is an extremely tame, small violation, and while it does go against Google's rules, I'm not sure anything would happen if it was reported. Would we be better off trying to counter them by doing the same thing? Just ignoring it? When does a name spam issue rise to the level of needing to be addressed?
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi Annika, you are correct that Google would consider this is a small violation, if at all. You can try submitting them via Redressal. I wouldn't collect all the examples, just send them a slice of listings. I doubt they will take action but it can't hurt to see what Google does. Regardless of the outcome you will learn something :)
 

KieranThomas

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Can you just use the "suggest an edit" feature, and remove the location from the name? (Admittedly you'd need to do this for each location which is a pain if they have lots)

I've done this a few times, and often have the suggestion accepted the same day by Google
 
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Can you just use the "suggest an edit" feature, and remove the location from the name? (Admittedly you'd need to do this for each location which is a pain if they have lots)

I've done this a few times, and often have the suggestion accepted the same day by Google

I have done that before, but since the locations are being actively managed, they just reject the edits and revert any that get through.
 

dgrunited

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I work with a large national retail chain. One of our competitors, also a large national retail chain, recently made a change to their GMB listings to include the city name in the listing name, e.g. Big Store - Manhattan. I live near several of their locations and know that this new name change isn't representative of their actual branding or signage, which has remained identical. It's purely an SEO move to boost their listings rankings. They've done this across the board on every location and it has made me concerned that our rankings could be taking a hit where we compete because of it.

The question is, is it worth attempting to report their listings? In the world of name spam, this is an extremely tame, small violation, and while it does go against Google's rules, I'm not sure anything would happen if it was reported. Would we be better off trying to counter them by doing the same thing? Just ignoring it? When does a name spam issue rise to the level of needing to be addressed?

Just run Google Ads for your business & ignore them.
 

JeffClevelandTN

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I work with a large national retail chain. One of our competitors, also a large national retail chain, recently made a change to their GMB listings to include the city name in the listing name, e.g. Big Store - Manhattan. I live near several of their locations and know that this new name change isn't representative of their actual branding or signage, which has remained identical. It's purely an SEO move to boost their listings rankings. They've done this across the board on every location and it has made me concerned that our rankings could be taking a hit where we compete because of it.

Hi Aninika, we work with a franchisee of a large national chain in health care services. Interestingly, like your competitor we include the city name or a local landmark in all their GMB listings just as you described but w/o the dash so "XYZ Medical Clinic City". But unlike your competitor the name is carried over to their individual domain names, and all their other local advertising. The franchisee registers not only the primary name of "XYZ Medical Clinic" but also registers for a small fee, an assumed name or DBA in the state they are doing business with the additional locator in the name. We have found that the addition of the city or location in the name does provide a competitive advantage (sometimes significant) with not only local pack but organic searches, especially in larger MSA's where the footprint of the city is broken up in to areas like "South CityName", "North CityName", "West CityName", or has a neighborhood name.

Have you considered approaching your client to see if they would consider adopting a similar strategy but do it consistently so it is compliant with GMB (and other major aggregators/directories)? In other words, beat the competitor at their own game ;). I've worked on fighting name spam with some of our other clients, where the keyword stuffing is obvious, with little success. Colan has actually escalated one of our complaints on the GMB forum and we haven't been successful (yet). I'm in agreement with Colan, I don't think Google will take any action whatsoever but it can't hurt to try. If you go that route and haven't done it before, there are some best practices for redressal and later escalation requests. If interested, I'm happy to provide links to articles I've used when I first started submitting redressals for name spam, many of which were written by LocalU's staff/contributors.
 

Conor Treacy

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Interesting approach with the DBA - it would allow you to still get the keywords on the name, and since it's the "legal name", you're in full compliance with Google on that too.
 

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