How to Fight Spam to Enhance Your Local SEO Presence

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a key local SEO platform for attracting clients and driving website traffic. A robust GBP profile can provide quick information like phone number, address and website without requiring the user to leave the search engine results page. This convenience and reliability mean that GBP accounts serve as a business’s front-line of digital presence and, therefore, need regular maintenance.

Unfortunately, spam listings can bury even the most well-built GBP listings and inhibit user experience. To help prospective clients see your GBP listing and improve local SEO results, consider identifying and reporting GBP spam frequently.

What are Spam GBP Listings?

GBP listings that are not real businesses are spam and some may be incredibly obvious. Oftentimes, lead generation companies create these listings to sell to businesses for a quick profit. There may be many spam listings within a given market, which bury genuine local businesses lower in the rankings.

A spam GBP listing may have:

  • A business name tailored for an exact keyword match
  • A street view showing an empty location, like a parking lot or abandoned building
  • A sketchy website listed
  • No phone number listed
  • Multiple 5-star reviews over a short and often recent period of time

To find spam listings, search local keywords and click onto “more places” at the bottom of Google’s GBP 3-pack (the feature that shows 3 businesses for your search). Some industries may have more spam than others. Law firms, for instance, often have high rates of spam listings. When you identify spam, note where it ranks in relation to your business. Competitors may be using these spam listings to bury your business in the GBP rankings.

For further help identifying spam on Google Business Profile, check out this blog for more information.

Why Should I Fight Spam?

Many agencies and local SEO teams do not report spam due to the time commitment and difficulty tracking success. Although your competitors may not be fighting spam, your business should still consider doing so. Fighting spam can help your business reclaim local rankings and earn valuable placement within Google’s 3-pack.

How to Fight Spam GBP Listings

Checking Google Guidelines

First, head to the Business Redressal Complaint Form and read the instructions. Ensure that your spam removal request meets the criteria. Enter your information and your relation to the complaint.

Flagging Spam URLs

Next, enter the public URLs for the spam listings you want to be removed. To find these, simply select each GBP listing, copy the exact url for the listing, and paste the URL into the form. For bulk entries, Google also accepts spreadsheets that have each URL listed.

Detailing the Spam Report

Finally, explain why the GBP listings should be flagged for spam. Go into full detail about how the listings’ titles, contact information, locations, reviews, etc. may indicate spam. Be professional, elaborate, and reference specific Google Business Profile guideline violations. To help your case, ensure the form is filled out to the best of your ability.

Is it Worth it?

Although fighting GBP spam may be a tedious process, removing spam listings can significantly help a business. Google emphasizes instant search results with user enhancements like 3-packs and featured snippets so first impressions are more important than ever. This means businesses should monitor their GBP profiles as well as their competitors on a regular basis.

Overall, removing spam can help your business’s digital visibility and lead to increased website traffic. Google is emphasizing GBP’s role in search results, so it may be wise to maintain and protect your business’s profile by reporting spam. Doing so may take some time, but the results will likely be worth it.

Hopefully, Google will make further changes to its GBP review process and target spam listings. Potential improvements could include additional verification requirements and a crackdown on keyword-heavy business names. Until then, business owners should monitor their local positioning and report spam as it arises to protect their local search ranking.