Without the support of professional SEO services, your business could be left open to the nefarious ways of local SEO spam. Nothing to do with luncheon meat but everything to do with not getting your fair slice of the market, spam of this nature could be moving your business down the trough. OK, enough of the ham, here’s why local SEO spam leaves us cold:
Google has some serious issues with spammers that violate the company’s Google My Business terms. The problems are serious enough to prompt businesses to change their names and a few businesses to sue the search engine giant.
Local SEO spam encompasses the practice of out of town businesses rigging Google local searches. Most of the spam is obvious, such as a solicitor in Nottingham using local SEO keywords applicable to London solicitors. However, some local SEO spam is difficult to detect. Businesses integrate popular keywords into business names that differ from what you see on a shopfront window. For example, Max’s Restaurant has the identical name on its front door. However, if you perform a local search, you see the name changed to “Max’s Greek Restaurant.”
Report Local SEO Spam
The most effective method for ending local SEO involves reporting the spam. However, before you file a report with Google, check and double check to verify the presence of local SEO spam. If you believe a fake business has set up shop online, refer to your area’s business listing available online or in print form. If a business uses a different location listing in an official record, you have uncovered location spam.
Another way to report local SEO spam is to log into your Google account and head directly to Google Maps. Search for the address of the suspected business spammer or click one of the pins placed on the virtual map. At the bottom-right of the Google Maps page, select the “Send Feedback” option and then click “Report a Data Problem. Type in information about the spammer that tells Google that the spammer does not conduct business at the location listed in its Google My Business information.
We strongly encourage you to report the highest spam rankings first, since Google lists the highest three local rankings and potential customers have to click an arrow to see more business names.
How to Handle Spam Reviews
Like ice cream, spam reviews come in a wide variety of flavours. From outright slander to subtle jabs, business reviews play a significant role in determining local SEO searches. Spam reviews come from disgruntled former employees, as well as the competitor down the street that desperately wants a slice of your revenue pie. For example, when you see a five-star rating for a health club and a bunch of one-star reviews for all of the competitors within a local search, you have probably discovered a spam review. You can reach out to Google and try to remove some, if not all of a spam review. However, Google has a spotty record when it comes to timely responses to spam review requests.
We suggest to live by the mantra, “The more, the merrier.” Encourage employees and customers of your business to write positive online reviews of your business. If you generate a substantial number of new positive reviews, you should mitigate the negativity of one or more spam reviews.
Want to guard against spam? Find out more about TrafficSource’s SEO services and contact us today!