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How to Properly Report Spam on the Google My Business Forum

Spam Type 1: Listings That Should be Removed

 

If you see a listing that should be removed you need to make sure that you list the following items:

 

  1. The link to the listing on Maps.  Please use a URL shortener so we can copy and paste the links since the forum tends to cut them of.  
  2. Why the listing should be removed.  
  3. The evidence of how you know this is true.  

 

Here are examples we get a lot of.

 

  • The listing is using an address that they don't physically exist at such as a UPS Store, mailing service, or virtual office.  If this is the case, you need to list the link to the website for the UPS Store or virtual office company so that we can see that the addresses match.  You can also include a link to Street View showing the business is not there.  If Street View is out of date, you can also submit photos you took of the location although I would recommend doing a video as it's more conclusive.  
  • The business type is not eligible to be on Google Maps.   
  • The listing is a duplicate for a business that already has a listing.  In this case, please also provide a link to the real listing.  Note: practitioner listings are not considered duplicates.
  • The listing is for a Service Area Business that already has another listing.  In this case, you also need to provide a link to their other listing.

 

If you are claiming the listing shouldn't exist you need to always provide evidence that can be used. 

 

Business Licenses:

It's important to note that not every business is required to have a business license so if you're asking to remove a listing because they don't have a license, you'll need more than that to be successful. 

 

Spam Type 2: Listings That Are Keyword-Stuffing

 

Adding keywords to the business name is a common tactic used by SEO companies that want the listings to rank higher.  Adding extra words to the business title to improve ranking is against the Google My Business guidelines

 

If you are reporting a business for doing this please list the following:

 

  1. The link to the listing on Maps.  Please use a URL shortener so we can copy and paste the links since the forum tends to cut them of.  
  2. What their "real" business name is.
  3. The evidence of how you know this is true.  

Things that can be used as evidence:

  • A link showing their external sign on Street View that doesn't match what's on the listing
  • How their 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.
  • Government documents such as the business license on the Secretary of State website, State Bar (for lawyers) or the NPI Registry for anything healthcare related.

You cannot use 3rd party directories like Yelp or Yellowpages.com as evidence.

 

Spam Type 3: Fake Reviews

 

Reporting fake reviews is very difficult due to the inability to prove a person's identity if they didn't use their real name, you are more likely to get somewhere. 

 

To request fake reviews to be removed, please list:

 

  1. The link to the review.  To get this, go to Google Maps, pull up the listing and click on the review.  Please use a URL shortener so we can copy and paste the links since the forum tends to cut them of.  If you are reporting multiple reviews, you need to list the link to every single one.
  2. The link to the listing for the business. 
  3. Why the review should be removed.

 

Here are some common examples that could be removed:

 

  • An employee left a review for their place of work.  In this case, if you have a public document online (website, social media profile) that shows they work at that place, that can be used as evidence.
  • A user is leaving positive reviews for businesses all over the country that they couldn't possibly be customers of.  For example, they claim to use a locksmith in California but a week later they use a garage door business in Florida and then a carpet cleaner in Georgia.
  • The user is posting the same review text on multiple businesses.

 

Here are common examples of things you cannot use as evidence:

  • "This person is not a customer of mine".  Unfortunately, this is impossible to prove due to the fact that Google allows people to use anonymous usernames.
  • "This person is slandering me".  Unfortunately, Google won't remove reviews just because the person is mean unless the review is harassing the person or threatening them in a way that is violent or obscene. 

about Joy Hawkins

I have been working in the Local SEO industry since 2006 and am excited to be part of Google’s Top Contributor program on this forum. I am also a Top Contributor on the Local Search Forum, a contributor to Moz's Local Search Ranking Factors survey, a speaker at SMX, a faculty member of LocalU, and a columnist for Search Engine Land. After working for 2 different online marketing agencies for 11 years, I decided to start my own marketing & consulting company in 2017 - Sterling Sky Inc.

Comments

Thanks Joy, definitely useful

Please one question: what about fake positive reviews? I saw activities with many 5 stars reviews by accounts with no other activities than the review


Thanks Joy. What does I do when someone posts photos to my Google my Business but it has nothing to do with my business. I am a photographer and someone posted photos of a tile install job (?) I have reported the photos several times but they are still there. There is no recourse to find the person (clicking on their name brings up a map link). I would like to contact them to have them remove the photos.

It just seems to me that if someone wants to post damaging or derogatory photos there really is no recourse. It makes me think that I should just not have a Google my Business Page. For instance, if a competitor wants to post really horrible photos and say that I did them, there is no recourse for me to have them removed. It's troubling.

 

This is one of the the three photos.

 

https://business.google.com/b/112475245131897161608/photos/l/01616086942621617083?hl=en

Rogan H
5d - last edited 5d

Thanks Joy, we've been having an issue with negative reviews being posted by people who only seem to post negative reviews for similar businesses, all in a unrealistic period of time.  Some of the reviews also seem to use the same text.  goo.gl/3tz1Rm  Is this  grounds to have the review removed?  Here is my business listing: goo.gl/GzarYt I suspect this would be the work of a local competitor that is seeking to tarnish the reputation of other businesses.   

 

Shortened URL doesn't seem to be working so I'll leave the full one here:  https://www.google.com/maps/place/Beachway+Therapy+Center/@26.548782,-80.0871716,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4...

 

And the review in question:  https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/106828117232064644562/reviews/@26.5037057,-80.0904635,11z/data=!...

@Francesco d - Fake positives are actually usually what we see reported so this definitely applies to them.

 

@RightBrainforHire - You can definitely report photos that don't belong to your business. Please create a new thread on the forum to do this.  

 

@Rogan H - yes your example would be one that would most likely be removed because I'm not sure how it's possible for one person to go to that many rehabs in a one month period ;)  Post a thread on the forum and someone can assist.

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