Google Maps and 3 Pack Listings have become a strong player for ranking businesses in the Google search results.
Every local business can “claim” a free business listing with Google. What's involved?
Simply setting up a business profile with Google My Business. When completed, Google will mail a verification letter to your place of business.
Like everything, there are people trying to “scam” the system as addressed in an article by George Nguyen. Here's some of the things he had to say…
Google Maps carries approximately 11 million illegitimate local listings, with hundreds of thousands more getting created each month, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. These fake listings push real businesses further down the local search results, impacting their ability to reach customers and make unsuspecting users easy targets for scammers.
Google says it is aware of the problem and that it has plans to do more to combat spammers and scammers taking advantage of local listings. It’s not in the company’s interest to jeopardize user trust, yet as many marketers point out, it stands to profit as local businesses turn to paid ads to regain search visibility.
These bogus businesses flood local search results by setting up fake profiles in Google My Business (GMB), the free service that powers the business listings in Google Search and Maps. This dilutes search visibility for legitimate business listings, robbing them of potential customers, and puts users in a position to be scammed.
The problem isn’t always as black and white as fake and real local listings, either. As digital marketer Itamar Blauer pointed out, real businesses are also stuffing keywords into their Google My Business profiles in order to rank higher on generic local searches (e.g., “oil change” or “personal injury lawyer”).
In 2017, a Google-sponsored study by researchers from the University of California, San Diego concluded that just 0.5% of the local searches they looked at contained false listings. Search consultant Mike Blumenthal called the results “meaningless,” partially due to the limited and skewed data that Google provided. Danny Huang, the study’s lead author, who was also a paid Google intern at the time, acknowledged, “All I was doing was eyeballing in a scientific manner.”
Setting up your Google My Business profile is still something every business owner should do. Also, continually add photo's, videos and posts to your profile.
George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.
Photo By Daniel Semper
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