Google maps contains about 11 million illegitimate email list local listings, with hundreds of thousands more being created every month, the wall street journal reported this week. These fake listings push real businesses higher in local search results, impacting their ability to reach customers and making unsuspecting users easy targets for scammers. Google says it's aware of the problem and plans to do more to fight spammers and scammers who take advantage of local listings. It's not in the company's interest to jeopardize user trust, but as many marketers point out, there are benefits as local businesses turn to paid ads to regain their visibility in searches. "Vertical restraint" scams and spammy trade names first, take a look at the problem.
Majority of auto repair, towing, electricians, contractors, lawyers, moversandother categories of services are not located at addresses displayed in google maps, according to an expert survey conducted by the wsj. Internally at google, according to the paper, these categories are called "Coercion verticals," because of their propensity for scams designed to trap victims when they email list are most vulnerable. These fake businesses flood local search results by creating fake profiles in google my business (gmb), the free service that powers business listings in google search and maps. This dilutes search visibility for legitimate business listings, deprives them of potential customers, and puts users at risk of being scammed. Google's failure to remove fake business listings and verify real ones is a frustration for many business owners and marketers.
Joe youngblood , an seoanddigital marketer, spoke about the email list issues legitimate businesses face with google my business. “hey @googlemybiz still has several real companies with suspended accounts, while fake spam companies with virtual office addresses are popping up everywhere. It's been almost a full week, can you please answer these questions? ,” youngblood tweeted this week. The problem is not always as black and white as fake and real local ads. As digital marketer itamar blauer has pointed out , real businesses also insert keywords into their google my business profiles in order to rank higher in generic local searches (e.G. “oil change” or “personal injury lawyer”). Google's guidelines state,