If you have recently gotten into local SEO, you have probably seen some of your competitors using fake names, addresses, and more in order to rank above you.
Not fair, is it? Lucky for you, not only can you suggest edits to the map, but Google has an entire form dedicated to reporting listings that violate their policies.
Keep on reading to learn about the redressal form and what you should do in order to have success in submitting spam.
What Violates Google’s Guidelines?
Before you go crazy reporting spam, take a moment to analyze what makes a listing fraudulent in Google’s eyes:
- Not having in-person contact with customers
- Rental, for-sale properties, or private residences
- Using a virtual office as an address
- Ongoing events or services such as classes or meetings
- Lead generation agents or companies
- Sending users to spammy websites
- Using false business information in the name, address, and more
- Ex: Phil’s Tacos vs. Phil’s Tacos Cleveland | Best Tacos in Cleveland
But First, Try This Spam Removal Method
One thing that various Google representatives suggest is to use the “suggest an edit” tool to try and remove spam from the map before you send in redressal forms. This especially goes for keyword stuffing, as some professionals have said to not use the form for it at all, according to Local Search Forum.
Luckily for you, we have an entire blog post that teaches you how to do suggest an edit on Google Maps, so be sure to check that out if you need it.
4 Ways to Use the Redressal Form for Spam, Plus Some Tips!
With various aspects reportable via the form, check out our guide below to see which items you can claim are fraudulent, as well as some pro tips on extra steps you can take to make a well-rounded case.
What You Need to Start
- Your name and email
- Name of the business in violation
- Cause of violation
- Public URL of business in violation
- It will look like this: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sixth+City+Marketing/….
Now, onto the different areas you can report.
Use the redressal form for a business title that is incorrect if it goes beyond something you can do using the suggest an edit tool, or if your changes keep getting rejected. Often these will be titles that are keyword-stuffed and attempting to game the system, so be sure to keep at it to get them removed.
Pro Tip: Look up the business’s legal name by checking your state’s registered businesses and include the link in the comments box of the forms to help prove how they are going against guidelines.
The redressal form is the best option to use for reporting businesses that are 1) operating out of a private residence or 2) using a virtual office as their address.
Pro Tip: When you are reporting on a listing’s address, try to provide as much evidence as possible that proves their violation. This could include photos of the street view of the home, or screenshots of a virtual office being at that location through the file upload option on the form. Don’t be afraid to also include links in the comment box to explain more details on how the address goes against guidelines.
Website and Phone Number
It is not often that we see website and phone number fraud on Google Maps, but the option wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t possible. Whether a competitor is linking to a website that no longer exists, the number is that of a different business, the website appears highly spammy, or the business has snuck their links onto other businesses, this is the option you’d chose.
Pro Tip: If the number or website does not match the business, prove it by showing other instances of business it belongs to, and/or other businesses that they have also snuck their information onto.
Check Out More Posts on Local SEO
Outside of stopping “crap on the map,” there are various other strategies you should implement to round out your digital marketing efforts. Here are some topics to explore: