Does Reporting Google Maps Spam Really Work?

Did you know that every day, there are around 20 million people that submit corrections on Google Maps? From verifying store hours, to marking a business as permanently closed, the edits we can make on the platform can be very powerful.

And to the local SEO community, reporting spam can have major payoffs. But over the years, a lot of marketers have lost hope that it even works.

However, there was a recent study published that analyzed 5,306 different GBP listings across 16 industries over a 4-year span which can give marketers more insights into the impact that spam has on Google Maps.

Let’s take a look a deeper look.

First, What Qualifies A Listing to be Spam?

According to Google’s guidelines, businesses who list on Google Maps must abide by these terms:

  • Use correct business information that is consistent with representation on signage, branding, etc. (Ex: using keywords in the business name is spam)
  • Ensure your address and/or service area is accurate and precise. (Ex: Residential addresses must be service-area businesses)
  • Your business type and location are eligible (Ex: Virtual offices or lead generation companies are not eligible)
  • There should only be one profile per business (Ex: duplicate listings)

These are just some of the main guidelines businesses must abide by that correlate to Google Maps spam. You can read their full document in this GBP help document.

Industries That Receive the Most Spam

According to the study mentioned earlier, here are some of the main categories on Google that they saw that had the most spam:

  • Garage door repair
  • Junk cars
  • Personal injury lawyers
  • Drug rehab
  • Insurance

sterling sky spam study

Aside from those specific niches mentioned in their study, we generally notice these industries are loaded with spam listings when working with our clients. Not to mention, the majority of these industries are well-known in the local SEO community to be filled with spammers.

  • Marketing (agencies, consultants)
  • Legal
  • Dentistry
  • Auto repair
  • Home Services (plumbing, pest control,
    fire and water damage, HVAC, etc.)
  • Cannabis stores
  • Many others

Success In Removing Spam

Later in the study, they shared that some of the top industries that have spam have some of the highest success rates:

  • Garage door repair (87.6% removed)
  • Junk cars (80.2% removed)
  • Personal injury lawyers (75.7% removed)
  • Drug rehab (52.0%)

Outside of these statistics, other resources have stated that their spam removal research had around a 60% success rate.

So, Is It Worth It?

If you have the time and resources to dedicate time to submitting spam, especially if your competitors ranking above you are spamming the maps, then yes!

How to Report Spam on Google Maps

There are 2 main ways to alert Google of spammers:

  • Suggest an edit
    • Best for: Closed businesses, fake names or keywords in the business name, and duplicates
  • Redressal form
    • Best for: Non-existent business, residential addressees, and virtual offices

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About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

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