Are Google maps scammers hurting your local business?

Updated: Aug 15, 2019


Google Maps Marketing should be done only by someone you trust

Google My Business (Known as GMB) listings are essentially what powers Google maps. Google maps results often appear before organic search results for many local search quires. Since moving from 7 listings appearing in Google maps results to a 3-pack in 2014, those coveted top three maps positions can be the bread and butter of any business who relies on local customers.


Here’s the thing, many small business owners are unknowingly buying leads from spammers who have in effect stolen Google maps traffic that might have otherwise organically gone to them directly - had it not been for their Google maps manipulation.


It’s time to fight back. Google maps optimization is critical for both small and large businesses with a local footprint.


But who can you trust? It’s definitely NOT the robo-callers who seem to have increased their efforts recently. THOSE are the scammers pretending to be Google.


Have you ever receive an automated call that starts with, “You have not optimized your free Google listing”, or the newer one that goes something like, “Do not hang up. blah-blah-blah…your Google listing”? If you get one of these calls, DO HANG UP. It’s not Google.


According to Google Local Service Specialist employee Stephen Thomas, “Google never “robo-calls”.  Never an automated call, a live person from the start.  Also, any Google employee will have a “@Google.com” email address.  Ask them to send you an email right there when they are on the phone.  Furthermore, Google has filed suit against any of those fraudulent companies that use their name.”


As I was quoted saying in Skyline Newspapers marketing trends report, "One of the industries hit hardest by GMB trolls are restaurants. Helping a client unwind the damage done by the scandalous thievery of online ordering platforms who attack a restaurant's listings is no small task." There are scammers that steal orders right off a GMB listing by substituting the URL’s or contact information on the listing so that they can charge a fee to process food orders (even when the restaurant has their own online ordering). The same scammers are known to accept payment for orders and them not reimburse restaurants for orders fulfilled.


Be very careful with who you allow access to your local listing. Since it is a free service Google support is very minimal. Losing control of your listing can be a very costly and damaging result for an innocent business owner who gets hacked or fooled by scammers. Do your due diligence whenever you hire someone to work on your businesses local SEO.


If you need help with your local marketing from real humans, please reach out.


Has your business suffered online as a result of spammers? Please share and comment below with your story.


Julia


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