Restoration Rocket has conducted a local SEO case study to identify common characteristics in spam Google My Business (GMB) listings. The study is a follow-up to the famous article that the Wall Street Journal published on the same topic. Restoration Rocket reviewed thousands of listings across 34 markets. As part of their SEO research, they have helped many genuine restoration companies by reporting hundreds of fake Google My Business Listings.
Readers should note that this study was not conducted to quantify how many listings were fake but to find the commonalities within listings confirmed as fake. Google My Business spam results from companies trying to gain an edge over their competitors, resorting to unfavorable practices under fake names and addresses.
The study was directed towards fake Google My Business listings rather than actual business owners trying to climb the SEO ladder and appear on top of the search. Restoration Rocket ultimately wants to give confidence that real businesses can combat the issue, show SEO companies the common attributes of spammy GMB listings, and finally, show bad actors that their fake businesses are getting cleaned up. Restoration Rocket analyzed dozens of factors such as numbers of reviews, average review rating, years in business, etc.
The team dove into 34 markets across the United States. The research began by conducting a Google search using the same search term for every market. “Market + Disaster Restoration Company.” Each search result was then manually reviewed. Restoration Rocket was patient to note anything that looked suspicious. 250 fake Google My Business listings were identified and simultaneously acted upon. Restoration Rocket tested the correction process through Google Maps by performing “Suggest an Edit,” “Close or Remove,” “Doesn’t exist here,” and repeated this process consistently.
To ensure they didn’t ruin legitimate businesses, Restoration Rocket performed searches manually instead of using an algorithm or system. To further establish the legitimacy of a company, they performed a corporation and entity search in each respective state’s database before taking any action. If the business wasn’t registered or filed with the state, it was fair game to be considered for the study.
Within 10 days of reporting businesses as spam, Google published 132 edits, ending 52% of the fake businesses. The remaining 118 listings were addressed using the Google Business Redressal Complaint Form via a single spreadsheet. After 3 weeks of waiting, Restoration Rocket went back to check each of the above listings to find Google removed another 69 fake listings. Only 45 of the original 250 Google My Business profiles remained at the end of the project.
The study revealed several fascinating facts highlighting the usage of business names, review rating of the listings, number of reviews, age of the listing, and website presence.
Fake listings had been in business for an average of 3 years, according to Google!
Fake listings had an average of 6 reviews!
35% of fake listings had a 5-star review rating!
To learn more and see all findings from the study, visit https://www.restoration-rocket.com/fake-google-my-business-listings/
About Restoration Rocket
Restoration Rocket is a full-service search engine optimization agency specifically focused on the restoration industry. From link-building to Google My Business optimization, Restoration Rocket provides the support business owners need to rocket their website to the top of search!
Phone: (469) 301-1556
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