Bill Hartzer

SEO Firm Impersonates Google, Claims Local Listing to be Deleted

Update: I got a call from a someone who claimed they were a representative of Katapult SEO, based in San Diego. Apparently one of their employees had alerted them to this post, and they wanted to talk to me about it. During the call, I indicated to them that they needed to contact the original poster or recorder of the conversation, and that I was only reporting on this situation, as a blogger.

What’s interesting is that they obviously had never read this post (based on the types of questions they were asking). Seriously–if you’re going to call someone about a blog post then don’t ya think you should actually read it before calling them? Maybe that’s besides the point here. Anyhow, it turns out that the caller claimed that this call, recorded below, was a “former employee” acting only on their own. And that “former employee” doesn’t work for the company anymore.

I specifically told this representative of Katapult SEO that they could email me a statement and I would be happy to update this post with the information that they provided. That rep from Katapult SEO never ever emailed me–and the offer still stands. I’d like to hear their side of the story here, and if it was a former employee and they’ve changed their company operating ways, that would be good to hear. I have given them my email address, and it’s on this site. And the offer still stands. I will update this post with the information that Katapult SEO provides, if, in fact, this call is from a company called Katapult SEO.

Here’s the original post:

During an recent unsolicited telemarketing call, a representative from an SEO firm, located in California, claimed that a company’s local business listing on Google Places (now called Google My Business) would be taken down and deleted if they are not paid $299 to re-verify and re-boost the local listing.

In a post on the Local Search Forum, Linda Buquet explains what disturbed her about the call she received from the SEO firm:

I started off saying to him: The recording said my listing is in danger of being deleted or something?

He said “Yes ma’am that is correct!”

Since the recording said it was Google calling, but he had come right out and said it yet, I gave him an out to change it or clarify the fact he didn’t really work for Google.

I said “Oh you are in San Diego, so then you don’t actually work for Google right?”

He said “Google IS in San Diego!”

I said “They are? So you are WITH Google?”

You can clearly hear him say “Yes I am! I’m sitting at my Google desk right now.”

There are, unfortunately, companies like these out there that are contacting local businesses claiming that they are, in fact, Google, and use scare tactics to get the local business to pay for something, like verifying their listing, which is free. You do not have to pay anything in order to verify and control your local listing in Google. Period.

There, are, however, local search marketing companies and local search consultants, like Linda Buquet, who will help you verify your listing and optimize it so that it does show up in the search results properly. Like Linda Buquet, I also provide these consulting services, and so does the company I work for, Globe Runner.

Calling companies out of the blue and telling them that their local listing in Google is going to be deleted if they don’t pay a one-time fee of $299 is outright fraudulent. It is a lie, and your company listing, if verified properly with Google, will not be deleted. The whole entire process is free, you just need to create a Google account (most likely you already have one if you have an Android device like an Android smart phone), and you need to be able to either receive a postcard in the mail at your business address or receive a phone call at your business phone number that’s listed.

Calling a company and telling them that you ARE Google, and you are “sitting at your Google desk”, is outright wrong.

Obviously, I welcome any official response from this SEO firm regarding this particular situation and this recorded phone call, I would love to hear their side of the story so I can objectively present it to you, my readers. I’d love to hear any representatives or owners of the SEO firm–feel free to contact me.

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