Well, this is disappointing. Either that, or the person reviewing the suggested changes I had to a spammy listing on Google Maps isn’t doing their job. I recently made a suggestion to what I consider a VERY spammy listing in Google Maps, which appears to violate a several of their guidelines. And even though I submitted a recommendation or edit, it was apparently reviewed. However, it got even worse, and still violates Google’s guidelines for keyword stuffed Google Maps listings.
First, a little background. I have been ranking, through no fault of my own, for “search engine optimization expert” in Google for years. When I say “years”, I mean at least 5+ years. I don’t necessarily get a huge amount of leads, traffic, and actual sales from this keyword, so I have never really “tried to rank” for that phrase. Anyhow, I do watch it from time to time just out of curiosity.
One day in the past two weeks or so, out of the blue, “SearchEngineOptimizationExpert.com” start to rank #1 for this keyword phrase. And, furthermore, a Google Maps listing started to show up on the sidebar for this keyword phrase. See below:
For years, there has been no Google Maps listing in the search results. So, it appears that this guy bought SearchEngineOptimizationExpert.com, got a (possible) fake business location (UPS/Regus office location/etc.) location, verified the listing, and set it up. The name of the “company” listing on Google Maps was entered as “Search Engine Optimization Expert”. Which, apparently, got through Google “rigorous screening process” (ahem) and approval process. Then, when it was brought to Google’s attention via their “feedback” and “edit” option, they made the listing even worse.
So apparently, even though I brought up the fact that the title of this “company listing” really isn’t the name of the company, Google ignored their own guidelines and changed the company listing to a more “keyword stuffed” company listing.
When this Google Maps listing first started to show up, the keyword stuffed title was “Search Engine Optimization Expert”. Looking at the listing myself, I could see several red flags that this was extremely spammy:
– The business listing address has several other businesses associated with it.
– The title of the listing is a keyword, and not the name of a real business.
– It appeared to be entered on Google Map Maker, and not using Google Maps or Google My Business.
– The title of the listing, a keyword stuffed title, is the same as the “exact match” domain name.
– The title of the listing, the domain name, and other content on the website is totally different than the actual owner or the business name.
The owner if this domain name, website, and Google Maps listing appears to be taking advantage of “loopholes” in Google’s algorithm. And, what also is extremely frustrating here is the fact that when Google manually reviewed the listing, they still approved of it, and changed the title to an even more spammy one, “SEO Company”. See the email I got from Google, confirming the update on the listing:
The biggest problems I have with this is:
– This violates Google’s own guidelines for Google Maps listings. In fact, they even have a patent on keyword stuffed titles.
– When I pointed this out to Google, they approved a keyword stuffed company name.
– It appears that someone is “gaming” the Google system, which I don’t have a problem with in theory.
You would think that Google’s employees that are taking care of the feedback and suggestions would be reasonable here and flag something that truly should be flagged, removed, and updated in a way that’s not spammy. But, just like the title of this post says, apparently suggesting a change in Google Maps won’t get it actually manually reviewed.