How Can You Fight Against Local SEO Spamming?

Are you not appearing in Google Map’s top rankings because other businesses are crowding you out? Other businesses that aren’t even local? That’s local SEO spamming, a black-hat technique for gaining traffic illicitly. Fair, search engine-approved tactics for increasing traffic are called white-hat techniques, by comparison – a throwback to old Western movies where the villain always wore a black hat.

In previous years, the best strategy to deal with local SEO spammers has been to wait them out. In time, black-hat SEO techniques lose their steam and the people who use them get reprimanded and sent back to PageRank Siberia.

But that doesn’t account for the lost revenues that you have to contend with before spammers get caught. What can you do?

Research and Report

SEO SpammingIf you have a local competitor who seems to be gaming the system to gain an advantage, don’t be afraid to report them. In Google’s local search results, this can be done through the “Suggest an Edit” button, which lets you suggest changes to results that don’t belong.

However, before you do this, you should take the time to research the listing that you’re reporting. The first thing you should look out for is the actual business name – is it the same as the name used in their Google Search Result? If it isn’t, you have a good case for reporting them for black-hat local SEO spamming.

However, many businesses take the extra step of re-branding themselves for SEO. They will actually name their business something like “Denver Home Plumbers” and brand their website with related logos to make the change legitimate. In this case, there isn’t much that reporting them to Google will do – that’s their real name.

Be on the lookout for business names that contain both a competitive keyword and the location being served.

Try the Phone

If a business is using more than one name – and more than one website – to represent its services, you can find this out by calling the number listed on their local SEO listing. A company that is trying to rank for more than one name at a time won’t be able to answer the phone with the same name for all of them all the time.

You may hear a generic response like, “Hello, locksmith” or “Hello, electrician,” which is a good indicator you’re dealing with a local SEO spammer. Be aware of generic responses and get ready to submit reportsto Google if you hear people answering the phone this way.

Submitting Reports is Key

Google can’t do everything by itself. This is why it lets users suggest edits to Google Maps listings. Although you may not always have a chance to make your case, enough activity will alert Google to the possibility of local SEO spamming and they will take action against the transgressor.

In the meantime, you should have a strong foundation for your white-hat SEO campaign. Contact us to learn more about how to set up a campaign that will drive traffic to your site and build customer relationships effectively!