Reporting Fake Addresses In GMB Places
Here in South Florida, we have a problem with business owners who are rampant at spamming Google My Business (GMB) by creating multiple listings. This practice reminds me of the spam SEO tactics of the early 2000’s where website owners practiced the keyword stuffing to try to rank their web pages higher in search results.
About a year ago, Google changed the way you report fraudulent business listings that show up in Google Maps results. They’ve created a new tool to report spam called the Business Redressal Complaint form.
Dealing With Competitors Who Spam Google Maps
There is nothing more frustrating than a local competitor who goes out of their way to fill up Google Maps with fake business location listings. The tactic, if we can even call it that, is the new form of spam. Businesses are creating multiple business listings for the same company to saturate local map results.
These businesses will find empty commercial spaces in local areas that are for lease and then they will claim the address as their own through Google My Business. Another way businesses can fake having multiple locations in different cities is to have a virtual address provided by local businesses who offer PO boxes and shipping services.
Search Engine World Explains How Fake Map Listings Hurt Millions of Businesses & Consumers
In June of 2019, Search Engine World wrote an informative article about the Google’s inability to stop these spam listings. You can read it here: Millions of fake Google Maps listings hurt real business and consumers
How To Report A Fake Google My Business Listing
It’s easy to report fake listings however before you do, please don’t submit these reports hastily. Take some time to gather information to support your request for removal. Just stating they are violating GMB guidelines, is not enough.
Here’s the steps on how to file the Business Redressal Complaint form.
First, you’ll enter your personal information:
- Full Name
- Email Address
- Your Business Name/Website that is being impacted
Then you’ll provide the listing information so Google can investigate the listing:
- Identify the fraudulent activity
- Title (business name)
- Address (location)
- Phone number
- Website address
- URL of the business listing
- If they have multiple, you can enter up to 100 listing links.
- Supporting documents
- Use the file upload to send screenshots or any other data you have to support your claim.
- Detailed comments/explanation
- Enter as much information as possible about the listing and why you believe it is malicious.
Google will investigate your report and if they find the listings you reported are breaking their GMB listing guidelines, they will remove it from map results. This review process can take up to 60 days.