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3 Simple Ways to Report Spam on Google My Business

by Rachel Denison   |   May 21, 2020

Getting your local listing verified, optimized, and then to show up in Google’s Local Pack (Map Pack) can be time-consuming and frustrating. The last thing you want to see is a spammy listing outranking your business. Whether it’s duplicate locations, fake companies, or keyword stuffing, many variations of Google My Business (GMB) spam exist and threaten the success of credible businesses and their local SEO strategy.

Instead of waiting for Google to clean up every spammy local listing, first understand what qualifies as spam—and then learn tips for reporting it to boost your company’s Local Pack rankings.

Types of Google My Business Spam

GMB spam includes:

  • Duplicate listings
  • Fake listings
  • Keyword stuffing

Duplicate listings

Businesses can have duplicate listings when they accidentally verify more than one or purposefully create them to dominate the Map Pack. Either way, the duplicates of the original GMB listing are considered spam.

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Fake listings

Occasionally, spammers are able to verify fake local listings, which are typically businesses that are not actually physically located at the specified address. Since they don’t exist at the address, they cannot be listed in the local pack.

Business names with keyword stuffing

Another black hat local SEO tactic is keyword stuffing. Your local listing name should reflect the exact name of your business, so adding the street address or target keywords is considered spam.

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How to report spam on Google My Business

Now that you’re able to identify spam on Google My Business, it’s time to learn how to fight phony local listings!

1. Edit the name or other details

The quickest and most efficient way to fight spam is to suggest an edit. First, click the local listing within the map pack, and you’ll see the reviews, address, hours, and more logistical information. Below the phone number, you’ll see two links: “Suggest an Edit” and “Own this Business?”

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Click “Suggest an Edit” which will open two options:

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After clicking “change name or other details”, you’ll see this box:

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You’ll then have the option to suggest an edit to the name and category—and if you scroll down the form, the address, hours, and other details. This should not be used as an opportunity to sabotage your competitors’ listings by suggesting inaccurate information, because Google will more than likely penalize your own listing.

Always suggest accurate edits to spammy listings.

Google My Business may or may not implement your edits—and it can take a while to go through—but you’ll get an email if and when the updates are added.

2. Suggest that Google removes the listing

Keep in mind that if you’re trying to remove the spammy listing because it’s fake or a duplicate, you should provide proof with pictures. Use Live View on Google Maps to see if the business is physically located at that address.

It may be hard to tell if it’s a suite within a bigger building, but sometimes you can tell if the listing is fake by just checking the building’s outside through Live View.

3. Submit a Business Redressal Complaint Form

If you come across cases where a certain business has multiple spam listings, you’ll want to submit a Business Redressal Complaint Form to Google My Business. These forms should not be filled out for small discrepancies like keyword stuffing in one local listings.

Instead, the Redressal Complaint Form is meant for serious fraudulent activity in the Local Pack. If you do find spam that qualifies, Google requests that these forms:

  • Include specific details
  • Have as much information as possible

Fighting spammy listings can be confusing as well as time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort when spam starts to disappear and your listing moves up in the Map Pack. If you’d like more information about reporting spam on Google My Business, reach out to our team! We’ve been fighting GMB spam for years and would love to help boost the visibility of your business’ local listing.

portrait of Rachel Denison

Rachel Denison

Rachel graduated from James Madison University with a Public Relations major and Creative Writing minor. Since moving back to her hometown of Richmond, she has been building experience at agencies as a Copywriter and Digital Marketing Analyst. With SEO, PPC, and content marketing skills now under her belt, Rachel is thrilled to be channelling her energy into an SEO Analyst position with Workshop Digital. When she’s not immersed in digital marketing, you can find Rachel spending time at Richmond’s breweries with her friends or escaping to any body of water where she can canoe, kayak, or read a book by the water.