Google is really working to clean up spam in the Maps listings
There was a major issue with Google Maps in the recent few years. Companies were setting up fake profiles at PO boxes and fake locations, say at their aunt’s house.
There were SEO companies creating lots of rogue listings for their carpet cleaning and local business clients – this is not something we ever did – but it was pretty prevalent in the industry. And then there were what we call Lead Aggregators, who are people that just want to sell leads back to the carpet cleaning contractors, and they were claiming Google map listings created with lots of fake information.
Google has done a massive crackdown on that front, trying to eliminate fake addresses, trying to eliminate businesses that aren’t legit, trying to eliminate home offices and home-home entities from the Google map listings, and recently they’re saying they’ve reduced it by as much as 70%, which is good and bad.
It’s bad in that, if you don’t protect yourself and if you don’t make sure you’re doing everything on the up-and-up, you could get filtered out of the results, and so you need to be aware of the things that could actually be hurting you. Maybe a past provider did something a bit grey or somebody in your local market did something in order to impact your results that could catch up to you.
So there are a couple things that could be hurting you, or come back to bite you in the near future that may have actually at one point been helping you rank, but aren’t legit.
Number One: You need an office in the city you’re trying to rank in the Google Maps for.
This is one of those things I get into heated arguments with. You know people in the industry who will say “I’m, the biggest company in my area, but I’m, not ranking on maps the next town over, can you get me in the 3-pack over there.”
Well, I can tell you if you don’t have a physical office, I mean a place that Google can look on Google Street View and see that it’s legitimate office that you inhabit, that’s, unique and exclusive to you, your probability of ranking long-term drops as Google is getting better and better and finding these fake addresses.
So let’s say as an example you’re in Doral, which is a little city in in my around Miami, but you want to rank in Miami. Because your office is in Doral, you will not rank in Google Maps for Miami. In the SEO and Google Maps realm, there are people that will tell you there’s ways around it. These people that will try and convince you its ok and won’t harm you, but Google wants to serve the most relevant, local listings in their maps, and they want businesses that have a real physical office in the city that they’re trying to rank in. So when they find a fake listing they will suspend it, and they can even go as far as suspending all of your listings, not just the fake one.
Now, if you’re in an area like East Lansing, and you’re trying to rank in Lansing by building your authority by building your citation by doing some of the things I’m, going to share with you, with enough effort and correct action you can often do that, but if you’re trying to rank a PO Box or you’re trying to rank in a city other than the city that you’re in without a physical address, that’s, not going to be a long-term sustainable strategy.
The other thing that could be could be really hurting you is if you spammed, Google with fake locations (and I’m not saying you personally, but if your provider or somebody that you worked with did that) and they set up little micro, Google listings in the surrounding cities that you operate in, and they claimed the pin – and they put you on maps for that… even if you don’t know about those listings, and you’ve got a real location and lots of reviews and lots of authority, there’s a chance that those fake locations could still be somewhere in Google’s database and Google is penalizing you for that.
So what we try to do is take a client that’s not ranking on a map but should be since they’ve got a physical location there in the area where they’re trying to rank is to really go deep and try and find those those non-legit listings and spammy signals, and delete them, merge them, consolidate them and clean up their image in Google’s eyes. That’s really the best path forward to making sure you’re ranking well when that happens to be the problem
The other thing that could be hurting you is inconsistency of your name, address and phone number.
Google is looking at your profile and it’s almost like your thumbprint on the internet. Everybody’s got a unique thumbprint and your business’s thumbprint is; your company name – i.e the actual legal company name without added keywords or terms to try and rank higher, the exact phone number is attached to your company around the internet and the exact address that you operate out of. It’s this exact usage of your address, this exact usage of your company name and the same number published everywhere your business is listed is called your NAP.
When we find sometimes there’s inconsistency, such as a slight variation and how a company is listed on Yelp versus Google Maps or there’s, a tracking number that was used on Bing just for the sake of tracking calls, but there’s a different number on Google Maps and there’s a different number over here etc. well that can really reduce your probability of ranking well on Google Maps.
So you want to go in and you want to do a deep dive, find those discrepancies and get your NAP consistent across the web for your primary location and each of your locations if you have more than one legitimate office. You want to be sure that every location has a distinct thumbprint that’s being referenced, the same exact way
And the other basic gotcha that we often see is having spammed the the city into The company name! So if you are Shamrock Carpet Cleaning and you put “Shamrock Carpet Cleaning Orlando’s Best Cleaners”, because you want to get Orlando into your company name on Google Maps, that’s really a no-no. Over the past few years, Google has automatically cleaned a lot of that stuff up, but it’s still worth double-checking, because if you’ve got spammed cities or spammed additional keywords that aren’t representative of how you’re, naming yourself everywhere else on the internet, that can hurt you.
not having enough reviews could be costing you rankings and calls
Having reviews on Google, having reviews on Yelp, having reviews on Angie’s List, and anywhere else you can get them really helps. You see Google scours the web looking for the companies that have a real name, address and phone number in the city that they operate out of that has consistency in how they’re referenced across the internet AND has lots of legitimate reviews from real customers who live in their local service area.
So Google likes to see real reviews on other sites around the web to prove that you are a reputable carpet cleaning service, but let’s not forget that nowadays, your potential client will likely not even call any company that doesn’t have at least a 4 STAR rating and a bunch of recent reviews from within the last few weeks along with your older ones, that prove you are not a risk and worth a try.
So these are just a few of the gotchas you need to watch out for and expert tips you need to know if you want to rank well in Google Maps, and stay there for the long-haul.
I hope you got value from this article.
If you’d, like more ideas, strategies and techniques on how to really more effectively market your carpet cleaning business online, I’d like to invite you to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Internet Marketing Checklist For Carpet Cleaners” for free
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