How to fight fake business profiles on Google Maps

This post shares Googles report on how they fight fake business profiles on Google Maps. This post originally appeared on the Google blog. Happy reading.

 

Further reading:

Search Engine Manipulation: What It Is And Why Google Frowns At It

How To Manage the Sudden Disappearance of a Website from Google SERPs

30 Most Important Google Ranking Factors For Beginners

Google Maps helps people explore, navigate and get things done—and increasingly people are using Google Maps to find local businesses. Over the years, Google has added more than 200 million places to Google Maps and every month connect people to businesses more than nine billion times, including more than one billion phone calls and three billion requests for directions.

To help people find the places and businesses they're looking for—both big and small—Local Guides, business owners and people using Maps every day can contribute to business information. Google gets millions of contributions each day (like new business profiles, reviews, star ratings, and more) and the vast majority of these contributions are helpful and accurate. But occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit. They do things like charge business owners for services that are actually free, defraud customers by posing as real businesses, and impersonate real businesses to secure leads and then sell them. Even though fake business profiles are a small percentage of the overall business profiles on Google, local business scammers have been a thorn in the internet’s side for over a decade. They even existed back when business listings were printed, bound and delivered to your doorstep. Google take these issues very seriously and have been using a wide array of techniques and approaches to limit abuse on their platforms. 

 

Further reading:

A Detailed Guide on How to Remove Google Blacklist Warning

A Guide to Google Website Ranking

Best Link Building Techniques Recomended For Higher Ranking in Google

These scammers use a wide range of deceptive techniques to try to game our system—as Google shuts them down, they change their techniques, and the cycle continues. Although it’s important to note that Google makes it easy for legitimate businesses to get their business profiles on Google, they’ve also implemented strict policies and created tools that enable people to flag these issues so they can take action. It’s a constant balancing act and Google is continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems. But Google can’t share too many details about these efforts without running the risk of actually helping scammers find new ways to beat their systems—which defeats the purpose of all the work they do. 

Google understands the concerns of those people and businesses impacted by local business scammers and back in 2017 announced the progress they have made. There was still work to be done then and there’s still work to be done now. Google has an entire team dedicated to addressing these issues and taking constant action to remove profiles that violate their  policies. Here’s more information about the progress Googgle has made against this type of abuse last year:  
 

  • We took down more than 3 million fake business profiles––and more than 90 percent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile. 

  • Our internal systems were responsible for more than 85 percent of these removals. 

  • More than 250,000 of the fake business profiles we removed were reported to us by users. 

  • We disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 percent increase from 2017. 

Further reading:

Useful Tips on How to Use Google Analytics on eCommerce Websites

The Top Most Important Google Ranking Factors

 

The Most Common Reasons Why Your Website can be Penalyzed by Google

 

This year, Google has already introduced a new way to report suspicious business profiles and have started to apply refined techniques to business categories where theyre seeing an increase in fraud attempts. To help foster a healthy ecosystem, they’re also donating settlement funds from litigation against bad actors to organizations that educate businesses and consumers about fraud. As we continue to fight against fraud, we’re making sure people people can flag issues when they see them. Here’s how: 

Every month Maps is used by more than a billion people around the world, and every day Google and their users work as a community to improve the map for each other. Google knows that a small minority will continue trying to scam others, so there will always be work to do and Google is committed to keep doing better.

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