While the age of the Internet has brought success to many new businesses, it has also created dangers and challenges for business owners. Any business that wants to be successful must learn to master the new environment of digital marketing and overcome the difficulties presented by this terrain.
One of the most common features of life for businesses engaged in digital marketing is the presence of spam. Depending on the quantity and nature of spam that business owners face, the impact can be devastating for anyone who wants to maintain a neat and clean online persona, free of rampant robotic posts or anonymous vitriol.
While it has been difficult in the past to remove spam from Google My Business listings, Google has recently simplified the process immensely, enabling companies to have more control over posts on their listing. Here’s everything you need to know about how to prevent GMB spam.
How Prevalent is GMB Spam?
While we don’t typically think of spam as having the power to derail a business, the recent importance of e-commerce as a method of reaching out to customers means that spam prevention is becoming a vital aspect of business management. According to a recent poll of Google users, 46% of those familiar with Google My Business report seeing GMB spam “very often” or “often”.
Spam has the potential to provide users with misinformation, distract them from potentially useful reviews or descriptions of products, and diminish the SEO capabilities of a business. Google ranks businesses partially based on the activity occurring in their listing’s review section; therefore, if the review section has been compromised, businesses can be pushed to the bottom of the pack. In fact, 77% of businesses believe that the presence of spam has at least partially compromised their rankings on the platform. (You can learn more about what constitutes Google My Business spam in this post.)
How to Submit a GMB Spam Report
In response to the uptick in complaints about spam, Google My Business has made it vastly easier for businesses to submit a report and resolve their issue. Prior to the introduction of the GMB spam report form, business owners had to post about their problem on the Google My Business forums to get the attention of a moderator.
The new system is much more efficient. You can access the GMB spam report form here. The form outlines the requirements for a post to be considered spam under the Google terms of service, so read closely to make sure your issue fits the criteria that Google has specified. You will have to provide a link to the spam post in question; it can be helpful to include two or more links as added evidence.
Tips for Dealing with GMB Spam
While spam can be infuriating to deal with, meeting it head-on can actually provide SEO advantages for businesses. It may take longer than a few days to address your specific spam complaint, and even then, your complaint can be rejected by Google’s moderator team if the posts do not meet the criteria of spam.
Engaging with vitriolic or otherwise angry posts can send the message to your customers that your business can handle criticism and create a reputation for transparency. Furthermore, Google My Business favors businesses that respond to as many reviews as possible when ranking listings.
Spam is a common issue in the information age, and every business must learn to meet it head-on. With Google and other platforms developing new tools to fight spam and other unwanted behaviors in review sections, businesses have more recourse in dealing with their issues than ever before.