We all know what spam is. From our email boxes to robocalls, we’re spammed all day long. But when it comes to Google My Business (GMB), what is it?
Instinctively we might think, “how can there be spam on GMB?” Well, leave it to spammers. They’ve found a way. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as bad as other forms of spam. According to BrightLocal, fewer than half of marketers see spam “often” or “very often.” Nonetheless, it’s still a problem. And only nine percent of marketers never see spam in local listings.
In this article, we’ll share the following:
- What GMB spam is,
- Why it matters, and
- How to fight it.
Google My Business spam is an attempt to manipulate Google’s algorithms. It comes in several forms. Here are the most common.
Nearly everyone — over 90 percent of Google users —– has come across fake reviews. It makes sense given how incredibly important reviews have become to businesses. In a world where online reviews can make or break a business, that this is the leading form of spam isn’t surprising. It plays a large role in reputation management.
Here’s how Google defines keyword stuffing:
“The practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose).”
Keyword stuffing results in account suspension in 40 percent of cases. Bottom line: keyword stuffing can be perilous to your business! Literally, given the importance of Google, it could break your dispensary’s business. So don’t do it!
Believe it or not, unethical marketers create fake business listings. “Why would they do that?” you ask. Primarily to generate leads.
Listings that Google considers ineligible are common. The most common ineligible listings include businesses that aren’t currently operating, businesses with fake addresses, and businesses that list an address different from where their actual location. Only 1 in 4 marketers report seeing these, that doesn’t mean they’re not a problem. They can be incredibly hard to spot.
More than one out five consumers visited the wrong location because of an inaccurate listing. Plus, four out of five consumers report losing trust in a business when they come across erroneous or inconsistent contact information. The big lesson to cannabis dispensaries: make sure your GMB listing is ACCURATE and CONSISTENT!
Likewise, spam makes your job — as a cannabis dispensary marketer — much harder! More than three out of four marketers report that GMB spam makes their job hard, while an astounding one out of three say it makes their job “much harder.”
Aside from the obvious — don’t engage in spam for your dispensary — what can you do to eliminate others from doing it? Here are a few tips:
- Report the listing or incident to Google
- Contact Google and suggest an edit
- Report the issue via Google Maps
- Flag them for removal (this can be difficult and often requires multiple attempts)