Google Begins Addressing Fake Maps Listings

As those experienced in the SEO world will know, Google has had issues with its Maps feature in this realm for some time. Spamming Google Maps is a common point of concern for many search engine optimization managers – fake listings are created by shady SEO companies, who put their business name set up with numerous keywords as the title.

Despite several practices here that were clearly against Google’s guidelines, including heavy keyword stuffing, there wasn’t much done for a long time. Luckily, though, that’s beginning to change.

In early April, Google announced they have been aware of these Maps issues, and have begun to take several steps to prevent them from happening. Despite under 1 percent of local searches bringing up fake listings, there’s still room for a reduction in the chances of this happening.

The Numbers

Google went about tracking the “bad actors” responsible for these fake listings for over a year, and made large changes in the way they verify addresses, including an advanced verification process they piloted for locksmiths and plumbers – two industries hit especially hard by fake listings.

As a result, Google can now detect and disable 85 percent of all fake listings before they appear on Google Maps. They have reduced malicious listings by 70 percent since its peak in June 2015, and have reduced the number of impressions to these listings by 70 percent as well.

How They’ve Done It

Google has stopped bulk registrations at most addresses, and have prevented businesses from relocating far from their original address without more verification. In addition, their algorithms will begin to ignore intentionally mangled text in address fields. Their learning systems have been adapted to pick up data discrepancies that generally signal a fake listing, and will now naturally filter these out where possible.

At SEO Werkz, our team of experts is always one step ahead of these sorts of Google developments. Contact us today to learn about all of our online marketing and SEO services.

Sign up for our weekly tips and interesting newsletters.