David Woodward of ClickFunnels

Joy Hawkins

Owner at Sterling Sky

Joy is the owner of Sterling Sky in Canada and is the author of the Expert’s Guide to Local SEO, which is an advanced training manual for people wanting a detailed look at what it takes to succeed in the Local SEO space.

She has been working in the industry since 2006. She has a monthly column on Search Engine Land and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as SMX, LocalU and State of Search.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Joy’s success

Reporting spam that outranks clients in the local 3-pack

Result if you follow the steps in Joy’s session

Fast SEO rank increase

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


So we look usually for three different things. First, you look for listings that shouldn’t be there, right? So let’s say you’re a plumber, and you want to rank for, you know, plumber, Baltimore.

And there’s a listing that’s a Reiki that’s called plumber, Baltimore. And it’s not a real company and it shouldn’t be there by Google’s definition of shady you know, they crazy listing at someone’s house, because you can easily get addresses on fiber and people will accept the postcards for you.

So it’s quite easy for spammers to create listings, and they unfortunately, if you rank very well, so that’s probably the best time to get rid of because Google usually is pretty swift at acting on that.

The second type would be you know, a business that the real business but they’re just shoving keywords in their listing, that a recent case come up on the forum where a BMW dealership near me, they put like number one auto dealer in Ontario, or whatever they like, shoved all these words, their business titles, which helped it rank.

That takes a bit longer to get rid of. But essentially, it does help breaking. So if someone is using that tactic, there can have a very unfair advantage over you.

And then the third type would be fake reviews, which unfortunately is becoming more and more of a common problem where, you know.

There’s a business owner and their competitor is buying reviews and mass and you know, they’ve got an insane amount of reviews and you’re trying to compete, while not you know, stooping to their levels that can be very challenging as well.

All right. So to visualize maybe for people what we’re talking about here, is there some many example you could show us?

Yeah, so I’m going to share my screen here and I’ll just give you a couple examples here.

So up on my screen here, this is a search for water damage Philadelphia. So this is a pretty you know, heavily searched term. If you are company that you know, water restoration is definitely one of the things you’d want to rank for.

And you’ll see here like the second position, there’s this listing that says water damage Philadelphia PA. So I mean, I’m assuming here, that’s not check yet, but I’m assuming that is not the real name of this business or, you know, a real listing that should exist.

So you know, this is where I would normally kind of investigate. And pulling up their website, it looks like the, you know, real name of the business is flood pros.

So, I would start looking to see, okay, this flood pros already have another listing, and if they do, this one should just be removed completely.

And how you go about, you know, removing a listing is a lot of times until people try to remove it yourself. First, you can go to Google Maps and submit an edit. So, I’ll try and see if I can do that. Basically, there’s a little suggestive Edit button that pulls up.

And on that suggests, now that you can basically say this is spam or this is like not a real place. And it will submit the Edit to Google. But this all depends on like your trust level.

And you may have issues getting edits approved. You know, if Google doesn’t trust you, right, first time doing that, but you can see there’s an option down here on google maps that directly report listing to Google.

That being said, this is always where I suggest, you know, doing first, but in the case that doesn’t get rid of the listing or doesn’t do anything.

And you know, Google just automatically rejects the edit. At that point, you would want to contact Google My Business and let them know.

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