Fortunately, Seely is an ethical hacker who has his sights set on Google Maps and is not malicious. However, a disturbing fact emerges from his presentation: there is apparently widespread fraud in Google Maps. In the US, local SEO is much further along than here, so it makes sense that something like this would happen or come out sooner. I personally haven’t come across it on this scale yet, but I did come across a few cases where I had my doubts.
As a test case, I myself also trie to register a fake company in Google My Business. On the one hand I hope I don’t manage to get a fake Google Maps listing, on the other hand I find it very interesting to see how it works.
Update: My fake listing in Google still can’t be found in Google Maps. I even get the spam entry below in the backend indicating that verification is really necessary. As soon as there’s more to report, I’ll do it here.
Big Google Maps spring cleaning
Of course, actions by Google after these incidents were inevitable. The company took Map Maker offline and has said it is looking at “more intelligent Accounting Directors Email Lists mechanisms to prevent these kinds of incidents,” which Googlespeak is for “we’re going to adjust the algorithm.” The above cases have also been remove, although the search term ‘edwards snow den’ (a reference to the now famous whistleblower Edward Snowden) still leads me to the White House. So it seems that the algorithm still works the same way.
What are the local SEO implications for entrepreneurs?
What conclusions should you draw from this for your use of Google My Business? As a retailer or itinerant company (without a fixe location, eg a plumber) do you no longer have to do anything with Google My Business? No, that seems very unwise to me. If you have your local SEO in order, you will be well list in three places: in the local block in the organic results, Google Maps and Google My Business. A well-designe Google My Business account helps enormously with this. Here are the main points to watch out for.