Unfortunately, it is a situation that happens all too often. You look for service on Google such as a gutter installation company in Houston, tax CPA, a plumber, an electrician, a garage door repair company, and come to find out they are either not the company they advertised, or say they are, take your money and disappear. All too often shady companies in a multitude of industries create fake Google My Business Listings. And even with Google cracking down since 2017, the problem still persists. So how can you spot a fake Google My Business listing?
First, let’s clarify what we mean by fake. There are really two breeds of fake at play when it comes to service companies. One kind is where one company will “fake” multiple locations or “fake” multiple business names, all to game the system. The others are even more nefarious, using legit business names and putting their phone numbers on those listings.
This is a serious problem in the garage door industry.
The problem has gotten so bad in the garage door repair industry that Google themselves have had t respond to it. In an post written by SEO roundtable,” Joy Hawkins pointed out even more spammy fake businesses listed in Google Maps. She said “Garage door spam on Google Maps is out of control. I just looked at a SERP where 4/20 of the top listings were real businesses.” Danny Sullivan from Google’s response “ Yep. We’re aware. I passed along earlier feedback, and I think we should see some improvements to better deal with this coming in the very near future.” https://www.seroundtable.com/google-garage-door-spam-fix-29687.html
How To Spot a Fake Google My Business Listing
Again, Google is trying to crack down on the problem. With that being said, new fake listings pop up all the time. And old ones can be hard to get rid of. Here is how to protect yourself from a fake listing.
The business name is a keyword instead of an actual business name like;
- Garage Door Repair + City
- Keyword + Near Me
- City + Garage Door Repair
- Or Affordable + keyword, The Best + Keyword, and the likes.
This can be a tricky one. The reason this is done is that having a keyword in the name helps that name’s ranking in Google maps. Now Google has said they are moving away from this, but one has to just do a search to see it is not working very well, especially in the garage door repair business.
They Do not Have an Office Listed or their Location Does Not Exist.
If the business lists an address, check to see if the address is real. Many businesses use virtual addresses in cities where they are not actually located. Google has been cracking down with forcing video and picture verification, however, some do slip through the cracks.
They Answer the Phone with a Different Business Name.
This happens more times than we like to admit. We know of one garage door company in the area that will list as multiple different companies with different phone numbers, but when you call the number it goes back to a call center and a different company name. We legally can’t say the name of the company, but we want to make you aware this does happen.
The same phone number is used in multiple listings in different locations.
For legit Google My business listings, each location is to have it’s own number. So, if someone is using the same number for multiple locations, they are trying to game the system.
None or Manipulated Reviews
We don’t want to say all listings with no reviews are bad, as everybody has to start somewhere. Yet, we do suggest exercising caution. That being said, there are also listings where the reviews seem to reflect more “Keywords” than it should or seems a bit unnatural. Keywords in a review are a way for companies to climb rankings and some will create fake reviews in order to get higher on the list.
Google’s Suggest an Edit
The quickest way to report a fake listing is using the “Suggest an edit”.This is because “Suggest an edit” is a machine learning mechanism and your input helps the AI decide what type of listings should be removed from Google Maps.
Avoiding Getting Scammed.
We wrote a great piece Avoid a Garage Door Scam – 5 Things You need to Know that gives some great tips on how to avoid being scammed. Couple other things to note, most legit companies will have a mix of good and bad reviews. This is because you can’t please everyone. A company that has all 5 star Google ratings may not be a scam, but to be sure, look them up for reviews on other sites as well.
Spectrum Overhead Door LLC is a locally owned and operated Houston garage door repair company with locations in West Houston and Channelview. Call 281-748-9542 or our East Houston office 713-557-3407 to schedule your garage door repair appointment with no trip charge today!