Some time ago we dedicated two articles to Google Local Search and we examined in detail the factors that influence the positioning within the 10 “local business” results often present in Google's SERPs (typical of the case of searches such as Hotels [Location] ), in on that occasion we had deliberately avoided speculating on SPAM techniques that would allow infiltration of Google's local results, especially for keywords that are not related to the activities carried out by companies that decide to register with the Local Business Center
Today the perhaps inevitable notes of the verification system (postcard, sms, phone call), the palatability of the positioning within the local results (almost always in front of the normal WEB results) and the “art of getting by” typical of SEOs are bringing out several cases of SPAM .
Salvatore Cariello has already highlighted a few months ago one of the methods that can be used , very simple and at the same time effective, but in the last few weeks other situations are also emerging, some of which have been reported to me by friends and colleagues from other agencies (especially Ronnie and Philip ), I refer to
the use of different verification addresses (home of friends, relatives, employees) and clone sites to report the same company several times, each time with a change of name / keyword;
reporting of the same company on multiple provinces / locations, even in the absence of truly existing branches.
Other examples can be obtained from the threads listed at the end of this post.
We must not be too surprised at the situation that is being created … just consider that the so-called Local Business Center hosts anyone who decides to register , and that there is no verification of the existence of the company or the correspondence between the services described and the category to which they belong. . Here, therefore, in these days the first “smart ones” are hoarding local results also in Italy, trying to cover the widest possible range of keywords: to those who were thinking of imitating them (perhaps at the invitation of the Web Agency that “sell” the positioning in local results) we can only say that lately Google has used the iron fist whenever the situation was getting out of hand and was in danger of becoming uncontrollable, so the advice is to resist temptation 🙂
For now the classic “delaction” through Google Webmaster Tools does not have to be very effective, it would be demonstrated by the fact that, in a way that we could define a little “artisan”, some GoogleMen have activated a thread in the Google Maps Help dedicated to reporting of spam in the maps … among other things, this thread replaces in full the equally artisan previously used in Google Groups .
It is not yet clear whether the removal from the local results is the only effect of the report or if there are also more serious penalties affecting the general index (at the moment it would not seem).
We conclude with the reflection that, given the obvious assumptions and flaws, the situation was decidedly foreseeable and therefore it is surprising that the now proverbial (and often exaggerated) attention of Google towards SPAM in this case has not taken into consideration all the eventualities .