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Google Mapspam Hits Too Close To Home

April 7th, 2008
12 Comments


Google Mapspam & SEO

I have been following the recent mapspam sightings with great interest. Location is a key factor in local search, so it’s no wonder that “entrepreneurial” marketers are doing there best to screw with Google’s (and other’s) fabulous mapping creations. To some extent I am willing to look the other way when a fellow SEO wants to try a little experimentation, but not when they are doing it right on my front porch.

Today I did a search for “Pleasanton SEO” and was psyched to see that I ranked #1 in web results and in map search. But when I saw results #2 & 3 for “A Pleasanton SEO Internet Marketing Firm Agency” and “A Dublin SEO Internet Marketing Firm Agency” my spam-dar (spay-dar?) went off. I looked in other nearby cities such as Oakland, Walnut Creek and Danville and sure enough the same company, SEOChampion.com, was listed in each. Now if the company had locations in all of these places that would fine but:

1. The company is located in Vegas and if you look on their site there is nothing about any other location.

2. I took a drive over to 4557 Hopyard Rd, their supposed address in Pleasanton, and this address does not even exist!

So what the hey Google Maps? Can I just sign up for Google Local Business Center with a bunch of made up addresses? I know you are supposed to verify with a postcard, but when I signed up my business I never received my postcard and yet there I am listed.

I honestly could care less if SEOChampion is competing against me in Pleasanton or anywhere else where people might need a Firm Agency. This just makes me wonder how much we should trust the data in Google Maps and other similar venues.

By the way I am opening up franchises in all major metros at -20 S. Main St. All interested franchisees please drop me a line.


Tags: Google Maps

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search » More Google MapSpam | Developing Knowledge about Local Search // Apr 8, 2008 at 8:18 am

    [...] Shotland has a recent report of SEO mapspam from a Vegas company called SEOChampion posting local listings for SEO services in [...]

  • 2 Stephen Espinosa // Apr 8, 2008 at 8:35 am

    They probably did a phone verification and didn’t need a postcard. Also according to Mike Jones @ Google Maps he said people would have to pick addresses in the cities they want to serve in if they would like to be listed in the city.

  • 3 Andrew Shotland // Apr 8, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Steve,

    I never received a phone verification call. Perhaps they just checked my site and the data matched up. That said, the phone number is a pretty weak indicator of location. For instance I have never switched my cell # from a LA area code.

    Re picking an address, this is yet another challenge with local. If you service an area but are not located in the area how do you get displayed in local search? I am not sure what the answer is but I don’t think allowing businesses to pick arbitrary addresses is a good solution.

    Click on the trackback above to see Mike Blumenthal’s further investigation into SEOChampion’s spammy tactics.

  • 4 David Saunders // Apr 8, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Andrew I lived in Walnut Creek, San Francisco and Concord for 10 years.

    I found my way into SEO back in 97 as I operated a wedding DJ and MC service out of all towns as I moved from town to town.

    This did happen in Yellow Pages too – yep even in 1997 ???!!!

    I made a lot of friends around the Bay Area (even Pleasanton – I was preferred DJ at the Hilton, Wente etc)

    Anyway I checked back looking for old friends and one of them has a local listing in almost every town San Jose – Santa Rosa and all around.

    I don’t know how many cellphones the guy has let alone Mickey Mouse addresses – it really is annoying even though it doesn’t directly affect me. I do search for a living now and this really gets on my nerves.

    Take care everyone

    David

  • 5 David Saunders // Apr 8, 2008 at 11:15 am

    BTW – I’m pretty sure G will have handle on it and we’ll see some sweeping changes soon – let’s just hope the good guys don’t get caught up in any sweeps :)

  • 6 Andrew Shotland // Apr 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Hey David,

    I think you get a pass if you were local search spamming in ’97. Welcome back to the hood.

  • 7 Stephen Espinosa // Apr 10, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Hmmmmm…. why only 3 in the onbeox not 10?

  • 8 Andrew Shotland // Apr 10, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I think this was one of those cases where Google wasn’t sure if this was a local search or not so they showed the 3 in the middle of the page.

  • 9 Google Hits The Mapspam Filter // Apr 11, 2008 at 6:03 am

    [...] I am thinking Google must be pretty sensitive to people spamming Google Maps. [...]

  • 10 Shycon Design // Apr 13, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Good write up… I have to come across some good mapspam, but apparent its a hot topic

  • 11 James Svoboda // May 3, 2008 at 8:31 am

    There is an SEO in my area that is doing the same thing. I am just waiting for Google to add a “report this listing” feature!

  • 12 Bathroom Glasgow // Jan 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I think this was one of those cases where Google wasn’t sure if this was a local search or not so they showed the 3 in the middle of the page.

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