While the presence of fake law firms or lead generation sites in local search results has reduced over time, they still continue to show up. This can be frustrating for Local SEO experts, but it’s important to face the reality and take action. As part of our commitment to helping our clients succeed in local search, it is necessary for us to proactively monitor and report fake and spammy law firm offices to Google for removal.
Enhancing Your Market Ranking by Eliminating Spam
With the vast resources at Google’s disposal, one would expect them to have a better grasp on combatting spam in Google My Business. Although I can’t fully comprehend the challenges involved in creating and enforcing an effective system, it’s evident that this problem has persisted for many years. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. Despite our continuous efforts to report spam, the listings are often replaced swiftly, as spam networks tend to target multiple markets simultaneously.
It’s essential to recognize that relying solely on Google to address this issue is not a viable solution. You must take the responsibility upon yourself to fight against spam as a crucial part of your own process. By doing so, you can significantly improve your ranking.
Spotting Fake Law Firms for Reporting
Identifying fake law firms to report can be challenging as some unethical marketers go to great lengths to conceal information about their deceptive businesses. Nevertheless, in most cases, spotting them is relatively straightforward.
While there are tools available to simplify this process, let’s explore a manual method you can employ without relying on any tools:
- Open Google Chrome in Incognito mode without logging into Gmail or any other accounts.
- Visit Google Maps from your office.
- Enter keywords relevant to your search. For example:
- Car Accident lawyer
- Personal Injury Lawyer
- Truck Accident Lawyer
- Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Be sure to repeat this process for every important keyword related to your market.
- Review the listings and carefully scrutinize each one. Look for the following red flags:
- Check if the business name is an exact match for a keyword. This may indicate a fake listing.
- Examine the website field. Does it mention “business.site”? These are free websites provided by Google My Business and are often exploited by spammers.
- Pay attention to the hours of operation. Are they listed as 24 hours? This is another suspicious sign.
- Look for the label “Claim this business.” If the listing is unverified and exhibits any of the other red flags mentioned, it is likely fake.
By using more specific keywords such as “truck accident law firm” or “motorcycle accident law firm,” you’ll notice these fraudulent listings ranking prominently.
If you encounter two or more of the red flags mentioned earlier, the listing is most likely fake. Additionally, you can examine the reviews for any more indications of suspicious activity. Previously, fake listings often lacked reviews, making them even easier to identify. After identifying a suspect listing, visit the associated website to further evaluate its legitimacy.
Reporting Fake Google My Business Listings
Various methods exist for reporting fake listings, such as marking them as spam. However, I prefer using the Google My Business Business Redressal Complaint Form. You can find the form here. While it may take a while for Google to handle your report, the fake listings are usually taken down eventually. Consequently, you will witness significant changes in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and your law firm’s ranking will improve.
The Unfortunate Reality: Taking Action is Necessary
It’s undeniable that it’s disappointing to see these fake listings being rewarded by algorithm updates, and it’s frustrating that you have to combat this issue on your own. However, it’s absolutely crucial that you take action. It aligns with the general advice of not relying solely on Google when there’s an opportunity for you to make a difference.
Do you report spam? And do you believe Google will improve its ability to combat the issue, leading to the disappearance of fake listings by 2023?