Get a keyword stuffed Google Map listing with a virtual office thrown in for free!

Creative abuses of Google Maps for profit always intrigue me and this “ad” is one that certainly wins an award for chutzpah. PanzerMike, never one to let a potential spamming competitor sneak through & frustrated by Google’s spam fighting efforts, sent me this example.
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Apparently with the real estate business in a downturn, an enterprising real estate company needs to turn somewhere for new leads.
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With a little searching, you can find this Map listing in every major market, each located in a building offering virtual office space. One even offered the space up free for 90 days to the recently unemployed.

The phone numbers listed in the Map’s listings, ring into Anthony & Co. who according to their website are “one of the largest, oldest and most experienced commercial real estate service companies in North Carolina”.

I found these paragraphs from their About Us page rich in irony:

ANTHONY & Co. is recognized by corporate, institutional and individual clients as the “consummate insider,” and now with four locations, ANTHONY & Co. has greater reach to serve you in more local markets.

With timeless values and expert professionalism, we build Real Value and Real Community for local investors and companies. We are pioneers in consulting, development, transaction and management services, applying our knowledge with wisdom to achieve Real Results for our clients.

It seems that in this case, you get a virtual office with a keyword stuffed Google Map listing thrown in for free. Or is it a keyword stuffed Map listing with a virtual office thrown in for free? Leave it to the real estate business to redefine timeless values, expert professionalism and wisdom.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Get a keyword stuffed Google Map listing with a virtual office thrown in for free! by

24 thoughts on “Get a keyword stuffed Google Map listing with a virtual office thrown in for free!”

  1. Wow, that’s pretty blatant spam – and an incredibly unabashed attitude that they’re displaying.

    Google has a long way to go until the Maps algorithm is as sophisticated as their natural search one. And until then, everyone loses: us white-hat SEO professionals, our clients, and most importantly the poor searcher who has to wade through this rubbish.

  2. Those definitely are blatant spam listings. This might work for a while but as soon as you pop up on Google’s radar they will start paying closer attention to listings that follow certain patterns.

    Even if they “sold or rented” those listings that still could be a short lived affair once Google starts dancing.

    Nice post Mike.

  3. There have always been and there will always be those who will settle for short-term gain. This stunt is probably getting him exactly what he wants: short term, massive exposure. Whether this listing has any value in 90 days is irrelevant to him. Although I admire his creativity, it’s a path I chose long ago to avoid.

    Thanks Mike for another fine post.

  4. When I see stuff like this, I always wonder whose bright idea it was to spam. Did the business owner instigate this, did they hire someone who advised them that this was the way to rule G. Maps? When you consider the fact that both the firm’s appearance of professionalism and their ability to remain listed in Maps in the long run are at stake here, the decision to spam is an incredibly poor one. Someone is not thinking about consequences.

  5. Thanks for spotlighting that Mike. Now if I could just get Jen to reactivate my Marina del Rey and Santa Monica stores that fell off Maps. It is a bummer because just when I think I am doing well in Maps, they fix one problem location, and the algo gets screwed up and I lose other stores and CALLS!!

  6. If not found by google – spammers like this will be found by people in the industry. However since most companies here still are figuring out how to use maps – spammers have a gigant potential market :)

  7. I had to laugh – it makes being local an awfully BIG area.
    but I think this kind of “mistake ” is also very possible with an enthusiastic office assistant or novice who is told – get us listed everywhere
    I have run across this kind of thing before
    They don’t know its spam and they are just doing what makes sense to them, hey if we need another office – just “borrow” one.

    And then there are spammers who are making their customers very very happy.
    Because most customers are way happier with top “guaranteed” listings NOW than “oh this is spam, what we do is white hat and by the way it costs more and takes longer” results later.
    I talked to 3 companies who guaranteed #1 map listing in 1 area $100 mo, 5 areas $300 and 10 areas for $500 a month!
    Yes I know its spammy and a lie but clients don’t.

    I bet Google will catch up to it – but by then there will be yet another loophole, LOL
    ya gotta love technology, so fast and yet so dumb

  8. It was the phone numbers used in the listing that linked to your office. All of the listings are for space in virtual office settings. Google has since removed them.

  9. The toll free number shown in the screen grab also appears for a Houston carpet-cleaning surface, and is now disconnected. It looks like the spamming company was using a toll-free number that has had multiple uses. How that works, I am not sure, but it seems to be a phone number problem (and Google Maps spammers!), not one caused by Anthony & Co.

  10. As a business that focuses heavily on SEO, I want to learn where this is headed. It is very frustrating for Google to re-arrange this space previously used by organic search results. The map and the 7 listings take up about 4 & 1/4 inches of white space or approximately 4 & 1/2 organic search result listings.

    From a searchers perspective, what does the maps section offer me that I didn’t have before? Well, they give me a map and that’s nice, but in a day and age when most of us searchers are shopping online and have products delivered to our doorstep, what service is this actually providing. And as far as the map and address, the GPS in my car can do a far better job of getting me to my destination should I need it.

    Why is Google using such a large amount of this EXPENSIVE white space to deliver a product to the searcher that is outdated and offering it up to the business for FREE? That is a question we should be asking, or rather discussing.

  11. @Frustrated

    Its not heading, its there. Maps as an integral part of the main search results page are here to stay for a while for better or worse. One can only surmise that Google thinks that they are relevant. I am sure that they have tested them to verify that they are used by the searchers.

    As to your statement that most searches shop online…that just is not true. Retail Online is roughly 3% of total retail.

    Google feels, and time will tell, that they can provide more accurate directions than your GPS. Certainly their business is predicated on it so if they are wrong.

    Google is starting to charge for the space with their new Local Listing Ads.

    So for me anyways, the issue is to understand the Local world as defined by Google, so as to best benefit from it.

  12. As a small business person, I cannot find an SEO that can tell me how to genuinely appear in search results in the areas we genuinely service. WHy is it called SPAM if it is genuine. People like us go to clients, rather than them coming to our workshop. (antique and furniture restoration and custom furniture etc etc in case you are curious). We are talking about relatively rare service skills and a large client catchment district to gain the higher class of items which are our niche. This is the way it always has been, since 1983, and the way it always will be. We are in a metropolitan region but not in the major city. Nor are we in the two sister cities that we service. We are in an inbetween city area. Our workshop is in between the main city and one of the sister cities, and because of highways, about 1-1.25 hrs from the other sister city.

    We are not alone in this issue. Lots of service providers are in this situation, particularly if they target the top end of their skill/ items, and even more so if the equipment or the skill is rare. Also, it is not unusual for people like us to have workshops or acreage to handle the noise and the land required for specialist vehicles and equipment and often, economically, we choose in between sites for our business for land price benefits – yet still good access to client catchment areas. Have a look where most industrial estates are. It is no point of chance that it happens to be between cities rather than in them.

    SO if you want to catch some work – solve the problem.

    Looking for a legendary SEO ….

  13. I’m told that physical not mail address is what counts for SEO. Which leaves us with the virtual office option, which this blog is so scathing about. So where to?

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