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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Google Maps: What can be learned from the Mapspammers?

Last week Matt Cutts implied that I was endorsing Mapspam tactics when he noted:

Mike: I find it odd to beat up Google for not taking enough action on mapspam, then beat up Google on the other side when we start taking stronger action on mapspam…..

During a few parts of the interview I felt like you were giving this fellow “air time” after he’d said that there were multiple listings with bad data.

Actually far from it.

The folks who practice the more questionable tactics in Maps are essentially pushing the system to find its limits; what can be listed, what affects rank, what works. They are doing so in a vacuum of guidance from Google and apparently their motivation is profit. Short term profit at that, as I don’t see it as a sustainable tactic. I don’t find these practices acceptable on any level but I do learn from them.

I study and report Mapspam because it provides insight
• into how Maps works,
• into factors influencing ranking,
• the obvious contradictions in Google’s policies and practices and
• occasionally it provides insight into legitimate techniques that might increases viewer response.

Here is an interesting case of obvious maps abuse (where else but LA) but one that raises the question, does the tactic increase end user response and is it acceptable practice?

The search that made me curious: Locksmith Los Angeles, CA

I have been seeing more examples of the practice of including a phone number in the bussiness name in a range of industries in LA (perhaps elsewhere) It raises the question: Does putting the phone number in the business title increase client call in? Is it an acceptable practice?  What are your thoughts?

Here are their other obviously spammy listings. I have not explored whether they are hijacked or just bogus listings. I will leave that work for someone else:

Search: 5625‎ locksmith near Los Angeles, CA

LA Locksmith Google Mapspam abuse