Google Maps is getting more accurate

This is according to recently released data by a team of researchers at Google and the University of San Diego in California. The study details the search engine giant’s efforts to keep fake listings off Google Maps. The steps definitely appear to be working!

According to the study, fake listings decreased to a whopping 70% from an all-time peak in June 2015. The team has identified 85% of those fake listings before they even appeared on Google maps.

More on the Study

The study looked at over 100,000 listings which appeared on Google Maps between June 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015. The researchers aim to discover some of the most common ways fraudsters trick users on Google Maps.

Other than the decrease in fake listings, the researchers also determined that around 74% of the false listings were for local businesses. Most particularly in the major metropolitan areas.

The Status Quo

Google made a move as tens of thousands of bogus listings appear on Google Maps every month; which directs browsing traffic to fraudulent schemes.

How does the scam work, exactly? The listings attempt to direct organic traffic from legitimate businesses to profit-generating scams.

The scammers focus on on-call services. A customer in need of a plumber, for instance. He would search for a local company. If the user calls the number of a fake business, a call center operator will send over an unaccredited contractor, who in most cases would charge more than a regular professional does. If it is an emergency, the contractor would often charge more than the initially negotiated price.

What It Means for Businesses

Google and industry groups, certainly, are trying to address the scam. But it is often akin to playing whack-a-mole — as soon as they take down a scam listing, another one pops up.

But local businesses like yours can do something. Fight back by clearly presenting historical markers in your communications. Potential customers prefer local businesses that offer service with a human touch, so show photos of your store and your staff, use local language, and refer to specific neighbourhoods and local landmarks.

Parxavenue can help you in your quest to combat fake Google Maps listings and boost your local brand recognition. As one of the leading SEO experts in Calgary, we’ll help you create a local online presence that attracts visitors and turns them into customers.

Call us today at 403-383-6081.

Google Combats Fraudulent Google Maps Listings

by Stephen Gagnon

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