[2021] How to Report Spam/Fake Google My Business Listings

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Professor M

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You will need to “make a case” that a listing is not legitimately on the map in order to get Google’s Support team to review the listing.

Important: Only Google can remove the spam/fake listings. GMB listings all belong to Google and unfortunately it’s at their discretion whether a listing remains on the map or not.

How to Report Spam/Fake listings in Google Maps

All the reports are sent anonymously, however, if you add a picture as proof for the reporting, it will appear in the profile with your Google Username. 

Step 1

Step 2

  • Press “Suggest an Edit”

Step 3

  • Depending on the type of spam select:
    1. “Change name or other details” – If the issue is with:
      • Business name 
      • Address 
      • Category
      • Phone number
      • Operating Hours
      • Website URL
    2.  “Close or remove”
      • Permanently Closed
      • Temporarily Closed
      • Never existed
      • Moved to a new location
      • Private Place or Home
      • Spam, fake or Offensive
      • Duplicate of another place
      • Legal Issue

3.1 – If you select the “Change name or other details”  you edit the field(s) with the correct information and press “Send”

3.2 – If you select the “Close or remove”, choose a reason from the drop-down list. If it’s “Duplicate of another place” a pop-up will appear to select the duplicate listing. 

Step 4 – Final Step

 Once you finished and submitted your edit, you will get an email from Google Maps to thank you for the contribution:

What happens next

If your edit is approved, you will receive an email to advise that your edit has been accepted:

 However, if it doesn’t get approved, you do not get an email telling you this.  So it’s important to check your contributions tab on Google Maps to see if the status is pending, approved, or denied (“Not Applied”), follow the steps below:

How to Check Your Google Map Edits Contributions

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/maps/
  1. Press on the Menu button
  1. Press on “Your contributions”
  1. Press on “Edits” tab

Go through the list to check your “Edits” status: pending, approved, or denied (“Not Applied”)

Most of the reports through “Suggest an edit” tool are not accepted by Google AI but it’s good practice as it might go through and it may help your case when you use the redressal form (check below).

How to use Business Redressal Form to report Spam/Fake listings

The great thing about the Business Redressal Form is that a Human! from the compliance team at Google will review your submission.

 The Business Redressal Complaint Form is located here: https://support.google.com/business/contact/business_redressal_form

1st Section – “Your Information”

  1.  Full name –  Your own name or the email account’s name that you signed in with. Even if you are a representative of the business.
  1. Contact email address – Either your work email or a Gmail address, Google will use this to send your case ID 
  1. Name of the entity or organization that is getting impacted – Tricky question… but what they mean is “What is the name of Business being reported?’. So you put the name of the infractor if it’s one listing or “Multiple” if submitting more than one listing.

2nd Section Malicious content (Phone number/URL/Address/Title)

  1. Identify the content on Google Maps that you claim might lead to fraudulent activity – You will have these options:
    1. Title – Business name spam
    2. Address – virtual offices, UPS stores, using another business’s location, private residence, doesn’t exist
    3.  Phone Number – fake numbers, lead gen schemes, the number belongs to another business
    4.  Website – malware types of sites, the website does not belong to that business or brand

Pro Tip: Get to know the  different types of spam on GMB by taking a look at “What are the most common types of spam/fake listing on Google?”

  1. What is the public URL for the location – You put here the Google Maps URL of the spam/fake listing.  Press “Add additional” to add more listings that you are reporting. However, if it’s more than 10 listings use a spreadsheet and upload using the next field.
  1. File upload (optional) – Reporting more than 10 listings? Use a spreadsheet with the links to each listing and upload here by pressing “Choose file”. DO NOT upload here the evidence like photos or folders, however, it’s ok for you to add links in the spreadsheet for Google Drive folders where the evidence is saved.
  1. Please explain in detail why you believe the content on the above URLs is malicious to be on Google Maps. In this box is your chance to add evidence:
    1. Write in detail the issues as much you possibly can
    2. Reference specific Google My Business Guidelines broken or misused 
    3. Add here the link(s) to the evidence, I recommend using a Google Drive Folder for each listing. If you uploaded a spreadsheet with multiple listings, advise what evidence they will find in the attached spreadsheet. 
    4. Write about the impact on Customers and other businesses in the area. 
    5. You have 1000 characters, make them count! 
    6. Make it easy for Google Compliance Officers

And SUBMIT!

 Pro Tip: I recommend grouping together each type of issue, for example, all the Business Name spam as one submission, address spam as another submission, and so on. In this way may take more work but will increase your chances of succeeding. 

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