Many people believe that checking how they rank in Google Maps is simple. While it is simple, the way many people go about it is very inaccurate. For our example., lets say we are a personal injury law firm named Bob’s Law Firm and we are located in New York City. We want to see if we rank for Car Accident Attorney. Most people will do what makes most sense and search for Car Accident Attorney in Google Maps. For our example, we see that we are 10th in maps (conveniently not shown in this image).  Well shoot what are we paying our marketing team for.  We paid to be top 3 in Google Maps.  What gives?

The search you did in Google Maps was indeed accurate but it only showed one finite point on Google Maps. While it means you likely don’t rank in the top 3 throughout the city, it doesn’t mean you don’t rank in the city at all. Look in the URL of the search you just did. The image below shows you the coordinates in the URL.  The search you ran is based upon one point on the map and will not give you a clear image on how you rank.  

Ok, how do I see my ranks in Google Maps then? A common report you might see is a keyword report. 

For example:
Car Accident Attorney – 10th in Google Maps
Personal Injury Attorney – 11th in Google Maps
Work Accident Attorney – 10th in Google Maps
While this is a common report, it has a lot of false signals. Just like running a search in Google Maps, you don’t actually know “where” you rank. Your making the assumption that you have a certain rank throughout the city but facts are, you could be holding that rank for100 feet from your search location. 

The most accurate way to see your Google Map ranks is using a Geo Grid tool that can calculate Service Area Business locations into its equation. If your Geo Grid tool is unable to see service area businesses, the numbers you see are as inaccurate as a keyword report. What is a Geo Grid tool you ask? Check out the image below. This was a scan done for Car Accident Attorney in New York City. You can see a clear visual on how this business ranks and more importantly, where they rank. It looks like the business holds 3 pack ranks in lower Manhattan. Once you leave lower Manhattan, the business loses its 3 pack ranks. With this information, you can refine your local SEO strategies and focus on the areas that need work.  

If your interested in a Geo Grid tool, I recommend using Local Viking. They are the cheapest and most powerful Geo Grid tool on the market to date.

Our company isn’t here to talk about local SEO strategies though, we are here with 2 goals in mind. 

One, to teach companies and agencies how to properly see ranks in Google Maps. If you read up to this point then you have a strong grasp on seeing ranks using a geo grid tool.  

Two, if you understand Geo Grids, then your about to understand a vary dark and damaging secret about Google Maps. Spam and Junk Listings. Each one of those nodes represent you standing on a street corner and searching on Google Maps. Each node will bring up the top 20 results. 

Wouldn’t you be upset if you were 4th in maps because a spammer made a listing that beats your legitimist business? Its an extremely common issue. Look at the image below. Without doing any research or batting an eye, the 2nd and 4th listing have an extremely high change of being spam. Why? Because spammers will keyword stuff listings with the keyword and usually a city location. 

Also, what legitimate business would name their business Car Accident Lawyer Brooklyn. Keep in mind, a business could name themselves as such and its completely ok. What’s not ok is the 2nd listing points to an intersection and the 4th listing points to a wall. I challenge anyone to drive to the address and find the business named Car Accident Lawyer Brooklyn. I promise you will not find it.

And yet those 2 spam listing out ranks F&A Injury Lawyers and Mark Chalfin, Attorney At Law.   F&A Injury Lawyers could be 2nd in maps and Mark Chalfin, Attorney At Law could be 3rd in maps.

Why should you care? Why is it so important to be in the top 3 positions. 4th and 5th is good enough right? No its not. Look at the study Bright Local ran. By the 3rd position, your receiving less than 3% of the overall traffic. By position 4, you might as well be position 20 because your barely getting any traffic. Those spam listings cost F&A Injury Lawyers about 11% of their traffic and cost Mark Chalfin, Attorney At Law about 3% of their traffic. As a business, are you willing to sit there and damage your income?  

What about an agency? I’m sure you heard to just out rank the spam. Why should you have to spend exponentially more time and money to out rank this trash when you could simply report them.  Well, your client is paying you to be in the 3 pack.  With the geo grid tool, you now have the insights to create a powerful foundation to build upon.  Once you clean up the spam and junk in Google Maps, your Local SEO efforts will have a much more powerful effect.

Proportion of Clicks by SERP Result

Most agencies who work on Local SEO campaigns acknowledge that spam and junk listings plague Google Maps but according to the study below, there aren’t enough agencies that know how to deal with the spam.

Dealing with Google Map spam initially doesn’t look hard but it can become a very time consuming task. Let’s review how to properly attack Google Map Spam.  

1: Identify the Google Map Spam by using a Geo Grid tool. Set up the geo grid to run the keywords you care about. Then, go through the nodes and find listings like Car Accident Lawyer Brooklyn to go after.

2: Find the listing in Google Maps. You can search the listing by name or variations of the address. Sometimes stripping out the suite number or zip code pops the listing. For service area businesses, you can try the name+city and it should pop. 

3: Report the Listing. Click Suggest an Edit, Click Remove this Place and select the appropriate reason to close or remove the listing in question.

4: Record the listing. You need to record the listings name and Map CID. This is because, even if you manage to close the listing down the spammers could try to restore the listing. The easiest way to grab the Map URL is to download the extension called GatherUp. Now, whenever your on a Google Map page or a Knowledge Panel, you can grab the Google Map URL and record it.

5: Track the listing. After you make your suggest edit, it may or may not go through. If it doesn’t get approved, you will have to consider what to do next.  Sometimes the listing will be closed down but after awhile the listing could be reopened by the spammers.  

6. Follow up on the listing. If the listing is closed, your job is done. If the spam listing still exists, consider making more suggest edits or fill out the   redressal form and submit the spam listing to Google.

Congratulations! You are done with that one listing. Rinse and repeat the process for all listings in question that you find blocking your ranks. As stated at the start, the process is quite simple but given time, its quite a big time sink. Some companies can find a large handful of spam for a single keyword. And if they care about multiple keywords, the fight against spam can be a painful endeavor. Not to mention, just because you cleaned up every spam listing, doesn’t mean more won’t surface. Removing spam and junk is an endless battle.

This is where Local Business Protection comes in. We do one job and we do it very well. Local Business Protection protect your Google Map ranks from the spam and junk. We track down and report spam so you don’t have to. Message our live chat at the bottom right if you have any questions. 

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