Locksmiths Crack Google Local

Google local hasn’t proven to be any Fort Knox for  locksmith  companies who want multiple listings.  Some of these companies appear not to be local companies at all but rather national referral companies who masquerade as local businesses.  These companies have become so good at getting in Google local business results they’re jeopardizing Google’s reputation for providing quality search results, at least in the area of local search.

miami local locksmith

Do a search on many major metropolitan areas around the country and you’ll find that when it comes to locksmiths Google’s local listings look like this screen shot. Here MiamiLockSmith.com has captured 3 of the 10 spots. AllTimeLockSmith.com has captured 2 and Locksmith-in-Miami.com has captured another 2. If you click on a Lock-Smith-in-Miami.com and surf down to the bottom of the page you’ll find links to, locksmith-in-new-york.com, locksmith-in-chicago.com, locksmith-in-las-vegas.com. It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that these are all the same company, but it’s even more clear when you pick up the phone call the local numbers and they’re all answered by the same person that you’re not reaching a “local” company.

The results in Denver are similar with denverlocallocksmith.com having four of the local listings.  Althought the (303) 274-2233 listing is on their site the person who answers all of the numbers is the same.

denverlocallocksmithwars

Hijacked Google local listings is something Mike Blumenthal has reported on a number of times.  The issue is different but related to the one I’ve brought up above.  However what’s really troubling is how Google appears to be not addressing the issue.  In his March 10th post Mike drew a big old red arrow on a screen shot that shows 24x7locallocksmith.com hijacked a hotel listing.  Today while researching this post I looked at locksmith listings for NYC and guess what I found. 24x7locallocksmith1

It’s the same URL as Mike pointed out i.e. same company.  According to Google Maps guide Jen in a comment on Mike’s blog they’ve fixed the problem.  To what extent have they fixed it?  In Mike’s post the company was claiming a hotel listing with 800 reviews now there are 65 for the Fairmont.  Apparently after Google fixed it this company was able to go right back out and perpetrate the same scam again.

So here’s my question,  why didn’t Google just boot 24x7locallocksmith.com from their index.  This is not a difficult manouver for them, so did they just not think of it?  Google has created a Map Spam form but what good is it if they aren’t going to use it to remove these kinds of listings completely.    That’s not to say I want them to get trigger happy, frankly their process for modifying and removing old listings when you replace them with new ones doesn’t always work that well and they could end up punishing innocent businesses, but in this case and in a lot of cases they have all the evidence to show that the spam is intentional and they should go ahead and boot the url from their index.
Map spam is so rampant, and certainly not just a locksmith problem that you have to wonder how much good a form is going to do.  If Google wants to get serious about the problem of single companies dominating the results, which in most cases translates to spam) for one local search querry what the above shows is that a good start would be to set up their algorithm so that no URL gets more than one spot.  Obviously attention has to be paid to subdomains as the miami.miamilocksmith.com land coral-gables.miami locksmith isting above shows, but they can work with this as well.  In the case of local listings consumer choice equals quality listings.

Categories: Local Search Tags: Google, google maps, local, local 10-pack, Local Search, map spam, spam

21 Responses to “Locksmiths Crack Google LocalComment RSS feed

  • Mike Blumenthal
    March 14th, 2009 5:32 pm
    #1

    Your idea of fixing a problem and mine are similar. You don’t just seal the leak you clean up the mess from the broken sewage pipe.

    Google, for whatever reason, doesn’t see it that way. They have a strategy of removing reported spam only. They never will go in an remove every instance in the index that was created unless all were noted in the report.

    They may rewire their algo over the long haul to spot these other listings and penalize them in the listing but then again they may not.

    I would suggest that you go to the spam reporting form and report every instance that you find.

  • David Mihm
    March 16th, 2009 10:51 am
    #2

    I love Mike’s analogy. But if you look at Google’s approach to webspam (we can solve everything algorithmically) one can understand why they haven’t taken that approach, though I’m in agreement that they should.

    To re-iterate what I’ve said a million times before on other blogs, including Mike’s, I think Google has

    a) failed to realize that a poor effort at Local Search quality will eventually jeopardize their overall reputation.
    b) failed to recognize the qualitative difference between a website and a business storefront.

    Great post, David.

  • Mike Blumenthal
    March 16th, 2009 11:26 am
    #3

    I agree fully with David. As the reason and as to the potential outcome.

    It seems to not be in their DNA to approach it differently even though as David points, it is a different beast all together.

    Mike

  • Kelly Hodsdon
    March 17th, 2009 11:24 am
    #4

    Just another example in an on-going list of how Google is far less clever (even in 2009) than most people give them credit for.

    It’s just a little baffling when there are so many simple fixes they could do to lessen the ease at which people spam in Google Local — like having a secondary check (or force post card verification) if:

    - like if a domain changes
    - company phone number
    - or my goodness, the address changes!

    I know, someone would have to look at these, but an algorithm check could score and the most egregious changes (like the ones shown above) could be flagged…

    (sigh), I know, easier said than done.

    Of course, there are lots of other options for businesses to compete in local and the above situation is by no means insurmountable for a legit business to go head to head with a spam one. …and in the meantime use the new report form early and often. :-)

    Kelly

  • Patty
    March 19th, 2009 3:13 pm
    #5

    I am the business manager for an honest and legit locksmith company in Texas. Every time we get a location listing near the first page, it is stolen. Is it possible to get our listings back? I have even started putting a review with our company information in order to identify missing/stolen listings. This is really hurting our business and my head! Is there anything we can do? Or do these thieves simply win?

  • Creative Enterprise
    March 19th, 2009 4:21 pm
    #6

    I have a client that’s suffering in a big way because of the spammers.

    It’s one thing for SEM folks to complain about the fact that there’s spam. For my client that translates into thousands of dollars each and every day.

    Local listings are a big deal. They translate to sales and beginning customer relationships that can last for decades.

    Getting the short end of the stick because you’re going White Hat reflects terribly on Google and their seemingly arcane way of dealing with these issues.

    And I find it interesting that you didn’t post the Google Map images, and not just the page listings.

    Check out New York, for example:
    http://tinyurl.com/c36vcq

    Thousands of fake “businesses” clutter that map. The same is happening for other categories such as restaurants.

    There’s a lot more I could say about this. Bottom-line, I hope Google gets their act together because these kinds of loopholes are inexcusable.

  • david
    March 19th, 2009 10:25 pm
    #7
    Author's Reply

    @Creative Enterprise – You’re right I should have posted that and now I’ve corrected the problem here http://www.dewpointproductions.com/seo_blog/local-search/google-map-ny-locksmiths

    @Mike nice analogy of the broken sewage pipe it’s kind of what CE’s picture of 171,000 locksmith businesses in New York looks like when they are converted to pushpins

    @Kelly excellent point that legit businesses can go head to head with the spammers.

  • Phoenix Locksmith
    April 6th, 2009 7:38 pm
    #8

    Great! I just wonder if you don’t have any recommendations for other blogs or forums about locksmiths. By the way, nice post.

  • Locksmith
    April 7th, 2009 10:22 am
    #9

    The biggest fraud in Google right now is the locksmith hi-jacking of restaurant and hotels. There are hundreds of complaints submitted to Google. Google has been provided with tons of supporting information and specific details.
    There are two guys behind this nationwide and their only goal is to claim the top locksmith listing position in the major cities. They then sell the job leads to locksmiths who should have had them to begin with. This is hurting not only the restaurants and hotels but the local locksmith businesses. These hijacked listings are gone forever and the rightful owners simply disappear and the local business pushed farther and farther down the list.
    It takes me less than two hours to search for locksmith in the major cities, pull up the local business listings and check the reviews and linked web pages. Why is it that Google, a billion dollar company, refuses to simply remove these listings?

  • Damien
    February 23rd, 2010 10:25 am
    #10

    NO company in the industry charging $25/ $29 for the service,( run-local locksmith and his friends).
    if you know what I mean). of course not ! emergency locksmith and not leads are charging what they want,only !
    and its a lot.however there are some new websites like emergencylocksmithleads(dot)com that pre-screened,
    qualified and highly skilled locksmiths sent to the customers and the customer get a decent price for the job,
    and not $200 to open a freaking car !!!

  • Sabine Nichelson
    June 15th, 2010 7:04 pm
    #11

    thanks for the last entry. That is mega revealing.

  • Denver Locksmith
    July 1st, 2010 5:11 am
    #12

    Thanks for Sharing that information with locksmiths Google local business results.

  • nyc locksmith
    July 14th, 2010 10:26 pm
    #13

    Thanks for these fabulous lebels:-)

  • Patty
    July 14th, 2010 11:51 pm
    #14

    Google brought the listing spam from the phone book spam. Of course businesses took advantage of this. Google solved the problem the Google way; by blocking ALL new locksmith listings. For many months now no locksmith company (real or not) can add their business listing.

    The hijacking of restaurants, hotels and other locksmith listings was a completely different issue. Google allowed this to go on for a long time. These companies continue to steal listings every day. They are to the point that they call companies stating they are from Google and want to update your company information. Google has specific information yet does nothing to these couple of companies. They simply block all locksmiths.

    In response to Damien’s post. First a “service call” is a “trip charge” not the cost of the work. Most locksmith companies are very specific about this. Secondly, the site you recommended emergencylocksmithleads.com and other sites like this are even more dangerous. They give consumers the false impression that they actually research or “pre-screen” locksmiths. They don’t. They are taking the jobs and rummaging around for someone to give the job to so they can make (a lot) of money from them. They have even less accountability and can tell the consumer anything.

    Locksmiths are the same as every other business out there trying to make money. Google is allowed to control the success or failure of every business. Since a handful of locksmith companies pissed Google off, Google is solving the problem by making the entire industry pay. Way to go Google.

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    August 29th, 2010 1:02 am
    #15

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    October 4th, 2010 2:00 pm
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    November 12th, 2010 1:51 pm
    #18

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  • Locksmith Florida
    April 18th, 2011 1:23 am
    #19

    This is really a very sensitive issue for all the Locksmith company which are genuine in their profession, but some how their location is been trapped by some locksmith scam. I am really looking forward for some remedy about this problem. Great post.

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    July 19th, 2011 12:35 am
    #20

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  • Matthew Egan
    August 15th, 2011 8:05 am
    #21

    It’s interesting because some locksmith’s try and take advantage of every part of the city so they try to be listed in every location, when in reality it would take them forever to get from one part of the city to the other. That’s not fair to the customer.