Home Advisor Jumping into the Google Local Spam Game?


Linda Buquet

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Don't have time to look but I'm 99% sure it's not HA.

There is a scam/spam tactic that's been going around where spammy companies link to the Yelp search results for that city OR Avvo search results if they are in atty, etc. It's a growing problem and I think some big not very ethical agency is behind it. OR it's catching on and several are doing it.

I've reported to Google a few times.

I've posted about it several times before here too. But late for Physical Therapy so no time to find the posts right this sec.
 

mborgelt

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I have seen pages that do this with Yelp, Houzz and other profiles. I think Linda's right in saying that this nefarious action is probably coming from an agency or someone who is trying to game the system.
 

Linda Buquet

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Welcome Kevin. Was too rushed earlier to say thanks for joining us.

Just looked at that one. The joke is on them!

No phone. No site. No way to reach the business at all.

Don't think you can have a listing without a phone #. I've only seen it a couple times before. Wonder if the listing is borked or if Google fixed their wagon?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Are we talking about companies that are using their individual Yelp pages to rank for keywords as "spammy" and "scammy"? Isn't this barnacle SEO?
 

Linda Buquet

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Yes that's Barnacle SEO which is fine. This is about linking the G+ L page to a bogus result.

We are talking about a scammer creating extra Google+ listings with fake names like "Best Dallas Plumber" and then instead of linking to website of the company - on the G+ L page they link to the general "Dallas Plumber" search results page on Yelp. (Lots of authority and filled to the brim with all the right KWs and lots of NAP.)

I reported about an LA Attythat was doing it with 2 fake name KW stuffed listings - that dominated the pack for Los Angeles Personal Injury attorney. One G+ L page linked to Avvo search results page for LA + his KW. And the other linked to Lawyer.com. In reality the Atty's real office was in another city, not even LA, so he was purely gaming the system for LA rankings.

There have been numerous reports of Locksmiths pulling this too all over the US. Usually linking to the Yelp general search results pages for that city.

But I've reported a couple that were even linking to a LEGIT Locksmith's Yelp listing. So it's a fake unlicensed Locksmith. With a fake name. OR a real Locksmith trying to rank in a city he does not really have an office in. So to help boost ranking, since it's a fake listing with no credibility - they link their G+ L page to "Honest Joe's Locksmith Service" page on Yelp.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Yes that's Barnacle SEO which is fine. Barnacle SEO is organic. This is about linking the G+ L page to a bogus result.

We are talking about a scammer creating extra Google+ listings with fake names like "Best Dallas Plumber" and then instead of linking to website of the company - on the G+ L page they link to the general "Dallas Plumber" search results page on Yelp. (Lots of authority and filled to the brim with all the right KWs and lots of NAP.)

I reported about an LA Attythat was doing it with 2 fake name KW stuffed listings - that dominated the pack for Los Angeles Personal Injury attorney. One G+ L page linked to Avvo search results page for LA + his KW. And the other linked to Lawyer.com. In reality the Atty's real office was in another city, not even LA, so he was purely gaming the system for LA rankings.

There have been numerous reports of Locksmiths pulling this too all over the US. Usually linking to the Yelp general search results pages for that city.

But I've reported a couple that were even linking to a LEGIT Locksmith's Yelp listing. So it's a fake unlicensed Locksmith. With a fake name. OR a real Locksmith trying to rank in a city he does not really have an office in. So to help boost ranking, since it's a fake listing with no credibility - they link their G+ L page to "Honest Joe's Locksmith Service" page on Yelp.
Completely wiffed on that. Apologies.

Wow, didn't know people were doing this on such a large scale. Crazy.
 

Margaret Ornsby

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Thx for clarifying that Linda.
I had always understood barnacle SEO as for directories, I never saw google local = directory. New understanding again :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Thx for clarifying that Linda.
I had always understood barnacle SEO as for directories, I never saw google local = directory. New understanding again :)
Yes barnacle SEO = other directories, not Google Local.

I think I said something that was not very clear. Edited and clarified a little above.
 

Margaret Ornsby

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Okay, so this IS one of those unwritten rules.

G are vague on the details of what's acceptable in the contact details, simply saying "the phone number and website URL for your business here". So if a business doesn't have a website, they might think they can put in a directory listing (s/a Yelp) and that be compliant.

Seem to have taken the thread a little off-track, in the context of the original post about fake listings and keyword stuffing listings tied to multiple pages.

Thank you anyway
 

Linda Buquet

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No Margaret, you are fine and I'm glad you mentioned the guidelines.

Basically if you don't have a site it's fine to link to your profile on Yelp or FB or wherever.

But a legit business would never link to the Dallas Plumbers search results page on Yelp. They'd be linking to all their competitors not their own business. Plus the listings that are pulling this usually have other violations and spam signals. Obviously fake KW stuffed names. Usually spammy descriptions. Almost always hidden addresses which are probably fake locations.
 
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Thanks Linda, great to be here.

I found it particularly curious for the reasons you highlighted, no phone number and it's not pointing to any particular listing URL, just a general page with multiple businesses in the area.

HomeAdvisor has also been engaging in the Thumbtack-style link scheme for quite some time, although in their defense they don't offer any points or compensation for posting the link that I'm aware of. I routinely receive auto-generated emails from my contractor clients that go like this:

"Attached is the Seal of Approval badge code. Use this code to put the Seal of Approval badge on my website. The Seal of Approval badge code may not be altered in any way."

The code always includes do-follow links to exactly this type of general listing page, with a list of my client's competitors. Very shady stuff, which makes me think HomeAdvisor wouldn't be above engaging in the Locksmith G+ listings like the one I originally posted.
 

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