Malicious Google My Business Edits


LocalU Faculty
Jul 18, 2012
FYI - I wanted to share with you guys that I have been watching a trend that I'm seeing grow in the legal industry. We work with a lot of lawyers and I've been noticing that someone is making a ton of edits to listings in large cities to try and weaken the ranking of the listing. Usually they are edits to the primary category where they change it to a less-specific category that would weaken the ranking of the listing. I had this happen to a client a few months ago and his ranking tanked overnight. The moment we changed the category back it went right back to normal.

Here is what it looks like (disclaimer: this example is not my client):
Malicious Edit 3.png

We just got notified about edits that actually published for 2 of our clients (both lawyers) today. In one case they also changed the phone number. In both cases they updated the primary category and removed the appointment URL along with several attributes.

Keep a close eye on your clients guys - it's a sick world out there.

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Jul 26, 2012
I've always been surprised that kind of thing isn't more common. It seems concentrated in certain markets.

URLs are especially easy to edit like that.

@JoyHawkins, have you noticed any/many approved category edits that weren't even close? ("Law Firm" is plausible in some cases.)

Dan Foland

SEO Director at Postali
Local Search Expert
Sep 25, 2018
We had the same thing happen to one of our attorneys a few years ago. All of the top competitors in the market (besides 1...) had their category changed from "Personal Injury Attorney" to "Law Firm" too and each listing saw a massive drop.

It hurt us for sure because Google doesn't like to alert us to changes like this. But, we're in GMB so often we caught it pretty quickly. One competitor didn't catch it for months and really saw a decline in rankings.

I'd be curious if 'listing editors' like this are less trustworthy in Google's eyes if their changes continue to get reverted back.


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
No they are usually close variants which is why they likely get published. It's funny though because an edit that changed "criminal defense attorney" to "law firm" caused my client to drop several positions overnight so it's definitely a big deal.
That main category is important :)


Nov 27, 2018
Hi all,

It happens a lot, sometimes with category, other with phone number or websites URL. Even though the suggestions aren't applied having that message there at the very search result can be confusing, and annoyin of course.

Using your Local guides profiles you can research on the area and accept or decline those edits from Google Maps ("check the facts" option in "contributions"). Give it a try. It usualy works.

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