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How To Eradicate Spam with The Help of Google My Business Redressal Form

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In this article, you will learn all you need to know about Google My Business Redressal Form and how to submit it. If you’re new to GMB, check out our articles on GMB optimization and GMB name spam. Let’s go.

Local SEO is evidently one of the best practices to attract local customers to your location. Businesses are putting a lot of their time and effort into creating the best strategies for their local SEO.

The top and the most popular tool to rank locally is Google My Business listings. If you’ve listed your business in GMB and taken care of its optimization, you must know how tough the competition is out there.

It’s alright though. You know you’ve got it in you to beat all the competition.

But then, you come across a swarm of spammy listings, using keyword spamming and location spamming to get to the top. It gets quite frustrating when you see listings in your niche decorating their listing’s fields to rank higher.

A lot of businesses adopt the same spammy tactics to beat the spammers, unaware of the fact that they can take action against them.

To deal with the spammers, Google has introduced the Google My Business Redressal Form.

Introduction To the Google My Business Redressal Form

Google had introduced the Google My Business Redressal Form way back in 2019 to replace the spam reporting area in the GMB community forum.

The intention was to allow consumers, businesses and marketers to report fraudulent and harmful listings directly to Google.

GMB - Google My Business Redressal Form

When you report a business with the Google My Business Redressal Form, it is directly received by Google to be presented to a human executive.

Instead of leaving it all to algorithms, an executive at Google reviews your form and evaluates the matter.

Evolution Of Google My Business Redressal Form

Google had updated the Google My Business Redressal Form in January 2020, to elaborate on what you should not submit in the redressal form. To quote Google:

“If your complaint is not related to fraudulent activity on the name, phone number, or URL of the business, we will not be able to review your complaint.”

 – Google 

In around May of 2020, Google’s Product Experts were notified that Google My Business Redressal Form can be used to report name spam.

Although, they do suggest to ‘Suggest an edit’ to the business before taking the matter upstairs.

'Suggest An Edit' Vs 'Google My Business Redressal Form’

When you see a listing closely, you’ll find a ‘Suggest an edit’ option somewhere below the phone number. It is an automated learning mechanism that tells Google what people think should be removed from the listing.

GMB - Evolution Of Google My Business Redressal Form

Whereas, the Redressal Form is directly reviewed by a human being at Google. The form that you submit here is directly received by Google’s spam team for inspection.

If you’ve used the spam redressal form before, you should have seen the option to upload a spreadsheet to report more than 10 listings at a time. That way, the human execs would have it more convenient to handle the bulk submission.

GMB - Suggest An Edit' Vs 'Google My Business Redressal Form

You are not supposed to upload images in the file upload section, if you’re wondering why you’re still not getting any satisfactory results. I’ll tell you how you can share images as evidence if you wish to in a few moments.

Once the spam is evaluated, the outcome data is then recorded and the machine is given inputs to learn from it. This may bring about tiny changes in the ecosystem where the algorithm catches patterns. And then, small incremental updates are rolled out to more listings.

That’s how it goes, and we should be grateful for that. To share an incident with you, a Wall Street Journal article about GMB spam published in June 2019 caused a massive sweep of GMB listings. Tons of valid listings were also suspended in this sweep. Which is why small incremental updates are better compared to this.

That means that even if you’re reporting a small number of listings, a lot many listings may get impacted down the road. Submitting 100 listings could result in removal of 1000 listings.

Some legit listings also get affected by these, but they can be brought back.

How To Fill the Redressal Form

There are only a few simple things that you need to take care of while filling the Google My Business Redressal Form. It doesn’t matter whether you’re submitting for one or multiple listings, the information you should enter would stay similar. Just follow these steps:

Step:1 – Name

Enter your name or your client’s name in case you are doing it for someone else.

Step:2 – Email

Again, enter your email if you’re doing it for yourself, or your client’s.

Step:3 – Name of entity or organization that is getting affected

Here you can put your company’s name or simply type ‘NA’ or ‘Multiple’ in the field.

Step:4 – Content Type

You’ll get four options here. Title, Address, Phone Number and Website.

  • Select Title if you’re reporting Google My Business name spam.
  • Select Address if you’re reporting the businesses having virtual offices or using another business’s location.
  • Select Phone Number if you’re reporting lead generation schemes that use the same number.
  • Select Website if you’re reporting lead generation or malware sites.

Step:5 – Public URL

Paste the Google Maps URL of each listing that you’re reporting. Although, if you’re reporting more than 10 listings at a time, put one URL in this field and upload a spreadsheet for the rest.

Step:6 –Describe Your Report

This is the field where you describe how the listing(s) you submitted have a negative impact on merchants and consumers on GMB.

GMB - How To Fill the Redressal Form

Do not cry about how the reported listing(s) are affecting your ranking. You have to talk about the fraudulent and misleading information and their impact on the real world.

If you’re reporting only one listing, describe and provide all the material that you have against this listing. If you’re reporting multiple listings, give a brief summary of what you’ve put in the spreadsheet.

Keep one thing in mind while submitting reports for listings. Divide your submissions into different groups. Create one group for all the title spam, one for address spam, etc. This sure will increase your work but it will also increase your chances of succeeding.

About screenshots or images, uploading them in the form will be useless. If you want to provide some image evidence to support your report, upload the image(s) to your Google Drive or an image sharing site and create a short URL for it. Pasting your image directly into the sheet would be pointless. It’s not going to be readable.

After You Submit the Redressal Form

Once you submit your report via the Google My Business Redressal Form, you will get an email from Google stating that your form has been received by them.

GMB - After You Submit the Redressal Form

This email won’t have much material in it. It will simply have a caseID for your report on the subject. Other than that, the email is useless. You can’t reply to the email nor can you follow up on your report with the caseID.

From what we know, Google takes action on the reported spam in about a couple of weeks’ time.

If the batch you’ve submitted is not big, it might be actioned in the same week. On the other hand, if you’re submitting more than 50 listings at a time, it should take somewhere around 3+ weeks of time.

Waiting is all you can do at this point.

What If You're Not Successful

Firstly, give it some time and don’t jump to any conclusions. Next, look back and check if you missed anything. You probably missed some tiny clues that prove a listing is actually legit. Or, you probably didn’t provide enough material and evidence for Google to work on.

If you ask me, I’ve seen people going as far as hiring a private investigator. I’m not suggesting that you do the same, but the least you can do is do your research.

Now, you do your research one more time, and again your findings show negative signals towards that listing(s), do not hesitate to submit your form again. Keep in mind though, that your submission is monitored by a human being, who keeps a database of evaluated spam.

Final Words

Wrapping this up, if you feel this is Google’s job, you’re absolutely right there. And yes, it’s frustrating that some of the spam gets ignored. But keep in mind that Google is working tirelessly to seek balance between the searcher, businessman and the marketer.

It’s not perfect, which is why there are experts to help you along the way. Digital Daisy is an expert in local SEO service in India. We’ve helped many local businesses eradicate the spam from their industry and rank them ethically and legally.

One of the many best things about our organization is that clients feel home with us. Our expertise in the field is only matched by our affection towards our clients. If you want to be part of the family, just drop your details here or call us.

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