That’s right folks; companies are out selling map listings with monthly management fees and touting they are better than PPC ads. The sad truth is companies are buying this BS. In the past two weeks I have had two clients approach me with emails they have received from other companies trying to sell guaranteed Google Map listings. If this happens to you, please feel free to reference them to this article.
Google Maps Really Is Quick And Easy:
Google Map listings take about 10 minutes to complete. Anyone charging a monthly fee on this is hurting the rest of us who do real marketing and are trying to make SEO legit. As a little proof of just how easy it is try it yourself.
It’s Just Spam Tactics and “SPAM is always a SCAM”
MySearchSEO.com highlighted their success this way:
Obviously their “expertise” is to spam the map listing.
To Google spam is bad! Jet Plumbing is the name – all the stuff after that is to improve keywords rankings. Listings D – J comply with Google’s TOS. If you see something like A – C, and your company is doing it the right way, I strongly suggest you submit to Google Maps Spam Report.
Internet-Focus.com is doing the same thing. In the image below you can see how they spam company name to get more map listings. For a good laugh, they have a video to help you understand that Google Maps listings are the best, and they are the “experts” who work tirelessly to get you good keyword placement within Google’s standards.
Watch out for “review” spam as well. Several companies will fake several reviews of your business and if Google picks up on it, you can get black listed. Signals like 15 reviews in 3 days when you haven’t had any for months, or any after, send red flags to Google to manually review your map listing.
A Bunch of BS
These companies prey on small shops that are not internet savvy. With less money for their offerings they swoop in as online marketing hero who can deliver results like PPC and SEO at a fraction of the cost.
Here is an excerpt from an email one client got from MySearchSEO.com:
“Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today regarding our advertising options for you. As we discussed anyone looking in your local area will be able to find you on line when they are looking for you and your services. The services that I offer do work wonders for businesses just like yours. Our services are practical and street smart. There is no contract, simply a $99 processing/ programming service charge and $169 per month, month to month. If you have any questions, please call me. Check out these keywords for our client in NEW ORLEANS: Landscaping New Orleans, Landscape lighting New Orleans, Landscape Design New Orleans are a few we have him listed under related to his field and city!
This is the link to our Better Business Rating:
I’m still trying to figure our what the ongoing fee is for. I heard one company suggest making multiple fake address listings to improve rankings for different metro searches. Maybe the fee is so they can keep creating more listings if/when Google takes one down. I also find it “odd” that they put the BBB link in on their sales pitch. In my experience, anyone offering this up without first being asked is a red flag. My company is a member of the BBB and not one proposal I have ever sent has mentioned it. Do they know they suck, but are trying to prove some legitimacy?
Lets Dig Deeper
If you do a “whois” lookup on their URL you won’t find who owns the site. However in their promotional image above you also see that they are rankings clients organically with www.relevantyellow.com.
The funny thing is relevant yellow is a poor mans Yellow Pages. And, Yellow Pages is the very site they are insinuating sucks compared to Google Maps. One Google Map Placement company went as far as to show the Google trends of “Yellow Pages” vs “Google maps”. I agree it’s a good comparison chart to show, but seems wrong that you then optimize a directory site for a client listing instead of do SEO for clients sites.
As for the company itself, relevantyellow.com is owned by relevantads.com. I did a quick search for this company, and it appears that many find them to be a scam.
The Business Model Is Crap.
The traffic claims these map listing companies bring are greatly exaggerated. Consider how many times someone will search for this small set of keywords with your location as a modifier. Then consider what percentage of those clicks your map listing is going to get. Now compare those clicks to the PPC or SEO clicks your are getting. I’m not saying map listings are bad, I’m just trying to give you some perspective to their overall importance.
To compare a landscaping client my company has – out of 7,615 visitors, just 7 clicks came from Google maps. This illustrates the importance PPC and SEO have over the amount of visitors your map listing can bring.
Map spam may get you better placement in the short-term, but once Google finds it (or someone submits a SPAM report) you may find it harder to get a local map ranking at all. I’m sure as Google finds more companies abusing this system; they will have to bring tougher penalties on the companies who try to repeatedly cheat.
In the email from MySearchSEO.com, “Tony Stark” also says the following:
“You are spending money on pay-per-click and so are about 50 other competitors in your immediate area. To be fair to everyone Google rotates all of the 50 business from page #1 to page#4. So you’re not always on the front page to get the best return and maximum exposure to your business.”
Dude! Google does not have a “fairness” policy! Ads are not rotated from page 1 to page 4. Google, like any other company, likes to get paid. Thus, the PPC accounts with the highest bids and best quality score get the highest rankings.
It’s lies like this that makes me have to work harder… Thanks Tony!