Google is Calling: Is it Legitimate or a Deceptive SEO Company?

Google is Calling: Is it Legitimate or a Deceptive SEO Company?

Posted on December 13, 2016 Mary Merritt

In the modern world of smart phone maps and online business listings replacing phone books, every business needs to actively manage their local business listings. A symptom of this new system are occasional phone calls from a variety of services regarding your online listings.

Our regular advice to businesses in the past has been to ignore phone calls where the caller claims to be a Google Maps or Google Places representative. It used to be that you could write these calls off as deceptive SEO agencies using Google's name and authority to trick business owners into paying for local business listings.  But now, Google has actually started to use phone verification in some cases, so how can you tell the difference?

First, it is unlikely that there will be a need for re-verification of information over the phone if you haven't made changes to your Google Places business listing recently; this isn't true 100% of the time, but it would be helpful for the staff answering the phone to be aware of any recent changes made by you or your Search Marketing partners so they can help actively identify legitimate calls.

Secondly and most obviously, a legitimate call from Google has only one goal: to verify the information represented by your business listing in Google Places. If a caller at any point starts to sell services or talks about costs associated with claiming or promoting a business listing, you can be sure that it is not legitimate and hang up.  Unfortunately, this change in practice means that when these types of calls come in you should now spend a few minutes on the phone to determine if it's a legitimate call instead of immediately hanging up. This also means that if you do not spend time to verify information when you receive a legitimate call from Google your listing may drop off the web temporarily, so it is important to be aware of this change.

Because of the new possibility of legitimate calls from Google and the tricky nature of weeding out sales calls, it is a best practice to work closely with and educate anyone answering the phone at your business once you've started claiming and optimizing business listings so that the process goes smoothly. Local Business listing optimization can be a minefield, but being well informed goes a long way!

Have you received a legitimate call from Google to verify your listing? Which business listing websites have you received aggressive sales calls from?

Featured image from: roberthuffstutter