If a third party is violating any Google My Business policies, you can report them via this special form? It seems that a number of the local SEO community members aren’t aware of this form despite the fact it’s been around May, according to the WayBack Machine.
David Mihm, a respected local SEO, posted about the form yesterday:
Report a Google-ish Spam Call:https://t.co/d1tNLbZeqh
Major kudos to @GoogleMyBiz and can’t believe I’d missed this before.
— David Mihm (@davidmihm) November 27, 2018
A “Third Party (3P),” according to Google is an authorized agency that manages business information on Google My Business for a business they don’t own. Examples include:
- a digital marketing agency
- a third party SEO/SEM company
- an online order or scheduling or booking provider
- an affiliate provider
According to Google, you use this tool if you cannot work out the issue directly with the third party. “If you are not able to resolve the issue, notify us using the contact options below.” Google said their “team can investigate violation reports and address areas of improvement with the third party directly, if necessary,” says Google.
The following options when reporting issues is offered by Google:
- Third party that is repeatedly calling or making robocalls.
- Third party claimed your Google My Business listing without your consent or by extorting consent from you.
- Third party is misrepresenting its relationship with Google (e.g. they claim to be Google employees or to have an official partnership with Google).
- Third party claims it can guarantee top placement in Google Search or Maps.
- Third party is demanding money to either get your business listed or continue to stay listed on Google. (Note: Third parties are permitted to charge for maintenance services, but Google My Business is a free product and does not require a fee to list your business. )
- Third Party engages in deceptive or harassing marketing and sales practices (e.g. threats of degrading business’s search ranking).
- Third party is not being transparent with clients (e.g. not disclosing management fees, failing to provide aggregated Google My Business performance data).
- Third party is representing your business’s information inaccurately on Google Maps.
This is a big deal because Google Maps and Google My Business has a reputation for being a place that is an easy target for spammers. With this reporting tool, it gives the “good guys” some ammunition to fight back against the “bad guys.” If someone is taking advantage of your business or your client’s business, this is the form you can try to use to get some help from a Google support representative.