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Google Maps SEO and Fake Reviews: Good Luck

Google Maps SEO is a phrase you won’t see used officially anywhere, but it is one that represents an essential component of the omnichannel pursuit of “getting good on Google.” 

While SEO focuses on optimizing your online presence for search engines, Google Maps SEO aims to get your Google Business Profile into the top spot of the SERP, specifically the Google 3 Pack, aka The Local Pack. 

But with the massive disruptions resulting from the AI and LLM integration underway, the lines are blurring, and getting your brand found is extending into social media and search generative experience. This does not negate the need to optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP)(Your business’s location information that shows up on Google Maps and the local pack). It’s one of the easiest things you can do to enhance your brand’s digital presence on Google, yet it’s the task that so many businesses overlook or fail to complete properly.  

Why is Google Maps SEO Important?

Google Maps SEO importance stems from it’s directly impact on how visible your business is to potential customers searching for local services or products. The positioning of your business on Google Maps results on the SERP is determined by various factors, including the relevance of your business to the search query, the proximity of your business to the user, the prominence of your business (based on factors like reviews and citations), and the accuracy and completeness of your Google My Business listing. So, optimizing your presence on Google Maps through effective SEO strategies can significantly improve your chances of being seen by potential customers in your area.

Google Maps SEO: The Good, The Bad, and the Fake Reviews 

I have spent a shameful amount of time reading Google Maps reviews over the past decade. A lot of time, really. It’s safe to say I’ve read thousands of them, and I’ve seen everything, but I see very negative reviews written by someone clearly already miserable. What I mean is that people are leaving poor reviews that, to anyone with any sense of awareness, can clearly see this person’s expectations were not in alignment with the service or product they expected. Is that the business’s fault? From what I’ve seen, the majority of the time, that answer is no, and the review is often left by someone clearly distraught aside from their experience with this business. Regardless, their scathing review still negatively impacts the business.

The bigger picture here is to ensure that the brand’s messaging is not in alignment across all its marketing channels. Sure, part of it is people not having accurate expectations of a service or product, but there are also measures a business can take to manage your Google Business Profile.  

Is it Chipotle’s fault that they don’t give away a free kid’s burrito with every meal? Should this be published everywhere so people know in advance and avoid disappointment?

Brands should view bad reviews as an unpleasant reminder that their branding needs constant refinement and refreshing. If you find your company inundated with negative reviews over the course of a few weeks, it’s clearly worth investigating. But do you have the resources to manage that without taking away from your core business offering?  

At LFG Media Group in Boynton Beach, FL, we will manage your Google Business Profile to ensure your business is accurately projecting its services. We also ensure all your local citations across all local business platforms (Think: Yelp) are accurate to ensure Google understands you are one business. This is especially important if you have a business that shares a similar name with many other brands.  

As a digital marketing agency specializing in healthcare marketing, we work with drug rehabs, addiction treatment centers, mental health providers, and medical wellness centers across the U.S. By optimizing your GBP, we put your business on the map, and keep it there, ensuring local citations, contact info, and address are all accurately reflected across the web. 

Google Maps Fake Reviews

Let us begin this section by acknowledging a reality that many businesses face: the inevitability of fake reviews. While disheartening, it’s essential to recognize that they are an unfortunate byproduct of the online ecosystem. However, rather than despairing, businesses can focus on cultivating genuine connections with their customers, thereby building a foundation of trust that withstands the scrutiny of fake reviews.

Now, turning our attention to the broader context, it’s evident that Google Maps has become an integral part of our daily lives. 

With an increasing number of people relying on it for navigation and local information, having a presence on this platform is no longer optional—it’s a necessity. It’s also a chance for Google to broaden it’s reach which means they will continue developing it as a resource where your business needs to be.

Whether you’re a small mom-and-pop shop or a multinational corporation, leveraging Google Maps SEO can amplify your visibility and attract potential customers.

So, how can businesses optimize their presence on Google Maps? The answer lies in understanding and implementing effective SEO strategies tailored to this platform. This involves optimizing your business listing with accurate and up-to-date information, selecting relevant categories, and incorporating keywords that resonate with your target audience.

Additionally, encouraging satisfied customers to leave genuine reviews can bolster your credibility and improve your ranking on Google Maps. Doing this is well worth the incentive tradeoff of a discount on a future purchase and is becoming increasingly important.  

While the specter of fake reviews may loom, a consistent stream of authentic feedback can outweigh their impact and reinforce your reputation.

Google Announces Algorithm Update Aimed at Combatting Fake Reviews on Google Maps

Google recently announced updates to their algorithm that offer measures for combating fake reviews (both good and bad). Ultimately, this is aimed at helping out honest businesses and is a welcome addition to the never-ending evolution of Google search. In 2023, this new algorithm enabled Google to identify 45% more fake reviews than the year before.

While Google Maps SEO may be a task you continuously put to the side, it’s no longer something you can avoid without falling behind. By embracing practical strategies and maintaining a commitment to authenticity, businesses can navigate the complexities of Google Maps with confidence, ensuring their presence is not just noticed but valued by those seeking their products or services.

We offer one of the most competitive Local SEO packages out there and, coupled with a custom-tailored Google Ads campaign, can get your business from stagnant to stellar in less than one month. If you are waiting to do something, don’t let it be your digital marketing.  

Call the team at LFG Media Group today!