In August 2022, Google released a policy update regarding spamming on Google Business Profile posts. It surprised web admins, search engine optimization (SEO) specialists and business owners because there was no fanfare; Google never announced it.
This change has significantly affected the local SEO efforts of businesses using their Google Business Profiles. The local online marketing specialists from Thrive Internet Marketing Agency and other experts have weighed in on the matter, providing tips to avoid the update’s impact on your enterprise.
Impact of the Google My Business Updates on Local Spam
Businesses gain several crucial advantages when they use Google Business Profile posts. You can use them in your local SEO strategies to boost your ranking and generate leads. They also provide other strategic benefits:
• Posts on Google Business Profiles allow you to communicate directly with local customers.
• They can be used to highlight your Google local listing and improve customer experience through timely information about your business.
• You can use them to encourage customers to leave Google business reviews and boost your online reputation.
• Business owners can use them in their local marketing strategy by promoting specials, sales, company news and events.
• Use them in your local SEO solutions, which allow potential customers to access your business information and boost brand awareness.
• You can enhance your Google business listings and boost customer engagement through enticing photos and videos.
With Google Business Profile optimization, companies become more visible to consumers. A verified business presence on Google can boost your site’s traffic by 35% (Barcelona Creative Group, 2020).
The user intent is high for people looking for information about your business. Estimates show that 64% of consumers have used a Google local listing to find a company’s phone number. Companies that have provided their local phone numbers in their Google business listings can increase their customer call rate by 61% (The Media Captain, 2023).
However, with the local spam update, businesses’ posts on their Google local listing can be removed. It is important to note that having your posts marked as spam won’t immediately result in a Google My Business or Google Business Profile suspension or reduce local business citations. However, when your posts have been reported as spam, you lose the benefits mentioned earlier, which can hurt your company’s local SEO strategies.
Businesses that need help navigating various Google My Business updates will benefit from a partnership with a seasoned local marketing agency like Thrive. We have specialists who can help you with Google Business Profile optimization, which can boost your local business citations and maximize local SEO solutions.
What Is the Spam Update All About?
Business owners and local SEO strategists learned about the update through social media. Before the update, Google’s spam policies covered several crucial topics, such as:
• Distracting content
• Blurry images and video
• Gimmicky characters
• Adding malware and harmful software links
• Links to irrelevant sites
• Phishing scams
All of these items are understandably spammy. However, Google added another line to that list:
“Duplicate photos, posts, videos, and logos”
Using duplicate images and other other elements may not get you negative Google business reviews. However, the search engine’s crawlers can interpret them as spam and have posts flagged or removed. Unfortunately, it can take weeks before a representative from Google gets to your post and evaluates and gets it reinstated.
How To Avoid Penalties and Post-Removal
There are several essential details that business owners should look into to avoid post-removal and other penalties. Following specific guidelines and tips will also help avoid getting a Google My Business suspension. These include subject matter relevance, using similar color palettes, adding videos and photos your company owns and attribution in your Google Business Profile posts.
1. Avoiding Video Spam
“To prevent your video content from getting flagged by Google as spam, make sure to use original videos,” said Ronnel Viloria, Demand Generation Lead SEO Strategist at Thrive.
“You should also ensure that the videos you add to your profile posts are relevant to your industry or business.”
Viloria further emphasized that the video content should always be relevant to the message of your post. For instance, if you run a window cleaning company in Boston, it would be inappropriate to post cat videos, even if it was a cute feline hanging out in your customer’s window. A better option would be the cleaning products your team uses and the equipment at your disposal when servicing clients.
2. Preventing Image Spam
“To prevent your images from being flagged as spam, it is best to stick to original photos created by your team, especially if you’re going to use it as a featured image,” Viloria said.
“It will also be a good idea to use the same color palette you have on your website for branding purposes.”
He further elaborated that Google has strict policies and guidelines regarding copyrighted content. The search engine giant has also provided guidelines for explicit images and other similar types of content. Violating these rules can get the photos and the post flagged as spam or deleted from Google Business Profiles. This means it would be best to avoid using stock images from third-party providers as much as possible unless you can be sure those images are unique. Multiple violations of the guidelines can result in a Google My Business suspension.
3. Image Attribution
Sometimes you need to include another company’s logo in your photo. This is true of business-to-business (B2B) companies that may have to post customer updates or their work for another enterprise.
Viloria explained that, at times, you need to grab a cover photo, graph or some other image from other sources to illustrate a point for your audience better. If you ever have this, adding an image source attribution would be best. This information will indicate the source of the image for search engine crawlers and human readers. Google can consider the addition of that image, and it will help you avoid getting a penalty.
4. Accurate Information
It is also important to avoid sending out misleading or inaccurate messages or information in your images and videos. They should clearly and accurately depict and represent your business. Another important tip is to use high-quality footage and images and ensure they haven’t been used in other websites, Google business listings, or profiles. Low-quality photos and video don’t help customers, and you may get negative Google business reviews.
5. Avoid Overusing Your Company’s Logo
Another way to avoid violating Google’s spam rule is to stop repeatedly superimposing your company’s logo in your images and videos. Some companies watermark their logos, icons and other branding images on many pictures and images, which can be flagged as spam.
For instance, some restaurants post their weekly specials, including their menu. They may be tempted to have their restaurant’s logo watermarked in a part of the menu. Google’s bots can interpret the repetitive use of these symbols and images as spam.
Some may think that reusing logos can boost local business citations or help with Google Business Profile optimization, but it can get your posts removed. Part of a robust local marketing strategy is to be conscientious about using your company’s branding assets.
6. Add Variety to Business Profile Posts
Reusing content from a previous post is tempting, especially if you’re sending a similar message from last month. For instance, if you usually hold a monthly sale, you can grab the same images and video you used previously and just change the month and offerings.
However, doing this practice can impact your local online marketing results. Use a different theme for the event and find better images and videos to get your customers to click on your post.
Work With a Seasoned Local Marketing Agency
If you need help with your Google Business Profile posts or local marketing efforts, it is best to work with seasoned experts. Thrive provides robust custom local SEO solutions to businesses of all sizes. We have built a reputation for helping enterprises increase brand visibility and gain more customers to improve their bottom line.
Our subject matter experts can help your business navigate the changing algorithms so you can get ahead of the competition. Contact us today, and our specialists will be more than happy to answer your questions.