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What’s New With Google, GBP Spam & Bookings From Search, Watchbait & More

What’s New With Google, GBP Spam & Bookings From Search, Watchbait & More

With it being the 5th week of the month, we thought a roundup post would be useful. There were quite a few interesting news stories from this last week that we wanted to share.

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1. When It Comes to GBP Spam, Google Is Still Fighting the Good Fight

Do you remember back in 2021 when Google shared how they were tackling spam? We highlighted the most important data they reported, including their stopping 3 million bad actors from verifying Google Business Profiles that didn’t belong to them.

Well, last week Google shared how they kept information on Google Maps reliable in 2021. The report revealed that they removed more than 7 million fake Google Business Profiles (GBPs), stopped 12 million attempts to create fake GBPs, as well as 8 million attempts to claim GBPs that didn’t belong to them. They also shared information about reviews, photos, etc. It’s quite the data-packed read – you might want to check it out.

They did give some of the credit to those of us who are Local Guides, stating that this “local knowledge that our global community contributes is a huge part of what makes Google Maps more than a navigation tool.”

If you are not a Local Guide, it’s pretty simple to sign up. And once signed up, you’ll earn points for reviews, photos, etc. that you upload. The higher your Local Guide status, the easier it will be for you to get your edits accepted where you report GBP spam.

2. Google Is Testing Booking Appointments Within GBPs for Some Healthcare Providers

In other GBP news, it seems Google is testing the ability for consumers to see appointments and booking availability for medical appointments directly through search. At this point, it seems they’re testing this only with a few healthcare providers. Barry Schwartz covered the topic on Search Engine Land.

Not every healthcare provider uses booking apps to manage their patients’ appointments, and if this change goes out mainstream, their decision to avoid booking apps could hit them hard. We agree with Greg Sterling, who stated on Near Media that this is Google’s attempt to once again be a gatekeeper and insert itself into more local transactions.

3. Google Partners Directory Is Available (Again)

Google has once again rolled out its Google Partners directory, this time with requirements that are a bit less restrictive. If you’re thinking about becoming a Google Partner, you may want to check it out.

4. Business Listings Are the Hot Topic on Search Engine Journal

Business listings seemed to be a hot topic on Search Engine Journal over the last week with several blog posts that caught our attention, including Why NAP & User Experience Are Crucial to Local SEO and 21 Web Directories You’ll Still Want to Use. In this second article, pay close attention starting at point #5 on the list, and review some of the many directories we can help you with – and more.

Hopefully you’re well aware of the fact that we are strong proponents of business listings and their value, and how building citations on authoritative data sources will help you improve your clients’ visibility in the local pack, Google Maps – and ultimately organic search results.

5. Facebook Says Watchbait Is a No-No

For those of you who follow social media closely (or have in the past), you may remember when Facebook updated its algorithms to detect clickbait and reduce the visibility of this type of content in the newsfeed. Well, Facebook is now telling users they cannot use watchbait tactics. They present a list of strategies that a video should avoid using, which includes withholding, sensationalizing and misleading.

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