Local Search Gets Spammy In Australia
Just a quick post to point out how royally stupid people can be. After we commented on his interview with Rand yesterday, Mike Blumenthal shows us how Google Mapspam takes on international flavor.
Check out what happens when you search for [mechanic Melbourne Australia]:
According to ConversionRate, this Melbourne-based mobile mechanic decided it would be wise to spam his business into 500 locations in Google Maps, even though they really only have one location. Still, they decided that it was their right to show up for every main street located in Melbourne. Sweet!
Or, you know, not. Why in God’s name would you do that? First of all, it’s just going to get your site booted out of Google’s local index, if not Google’s entire index. And as we mentioned yesterday, local search should be a priority for your company. You want your business to be there and appear for queries such like [keyword + city name]. Doing this allows targeted customers to find you, to make contact with you, and then to ultimately convert and spend money with you. Spamming your way out of that listing, or Google’s entire index, is not wise. We think this should be fairly obvious.
And it’s not just about the search engines. What impression do you think users are getting when they see that you have inserted yourself into all ten slots? Sure, you’ve banished your competitors off of the Map, but you’ve also set yourself up as a royal jackass. Someone was trying to find an answer to their question and you went ahead and tainted their search results. Do you know how angry people get when you purposely keep them from information and make their lives unnecessarily hard? Forget establishing any kind of trust. It’s gone.
As is the case in all things search engine optimization, spamming the search engines really isn’t worth the risk. The engines will catch on to what you’re doing and you’ll be promptly removed from the index. Can your business afford to be banished?
I suppose it makes me particularly sad to see this kind of map spam because we’re still so early in the game with this one! I don’t want to see blended search features tarnished and then discarded. Google’s still experimenting with how frequently to bring up blended results; if businesses start misusing them, they’re gone. And that doesn’t help anyone. If we start to see business spamming out the Map section, users are going to train themselves to just gloss over them. Right now Google’s reporting pretty decent clicks from these listings, both because they’re new (and therefore eye-catching) and because they’re highly relevant to a users a query. Once you change that, users will start to ignore them like search ads. The number of clickthroughs will plummet and Google will either limit the number of Map results displayed or kill the whole thing in general.
Dude, don’t jeopardize my ability to find good pizza at a moments notice. I’m not even kidding. I’ll hurt you.
Make local search a priority, but do it the right way. Don’t waste good branding and search engine optimization tactics because you’re (a) lazy or (b) a moron. Spamming never pays, both in terms of your fate with the search engines and your customers.