If you’re a small business owner, you receive an enormous number of phone calls about your listing on Google.
One of our clients shared with their account manager that they receive as many as 30 or more calls from different people either claiming to be a Google Representative and that Google had identified an issue with their Google My Business Listing or claiming that they were from a company who could fix their Google listing.
It’s no wonder that when a marketing company who actually offers real help with online local listings calls, business owners like you just hang up or tell us you’re not interested.
There are local online marketing companies who do provide local citation or local listing management services.
BizIQ is one is one of those companies. Unfortunately, there is a scam that won’t go away that makes it tough for both small businesses and local internet marketing companies like BizIQ– The Update Your Google My Business Listing Scam. The scam has been going on since around 2011 when Google My Business was called Google Local.
In the most common version of the scam, a business claiming to be Google or to work with Google calls you to tell you that your listing is about to expire or is at risk and all you have to do is sign up for a monthly subscription and they will take over the management of your Google listing. If you fall for the scam, the fake company then has access to your credit card or banking information and often your Google My Business Listing as well.
In 2015 Google filed a lawsuit against a robocalling SEO firm that was making these kinds of calls. In spite of the lawsuit, the scam isn’t going away and many of our clients continue to call us in confusion because, in spite of being a client, they are still bombarded with these calls. So how can you tell if that Google Listing Service call is a scam?
Google will not call you to offer you a Listing Management Service.
At no time will this ever happen. Below are examples of things that Google will never do. In fact, if you get a call from someone claiming to be Google who offers you any services like the following, you can be certain the call isn’t coming from Google and that it’s either a scam or from a business that either doesn’t really know what they’re doing or one that isn’t completely on the up and up.
- Your Google Business Listing is Free.
- Google won’t call you to talk about improving your ranking on Google.
- Google won’t call you to tell you that your listing will be deleted because you don’t have a website.
- Google won’t call you to tell you that your listing will be deleted because it’s not mobile compatible.
- Google won’t call you to sell paid advertising.
- Google won’t call you to tell you your listing is about to expire. Google My Business Listings don’t expire.
There are times when a Google Representative will call your business.
To add to your confusion, there are a few instances when a Google representative might call your business about your Google My Business Listing or to talk about other Google products that could help you market your business online. However, they are very specific.
- Google might call you to verify your business.
- Google does call businesses to verify details for Google Maps or Google My Business.
- Google might call you to tell you about other Google products like Google Adwords, Google Adwords Express, Google Local Services, Google Play, or another Google product.
- Google does not use robocalling and unless you asked for an automated call, you will always be called by a live person.
Signs you’re talking to a real local online marketing company.
Now that we’ve covered the con-artists and less than ethical companies as well as how to tell when it really is Google calling your business, how can you tell whether you’re talking to a real local online marketing company who offers digital marketing services, including local listings and local citation management services? It’s understandable that you’re annoyed by the number of salespeople calling you about things like your Google listing, SEO – whatever that is (it is a real thing and stands for Search Engine Optimization), and online advertising. You’re so annoyed that if you’re like a growing number of small businesses, you’ve given up on getting help and are just trying to take care of all your digital marketing yourself.
But you don’t have to take care of everything and there are local, online marketing companies you can trust. Here’s how you’ll know if that phone call is from a reliable marketing business:
- Legitimate local marketing companies will never say they are Google or a “Google subcontractor,” or a “Google representative,” or anything similar. Some companies like BizIQ are certified Google Partners, but we are still not Google and will never represent ourselves as working for Google.
- Real Local Online Marketing Companies will identify themselves by name when they call you.
- A Local Internet Marketing Company might call you to talk to you about managing your local listings on Google, Bing, Citysearch, Yelp, Angie’s List and a whole host of other online business listing services.
- A real marketing company might specialize in services like SEO, website design & development, reputation management, paid media, social media, content marketing, and other online marketing services.
- Again, Google doesn’t offer SEO, website development, reputation management, social media, content marketing, or other services. Google does have paid advertising services such as Adwords, Adwords Express, and Google Local Services.
- A legitimate local online marketing company will answer your questions and truly wants to help your business.
Remember, ethical local internet marketing companies won’t claim they’re Google or tell you your listing is going to expire. Google won’t call you to tell you that you need to pay them money or risk losing your Google My Business listing and Google does not offer services like website development, SEO, or to tell you your website isn’t mobile compatible. Google might call you to verify your business listing, which is free and they may call you to verify your business details for Google Maps or Google My Business.
Trying to figure out if a phone call about your Google listing is a scam or not can be extremely confusing. If you’re baffled about how Google My Business and other local online listing and citation services work or you’re being bombarded with calls from businesses claiming to be Google, give us a call. We’re happy to help.