Let’s say you’re a business owner and have worked tirelessly to build your company. You’ve attracted great Local reviews, have numerous subscribers to your newsletter, and have a healthy number of visitors to your website each day. Your Google My Business (GMB) listing looks perfect. Life is great! Then, one day, you find your GMB listing information is inaccurate and spammy. How did this happen? Here’s the truth: Anyone can edit a GMB listing. Tim Capper, a Local SEO Consultant, Tweets about how a hotel affiliate website hijacked hotel GMB listings.
Hotel Affiliate Site hijacking hotels listed and replacing URL to link to their property. Both Unverified and Verified Listings being hijacked.
— Tim Capper (@GuideTwit) December 14, 2018
Hijacking Google My Business Listings
Tim Capper writes, “Hotel Affiliate Site hijacking hotels listed and replacing URL to link to their property. Both Unverified and Verified Listings being hijacked.” Tim continues that he has reported the hotel affiliate website to @GoogleMyBiz.
Tophotelsnearme.net—the unethical spammer—isn’t going to be in trouble. As a matter of fact, commenter @YoungbloodJoe writes “Looks like that website is offline anyways, showing a 404 error when I checked.”
Here’s how “Top Hotels Near Me” did it: They edited the listing by suggesting a change to the GMB listing. They did it through Google’s knowledge panel and/or Google Maps. Given the number of listings on GMB, it’s clear these edit requests aren’t undergoing manual review. If they were, “Top Hotels Near Me” probably wouldn’t have been able to hijack so many GMB listings.
Check your GMB listing on a weekly basis for any possible pending updates. This is because updates that aren’t rejected are automatically approved.
Update to the Hijacked Listings
As mentioned before Tophotelsnearme.net, appears to be offline. In addition, and likely due to Tim’s flagging of “Top Hotels Near Me”, the hijacked GMB listings have been fixed by Google My Business. By fixed, I mean that the website for “Top Hotels Near Me” is no longer listed. There’s currently no website listed for either Chaipura Resort or Bounty Boutique.
Featured photo by CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay
Chaipura Resort Google Maps photo is a screenshot by Gain Local