If you take a look at the image above at a Google Maps result you will find listings for 4 companies that don’t really exist, at least not with that name or at the address listed. I called and asked if they were licensed, they said no. All 4 phone numbers were answered by a person whose voice sounded remarkably similar to the others. The address doesn’t exist; And they dominate the search result for Garage Doors Danbury CT.
What’s amazing is that similar listings dominate the Maps’ search results for this query in the cities that surround Danbury as well; Plus hundreds of cities in Connecticut, New Jersey, California and their now moving into Pennsylvania.
With location being such an important factor how could a company rank in the Local 7-pack in so many cities across the country. Here’s how it works.
1. Set up a listing in Google Maps at an address that does not currently exist. For example, where there is a 60 Main St., Anytown and a 64 Main St, Anytown and these represent real addresses. Set up your listing at 62 Main St.
2. Name your business USKeyword-City, or Keyword-Pro-city or Ficticious name of person plus keyword for the personal touch.
3. Build citations to your listing. These listings contain citations from Yahoo Local, Hotfrog, Guidespot, local.newstimelive.com.
4. Create a blog on one of the sites for the purpose of creating a perfect citation for thousands of listings.
5. Link build
6. Give your new listing a sparkling review
7. Now find an adjacent town and repeat. Again and again and again again.
A search in Hotfrog for Overhead Garage Door CT turned up 88 separate listings belonging to this ring.
A search in Yahoo local for garage doors in Danbury returns their listings 16 times out of the first 30 results.
In Google Maps they take 4 spots in the Lucky 7-pack, and in the Other Places You Might Like on their Places Page their other listings show up as your only choices. Dominant.
Why Does It Work?
Because location is such a big part of the ranking algorithm in Maps the key to their success is the fact that they have a “location” in each of the cities.
They are obviously creating new listings which Google will allow you to verify by phone most of the time. Theoretically, they could be using the bulk upload system. I don’t use the bulk upload system so I’m not sure whether that’s possible or not. If you are… please let us know in the comments.
Once established, these “locations” need only trust to start ranking in Google Maps. This trust is established with citations and backlinks. As mentioned earlier they have only a few citations on each listing, so it got me wondering… Does it help that they use made up addresses?
Addresses that have never pointed at any other listing or place on the web? Is that why they chose a non-existent address, rather than a business park or an office building like many spammers of the past? Is their a sort of “citation-certainty” in the algorithm that takes into account not only the volume of citations but the percentage that point at a single listing.