Every local search agency understands the value of Google Maps listings – and nearly as many have encountered malicious, damaging activity involving those listings. At the end of February, Google My Business Community Manager Marissa Nordahl announced a new way to report fraudulent activity around businesses’ Google Maps listings. Complaints, which will be reviewed in accordance with Google’s existing guidelines, can now be submitted via the Business Redressal Complaint Form in the Google My Business help section.

Google My Business (GMB) profiles are an important tool for businesses seeking to establish online visibility. They help small businesses and franchises provide basic information (business hours, location, contact info, and more) to prospective customers. Unfortunately, GMB listings have also become targets for malicious activity from competitors.

“Google has had a history of issues with spam and worse within their Google Maps and local results,” explained Search Engine Land News Editor Barry Schwartz in a February 28 article. “We see case after case where people, competitors, bad actors, etc. are changing the local data of business to hurt them. They would mark the business as closed, change their hours, change photos or descriptions or worse. Hopefully this new form will help reduce this going forward.”

Unfortunately for every local search agency, the update will not address the issue of fake reviews. Business owners who believe their listing has been unfairly targeted by fake reviews should submit their complaints to Google’s social support team via Twitter (@googlemybiz) of Facebook (@GoogleMyBusiness).

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and local search agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is happy to see action being taken to address malicious activity around GMB listings. Both customers and businesses suffer when Maps listings are sabotaged; better regulations will lead to improved user experiences and limit damage to businesses.