Google can’t or won’t help your Google Business Profile from a malicious competitor activity.
This malicious activity against a Google Business Profile is usually only seen in super competitive niche markets where millions of pounds are at play. Although legitimate, these markets also have an organised crime undercurrent.
Think it won’t happen to you in your innocuous market; think again; it is way too easy to destroy a business’s profile!
99% of the time, these malicious attacks are against service area businesses (SAB) and not businesses displaying a local address, although it does happen.
SAB businesses are the easy target because a business with an address has local visitor data to the location, in-person visits and direction request that are followed to the location. This additional local data makes the malicious attacks harder to perpetrate.
**Two or three suspensions in a row is not an indicator you are under attack from malicious edits; get your house in order, get your business info aligned, and these will stop.
You will know you are under attack when these suspensions start becoming a monthly occurrence. Anything over six and you have a problem on your hands; once you hit a full year (12 suspensions), Google Business Support will start to Ghost you.
How It Works
The big guys create their databases of Google accounts and VPNs and run these attacks themselves.
The little guy, your friendly competitor, can visit any one of hundreds of freelancer sites and put their order in.
An order will look like this:
- Set location with VPN to the area of business
- Log into country-specific google account
- Query the type of business
- Visit a couple of business profiles, then the profile of the target
- Interact, then Suggest Edit
- Offensive, Harmful or Misleading
Depending on the estimated daily visits from their business profile, they will order 10% of those visits during business hours.
Zero Support from Google
There is support for businesses affiliated with sizeable 3rd party Google-affiliated management companies, which can have their profile monitored by the fraud defence team. However, you are on your own for the regular business profile because they trust the data from “users”. User data trumps all; equally, the agent dealing with your suspension has no access to this data and, even if he did, would have no idea how to analyse it.
You have to jump through the hoops of proving your business exists time and time again.
Magic Number is Twelve
Having suffered the loss of business over the past twelve months from repeated suspension, you will now suffer the indignity of Ghosting from the reinstatement support team, who will insist you delete the profile and create a new one.
In all cases, this seems to be the default setting from the reinstatement team.
Doing this destroys your original positions locally by creating a new CID, and you start at the bottom of the pile. The upside is that you get left alone to rebuild your business profile.
Your Only Defence
Your only defence is to have a physical location on your profile with user data in the location and direction requests diluting the attacks. If the nature of your business does not necessarily see many real-world visits, buy yourself sim cards and use direction requests on your drive to work, staff, friends and family.
Hell, I would throw a monthly local business party and get a whole load of more phones with location data at your location.
** Again, this is for something other than those three or four suspensions in quick succession. If you hit six and you are damn sure all your business details are in order, you need to act. Google will not help or protect your business, it’s up to you to take action.
Feeling nervous, Online Ownership works regularly on Google Business Suspension, feel free to drop us a line or email if you suspect your business profile is under attack from malicious edits. I may not be able to help, but can advise on your next steps.