Spammers Keep Spamming Local Listings

Warning: This is mostly just a rant

If there is one thing I’ve learned over and over again in SEO it’s that spammers will keep on spamming. Back in July 2014 after the Pigeon update one of the first things I noticed was the affect that link authority seemed to have on local results. Since that time it’s been talked about a lot. We have seen a lot of spam listings come, go, and come back.

After these findings on link authority were talked about publicly we started to see a lot of companies take advantage of them by simply changing the link in their local listing from their own website to a more powerful website. One example that I constantly highlight of this is for the search Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney. When Pigeon first rolled out, that search query showed a couple of spammy 800 number based local results that linked to AVVO. In this case they were taking advantage of the huge authority of Avvo and piggybacking off of it to get near instant results.

After a couple of months those listings disappeared and have sporadically come back from time to time. Most recently I have been seeing more issues with this where it’s still working.

Take a look at this screenshot from a few days ago for example. Pardon the quality, but notice that this firm with the 800 number used Avvo and shot up to the C position.

Avvo cheaters spamming local listings

Now, flash forward to today and do you know where they are? Take a look at the screenshot below:


This is a spammy tactic I have been seeing for a few months now. To quickly dominate rankings people are updating their Google My Business URL’s to AVVO or a powerful site for a few minutes (or hours), then once it ranks they change it back to their website URL. This creates a bit of residual affect that seems to last for 24-72 hours depending on the area. And what do they do when their listing drops again?

They then rinse and repeat this tactic. While there are many methods that spammers use to manipulate Google, this is one of the easier local tricks right now that I hope is addressed and fixed.

What are your thoughts on this method? Have you done it for a client? Do you feel it’s as spammy as I do?