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Reporting Virtual Offices to Google

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by hendrix91, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. hendrix91

    hendrix91 Newbie

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    I'm sure I'll catch a lot of slack asking this at a BH forum where I know there are several members using virtual addresses, but I'm wondering if it could be a strategy I add to my local SEO arsenal.

    When doing research for clients sites I always use scrapebox to harvest urls of sites containing the citations of the top ranking pages for my client's keywords. I essentially just submit my client at all of the listings they use + all of my additional go-tos. A great strategy for building citations, but besides the point.

    Using this strategy in some niches you can immediately tell when a competitor is using a virtual address because there are several results of urls offering virtual addresses, and often listings of other businesses using identical addresses, including the exact same suite #.

    You would think that alone would raise some red flags at G when an unrelated company attempts to list their business using the same address as an already listed site. Especially when there are multiple occurrences.

    Since using a virtual address clearly violates G places terms, I'm curious if reporting them and including a few examples of proof would result in their removal from places? Even with great authority and citations, I'm sure removal of their citation from the Almighty G would cause for a fall in the rankings.

    My instincts tell me G probably won't even follow up to the report and it will never even reach the eyes of a human employee, but has anyone done this and gotten a response or had a business removed?
     
  2. Andrew Scherer

    Andrew Scherer Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If they actually serve customers at that location it isn't against the rules, however if it is purely virtual then you might have some success with your tactic.
     
  3. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    Google took a lot of heat a long time ago when search did not benefit local companies, and they came up with the local algorithm to place LEGITIMATE local companies on a level playing field.

    One of the main complaints was that an SEO person would move into an area, set up a website as if they were a real business, and because of superior SEO skills, rank and then sell leads to the real businesses in that area.

    The requirement that yo have a real address was supposed to make lead gen sites harder to rank when ranking against a legitimate local business.

    When people use this tactic, they are abusing the level playing field, and Google considers them lead gen sites.

    Reporting them to the webspam team will often get them removed from maps.

    I am not a negative seo guy. But I think that in local business, the playing field IN YOUR SERVICE AREA ought to be level.

    I report these people all the time for my customers, they're spamming and taking work and revenue from real local businesses.

    If you set up a lead gen site that does not act like a real local business, I have no problem with you, even when you out rank my customers.

    I do not even mind a virtual office as long as they have an address in the area.

    But if you are going to use a vacant field or a fake address for your address just to rank in my city, and you are not from my city, I will turn you in in a heart beat, if you are my customers competition.

    To do otherwise is not fair to your client.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  4. hendrix91

    hendrix91 Newbie

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    That's exactly what I needed to hear. In retrospect I'm not even sure why I had any remorse toward them in the first place..

    I guess I'm just more curious if anything will actually be done in response to a report. But it won't hurt to try, so I'm adding this to my local seo arsenal from now on. :)
     
  5. istart

    istart Junior Member

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    I reported a places listing with an out of service phone number and a virtual office space a few weeks ago. They disappeared for a week and are now back in the places listings above my listing! Bugger!