How to Fight Spammers: Local SEO for Small Businesses

We hate to be the bearer of bad news. We really do. But the questions we hear most often from local businesses are: Is there a shortcut for SEO? How can I go straight to #1 on Google? Sorry, guys. There are no shortcuts to search engine optimization, and that’s doubly true for Local SEO.

But your competitors might try to pull some sneaky tactics, and we’ll show you how to proactively find and fight them. Cleaning up the junk in search results is good for your customer (and good for you).

Want to level the Local SEO playing field? Look for and report spam on Google Maps.

The purpose of Google Maps is to help people quickly and easily find local businesses. If you want to appear in the Local Pack when people search for companies like yours in their location, then you need to claim your Google My Business listing.

However, some companies try to cheat the system by keyword stuffing or adding the location directly in their GMB name.

This is spam.

While it seems like a shortcut to winning Local SEO, it actually makes search results confusing for customers.

Imagine if you searched for “digital marketing company Bentonville AR” and found 10 variations of that keyword phrase rather than 10 distinct company names. If everyone did this, the Google Maps customer experience would be a nightmare.

Some service area companies will even create a new listing for each city they serve — even when there is really only one physical business location.

For example, Coyote Creative offers digital marketing services on location in Bentonville, AR and in Rogers, AR. So if we were super shady, then we might create two GMB listings: Coyote Creative Bentonville and Coyote Creative Rogers. This makes it look like there are two branches, which is misleading.

This is also spam and should be reported.

How to report spam in Google Maps in 3 steps:

If you’ve already done your keyword research, then you can proactively look for and report spammers in your local market.

Step 1: Google variations of your target keywords combined with nearby city names.

Let’s say your target keyword is “real estate” and you offer services throughout Northwest Arkansas. Try searching for “Real Estate Rogers AR” and look for companies that may be keyword stuffing.

Step 2: Confirm the company name and click “Suggest an edit.”

When you find a listing that appears to be keyword stuffing, open their website in a new tab to confirm the actual company name. If the company name on the website is different than what appears in the Google Map results, then click “Suggest an edit.”

Local SEO Example Rogers AR

Step 3: Copy and Paste the actual company name. 

Suggest an edit GMBTo give your edits the best chance of being published, copy and paste their company name directly from their website into the name field.

Because this is the name listed on their website, Google can quickly verify that your edits are accurate. Protip: This will also save you from typos!

If your suggested edit is approved, you will receive an email like this from Google Maps:

What’s next for Local SEO?

Whether you hire a digital marketing company or do it yourself, you should perform a monthly Local SEO audit for spammers.



  1. […] if you sell products or services in a specific location, be sure you’re focused on Local SEO in addition to optimizing for traditional search and voice search. One of the easiest ways to do […]

  2. […] Pro-tip: Your competitors may be unfairly manipulating Local Search, increasing their rank, while damaging the search experience for your customers. Here’s how to find and remove spammers in Google Maps. […]

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Dale Ann Marco
Dale Ann Marco
17:26 05 Jan 19
Working with Coyote Creative brings calm to the storm. Clear, concise and organized with unmatched creativity. You can’t go wrong in choosing this great team to streamline your processes, content and brand strategy.
Jane Emma
Jane Emma
18:54 03 Jan 19
Choosing a company to build your brand is no walk in the park but when I set out to understand what was lacking in my online presence, Coyote Creative was integral to me understanding what brand management was and how it applies to my business. No stone was left unturned. Highly recommend!
Tanya Castella
Tanya Castella
22:30 27 Dec 18
Coyote Creative strives to provide high quality work and fast, tangible results for small business owners. Such an amazing company in our area!
Lacian Mclean
Lacian Mclean
18:10 27 Dec 18
Coyote Creative has been amazing to collaborate with. Their expertise in Digital Marketing has proven a plus-point to our team as they continually and strategically increased our ROI and conversions. Would definitely recommend.
Scott Scardino
Scott Scardino
02:11 15 Dec 18
Coyote Creative has been an absolute priceless resource for D'Vine Wine Straw. From critical impact guidance on our web-site to expertise with social media and beyond to teaching us the do's and don'ts, of web ranking, (thus saving us $1000.00's in costly unnecessary e-commerce spending), we are VERY grateful to have Coyote Creative as a partner and look forward to smartly focused continued sustainable growth!
Becky Rangel
Becky Rangel
20:38 30 Nov 18
Erica Stroman
Erica Stroman
17:44 29 Nov 18
I loved that they are very informed about various sites to include Wordpress! I would recommend them for their expertise!
Brandie A
Brandie A
17:34 24 Nov 18
Coyote Creative is a digital marketing agency in Bentonville, AR that helps small and medium sized businesses with SEO and content marketing. Laser-focused on results. 10/10!
Becky Rangel
Becky Rangel
18:43 17 Sep 18
Amazing writer and creative mind. Excellent marketing and SEO strategy help!
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