Get "Special Price" to Appear in Google Maps, now!

Thu 3 September 2009 15:18, Lisa D Myers

Get "Special Price" to Appear in Google Maps, now!

I’m completely outraged, just come off the phone with a friend in Norway who told me about an agency in Norway who’s “selling” Google Local Business listings.

Basically they are convincing businesses that they have to PAY to appear in Google Maps and they are in fact “selling” the keywords, telling customers that they will get a place in the top 10 listings. That’s just outrageous; they are playing on people’s ignorance to in fact sell something that doesn’t exist. The story of The Emperors New Clothes springs to mind....

I mean, fine if they were selling the service to submit a company to Google Local Business listings because the business just don’t know how to do it themselves. But, these guys are actually claiming they created “Google Maps” in association with Google, and the business they are sellingto believe them!? YIKES! Does Google know they are going around claiming this? Do agencies have no integrity anymore??

Furthermore, they are telling customers they can in effect “buy” keywords they want to appear for. Hellooo it’s not PPC!! The really worrying thing is that in Norway most people don’t have a clue what SEO and PPC is, the Norwegian search engine marketing market is booming but it’s still very much unknown dicipline. I would say it’s similar to the UK 5 years ago (please don’t get offended if you are Norwegian), this is a very important stage for agencies in Norway to get it right.

Emperors%20newclothes1

Misleading people now can have MASSIVE consequences later. Imagine when these companies realise that Google Local Business Listings is in fact free, do you think they would want to deal with a Search Agency again? This particular agency is not only ruining it for themselves by misleading their customers but they are ruining it for all the Search agencies in Norway.

Guess what? Google Local Business Listings is in fact FREE, no special price, just FREE, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

And it is in fact VERY easy to set up, it’s maybe THE easiest and most effective way of getting traffic to your website. Especially in countries like Norway where the search marketing services market hasn’t matured yet.

Remember:

  • You DO NOT pay to submit your business to Google Local Business Listings (LBL)
  • You DO NOT buy the keywords
  • You can pay an agency to “optimise” your LBL by submitting, researching keywords, text etc BUT you don’t have to. This is a service an agency offer but they DO NOT run Google LBL and Maps!!
  • Google Local Business Listings works like the organic/natural listings and NOT like PPC advertising where you bid for a keyword  to appear.

In fact, do you want to know how to set up a Google Local Business Listing? Don't just take it from me, here's Google telling you how:

Lastly, problems like this are rife, not only in Norway but in pretty much every country that are selling Search Marketing services. I think it again screams out for accreditations and best practise rules. Agencies across the borders should be working together to make sure companies gets a proper service, be proud of being in Search don’t let anyone shit on our profession!


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Comments (42)

 

  • Sounds like a job for White Knight SEO!

    Do 3 sep 2009, 15:59


  • It keeps amazing me how much I still hear that (sometimes respected) agencies are playing the 'ignorance'- card. Many clients don't know enough to be able to see what is right and wrong.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 16:07


  • Come on Bas, name and shame the agency

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:03


  • @Gavin, though I know which name its about I won't mention it, also because it's Lisa's post not mine :)

    Let the one who fits the shoe... ;)

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:14


  • I couldn't believe this when you told me and I still can't! This is a clear example of a company being so short-sighted in making money that they can’t see the long term effects. Hopefully they read this blog and see what fellow search marketers think of their methods.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:19


  • Unfortunately its not something thats just confined to Norway, nor something thats just confined to SEO.

    That said however I wholeheartedly agreed with the following point you made

    "Misleading people now can have MASSIVE consequences later"

    It has been a tag often associated with SEO in the past, and something that it still struggles to free itself from in a modern day digital marketing environment.

    Great post again Lisa....

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:20


  • @Lisa, Sorry I didn't give you any recognition there, I was half asleep following Bas's link from twitter.

    Since the shoe fits do you feel like divulging the agencies name? Afterall its what they deserve for attemptingto sell this service!!

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:23


  • This is really awful. Unfortunately, SMB's are easy prey because they're largely in the dark about how search engines work.

    This isn't a case of an agency using black-hat tactics to outrank someone else, this is blatant extortion. Hoping you will name the agency so that Google can penalize them...

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:24


  • We still have folks here in SA cold calling clients claiming to be from Google. Companies get excited at that idea until they rock up, and try sell them a package deal, only to guarantee 150 clicks a month at a ridiculous cost.

    It's really shame that companies still do this and don't think of the results of their actions on the rest of the industry.

    @gavin we should definitely have a place to name and shame these fella's

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:31


  • This reminds me of one of the old favorite scam's - selling PPC results as organic results.

    The problem is that most businesses, especially small ones without the budget to have a dedicated search/online employee, won't realise the difference.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:33


  • @Brett I wonder if SEMX-Files is gone :()

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:40


  • Thanks for all the comments. I'm not going to name and shame them, I know a few people working for this agency and I don't think they deserve the reputation. Let's just say it's a big agency.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 17:52


  • Also just to clarify one thing, when I say Norway is 5 years behind in terms of search market place. I don't mean people doing SEO in Norway! I know loads of very good SEOs in Norway, I simply mean the marketplace itself, i.e no many businesses are investing in search etc

    And this particular agency does not represent the majority of SEO agencies in Norway. And this problem is not restricted to Norway, I know loads of so called SEO companies selling Google Maps in the UK. It's just that this particular agency should know better.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 18:07


  • I agree with Jono

    Sounds like a job for White Knight SEO!

    Do 3 sep 2009, 19:48


  • Hopefully this post will be translated into Norwegian.

    Do 3 sep 2009, 20:10


  • For anyone that is wondering about the White Knight SEO relation, here's a blogpost from Search Engine Land by Matt McGee about the concept.

    http://searchengineland.com/google-cash-targeted-as-first-white-knight-seo...

    Do 3 sep 2009, 21:57


  • Hey, some SEO / web development company was trying to sell me Google Analytics for $300

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 02:38


  • Great article-- sadly, there are so MANY scammers in local.
    :(

    The legitimate folks like us need to expose these folks or perhaps publish a list of them.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 06:29


  • Update: The agency in question has retracted its "sale" of Google Local Business listings and will not even be selling Google Maps services as of today. Anyone wants to hazard a guess Google got in contact with them?

    Thanks to everyone spreading the word about this. And I'm sure if the Norwegian businesses that was about to be swindled on this had knew they would say thank you as well.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 13:52


  • That's not the worst story I've heard from Norwegian SEO. Just another day in the game. Good thing there is a few up and comming serious SEOs in Norway.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 14:25


  • way to go Lisa, so its not the White knight but the white princess this time ;)

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 14:29


  • @Geir Very subtle comment spamming there Geir ;p

    @Bas thanks but can I be the White Yoda or something cooler than a princess ;)Do or do not, there is no spam..ehm..

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 14:38


  • @Lisa off course, the Yoda is much better ;)

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 14:47


  • Another update:

    I just had a phone call from the MD of the company in question (Even though I didn't mention any names anywhere).

    He told me that this issue is a misunderstanding between the search company and the telesales company that have been hired to sell the Google Maps "service". He also confirmed that these services have now been retracted not to cause any further misunderstandings.

    I told him I would include his statement (although these are not his exact words, the conversation lasted a while). He was polite but straight to the point and told me "I'm sure our paths will cross in the future"...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw


    Vr 4 sep 2009, 16:35


  • Why would they be using a telesales company to sell their services? That's a misunderstanding/nightmare waiting to happen. Unless i am misunderstanding it

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 16:46


  • Hmmm, While it is a plausable explanation , I'm always dissapointed to see a company pass the buck when they make a mistake.

    Ultimately, they are responsable for their salespeople, and not ensuring their compliance is little better than Intentionally misleading the customers.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 16:53


  • These types of shady tactics have been around forever, and unfortunately will probably be a part of our world for a long time to come.

    The best thing to do is shed light on these practices via articles like this and educated the consumer. It sad because a few bad apples can really damage the perception of the industry.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 17:13


  • @Matt and @Miguel: In the words of Omar from The Wire; "true dat"

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 18:17


  • Great to see a post which highlights the unethical tactics used by the small minority within our industry receive so much acknowledgement and support.

    In the name of Detective McNulty from The Wire "Busted..."

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 18:28


  • The problem is that this sort of thing happens all the time. People are just too clueless when it comes to anything about Google, and as such are far too gullible about the subject of their results.

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 20:50


    • Noah

    Bah, reading comments after posting my own is so stupid of me.

    Miguel, whats even more sad is that despite shedding light on this sort of thing, people are still going to fall victim to it. Too many people don't bother doing their own research in order to find this type of article, so it only helps so much...

    Vr 4 sep 2009, 20:53


  • Many shop owners simply do not want to do this themselves. How would they get listed on Google maps?

    If we talk with enough people they will tell us its possible to buy anything. Focus on adding value, then it's possible to help. People who knew of my work in paid search marketing (PPC & contextual advertising) have come to me for this and I've helped them....

    Za 5 sep 2009, 00:42


  • The problem is that often business doesnt know how to correctly setup Google Maps. I dont agree with companies saying they are part of Google/Microsoft when they undertake telemarketing.

    For some clients with multiple locations setting up Google maps can be very time consuming, so paying an agency to set things up is often worth it.

    Za 5 sep 2009, 09:27


  • wow, so now companies are making fool to their customer.

    Di 8 sep 2009, 14:15


  • @Thomas and @David I totally agree, some companies don't know how to do this and I'm NOT against selling Google maps services. I offer Local SEO and submission to Google Business Listings as a service myself. But this was not the case in this instance, they were (or their sales company were) selling in Google LBL and maps as you HAVE to pay them to even get in there, and selling the submissions per keyword.

    Do 10 sep 2009, 10:56


  • All search engines like google, yahoo, msn have the business listing option to offer free of cost only

    Di 10 nov 2009, 08:06


  • I`ve been doing seo for my own sites for a couple of years now and I recently found out that norwegian seo agencies work not much differently than myself,they just have more fancy words and expressions about exactly the same thing to make it very difficult and complicated.Seo is actually very easy and logic.

    Vr 31 dec 2010, 14:46


  • Can whoever has changed the author to editor please change it back to my name immediately!! I wrote this blogpost.

    Wo 1 jun 2011, 12:02


  • There are major search engines offers business listing Free of cost , it is how many companies take advantages of their customers by charging them for business listing.

    Ma 12 sep 2011, 16:20


  • If only businesses knew the importance of google maps. Not only does it rank better for a local search, it costs nothing and is free advertising. Pure Gold

    Do 22 sep 2011, 03:32


  • This was happening in the UK also. And it's also used by hijackers. Google have really clamped down on maps now places by sending out postcards instead of the phone call activation.

    Wo 30 mei 2012, 20:22


    • Slovak Translator

    In connection with the article; how the ranking of a particular domain is influenced by the fact that the domain is registered with google maps. For example my site www.slovak-translator.com is not in google maps yeat. Could this be a reason why the website stil has no PR even though the website has been online for about two years ? thank you

    Vr 15 nov 2013, 13:55

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