In 2019, many CEOs saw and tested many kinds of practices. While some might work just fine, they are violating Google’s guidelines. This is definitely not healthy for your listings, and while you may enjoy short-term results, black and grey-hat tactics are generally bad in the long run.

#1. Listings at an ineligible address

If you are in the Digital marketing game, you probably have a client with several location listings. You may also see those listings are already ranking fairly well and everything seems fine? Have you tried checking the addresses and on Map’s Street View just to find out that there is not a commercial establishment, not even a storefront but a regular house? This is a literal violation of Google’s guidelines.

The best thing you can do about it is to self-report these listings to Google. So far, Google has never punished a business that self-reported accidental spam.

Is this really a bad thing? Yes, it is! Google is really strict about it and in their guidelines, it’s stated that the page should be created at the actual, real-world location. Mailboxes in distant locations are not acceptable, and business providing only mobile services should have one page for a central office.

#2. Identical phone number, different listings

Yes, I have dealt with many clients who claim how convenient it is to have only one business phone number as they don’t want to pay for another phone line. Yes, this makes sense but before anything else, this is confusing for Google.

Let’s say you have a Real Estate agency and another business that deals with Weight-Loss programs. Imagine what will happen if a Google rep calls to verify your Real Estate listing’s phone number but you answer the phone with “Weight-Loss Training”... You are definitely in trouble if this happens.

In other words, paying the extra phone line is a necessary business expense. The good news is that this is most-likely tax deductible!

#3. Keyword stuffing in listing names

According to 411 LocalsYour listing name should reflect your real-world business name without including any unnecessary information by guidelines. Here’s an example of a bad listing name - “Los Angeles Fitness - The Affordable Workout Program Solution.” Don’t try and get creative here, as it doesn’t matter how good it actually sounds. If you are violating the rules, you are likely to have your listing suspended.

Yes, we have all seen successful listings violating the guidelines, and it is true that it seems like Google is not very strict about such practices, but my advice is - don’t take the risk. Above all, this is a bad example of brand building and not a good marketing strategy at all.

#4. Creating a multi-site webpages

Let’s say you are trying to cover 2 different locations with matching domains. You are most likely thinking about something like and Well, unfortunately, this is not a great idea. The most obvious thing about it is that the content will most likely be kind of the same. Imagine the same thing with 15 different locations… It’s just quite messy.

My most important piece of advice on dealing with a situation like this is to at least have a single domain and eventually 301 redirect the old sites to the main one. Get as many external links leading to your main site as possible.

My advice is not to fall for black-hat and grey-hat tactics and to follow the official guidelines. It might take you a bit more time to see results, but if you follow the rules, you will definitely see your listings in the top positions and you will never have to worry about sudden penalties and suspended listings.

Author's Bio: 

Nikolay Peshev is a dedicated blogger
and research fellow, working on the field of SE. Occupied for an international advertising agency