7 Little Known Things About Google Local Guides & Editing Listings on Google Maps
Posted by Joy Hawkins
As someone who has been involved in editing on Google Maps for over a decade, I thought it was time to put some of the most-common myths to rest by laying out things that we have found are not commonly known about how edits work to listings on Google Maps.
For clarity here, when we talk about Google Maps listings or Google My Business listings, these are essentially the same thing. Listings on Google Maps that are owner-verified are often referred to as Google My Business listings.
- It’s not easy for a competitor to edit your Google My Business Listing. It is definitely possible for a competitor to publish a malicious edit on your listing, but it is not easy. We have noticed over the years that it is increasingly difficult to remove a fake listing from Google Maps if it is owner-verified by simply suggesting an edit to the listing. We often see that edits of this nature will either automatically decline or will go into a pending status.
- Having a higher Local Guide level does not mean you’ll get more edits published. This concept drives me nuts. I’ll often see people brag about being a Level 7 or Level 8 Local Guide and say that it somehow gives them more power in Google’s eyes. There is some truth to this but it needs to be clarified.
Local Guides points are based on several things. Some of these things do contribute to your trust level in Google’s eyes, and some don’t. For example, I could rack up a ton of points leaving ratings for tons of businesses and reach a higher Local Guide level. This isn’t going to magically make me able to have all my edits publish on Google Maps.
The thing that has the biggest impact on your trust is your edits and if they get published or not.
- The likeliness of an edit publishing has more to do with the listing you’re editing than the user editing it. Since we regularly report fake listings & spam on Google Maps, we often find that the ability to get a change published on a listing has very little to do with the person editing the listing and everything to do with the listing itself and how much Google trusts it. It has not always been this way. Back when MapMaker was around, it had a lot more to do with the user and their trust level. Now, if a listing is verified via Google My Business, it’s extremely hard to get fake listings removed even if you’re a Level 10 Local Guide.
Google My Business suspensions don’t seem to weaken a listing’s authority. People often think that if a listing has been suspended, it will make it weaker or less authoritative. We’ve found this not to be the case. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times a listing has received a hard suspension, it still ranks the same and it still is difficult to get rid of a fake listing by submitting an edit on Google Maps.
The more reviews a listing has, the harder it is to get rid of. If you see a listing with dozens of reviews and you know it’s not a real business, don’t even waste your time trying to edit it. Just send it directly to Google My Business to remove. Don’t worry, the spammers already know this and it’s likely part of the reason why we see so many fake reviews on fake listings.
Edits are reviewed by both machines and humans. If you submit an edit to a listing, usually it will either get published, denied, or go into a pending status within the first 5-10 minutes after you submit it. If it approves or denies, this wasn’t a person clicking a button at Google – it was automatic. If it goes into a pending status, we usually find it takes 8-12 weeks before someone at Google will actually look at it and you get a final approve/deny status.
Published Edits to remove listings disappear from your edits tab. If you report a listing as not existing or as spam and it publishes, that edit most likely won’t show up on your edits tab in Google Maps. For example, all these spam listings that were removed do not show up in my edits tab. My assumption is that this happens because the listing is no longer publicly visible so the record vanishes along with it.
Are there other things you’ve found about edits on Google Maps that people often don’t know about? Tell me about them in the comments.