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Google Maps Details How It Handles Review Spam & Policy Enforcement

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Google Maps Details How It Handles Review Spam & Policy Enforcement


I believe for the first time, Google has provided more detail on how it handles review spam policy enforcement for Google Maps. The search company wrote a blog post, accompanied by a short video, describing what they do to tackle issues with reviews in Google Maps.

The blog post goes over the policies, the enforcement of the policies, how Google moderates reviews with machine learning and human help and more.

Here is the video if you want to watch it first or not:

Google said “when governments and businesses started requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccine before entering certain places, we put extra protections in place to remove Google reviews that criticize a business for its health and safety policies or for complying with a vaccine mandate.” So I asked some local SEO experts on this and this is what I heard:

Google added it uses both humans and algorithms to fight review spam, and machine learning is Google’s “first line of defense,” the company said. Google’s algorithms look at reviews from these angles:

  • The content of the review: Does it contain offensive or off-topic content?
  • The account that left the review: Does the Google account have any history of suspicious behavior?
  • The place itself: Has there been uncharacteristic activity — such as an abundance of reviews over a short period of time? Has it recently gotten attention in the news or on social media that would motivate people to leave fraudulent reviews?

Google’s automated methods look for patterns, Google disclosed a couple patterns it looks for including (1) a group of people leaving reviews on the same cluster of Business Profiles to a business or (2) a single place receiving an unusually high number of 1 or 5-star reviews over a short period of time.

Google said its “human operators regularly run quality tests and complete additional training to remove bias from the machine learning models.”

But while the automated methods act quickly, sometimes things do need human review. And humans can flag reviews in the platform for human review. Google said its “human operators works around the clock to review flagged content. When we find reviews that violate our policies, we remove them from Google and, in some cases, suspend the user account or even pursue litigation.”

Anyway, we all know Google has its issues, espesially with map spam and review spam – but it is nice to see Google trying to be more transparent about it – on some level.

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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Google Golf Tee T-Shirt

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Google Golf Tee T-Shirt

Andy Stewart is a Creative Director at Google and he posted this really cool t-shirt design he made. He calls it the Google Golf Club tee shirt. Maybe there is a golf club at Google that he is a part of.

He posted this on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.



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All Dealerships Can List Auto Inventory On Google Business Profiles

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Google Cars

Google is now opening up its car or auto inventory feature within Google Business Profiles to all motor vehicle dealerships. Google began testing car listings in 2021 and then expanded the cars for sale feature in 2022 and now it is open to all dealerships.

Greg Gifford posted this over here saying, “Any motor vehicle dealer can now list inventory on their Google Business Profiles.” “Google just opened up the “Cars for Sale” widget to anything with a VIN. Until this week, only US-based car dealers could list their inventory on their Google Business Profiles. Now, anything that has a Vehicle Identification Number is eligible to be listed. That means motorcycles, RVs, powersports, and Commercial vehicles are all allowed now,” Greg added.

It is locked down to US-based dealerships right now, it is not yet international.

Here is how the flow works from the local Google mobile search results last year:

Cars For Sale Google Business Profile

To manage vehicle listings through your Business Profile account, perform the following steps:

(1) Access your web Business Profile account at business.google.com/locations.

(2) Select See your profile for the business that you want to change settings for.

(3) Click Edit profile, and then click Vehicle listings.

To manage your vehicle listings through a Google Search, perform the following steps:
(1) Search for your business’s name or “my business” on Google Search.

(2) Click Edit profile, and then click Vehicle listings.

Google calls this vehicle listings and posted more details including, “Vehicle listings on Google allows businesses to display their for sale vehicle inventory on various Google surfaces, including dealerships’ Business Profiles and Google Search. Google users can then search, filter, and easily learn more about vehicles for sale such as availability, pricing, and key information about the vehicles for sale, potentially directing customers to your business.”

Forum discussion at Twitter.



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Google Cotton Candy Machine

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Google Cotton Candy Machine

Here is a cotton candy machine that was at the Google office for a YouTube Live event a few months back. I don’t think this machine lives there, I suspect Google rented it for the event, but I am not sure.

We did see some Googlers eating cotton candy a year ago… Just saying…

This was posted on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.



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