Google Should Use “Common Sense” To Detect Local Map Spam

Fahrenheit Marketing
Fahrenheit Marketing in Design

I noticed something unsettling today after search for the phrase “dentist in San Antonio”

Take a look at the following picture and you’ll see what I mean. The top result for this term is a “phone service company.”

Google results for dentist in San Antonio

I decided to take a closer look at this listing and found some things that should have at least triggered some type of review:

Places page listing for Phone Service San Antonio

– The categories are completely unrelated (Dentist, Cell Phone Store)
– 240 West Houston street doesn’t exist according to address searches
– The listing has a Dallas phone number and when you Google the phone number, you find that it has an interesting history
– While they can’t check with street view, it shows a Domino’s Pizza, a bar and some parking lots

Was the strategy here: Find a fake address, have Google pull reviews from the closest resolving address and piggyback the reviews to rank?

To avoid these kinds of problems, Google should implement a relationship level where they assign a correlation coefficient to how well two industries relate (Dentist and Cosmetic Dentist = 1, Dentist and Cell Phone Store = 0). In addition, Google should really look at matching area codes with business addresses as another ranking signal for local search.