Google Robocalls: What To Do If You Get A Phone Call About Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing

100% of these calls are a scam, and here is what you need to do… Just hang up. For no reason should you give any personal information, or hire the caller to help verify or claim your business listing. The Google listing phone call is not coming from Google. Google does not call about listings. Read on to get all the details about these scam calls, and how to actually verify and update your Google business listing. But one last time, please understand — if anyone ever says they are calling you from Google they are LYING.
Sorry to harp on that point. Even when we explain this to clients, by the end of the talk they are asking what to do the next time their “Google rep” calls. And we have to say, yet again, that person is not working for or with Google. Far too often we hear of clients who have paid to some random company a subscription for services that Google offers for free. Again, the call is Not Google. There will never be an emergency or an urgent problem with the way that search results show your business info. If you ever feel pressured when it comes to Google, it’s a sign that someone is trying to con you. With that out of the way, let’s go over all the details you need to know about the Google My Business options. Click any of the links below to jump to the most important topic for you right now. And don’t worry — this article is for small business owners. So there will be no confusing tech jargon. Just simple explanations so you can protect yourself and understand how the local search directory works.

What A Google Listing Phone Call Scam Sounds Like

It could be a robocall asking you to press 1 to verify, or press 7 to be removed from a list (you won’t actually be removed). Or it could be an actual person who is “alerting” you that you are not showing up on Google, or that there is a problem with your listing. They might even say your listing is “scheduled for deletion” or “flagged for removal”. Finally, they could offer to sell you a “lifetime Google listing at a discount”. If you do not let them bamboozle you, and you ask some pressing questions, they will usually admit they are not Google, but may say they are “working with” Google. They’re not. These calls happen so often, that the actual support team from Google had to release a public statement. They gave a list of some things that they would NEVER do:
  • they don’t charge for inclusion in Google My Business or in Google Search
  • they don’t offer to improve your search ranking or manage your business’s online profile
  • they don’t ask you for your password or for a verification code
Any pressure or scare tactics you hear over the phone are meant to confuse you into taking action before you think it through.

What To Do If You Already Got The Google Phone Call & Are Paying For Help

First, don’t worry too much. These scammers are just trying to overcharge you for a simple service you could get for free, or that you could do yourself. So the worst thing that happened is you just over-paid for the “help”. You may even be on a monthly payment plan. If you try to cancel, the phone rep could try to scare you by saying that your site will drop out of the Google search, or some other bad thing will happen. It won’t. The first thing you should do is to remove their access from your page. Go here: https://www.google.com/business/ You may already be signed in on your computer. If not, you’ll need the email tied to your Google Account, as well as the password of your Google account. Here are the instructions to remove a manager from your Google listing: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3403100?hl=en Once you have removed any control this scammer may have, you can stop paying them. If they have you on recurring billing and will not stop it, call your credit card company to explain the situation.

What Is A “Google Partner”?

To further protect you, it helps to know some terms. There is a title called “Google Partner”.
This is a third party agency or marketer that took some basic online training and got a certification from Google. All it really means is that the agency / marketer has at least an entry-level understanding of how Google services work. It does not guarantee you (the small business owner) any results. So someone might call you and offer to help you show up higher in the search results for a specific phrase, or to run pay-per-click ads for you. They might let you know they are a Google Partner. As long as they don’t claim to be working with or for Google, or promising specific results, you can just weigh their offer versus the cost like any other service. We list some red flags for scammy SEO providers here.

View All Current Scams Involving Google

Here is an official list of all the scams done in the name of Google: https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/2952493 This list is updated each time a new scam happens. The robocalls we are discussing are under the heading “Google telemarketing calls”, but it is a good idea to be familiar with all the other scams out there right now.

How To Stop Google From Calling Your Business

Lots of people ask us if they can make (Fake) Google stop calling. So is there an easy way to fight back, or at least report these scammers? It’s not really worth your time. Hanging up and ignoring them is the best option. Even when they give you the option to press a button to “be removed from the list”, they will still call back. Don’t press any buttons when prompted! But if you feel like you need to do more, here are some options: 1. Get on the Do Not Call list in Canada / USA 2. Report a violation to Google But from our experience, after simply hanging up or telling them no a few times, they seem to move on. Of course, you can also block the number from calling you. However the scammers tend to use a bunch of different phone numbers all the time, so that doesn’t always work either.

Google My Business: What Is The Cost To Add, Claim, or Verify A Listing?

Free. It costs nothing to make or modify a Google listing. It does take a little time and patience, and a bit of know-how. Some business owners would rather just pay a pro to take care of it, to save themselves the energy. Simply put, the Google My Business listing is an easy way to show up on search results, help people find you on a map, show all your contact details and hours, and feature your customer reviews. It’s very useful for mobile searches as well.

Very Important — Pass This On To Your Friends

Now you know about the Google Listing Call Scam. Please be a responsible member of your local business community, and tell other small companies about it. Share this article on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or email a link to friends that also run a business. You could save them some money, and a whole bunch of stress and worry. Think about it — it’s impossible to follow every change in technology, especially when you are so busy. We just need to help each other and to follow clear and honest business practices. Then everybody wins. Except the scammers… but, really, maybe even them, too. They’ll be forced to get a real job.
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Increasing the ROI of content marketing?

Great content marketing takes serious time and energy, and the cost can also become quite high. That’s why it’s important to keep the return on investment (ROI) as high as possible, so you actually get something in return for all your efforts. That “something” can be, for example, more traffic to your website or increased online sales. How to improve your ROI, that’s what we’ll dig into in this series of blog posts. Aim for position 0 in Google Position 0, also known as the featured snippet, is the text box that pops up in a Google search and gives you a direct answer to your search query. Research has shown that position 0 generates a whopping 114% more traffic to a website than position 1. Clearly, it’s well worth the battle! You’ll see the best results by using the right keywords. To help you in that area, you can use Textmetrics Content Ranking. That tool indicates whether you’re on the right track and offers you tips for improved keywords. Practical tips You might think that position 0 is only available to online giants like Wikipedia. It’s actually also up for grabs for your company or organization, but of course within search queries that are relevant to your business! To improve your chances of reaching this position, you can apply the tips listed below. Use questions to your advantage. It’s smart to use actual questions in your web text, like “How do I rank higher in Google?” and “How can I maximize the ROI of my content marketing?” Then you answer the question very briefly in the intro and expand on your answer in the body of the post. Are you a small business owner? Focus your efforts on local SEO, like “Where can I find a washing machine in Amsterdam?” or “How do I get to the closest café in Victoria?” Make sure to answer those questions briefly, just like in tip 1. Use keywords that already score high in other articles on your website. Not sure which ones those are? Try using the handy Content Ranking Index by Textmetrics. Run the Textmetrics Keyword Analysis to link the search queries related to your top keywords. That way you know exactly which searches rank highest in Google, allowing you to adjust your web copy accordingly. Position 0 likes things to the point and strong. The long pieces of web copy you use to explain a product or service won’t score you that ranking. That’s why it’s smart to create separate pieces of content containing about 54 to 58 words in total. Don’t forget about longer blog posts and articles altogether, since Google likes those, too. Make sure you include both styles on your website. Or make sure you have a main question followed by a short summary of a longer post. Columns, tables, rankings, lists… Position 0 loves those! Definitely use them in your content, just like we’ve done here. Make sure your articles and blogs are connected to related questions. Try explaining any jargon specific to your business on a separate page or come up with some questions that are linked to the topic of discussion in your article. Stay alert! Textmetrics Content Ranking Index will keep track of how you’re scoring in comparison to your competitors. That way you know exactly when it’s time to take action. Automation of SEO. Textmetrics offers the plug-in ‘SEO-editor’, which you can apply to your website (compatible with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, SiteCore, and Word). It automatically ensures that your content is made Google-proof. Easy peasy, right? Use smart tools By applying the tips listed above, you’ll improve your chances of conquering position 0 in Google. But that can only work if your SEO basics are in place. Check to make sure that your website is completely optimized before even thinking of position 0. Make things easy on yourself, though, by using our Content Creation Engine and the Textmetrics Content Ranking. These smart tools make it much easier and a lot more fun to write great, discoverable, and Google-friendly content. Need more help than that? In this blog you’ll find more information. Whitepaper SEO Would you like to dig a bit deeper into SEO and how to best apply it to your website? You could, of course, dig through thousands of whitepapers about SEO, all available online. But if you lack the time and desire to do that, you can simply use the Content Creation Engine by Textmetrics. Just start writing, and our tool offers you tips to update your SEO along the way. Our team is always up-to-date, does take the time to read all the thousands of SEO whitepapers, and then integrates all that information into the Content Creation Engine. That way you can create great content quickly, without having to hit the books first. You can even have it check your “older” content. Copy and paste the existing copy into our tool to get advice about SEO. The tool will check the text against the latest rules and guidelines for Google and offer advice on that front. Implement the points of improvement, then paste the optimized text back into your website. It’s practically child’s play! .
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How to incorporate User Experience into Web Design and overall SEO Strategy Part 1 | Empathy and SEO Keywords

First we should consider, what is the focus of the user experience? Since the user is going to define your business with their experience more than any other aspect of your marketing plan, you should first assume that the focus is to ensure that your user's experiences meet "AT LEAST" your basic expectations of your business model. This means that in every aspect of your marketing approach, your user experience should become the focus of your efforts, not just conversions and sales.   Using this definition, let’s consider how best to ensure a quality user experience from start to finish.  The user experience has to start with empathy for what the user would wish to encounter in your digital business profile.  More and more digital customers want the same effort for an experience placed into digital media as they would expect for arriving at your business in person. For too many years, the marketing method of welcoming users to a site was to simply inundate them with data and articulate information.  While both are important, the same can be garnered using a billboard.  Instead, we need to consider how to welcome them to our sites, even if we are ranking the top for a keyword. (what is the point of ranking the highest if you also have the highest bounce rate?). So, we start with empathy: Why did this customer search this term? Choosing keywords needs to be user oriented.  For too many years, marketing director and SEO gurus have chosen keywords solely based on sales and conversions with little regard to additional reasons a customer may come to their site, as a result, the market has been marginalized when it comes to keyword targeting. Users are not completely satisfied with Search Engine Results now due to the mixed bag of outcomes in the results.  Much of this is the fault of our SEO Strategies that have pushed businesses to the tops of search results by providing the best answer in text, even when they may not be the “best answer” in reality.  This has caused the modern consumer to become less and less impressed by search engine placement. Don’t get me wrong, local services and immediate need sales are still in vital need of top placement in the search engines, but the non-immediate purchases are becoming more and more thought based. Local searches for plumbers will certainly still benefit from the top listing in organic and map, but what about for their non-emergency sales?  The searching customers not requiring an impulse purchase are becoming more reliant on user investigation and “purchase assurance” than just the need to address the issue in the easiest way possible. As a society, we are becoming more diligent about the items we individually care most for, and as a result, our marketing methods have to shift to accommodate for digital narcissism. We are obsessed with the desire to garner the attention of our fellows and become recognized as individual “truth givers” and “knowledgeable people” to our fellows. People inherently work for the acceptance of others, and with the advent of the digital age, people have begun basing self-worth and assessment on how others view their ability to be knowledgeable resources of data and information.  As a result, you should start by considering what the individual will be looking for to satisfy that internal need and proceed with a marketing strategy that incorporates this knowledge. Google coined the term the “0” Moment marketing Truth, I would go to say that this is the precursor to it. Empathizing and breaking down the average user to his core understanding has to come first. Doing so allows us to choose keywords based off of what the user actually wants in the way of an experience, not just what we wish to sell them. There are many deeper aspects to this line of thought.  Next, we will discuss why finding the customer/visitors interests before they do is a vital use of this empathy and the next step in your User Experience Based marketing strategy.
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SEO Content Countermeasures Part. 2 | How Public Safety and Public Trust Are Under Attack

Last week we discussed SEO Countermeasures and Content Countermeasures that are hurting the structure and information flow of the internet; today, we will take the conversation a step further.  The lack of honesty in the reputation and information sharing services is one problem, but what happens when we ask the same questions in regard to political and legal questions. Political and Anti-Science  SEO Content Countermeasures Anyone who has a family member on the Newsmax Spam List knows all too well the problems with misinformation and dishonest content promotions.  For years, false information, fed to the masses has been the hallmark of political propaganda.  Both right and left are equally guilty of this dishonest practice, and it seems both will turn blue in the face complaining about how dishonest the other is. Pushed articles are common place for the purpose of having multiple sites replicate the same false story, over and over, and then link to each other to offer a seemingly relevant citation. Again, this requires an audience that is predisposed to believe that a specific viewpoint is possible or likely. Sites like Politifact, Snopes, Hoax-Slayer, FactChecker, and many others have become the bane of the political fringes who WANT their preconceived ideals to be realized in the most obvious of dishonest rallies. The proliferation of the political scams is two fold; the first goal being to direct public opinion by preaching to a choir, the second being to drive traffic to sites filled with products aligned with the content itself.  Many of the Natural News (and its affiliates site's) articles are solely produced to push traffic to their product affiliate sites for purchasing books or 'natural remedies".  The traffic for survivalists will take them to sites promoting solar water heaters and wood-burning stoves (sold at ridiculously expensive prices at that). The scam site method is fairly simple, it only requires having a bunch of sheep ready to repost network stories for ad and clickbaited traffic.  Often, most of the reproduction sites will be owned by the same group as the originating site. The SEO methods used by reposting false information include medical info as well. In spite of medical science, the proliferation of false claims on medical needs is growing by the day.  People, convinced in spite of science, that medical needs like vaccinations and treatments are some form of evil scam to make people sick (irony being that they avoiding the vaccines increases sickness) are increasingly promoting false narratives at the behest of their blogger overlords.  Often, this information will be completely void of even the most basic scientific study. Again, Natural News is a notorious for the use of down-line blogging to perpetuate its SEO Content Countermeasures to recognized science. You may ask, "why would they do this to sell a few books?", and in doing so you will be asking a legitimate question. The answer is simple, they make millions off of affiliate book sales, vitamin sales, and training/event sales associated with the topics they push.  In the end, the irony is that they claim the motivation for medical science to promote medical cures is money, while in the end, it is their own primary purpose. Obviously, Natural News and its many clone sites is an easy target, but it certainly isn't the only one.  Often the hoax stories used on its network are dusted off months or years later to replicate the same affiliate gains. Even after pointed out to be the obvious lies they are, the dedicated who desire it to be true will promote the false stories without question. Ultimately, public safety is put into jeopardy by these groups because of the purposeful direction of the public to act in a manner that is contrary to their health or basic common sense. Yes, the people who fall for and repromote this misinformation are guilty of being naive, gullible and ignorant, but those leading them by the snout are doing so in a way that is blatantly irresponsible and places large populations in danger... all to make a buck and push agendas. Using SEO and Content Countermeasures to Hide Criminal and Legal Data Someone will always be trying to invent a better mousetrap, but what happens when the mousetrap itself is under attack?  People entrust their futures, businesses and family welfare to background and identity checks; what happens when the information gained from them is bogus?  The answer is simple, the system fails those who deserve to know enough to protect themselves, their businesses and their families. People of ill repute and those with a past worth hiding use SEO Countermeasures and Content Manipulation to promote a fictitious form of themselves so that their past, present and future victims are blind to the actual threats the individual can hold.  We ran into a typical scammer recently who had an intricate manner of hiding reports of his previous scams. He produced so many member and blog accounts in his own name that even articles about his scams from Ripoff Report and NY Times were pushed to page 10. Many are getting in on this option; from legal offenders to financial swindlers, the option allows them at least one more hustle and a crowd of people unable to find the sourced information about the scammer's history.  The scammer mentioned above even went so far as to seek legal orders to force google to hide search results mentioning his name (since he apparently trademarked himself).   As a result, attempts to find accurate information on this person who has scammed and stolen from so many are often in vain. The "push down" effect of Content Countermeasures and SEO Tactics used for these dishonest means are likely to persist.  Google has given no indication that is has a real solution to counter the SEO Countermeasures being deployed.  Google attempted to kill the duplicate content and spun material game, but only so much can be done when some of these scammers are running hundreds of accounts and sites to keep a clean image. They're wolves and their fake wool consists of the SEO Content and descriptors of themselves used to promote the false narrative. We can hope that they will finally be curtailed, but they appear to be a constant from generation to generation. These are the same sad sacks that would be selling snake oil and 'miracle cures" in the 1800's.  The unfortunate reality is that Content Countermeasures are only the latest tool of those who wish to defraud their fellows.  That they have learned how to manipulate SEO techniques for these scams is only the latest step in a long walk.  We can only assume that their growth online will continue, marking less honesty and more skepticism.
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How to Resize Your Images on a PC

This is how to resize the high-resolution images your camera takes. First copy the images you would like to resize. You might need the originals later for pieces of the image to harvest for design reasons. This way you will only destroy your copies if you do something wrong and not your originals.

Now you will want to open your copied pictures with Paint.

The reason I picked Paint is because it is a program that comes with Windows so everyone has this free program if they are running Windows of any flavor.

Once your image is opened in Paint you can easily edit your image.

Click on Resize in the Upper Right hand corner of the screen and you will be taken to the Resize menu.

I chose the pixels over the percentage for scaling the image. Keep in mind your page content is usually under 700 pixels wide.  So the horizontal number should be  under 700. Otherwise you are just creating an image that will slow your site down for no reason. Save the image  and you will have a much smaller faster to upload picture for your website.

You will still have your Originals in the folder to use if you need a partial of a picture as well if you copied the images before hand.

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How to Link to a Phone Number

I always hate when companies get all creative with their phone numbers and have to have letters in the number. My phone doesn't have the letters with the numbers the way they are on a landline phone. Sure I can get my phone to do that but it is an extra step and lets face it I might be driving so it is a pain. So when I come across your site do me a favor and I won't leave your site for another one. So you need to link your phone Number to dial out from a Smart Phone, iphone or Android. Well here is a handy little code that will do it for you. This is what the code looks like in html: <a href="tel:5555551212">555-555-1212</a> and this is what the code looks like on your page: 555-555-1212 You can even link it to pictures on your site. If you click the picture on this page it will input the number into your phone as well.
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Dashboard

Now you are in a Strange New World, the Dashboard of your Website! Don't panic every thing you are looking to do to your site is found in here but there is a method to the madness. Everything is broken down by topic on the far left hand side of the screen. You have Posts, Media, Links, Pages, Comments, Forms, Appearance, Plugins, Users, Tools, Settings and some more that have been added by various Plugins.  Lets ease the fear away by letting you know most of what you will be working on is in Posts and Pages.
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Login to Your New Site.

My Site looks Great! Now how do I change things on it? Fisrt you have to Login to your Site. This is done by going to your site and typing /wp-admin and then hit Return. Here is an example: yoursite.com/wp-admin Then hit Return and your Login Page will come right up.  At this point you will need to input your Username and Password. If you input those correctly you will be taken to your Site's Dashboard where all of the Fun Begins! Now you might be thinking oh my goodness there are so many buttons and options where do I begin? That will be determined by what you want to change. I will give you a slight over view of what you might be looking at on your Dashboard.
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Basic Site Breakdown

Your Site is like every site out there on the internet. Sure the layout varies a little in shape and size but the elements are all the same. When dealing with your web-designer  it will help if you understand and can converse in some basic lingo that your uber nerd will understand. I will break down what is in this page's layout. Your website has a Header which is composed of your company's logo, navigation menu and possibly anything else you might include above the next element. Your content of the page which usually consists of your information  that will change from page to page and sometimes a sidebar or two. In this example the content is on the right and the sidebar is on the left. Obviously you can change what side of the page you would prefer your sidebar to  appear and all of the many modifications to the layout like size and color from there. Typically the  header, footer and sidebar do not usually change as the rest of the content does. There are templates to pages that will allow for different configurations like leaving the sidebar off or calling a separate and different sidebar to the page but the typical use of these features are usually more than plenty. Templates can not be used in Posts. I am working on a simple explanation of the difference between Posts and Pages on another post so if you want to explore this topic click to it when you are done reading this one. Found at the bottom of the page the Footer is a widget container like the Sidebar. Usually your Copyright is found in the Footer because it is present on all pages because like the Header the Footer is typically found on every page and everything else is Dynamic.
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Difference Between Pages and Posts

I have been helping a lot of clients get familiar with Word Press Sites that we build for them and one of the Questions that I always get asked is what is the difference between a Page and a Post?. Well it is as complex as it is simple. First the simple explanation. Posts are categorized and Pages are not. On the right hand side of the screen when you are creating or editing a Page or a Post you will see some differences. When editing a Post you will see Categories on the Right of your input for the Post. This is not present when creating or editing a Page. Pages are slightly different. Where you would see the Categories you will find Template options. These are editable as PHP files giving you complete control of the look of your page. Mainly they are used to create custom features like changing the number of columns or putting a custom background or sidebar and such on a specific page whereas Posts all have to be the same. You can not categorize pages unless you program that in yourself and a lot of the newer themes have some cool custom page templates that will grab categories of Posts for you and perform nice galleries and or portfolio pages based on the Categorizing of Posts. This last statement seams simple but is part of the cool complexity of how Word Press design works with it's code.
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