Google Investigating Local Ad Fraud Affecting Business Pages ( Local Service Ads )

Google is currently investigating reports of some businesses engaging in sabotage of their competitors’ Google Business Pages (GBPs) by creating fake Local Service Ads (LSAs) linked to their profiles. Ginny Marvin, Google Ads Liaison, confirmed the tactic on X (formerly Twitter) after being alerted by Ben Fisher. Fisher explained that competitors are using a new tactic to create LSAs for a competitor, effectively eliminating them from public view.

One business reported that their long-standing LSA account suddenly stopped generating leads and referrals after a decade of operation. When they contacted Google’s support team, they were informed that a second unknown LSA account had been created and linked to their Google Business Page, hiding the legitimate ads from the public’s view.

The business owner was advised to completely delete the original account and reviews and start over with a new Business Page, which was met with frustration. The owner questioned the fairness of the situation, stating, “There must be a way where we can re-verify our account and eliminate any LSAs we don’t approve of.”

Marvin responded to Fisher’s alert, indicating that Google is now aware of the exploit and is considering steps to address the loophole in the LSA system.

This tactic of faking competitor ads to sink Google Business Pages is an alarming new potential threat. As the search marketing community awaits Google’s response, it is important for businesses to carefully monitor their Google Business Profiles and promptly report any abnormalities.

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