Using Your Domain Name in Another Company's Google Local Listing | DomainInvesting.com
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Using Your Domain Name in Another Company’s Google Local Listing

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I found something very interesting today while looking for a hotel in Paris and think it’s a pretty great way to drive traffic to a domain name, although I am not exactly sure if it’s legit if Google were to know about. I am not going to name the url but want to share this story anyway.

I found a hotel that looked interesting to me via Orbitz, and I wanted to see where it was located in the city. I did a Google search for it, and the top result was the Google Local business listing, which contained the address, map, phone number, and url for the hotel (3 hyphen .com name).

When I clicked the url and opened it in a new window, it was a hotel booking engine that looked very familiar to me. It was a one page website, and although it was in French, I saw that there was very little to the website aside from the booking engine. A Whois search confirmed what I suspected, and the domain name was privately owned and unrelated to the hotel.

I don’t know if this is legit and/or against Google’s TOS, but it’s pretty ingenious for a company or person to have their domain name inserted into the Google Local result, especially when that comes up #1. Ironically, the hotel’s official website is ranked #3 for a search of the hotel, with TripAdvisor.com coming in at #2.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (9)

    don

    This is considered spam and against Google’s terms for LBL program.

    This is a major area I believe google will be cracking down on in the next 6-12 months due to the amount of spam for their local businesses.

    April 6th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Rosco

    An NZ women got done for fraud by google for doing something like this.

    April 6th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Mike Maddaloni - @thehotiron

    Google has a verification process to confirm a business who requests a Google Local listing, but as most businesses aren’t even aware of it, this type of hijacking can easily occur.

    mp/m

    April 6th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Andrew

    Sometimes Google picks up listings like this automatically, without the small biz submitting it. I had one of my geo web sites come up on Google maps for a company listing for a while. If Google “thinks” this site is the business’s site, it may not be the hotel engine that’s at fault.

    April 6th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Home Hammock

    Yep, Google doesn’t like it when blackhat SEO’s pull this trick.

    In fact, I bought a geo domain for pennies on the dollar from a webmaster that did this exact thing. He made pages on the geo site for all the businesses in the city that didn’t have a listing, and then put the page on his website as the URL for the business in Google local. The domain quickly jumped 3 PR spots in a short time, but …

    Google caught him, and black-listed the domain. I’m hoping Google will remove their ban now that the domain has changed ownership.

    From what I’ve seen Yahoo local is less diligent in verifying listings and has more black hat activity like this.

    Curious Elliot, do you check to see if Google has black-listed a domain before you purchase it?

    April 6th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Too Many Secrets

    Elliot,

    Google Local has a lot of erroneous results due to crawling and auto-adding results.

    They eventually correct the errors, once it is reported.

    We’ve seen it happen a lot. šŸ˜‰

    April 7th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Fred Mercaldo

    Home Hammock’s question will now cause me to lose sleep tonight. Excellent question….and one I never have considered. Which brings up another question….once blacklisted, how long can/will it take to get back in the good graces?

    April 7th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Home Hammock

    Fred,

    “Home Hammock” is back. LOL. When I post on Elliot’s blog I use keyword anchor text as the name and use one of my affiliate websites as the listed website. It’s an easy backlink, and has some value even if it is no-follow. So you’ve probably seen my other comments under various other “names”. But maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Anyways …

    There’s various degrees of a Google “ban”. It’s not a “one size fits all ban”. I’ve never seen Google spell this out anywhere, but here’s what I’ve gathered based on personal experience and reading lots of SEO blogs –

    At the lower end of a Google ban, Google may have noticed irregular link accumulation behavior and put your site in the “sandbox”. So your site may disappear from the SERPs for a month or so. And then one day it will show up again. I kind of think of this as if Google is sending a “warning shot across the bow”. Google is on to you, and a webmaster should immediately halt whatever blackhat technique they’re doing.

    Another lower/med. spectrum ban can come from fraudulent Adsense clicks. If Google detects click fraud on your parked page, etc they’ll ban the domain from participating in Adsense.

    Other more major offenses will cause Google to give a domain the kiss of death. They’ll ban the domain from showing up in their SERPs.

    Here’s a site where you can check domains for Google bans – http://onlinealley.com/seotools/googlebannedchecker/

    The problem with the checker is I believe it has too many “type 2″ errors. I think it’s over reporting domains as having a Google ban. Either that, or it can’t distinguish between the various degrees of the Google slap and is showing as positive any domain Google has ever looked cross-eyed at. If someone knows of another Google ban checker that can distinguish between the ban levels please post the URL.

    I have auction purchased domains that the website is saying are banned, but they’re doing just fine in SEO. Others aren’t. The ban doesn’t appear to be automatically removed when a domain changes ownership.

    As for getting a ban removed, it’s a manual process. Via Google webmaster tools you can make a request to have the ban removed. A human reviews the requests and determines whether the ban will be lifted or not. As you can imagine, the wait time can be long and results not guaranteed. I’ve heard of people having success by being completely honest (i.e., I was doing X, and I’ll never do it again – promise). Webmasters who are unsuccessful in their appeal may just let their domain drop or try to flip it post their website traffic drying up.

    In a completely unscientific observation, it seem like “clean” domains go for more at auction. So, I’m guessing there are domainers factoring this into their buying decisions. How many I’m not sure, hence my question to Elliot.

    Hope that helps.

    Mike @mgjolley on Twitter.

    April 8th, 2010 at 1:32 am

    ken

    Onlinealley.com reports it “appears to be banned.”

    April 30th, 2010 at 2:10 am

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