SEO firms and small business owners unite! Google has heard our cries and it taking action!
Since Shark Bite SEO first opened its doors in Delray Beach a few years ago, we’ve been plagued by the same call every single day. It begins friendly enough with a polite “hello” and a humble introduction from an SEO representative directly from Google. Wow! They then promise to get our page to top ranking position. Jeez, thanks Google! Except…this isn’t Google. It’s not even an SEO rep, but rather a Robocaller – a scammer – from a company called Local Lighthouse.
Don’t let the fancy website distract you, Local Lighthouse is a hub of robocallers – think automated phone sales – that pray on small businesses offering SEO services at impossibly cheap “one time” prices. Another Local Lighthouse objective is to get login information to take over business listings with spam. Automated phone calls such as this are illegal in the United States. Recipients must give written consent to get these types of sales calls, which Local Lighthouse’s “customers” have not.
For years, Google has sat on the sidelines in this battle as perpetrators are hard to capture in situations such as this. Perpetrators often use untraceable numbers, fakes names, fake companies and a web of intermediaries that span the globe to execute such phone calls. To get a better idea of how robocalls work, check out this graphic from the FTC.
Google My Business Operations Manager Brad Wetherall released a statement on behalf of Google in a blog post Wednesday:
“Today we’re filing an action in California against one search engine optimization company for making these robocalls and confusing our users. It’s unfortunate when a problem must be addressed in a court of law, but we believe this course of action will protect our users and discourage this practice more broadly.”
According to Google (and we can attest to this), Local Lighthouse sales agents have made bold statements like: ‘we’re working for Google,’ we’re a Google subcontractor,’ ‘you page will appear multiple times on the front page in what we call, ‘Front Page Domination.” Claims such as these are EXTREMELY misleading to the user. And as if running a small business wasn’t tough enough, it’s even harder when dealing with spammers and the monetary backlash they incur.
Protect Your Company From Robocallers
Along with filing legal action, Google has launched a Safety Center Page for users to report robocalls from companies claiming to work in affiliation with Google. Other ways to protect your company include:
- Reporting Robocallers to either Google, the FTC or the FCC
- Hang Up immediatly and do NOT press any keys – even if they prompt to take you off the list or speak with a live person
- Block Spammers by calling your phone company and reporting the number
- Register Your Number with the National Do Not Call Registry or call 1-888-382-1222
At Shark Bite SEO, we take great pride in the quality work we do for our clients. As official Google Partners agency, our team has taken Google internet marketing certifications that adhere to Google best practices, proving our expertise. Additionally, we have access to AdWords offers to use for prospective and existing clients. To look us up and learn what we can do for you, follow our link HERE.