Scams involving Google are of course, nothing new. I hear of clients getting calls claiming they are from Google with issues ranging from ‘your website isn’t visible in Google’ to ‘your Google My Business listing is in danger of disappearing unless you pay $399 right now’. They are nothing but scams; do not all for them. Google will never ask you for money to boost your rankings or your Google My Business Local Listing.
In this episode I discuss how to spot the Google scams and the reasons why Google will not be calling you asking for payments to boost your online presence.
To learn more about digital marketing, have a look at my online digital marketing course designed to give you a better understanding of how it all works.
Welcome to another episode of let’s engage the podcast where we talk about all things in digital marketing, the good, the bad, and of course, the ugly. Here is one for you. Have you ever had a call from Google, and after they got through the spiel, you wonder, why is Google calling me? Well, I got one, just the other day, as well. And I think I may have mentioned that in a previous podcast at some point, but we got another one. And this one was claiming to be from Google. And all they wanted to do was to confirm the information they had about our business on our Google My Business Page. They wanted me to confirm the address, the phone number, the operating times, because they wanted to update their records. And it was really interesting, because after we got through all of that, I mean, I knew it was a fake call anyway. But I was just playing with them a little bit in in that sense. Then they said that somebody from our company, reached out to them regarding SEO for the Google My Business Page, and of course, that didn’t make sense to me, because we’re a digital marketing company, we do SEO, we do local and all of that sort of stuff. Nobody from our company would be reaching out to Google to help with SEO.
Once I got through the initial part of the presentation, (and let’s call it that), they wanted to schedule a demo for us to hop online and to see what they can actually do for our business, our website, even to get it higher in the rankings. I thought, well, this is very, very interesting. And of course, the charge, the charge was only $399 a month, that’s very cheap. And I just thought, if these people sound so convincing to me, they were actually very good at what they were doing, then there’s a lot of businesses out there who would actually fall for this, especially when they say that they are from Google Quality Control. The problem is that when I hear stories like this, and of course, we have heard this from other people as well, this is not an isolated incident whatsoever. When people hear that they are from Google Quality Control, their staff thinks, oh, geez, Google is taking an interest. So if Google is calling me, well, I better listen. And of course, they start scaring people as well, by saying, look, if you don’t take up our offer, your rankings are gonna plummet and your SEO company is doing a very bad job, blah, blah, blah, blah, and all the rest of the fear mongering that goes on.
The thing that we say to clients is simply this. Google will never, ever, ever call you. And if they do, you would probably be expecting a call from them. And they will certainly never offer you SEO, ever, period. Google will not even call you if you’ve got an AdWords campaign running, if they know that there is an SEO company or an ad agency looking after their particular account. That is a fact. And here’s the clincher. All of these types of calls, say to you that if you don’t take up their offer, if you don’t get them to work with you, your rankings are going to drop and, we can boost your rankings. We can virtually guarantee you first page results if you’re not already getting them. Well, there is the biggest giveaway. Google, even if they should call you, they will never ever, ever guarantee you first page results. And you know why? The simple reason is that that is going against Google’s own guidelines. In the guidelines, it tells SEO agencies and whatnot to never guarantee first page results, because that is fraudulent. And the biggest reason for that is that SEO agencies, digital marketing agencies have no control over what Google does. They have no control over Google changing its algorithm so that all of a sudden, you know you’re number two instead of number one because they’ve tweaked their algorithm. So if you get a call like that, guaranteeing your first page results, you can be 100% sure that it is a scam. It is not Google calling you. It is some bunch of scam artists from God knows where from what country they’re even in. You just don’t know. So if you get a call like that, what should you do? Hang up!
If you feel in a playful mood, if you like, you can play with them a little bit just to see get their reactions, but you know you’re wasting your time. There is nothing that they can do for you except take your money. They will take your money, and they will run, they’re not going to boost your rankings, they’re not going to change anything on your Google My Business Page, or get your website higher in the rankings. It is an outright scam.
But on the other side of that there is something that Google does on the odd occasion. And it’s a little bit contradictory to what I just said. Google does occasionally call you, but not with a live operator, they do do what they call robo-calls. And there is a specific reason for that. If we go to the Google My Business help pages, and that’s just support.google.com forward slash business, forward slash answer. And then there is a whole list of reasons why Google would actually call you but they are automated calls. And here it says, and this is a quote, “automatic calls come from a set of designated numbers”. At the start of the call, you will hear that the call is from Google. And the reason for the call, for example, you might hear something like “Hi, I’m calling from Google Maps. Given the current health situation, I just want to update your hours. I’m an automated service. So this call is recorded to improve Google services. Could you please tell me your hours for the week or high on helping people find restaurants that are open. I’m an automated service provided by Google, and this call is recorded to improve Google services. Are you currently open for in person dining”? And reading on further, “you will not be asked to sign up for a service, make a payment, or give sensitive personal information”.
These calls are only enabled for businesses that offer public phone numbers. For the purposes of receiving calls from the general public. “If businesses don’t want to accept these calls, they can opt out by simply saying so on the call that’s from Google. However, it also says that sometimes you may receive calls from a Google operator for the purposes of development, customer service or support related to your Google ads, Google Play or other Google accounts. However, Google will never ask you for payment information over the phone or guarantee you favourable placement in our products”.
So there you go Google, while on the odd occasion, they may call you, they will never talk about increasing your Google ranking, getting your Google My Business Page higher. They will never ask you for payment of any form, much less ask for your credit card information. Google is not an SEO service, they are not there to make money by asking you to pay to get you higher in the rankings. That is something that Google will never do. So next time you get one of these calls, you’ll know that it’s absolutely fake. The big giveaway is if they ask you for money, if they ask you for credit card information, if they threaten you and say, “hey, if you don’t do this, your listings going to disappear”. Its also like that guy did a few weeks ago that I’ve mentioned in a previous podcast, the one that said if I don’t do anything about this, now, my listing is in danger of disappearing because it is so out of date. And of course, that wasn’t the case at all.
But here’s another quick tip for you. If you ever do need to contact Google, for whatever reason, how do you find out the contact numbers or the contact emails? There is a scam that is going around and is very prevalent. And that simply is you do a search for Google contacts on Google, of course, and these fraudsters, they make up these fake websites. There’s these fake directory listing type websites, which gives you apparently the contact number for Google or some other technical related websites, as well as any customer care numbers that are very popular. So what they do is they make up these fake websites with these fake numbers that get routed through to them. And of course, you might think that you are talking to Google because you’ve got the number off the internet and it says it’s Google’s official contact number for whatever you are looking for. That is more prevalent than what we think. If you ever need to contact Google, always go to an official Google page.
For example, if you want to contact Google and it depends on what country you’re in, one of the best ones is support.google.com. Okay, scammers can’t get a hold of that URL in any shape or form. And there, you will see all of the various Google products. And if you click on them, they will tell you, okay, you can contact us by this, that and the other. But generally, like most companies, they prefer you to email if you have an issue, not to call, especially with what’s going on with COVID, at the moment. Even at Google staff levels are lower than what they would normally be. So email is the better way to contact them. And the easiest way to spot a scam website, with Google numbers on there, or any sort of help numbers on there is once you click on it, you will see the contact number, very, very prevalent. Sometimes it’s highlighted in a box, telling you ring a 1800 number or an 800 number, which is free, and you can call us anytime you wish, that is the biggest giveaway. Because as we all know, whenever you try to get help from anywhere, from your your your electricity company or gas company, or from some other utility, you know, banks or whatever it is, you hop on the website, the contact numbers are very, very hard to find. It’s always ‘open this chat box for a live chat if we’re available’, or ’email us or fill in this form and we’ll get back to you’. Very rarely do you ever see a phone number that is very prominent on the actual page. If you need to contact Google, go the official Google page in whatever country you’re in. Obviously like here, it will be google.com. It will have all the contact details that you need in this country. In other countries they would have the same thing, but always go to an official Google web page.
So there’s a couple of tips that should come in very, very handy, because these type of scams go around all the time. In the last few weeks, I’ve actually had two phone calls from Google, and I’m doing the you know, the 1980s inverted commas here “from Google”. And of course, I know it’s not true. And now I hope anyone listening to this will actually know that they’re not legitimate and the biggest giveaway is when they start asking you for money or credit card details and threatening you saying that if you don’t do this, your rankings are gonna plummet or your Google my listing page is going to disappear out of the search results. That is not true. That is a scam. Do not fall for it.
So thank you for listening. And, as always, I look forward to having a chat with you next time or next week at this stage. If you do get a call from Google, you know what to do with it!