Someone asked me, “Google phoned me with an automated message and said I needed to update my business listings – is that legit?”
The short answer is NO.
These tricksters are wanting you to THINK they are with Google.
The only automated phone call from Google I know of is when they are verifying a phone number that you just recently submitted to them online for your Google Maps or Google My Business listing, and requested a verification PIN.
Whenever somebody phones you offering any SEO services, or anything to do with your listings or ranking in Google, you need to first find out if they are honest and actually care about your business. Ask them questions.
I got that automated message several days in a row. Here’s how it went.
Me: I answer, “Hello, Found Online Solutions, … (& realize it’s an automated message – so I listen.)
Caller: “Our records show that you have not updated your Google listings” “To update them now, press 1. To be removed from this call list, press 2” (something like that).
Me: I press “1” so I can find out if they are legit.
Caller: The tone switches over like transferring to a person. “Hello, this is Mike. Who am I speaking with?”
Me: “Duane. Who am I dealing with? Which company are you with?”
Caller: “Didn’t you hear the recording” (Note: not only avoids answering & tries to make like my question is dumb, but the ONLY mention of a company in the short message was Google, therefore his INTENTION was that I assume he is with Google withOUT him having to specifically claim it – a pre-thought-out legal loophole so he could say, “I never claimed I was with Google”).
Me: “Yes, but I want to know what company you are with and what’s your website”
Caller: “What are you doing, a research project or something? I’m the one calling you and asking questions.”
Me: “Well, it’s reasonable I should know who I’m dealing with before continuing”
Caller: (obviously annoyed) – “Have a nice day” (hangs up).
As far as the services they may or may not perform for my listings – I can’t say if they are scammers or not – but if they operate this way right up front – what kind of services will they be? Their “intention to deceive” is right at the beginning with their very identity.
See more I wrote about SEO scams and ripoffs.
However, I fell sorry the many that are falling for their very short sneaky phone message thinking they are Google. I’d love to hear if anybody has actually received any services from them. I didn’t get far enough to test it. I should have kept letting on that I thought they were Google and see what they offered me! (but then I guess I would be deceiving?) Since posting this, some told me they give them a few hundred $, but saw not changes – either in their listing or their rankings. Another told me the message is changing, causing a false alarm that they are “about to lose their listing”. This is not normally true.
What about the “no call list”?
A word about “no call list”. If you are a business, you cannot be on a no-call list. If you are working at home, but you ever gave your phone number as your business number, then people are calling you as a business, not home. Also, companies phoning from overseas pay no attention to home-number no-call lists anyway – and nobody can do anything about it.
I get sick of those calling “about your computer. it’s not secure” stuff (who used to make you think they were with Microsoft), so after being interupted so many times and telling them to remove me, I finally said, “Look, I’ve told you to remove my number 3 times – please delete it now while we speak. Go into your database and remove my number. (pause, or he keeps trying to speak) Have you done it yet? (keeps trying to talk). Is it done yet? I hope so. (I hang up). I know it’s not very polite Canadian, but it works – they haven’t phoned me again.
They get my polite answers the first one or two times.
In summary: For any solicitation call – they’re not ALL bad – just politely ask their company name and website address. Any legitimate or non-hiding search engine marketing company will be happy to tell you.
Call us at 778-578-1202 for any legitimate help in optimizing your local business listing in Google. We are not with them, but we study their many changes, keep up to date on what they want, and make sure you do things right for best chance of being found online for your key search terms.