The short answer is 'no'. Google does not call the public to discuss their local listings or organic ranking.
At least once a week clients contacts us because they were called by someone claiming to be from Google. We hear all kinds of things. From "your company doesn't exist online" to "your Google My Business listing is scheduled to be removed if you don't pay us".
I feel comfortable saying that these are sales calls and it's not really Google that's calling you. Often times this is a scare tactic used by agencies to get you to sign up with them, otherwise it's an outright scam to take your money and disappear.
This article will answer some about fake Google calls, and it's a little blunt, so enjoy!
Why Doesn't Google Call Me?
Honestly, Google doesn't care if your business is ranking on the first page of their search engine. Google has no stake in your business or it's competitiveness in marketing. Google doesn't care about the success of your company.
Google doesn't call people to inform them about incorrect information on their Google My Business listing. Any news about Google My Business is always sent by email and that email address should have an @google.com tail.
They don't call or email people about the online visibility of their website.
Think of Google like a whiteboard with a bunch of words written on it. The whiteboard doesn't own the words, it doesn't care if the words are misspelled, and it definitely can't change or erase them.
So just like that whiteboard, Google doesn't own your website. Google doesn't have the ability to edit it or make any changes to it directly. Only you, or the person who created it for you, can do that.
And lets be real here... There are millions of small businesses across the world. Millions of them have incorrect or inaccurate information online. Millions of them have unverified Google listing that get taken down.
Out of all of the businesses, in the whole world, why would Google only call yours?
How Do I Know It's Not Really Google?
Firstly, per Google, they "will never ask you for payment information over the phone or guarantee you favorable placement" on their search engine. So if someone is guaranteeing you visibility or ranking placement in exchange for money, you can be sure it is not Google. Now, it may not be a scammer, but as sure as death and taxes, it's not Google.
Google does not offer custom website design, SEO services, content writing, or social media marketing. They leave SEO and digital marketing to Google Partner companies like us.
Tools for your business that are provided by Google are free and they couldn't care less whether or not you use them.
When Would the Real Google Call Me?
There are only a couple instances when the real Google will call you, otherwise it's safe to assume that it's not actually Google.
1) If you are a Google Ads (Google AdWords) customer, then you might receive a call from them in regard to your account. Sometimes these calls can still be fake though, so be sure to take a look at this article from Google describing ways to confirm their legitimacy.
2) The other time you may receive a call from Google will be when you specifically request a call through their support system or for Google listing verification purposes. In this case, you're usually the one requesting that call, so you should be expecting it. And in these situations, they wont talk to you about ranking or payments.
What Do I Do When I Get One of These Calls?
There are a few things that you should do when you receive a call from someone who is claiming to be Google.
Make sure you heard them right. A lot of legitimate agencies (us included) will call you and talk about their Google Partnership, but that doesn't mean that they're claiming to be Google.
Next, I would check their facts! Most of the time they call saying you're not ranking or your Google listing is unverified and scheduled to be removed. You can check on these!
If they say that you're not ranking:
- Check any reports you have from your SEO agency.
- Log in to any reporting tools you're using.
- Search Google for keywords + your city and state and look to see if your business shows up.
If your website or Google listing is ranking, then you know they're lying and the information they're giving you is inaccurate.
If they say your GMB is unverified or incorrect:
- Google your business name + city and state.
- Does your Google listing appear on the right side of your screen?
- Is the information accurate?
- Do you see this button?
If your Google My Business listing has the correct information, then you know they are lying. If it doesn't show the "own this business?" button, then your listing is verified.
But do keep in mind, if your listing has the "own this business?" button, that doesn't mean its going to be removed and that you need to pay them. It simply means that you need to verify your listing.
If you own your own listing, you can do this by logging into http://business.google.com and sending out a verification postcard to your location. If you work with an SEO agency, give them a call and they can assist you.
That's not Google calling you. Google does not call business owners in order to discuss ranking placement or online visibility. Google does not sell ranking placement and doesn't care if your business is listed on their search engine. If someone calls you claiming to work for Google and threatens to do harm to your online information, this is not Google.
The only time Google will call you is when you ask them to.
So don't panic when you receive these calls, don't waste the stress. They're fake, and feel free to tell them so! I would encourage you to call your SEO service to confirm that everything is ok, but I promise you, there are no fires.
Be mindful and knowledgeable about Google and you and your money will stay safe.