Google Scraping Website Content to Add New Services in GMB
Over the past few weeks, our Google My Business Management Team noticed an increase in automatically added services on GMB listings. The services appear live on the listings – business owners aren’t asked to review or approve additions.
Google says these additions are “added or removed from your business based on feedback from customers and other Google sources.” After examining several listings, it seems Google is scraping website content to generate these additional services.
“Faucet repair” was recently added to Whitespark’s list of Services.
What can we say? We do it all.
While some additions – like our foray into plumbing services – may seem wacky, we searched our website content and found a match in our Local Rank Tracker’s FAQ section. It’s worth noting that this FAQ is new to the page content and was published in mid-March 2021.
While some services seem to have been enabled from the pre-populated options based on the business listing’s categories, most of the additions we found were custom. Business owners can add these “create your own” services as well.
To support the theory that the new services were being scraped from the website, we reviewed the services automatically added to listings against their website content. On the listings we analyzed, most of the added services were found in new content, lists or FAQ sections.
A tree service business listing we analyzed has 46 services, 40 of which were recently added by Google.
While half were good additions of services offered by the business, Google also added 5 services the business does not offer, including “roof repair” and “pest control” and strange services like “trees healthy,” “hazardous tree,” and “training young trees”.
Most of the added services were mentioned throughout the website content, often in unordered lists.
As Google seems to be scraping this information from website content, businesses may end up with some wacky additions but may also unknowingly be promoting services they don’t actually offer.
For example, the addition of “roof repair” as a service on the tree service’s listing seems to have been added based on content on a page about their bucket truck, which is available for hire for roof repair.
“Steam clean” was added to this clothing alteration service’s listing. They don’t offer this as a stand-alone service but is mentioned in the FAQ content on their dress cleaning page.
How to check your GMB Services
Business owners and listing managers should check their Services for unwelcome additions but understand that Google seems to be connecting these services to your business, likely based on your website’s content. Check your website content for mentions of services you no longer offer and regularly check your GMB listing for updates.
Services are visible on business listings in mobile browsers.
In the dashboard, automatically added services often appear in orange text. To check your listing for added services, open the Info tab and review entries in the Services field. If you find inaccurate categories, you can simply delete them or edit them for clarity.
Other fields that can often be updated automatically by Google include Attributes and Service areas.