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.

Whitespark's GMB Services List

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.

Pre-popuated services based on business listing categories

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.

List of Services on Tree Service GMB Listing

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.

Google scraping website for services

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.

Website content including keyword automatically added as service

“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.

Do you need an eagle eye on your GMB listings? Our Google My Business Management Service includes listing monitoring to protect your listing from inaccuracies and malicious edits. We monitor your business for changes to your categories, name, address, hours, phone number, website, services and attributes.

AUTHOR

Allie Margeson

Allie been helping small business owners get the most bang for their marketing bucks since 2014. She loves the opportunities and challenges of local search marketing and Google Ads. She has a knack for helping busy entrepreneurs, owners and marketing managers understand the value of local search efforts, without all the jargon.

3 comments on “Google Scraping Website Content to Add New Services in GMB

  • I had noticed this good to know, question how do you correct a service that has been crossed out or line drawn through in black or grey as well as except some new edits

  • Great little shout out. Not seen it in the UK yet, but it does show you that Google values services in the GMB listing and that companies should own this and fill it in comprehensively themselves as well as keeping an eye on Google scrapings.

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