Google collates business listings from multiple on-line and off-line sources. To reduce duplication in the index, Google’s algorithm combines listings automatically based on address, phone number, or geocode, but sometimes information for separate businesses will be inadvertently merged with each other, resulting in listings inaccurately incorporating elements from multiple businesses.
Google allows business owners to verify their own business data through Google My Business, and has also recruited volunteers to check and correct ground truth data.Google Maps can easily be manipulated by businesses which are not physically located in the area in which they record a listing. There are cases of people abusing Google Maps to overtake their competition by placing unverified listings on online directory sites knowing the information will roll across to Google (duplicate sites).
The people that update these listings do not use a registered business name. Keywords and location details are placed on their Google Maps business title which overtake credible business listings. In Australia in particular, genuine companies and businesses are noticing a trend of fake business listings in a variety of industries.
Google Local Guides is a program launched by Google Maps to enable its users to contribute to Google Maps and it provides them additional perks and benefits for the work. The program is partially a successor to Google Map Maker as features from the former program became integrated into the website and app