Lead-gen sites occupy valuable Google Places spots

General labor industries such as locksmiths, roofing and carpeting may consider using Google Place Page marketing to increase the visibility of their websites.

However, The New York Times reports that lead generation companies are clogging up the coveted top spots on Google's local search results, which, when called, result in vague responses and under-qualified companies. Search Engine Roundtable adds that the locksmith category is one of the most heavily spammed keywords within Google Maps.

Many of these lead-gen companies use certain SEO tactics to fool Google's algorithm to end up on the first page, or even steal local addresses and other legitimate entities to show up on Google Places, the Times adds.

"There are hundreds of these lead-gen sites and they spend a ton of money gaming Google," search engine expert Craig Baerwaldt told the news source.

These companies are phone banks, typically located either out-of-state or out of the country, that dispatch locksmiths or other labor to a site. They often provide an underwhelming service and charge two to three times more than the initial estimates.