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The Wild West and Google Places (Local Business Listings) – Google’s Sheriffs Are on Patrol

The Wild West and Google Places (Local Business Listings) – Google’s Sheriffs Are on Patrol

Clint Eastwood - Wild West

A month ago we wrote about some techniques on leveraging Local Business Listings for ones business. While all resources are valuable, Google continues to be the popular choice for a business to be listed under because, well, it’s Google. However, the system still needs to be tamed as it’s still very recent.

As Google continues to mature its Local Listings, it needs to screen businesses. Google Local search results still continue to be the “wild west” of online marketing with practically no means of monitoring it.

For an increasing amount of local businesses, a significant amount of their search traffic and conversions are generated from their Google Places listings. However,  should the traffic be turned off, there is no email notification to advise the account holder that anything has happened until they log into their accounts. In fact, we found out a couple of days ago that iRISEmedia.com’s Google Places listing was “pending,” and  it would take “several weeks” to verify, but this number is arbitrary. After performing the changes stated later in this article, the listing went back to “Active:”

We looked at our listing and, at first glance, there did not seem to be anything wrong with it:

The listing shown above was done to represent our company. We made certain changes which were successful in making the above listing “Active” again. Below, we mention these changes along with several pointers on how to stay “ahead of the game” in the “Wild West” of Google Local Business Listings:

Business Name

Google Places clearly states that the listing must represent ones business EXACTLY as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website. Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of ones business into the business name. Clients before have tried that tactic and have been rejected as a result.

The business is listed as “iRISEmedia.com” which matches the trade name registered with the province of Ontario. It does not include or attempt to manipulate search results by adding extra keywords, or description of the business into its business name. The only question could be that maybe the domain didn’t exactly match the business listing, which is likely to rule out a majority of businesses who are unable to secure their business name as a domain name.

Initially, we placed “iRISEmedia.com – Internet Marketing Agency,” and changed the listing title to simply “iRISEmedia.com,” which matches our business name.

What does the Google Places team monitor?

Google Places apparently monitors a variety of terms as well as formatting, which depending on the context, may or may not be appropriate. Google even admits that because of such ambiguity, they often require a manual review. Therefore we recommend being careful with the “category terms”  you choose to list the site under and the content you place in the “description box”.

When can my Google Places listing be flagged?

The problem is that ones Google Places listing may be rejected at any point in the future whenever Google decides to change its listing rules. If one has optimized ones listing it’s only a matter of time before Google considers the listing as “part of the problem” and potentially blacklist the listing from its Local Search results. Therefore it is necessary to keep up-to-date with any changes in Google’s rules.

How long will it take for my listing to be reviewed?

Google states that the review time for businesses is variable and that new tickets are generally reviewed within “4 weeks.” While in some cases “within” could mean 24 hours, sometimes it could take the full 4 weeks. This is enough time to hurt a business to a point where it might make more sense to leverage Google’s most recent paid promoted places.

Since the rules remain unclear, we figured it might be helpful to provide you with the shortest route to the “Sheriff’s” office. Here is the link to lodge a support request: http://maps.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=maps_flagged_listings.

sheriff badge google

Google now has sheriffs patrolling Google Places!

  • Do NOT use keyword-friendly business names. An example would be instead of iRISEmedia, “SEO Agency Toronto | Internet Marketing Services | iRISEmedia.com” or even “iRISEmedia.com – Internet Marketing Agency”
  • Do NOT use names like 1.877.91.iRISE
  • Do NOT use URLs in names like BestBuy.com when the Business Name is legally “Best Buy”.
  • Do NOT list if one has multiple locations.

What Should You Do?

The only thing that can be done is to have patience and “play by Google’s rules” until they have their system ironed out. It is important to stay on top of any policy changes and make sure that proper adjustments are made to your listing.

Again, until this system is tamed, Google Local Search Results will continue to be the “Wild West” of online marketing with practically no means of monitoring or managing it. Just because Google’s policy is to “do no evil” doesn’t mean Google won’t necessarily do good. Sometimes it’s safest to remain neutral. All right, pardner?

By |2010-07-27T12:19:18-04:00July 27th, 2010|

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