Home – New Forums Marketing mastery Are You Checking Your Google Local Business Listings?

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  • #968018
    bushsong
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    Google seems to have lost the plot with some of the Local Business Listings and it would be a good idea to check yours.

    I operate a fair bit in this space for a number of clients and have seen some horrific things of late. A client in the carpet cleaning niche in Sydney has someone else’s heading and phone numbers on his listing, yet his web address is correct. This is not only when looking for his listings in Google Maps (now Spaces), but also when you view his listing from his Local Business Centre page.

    I’ve just been looking at the same niche in Melbourne where the top listing is a dentist! Well, it is actually a carpet cleaner, but the URL is for a dentist. I’ve seen several other examples over recent months where similar issues are occurring.

    The biggest problem here is that there is no method of appealing to Google apart from their Forums. There is no way of reporting an incorrect listing. Google seems to be aggregating information from across the web and getting it completely wrong. You would think that an owner verified listing would take priority in terms of the information supplied. I mean, wouldn’t the owner know their correct address and other details?

    Going into the Local Business Centre and changing some descriptions and then resubmitting seems to have no effect on changing the listings.

    Mind you, a lot of listings are correct still, but if you have claimed your listing, then it might be a good idea to have a look and make sure it’s correct.

    I would be most interested in hearing reports of other businesses experiencing similar problems.

    Cheers,

    #1030344
    Gordon Akman
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    I have noticed in the last week if you type my business name into google my local business listing for Brisbane displays but with the heading from my Sydney listing.

    #1030345
    JohnW
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    Gordon Akman, post: 36387 wrote:
    I have noticed in the last week if you type my business name into google my local business listing for Brisbane displays but with the heading from my Sydney listing.
    Hi Gordon,
    Google tells me you have claimed your Sydney/Brisbane business listing. In fact, I don’t see a listing that has a Sydney address. Is there supposed to be one?

    Was there a Sydney listing at one stage that was edited for your Brisbane company?

    Before you claim your listing, Google uses Yellow Pages business information. The Google business titles you use indicate that someone has amended them after reclaiming the business listing.

    Google introduced new guidelines for business listings in maps late last year. http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107528

    Now, you are only supposed to use your real business name in the title and not include additional info about the services you provide.

    It is reported Google has been cracking down on people who enter multiple listings without real presences where they claim listings. You may have been accidentally caught up in this net.

    Regs,

    John W

    #1030346
    Tristan Boyd
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    Google local listings is a tricky one. They say that you should only use your business name as a title, but it’s pretty obvious that they are rewarding listings with Keywords in their titles.

    There are plenty of listings that are pretty spammy. I suspect the whole thing will be fairly volatile until Google works out how it’s going to manage it fairly.

    #1030347
    JohnW
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    Tristan Boyd, post: 36991 wrote:
    Google local listings is a tricky one. They say that you should only use your business name as a title, but it’s pretty obvious that they are rewarding listings with Keywords in their titles.
    Hi Tristan,
    I could not agree more about “tricky one”. It seems to me Google forewarns then at some stage in the future does something.

    Maybe it’s a Google and government plot to make us all register new business names with our location and industry type in the name. :)

    Regs,

    John W

    #1030348
    JohnW
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    Gordon Akman, post: 36387 wrote:
    I have noticed in the last week if you type my business name into google my local business listing for Brisbane displays but with the heading from my Sydney listing.
    Hi Gordon,
    Since my earlier post, I’ve realised things are more complex for your listing.

    If you web search Google for “recruitment services Brisbane”, your correct Brisbane listing displays as pin “F”. If you go through to more results, your “Sydney” page title listing crops up in position “P”.

    The only facts I can offer is that you are not alone. See the following Google Help forum thread…

    “Help – Old Listing Keeps Reappearing Even After I Claim It and Suspend It!”
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=6edbc730fabacb93&hl=en

    Depending on how you edited your Sydney listing, this Google Help forum post may help:

    Verifying a Business Listing – So many problems!!
    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=0560a689115fbcd9&hl=en

    Regs,

    John W

    #1030349
    Ali Dark
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    Hi Bushsong – It’s not the first time I’ve heard of this!

    http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/warning-dont-use-google-maps-servicehome-business-tools-yet/2991/

    #1030350
    marketingweb
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    Most problems can be solved by correctly claiming the listing and fixing it yourself – although sometimes this can be a bit tricky in itself, and you probably already know this by the sound of it.

    This link may also be of some use – the information there was updated recently:
    http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176504

    My biggest frustration with Google Places (the new name of local business listings) is that it’s very difficult to get ranked without a yellow pages listing. If you are in a market where not many have claimed listings and you claim yours and update with lots of details, you will usually get a good listing boost. But if a business isn’t in yellow pages it’s very difficult but not impossible to go anywhere at all.

    Matt
    Marketing Web

    #1030351
    Gordon Akman
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    Thanks for looking into my listings, JohnW. My best guess at this stage is my True Local listing has caused the problem. Because they only allow one business location with their free listing service I asked them to use my Sydney location.

    #1030352
    IgniteDM
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    I know for a fact that some SEO companies are spamming the cr4p out of the Google LBC … and its working for them.

    There is one company in particular who have mastered the art of manipulating the listings/rankings for the Google LBC listings and it includes not only the Yellow Pages references. From their perspective, Google feed from not only Yellow Pages but many (some would say all) other directories on the web that contain information about your business.

    One of their tactics is to go through any and all directory listings a business has on the web and ensure they all reference the same title and phone number and address. Sometimes this is possible.. other times not. As some directories rip their information from other directories and dont allow for updates etc.

    From the extensive testing they have carried out this seems to be a key tactic that works when it comes to getting your business to rank in the business listings. So if you are having no luck with updating your listing by claiming it, or updating your Yellow Pages listing.. start looking further afield to other web directories such as True Local, Local Business Guide, Hot Frog, dLook etc.

    The key seemed to be to ensure the phone number matches the address and the title of the listing. i.e dont have a listing for ‘Dentist Orthodontist Sydney’ with 1800 Dentist and Dentist Melbourne with 1900 Dentist. Go with different phone numbers for each of your listings.

    #1030353
    Ali Dark
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    Wow some good info there. Thanks!

    #1030354
    bushsong
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    G’day all,

    Been watching the threads here. In some ways it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one experiencing the chaos created by Google, but at the same time I feel your pain.

    Alternate directories are a big problem with the LBC. Google certainly scapes this information and why the hell they put a higher value on the content than the owner’s own information has got me beat. A client of mine has just cancelled his Yellow Pages listing because as soon as they fixed it, it just went up the creek again with the next feed to Google from their database.

    Although Google is taking it’s main feed from Yellow Pages now, (it used to be TruLocal), it creates some interesting situations from my observations.

    First of all, you will quite often notice that several of the listings that actually appear on the front page have mobile phone numbers. These do NOT come from Yellow Pages and appear to be a method of “gaming” the system.

    Secondly, if there is a feed from Yellow Pages and an owner verified listing in the system, you will have problems because of duplicate listings, particularly if they are at the same address. So, if you “claimed” your listing in the pre Yellow days, a new listing may have been created by Yellow when they started feeding Google with their data.

    Of course there is so much speculation and so little information and as someone has already said in the thread here, the gaming of the system is absolutely rife. If this were organic SEO, Google would have jumped on it ages ago.

    As a sidenote, I found that this thread is actually ranking on Page 1 of Google for Local Search at number 9. Perhaps someone from Google will actually see it and take some damn action about their entire algorithm for local search.

    Cheers,

    #1030355
    IgniteDM
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    The last time I touched our business listings was when someone ‘in the know’ advised me it was best to have multiple listings for the same business.. each targeting a different keyword.

    Then of course, they did more testing and worked out this was a bad idea.

    But now Im too scared to touch it in case I bugg3r it up more ! So it can stay lol… I rely on appearing in the serps for the keys I want (or working on it anyway).. Google not to be trusted ! What a scam ! lol

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