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Solving Common Problems in Google Places - Pubcon New Orleans 2013


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See Mary Bowling's presentation about Common Problems in Google Places and learn how to solve them.

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Solving Common Problems in Google Places - Pubcon New Orleans 2013

  1. 1. Solving Common ProblemsinGoogle Placesaka Maps, Local, Local Business Center,Plus for LocalMary!Optimized!
  2. 2. Google+Local Semi-Merge• Review system changed to Zagat• Review AND reviewer filters implemented• Ramped up enforcement of business listingquality guidelines• Businesses forcing Google+Local merge mustre-verify• Human review required for much more stuff• Google Mapmaker is now has a role in reviewand approval of Places listingsOptimized!Optimized!
  3. 3. Sometimes, It’s Not You!Transition of Places listings onto Google+ is animmense undertaking– Still very much in flux– The new system is not yet ready for• Multi-location businesses• Service area businesses with hidden addresses• Photos from listing owners• Who knows what else? Errors and glitches are common– Early adopters may not have done things right• Lack of guidance from Google contributed to thisOptimized!Optimized!
  4. 4. Google’s Advice on Places/Plus–!category-topic/business/nqzouJ3KkU8–!category-topic/busines– “Verified owner in the Google Places for Business:continue to manage your information from the GooglePlaces for Business dashboard and please wait for furtherinstructions. We are working on a smooth upgrade processfor everyone.”Optimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comIf you have to force the merge, read this(complicated) advice from Google:
  5. 5. Don’t do anything withGoogle Places/Google+WAIT FOR GOOGLE!*(* “you will thank me”)Optimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comGoogler’s Advice
  6. 6. Most of the “new stuff” is not available tomost of us, yet…Read this before you do anything!!categoOptimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comCurrent Google Advice**April 22, 2012
  7. 7. Think Like Google About Local• Google’s trying to model the real world withit’s business listings– It knows it doesn’t always do a great job• Googlers are not local business people– They have different perceptions of what the realworld is like for small businesses• Google has realized that not all businesslisting issues can be handled via an algorithm– Much more Local support has been addedOptimized!Optimized!
  8. 8. Google and Business Listings• Google owns the listing–not the business– Google decides what to put in the listing• Input from the verified owner is just one setof data that goes into the cluster ofinformation Google has about a business• Google can trust multiple sources of differingdata more than it trusts what the verifiedowner provides– It’s critical to have consistent data across the web!Optimized!Optimized!
  9. 9. Google’s Quality Guidelines• Guidelines are intended to be somewhatvague• Not all guidelines are published• Published guidelines change, but info oftennot pushed out effectively or quickly enoughto prevent problems• Google has out-of-date (but often undated)information on its own pages– You can’t always tell what’s newest advice/rulesOptimized!Optimized!
  10. 10. Google Maps and Google Places• Places is NOT a business directory-it is partof a map that shows what exists in thephysical world• Places is just one set of data (aboutbusinesses) that gets layered onto Maps• Places data and Maps data don’t alwayssynch up well– Conventions and guidelines can differ• Examples: address formatting, categoriesOptimized!Optimized!
  11. 11. Google Maps and Google PlacesRequired before a business listing goes live:– Verification– Review– Approval• Places requires verification– Many more PIN mailers and fewer phone calls than before• Maps requires review and approval– Different levels of reviews and reviewers– Some disapprovals are automaticOptimized!Optimized!
  12. 12. What About Those Phone Calls?• Caller ID says if call is really from Google• These callers are charged ONLY with:– Verifying if the NAP in your listing is correct• Often, they don’t need much info to be able to say“yes” or “no” on data accuracy– Example: phone is answered using a different business name– Verifying whether you meet with people at yourbusiness location or not• If not, you should have hidden address in listing– Incorrect answers result in quick suspension oflisting(s)Optimized!Optimized!
  13. 13. Service Area BusinessesService Area Businesses* (SABs) never quite fitinto Google’s concept of businesses beingphysical places on Maps– Google continually struggles to equitablyaccommodate them– Spammers and scammers everywhere in thisspace!• Makes it tough for legitimate businesses and for GoogleOptimized!Optimized!*The business goes to the customer’s location instead ofthe customer coming to the business’ location
  14. 14. Service Area BusinessesSABs that do not meet w/customers at theirlocations are doubly handicapped• these businesses are required to hide theiraddresses in their listings or be suspended• Google+ cannot yet accommodate thesebusinesses– If a “social local Google+ page” has been createdfor one of these SABs, it should be deleted–!msg/business/MOptimized!Optimized!
  15. 15. “Poking” a Listing• Why?– Indicates you are actively managing the listing andyour content may be the freshest– Sometimes fixes problems. Wait a few days to see ifit works• How?– Log into Places listing dashboard– Click on Edit button for the listing– Don’t make any changes-just click on submit toping GoogleOptimized!Optimized!
  16. 16. Places Support OptionsReport aProblemdirectly from aGoogle+ pageOptimized!Optimized!
  17. 17. Places Support OptionsEdit a listingdirectly from aGoogle+ pageOptimized!Optimized!•Be signed into youraccount.•Different optionsdepending on whetheryou’ve merged Placesand Plus or not
  18. 18. Places Support OptionsPlaces troubleshooter:!forum/businessOptimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comQuickest, most reliable way to get help!
  19. 19. Places Support OptionsOptimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comTroubleshooter = Decision Tree•Answer questions and follow the path•Give as much info as you can•Check email associated with account for response•Get fast, useful responses in 2-3 working days!•Continue to correspond until problem is resolved
  20. 20. Yes, Google Phone Support!Optimized!Optimized!
  21. 21. Google and Your Business Forum!forum/business•!category-topic/business/need-advice/_TsTH0PIqdo•!categories/business/technical-issueOptimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.com2 categories:
  22. 22. Google and Your Business ForumGooglers Jade WTop contributors (TC):Sticky posts at the top of pagesAnnouncement icons!forum/business!category-topic/business/need-advice/_TsTH0PIqdoOptimized!Optimized!
  23. 23. Sign Up To Receive Notices!Optimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.com
  24. 24. Be a Google Map MakerMap Maker is a map-making community whereanyone can contribute edits to maps•You can make edits and approve or disapprove otherpeople’s edits• The more you contribute, the more clout you get as apower user• And your edits move up in the queue for faster approval• If you have a lot of edits that do not get approved, yourpowers diminish!Optimized!
  25. 25. Google Map Maker Tips to use Map Maker correctly-mistakes are punished!Optimized!
  26. 26. Google Map Maker Tips• Begin earning trust with accurate edits ofplaces you know very well• Don’t just edit business listings• Increase chances of approval by providingnotes and URLs to webpages that supportyour edits• Team up with others to review and approveeach others edits– Agencies may benefit from a Map Maker power-user account it controlsOptimized!Optimized!
  27. 27. Google Map Maker Tips• Be aware that there are:– automated edit review bots– some types of business always require review bya Googler, some by a super reviewer at Google– tough RERs – Regional Expert Reviewers• Do not try to add a service area business viaMap Maker unless street view confirms itsexistence – add it in Places or Plus, insteadOptimized!Optimized!
  28. 28. Google Map Maker TipsPost to the Map Maker help forum for help withreviews/approvalsLook for posts by Google employeesAnd official Maps guides!Optimized!
  29. 29. Google Map Maker Tips• The Map Maker interface is hard tomaster• It’s much easier to use Map Maker viaReport a problem and Edit on Google+page, if you canOptimized!Optimized!
  30. 30. Problem: No Control of ListingMessages:–“We currently do not support the location”–“Pending review” (for more than 2 weeks)–“The information provided isnt eligible for verification”–“Account suspended”Probable causes:–Guideline violations (most often the cause!)–Google glitches–Back ups at GoogleContact Google support via troubleshooterBe prepared to recreate & re-verify problem listingsOptimized!Optimized!
  31. 31. Problem: Can’t VerifyOptimized!Optimized!www.MaryBowling.comwww.MaryBowling.comDuplicate listings can prevent listing verification•Get rid of all duplicates
  32. 32. Problem: Listings Merge• Use the troubleshooter to report merges• Expect the fix to take 3-4 weeks• Be patient – messing with other stuff in themeantime could slow down the fixOptimized!Optimized!
  33. 33. Problem: Moving LocationsGoogle prefers:–Mark old location closed and then create and verifya new listing for the new location–While signed into account, use troubleshooter toolto tell Google support that you have moved•Give old info and new info•Give URLs for both listings–Message on old listing has improvedOptimized!Optimized!
  34. 34. Problem: Moving LocationsTo try to change the address, instead:– Change NAP on website first– Change primary data providers ASAP– Do not claim listing & change address at the sametime– Do not change anything else until new address islive– You will likely get 2 listings• report them as duplicates via troubleshooter toolOptimized!Optimized!
  35. 35. Problem: Reviews Missing• Flagged as spammy for good cause– Links placed in reviews flag them as spam– Length of review may trigger filter– Words in review may trigger filter• Legitimate reviews caught in spam filter– Viewed as necessary collateral damage• Spam filter has been eased• Reviewers may need more account trust– New accounts– New to reviewing at Google• Location review was posted from:– Multiple reviews from one IP address• Includes review stations at business locationOptimized!Optimized!
  36. 36. Problem: Reviews MissingTechnical problems:– Reviews are attached to a duplicate listing• Reviews left on “wrong” listing• Business owner cannot respond to reviews• Business has moved and reviews have not attachedto new listing– Reviewer has not made their reviews public– Some review features not live in all browsersOptimized!Optimized!
  37. 37. Problem: No Rating StarsTo get gold stars in the SERPs, you’ll needto:•Pay via AdWords Express•Try to get them organically via review mark-upOptimized!Optimized!
  38. 38. Problem: Bad at a glance termsComing from reviews, descriptions, categoriesand other information about business out onthe webOptimized!Optimized!– No one, not evenGooglers, can changewhat shows up here– Check 3rd party sites– to find it , search for“phrase”+”business name”– Try to correct it at thesource(s)
  39. 39. Recap• Things continually change – keep up!• Understand how Google views business listings and Maps• Know how to use the help forums• Know who to listen to in the help forums• Learn to use Mapmaker effectively• You can Poke listings, first and try the edit feature onPlus page, BUT troubleshooter support seems to be thequickest and most reliable way to get problemsresolved• Try to be patient• Be prepared to start over with a new listing and/orGoogle+ pageOptimized!Optimized!
  40. 40. Thanks!Mary!Optimized!