Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Google Places Exposed: Why Your Local Business Has Been Suspended, Reviewed, Location Not Supported, or Dropped off the 7-Pack

When you have a great location on Google Places business directory, the phone usually starts ringing.  When the phone suddenly stops, you might immediately go check to see the status of your listings on Google Places.  You may be shocked at what you find.

SMB's (Small Businesses) today are at the mercy of the Google Places local business directory.  While many local companies are unaware of the potential increases that they might find in phone calls, sales, and profits from gaining a great rank on the 7-pack of the Google Places Map, more astute owners are working hard to get those rankings and then hold on to them.

However, while Google Places can be a big traffic generator, it is a fickle friend of local business.  Mysteriously, or so it seems, your listing may drop in rank, drop off of the 7-pack, drop out of site completely, or be reviewed, suspended, or have the analytics stop showing, and the words "location not supported" appear. 

Google would undoubtedly be the first to admit that sometime, maybe even often times, these problems are due to hiccups in their systems.  Clearly there are times when Google is introducing something new like tags or "instant" where listings are thrown into a tizzy for a day or two, just to come back to normal later.  And, Google is constantly changing their methods of dealing with various things, and they don't always tell the rest of us what they are up to.

On the other hand, there are some very serious KNOWN reasons why your listing may be in trouble or merely sinking in the rankings.  Here are the big ones:

    ✓    Spammy information in your listing.  This can be the name, address, phone number, description, and possibly the details.  It can also be that your first business category is not one that Google Places has on the drop down menu when you set up the listing.  See Googles rules to determine if what you are doing is outside of their terms. 
    ✓    The location marker is incorrect.  Maybe you moved it to make it closer to the center of town.  Maybe you didn't move it, but Google has decided it isn't correct.  Make sure the marker is in the right place.
    ✓    Your description contains words that repeat what is in your basic information, such as city or address.
    ✓    You don't have any or enough reviews.  If your competition is getting new reviews and you are not, you will drop in rank.
    ✓    Google is not able to find any or very much information about you elsewhere on the web.  This is called citations.  Google wants your information on the listing to be the same as it is on Yelp or Yahoo and especially on your website, or other websites that talk about you.  If your competition has more great citations, you may drop in rank
    ✓    More on citations.  If your name is spumy and filled with keywords or city information, and your website and other places on the web only show the basic name without the spam, you may drop way down or even be suspended.
    ✓    Google is now calling businesses to make sure that they really exist.  If they call your company number and get bad information, we can only guess at the consequences.
    ✓    Multiple listings for the same address or phone number are well documented as a way to lose rank or get suspended or even black balled.

You can reverse all of the above and see each of these as ways to optimize your listing on Google Places.  If you are having difficulties and can't figure out why, call Page1Listings.com at 800-920-1748


Small Business Marketer in Philadelphia said...

My biggest question to you is this:

I manage my clients' Google Maps positions & placements, but what if I need to edit & change the:

1- Name of the Business

2- The Phone Number

How am I able to do that? Does the business need to get the postcard to verify the new, updated information.

Or, can I have the postcard sent to me since I manage the listings?

Page1Listings.com said...

Changing the name and/or phone number is the biggest deal of all. However, in most cases when you do so, you will merely get a chance to confirm the change by phone after you submit. If you get the postcard offer only, then the postcard will go to the address you have used on the account.

Small Business Marketer in Philadelphia said...


Guess I'll have them receive the postcard, because I DO need to change the phone number and name of business name.



Jody Thomas said...

I'd like to say what a great blog this is, very informative, certainly the best site regarding Places that I've seen on the net. One question - I've noticed above you mention that having multiple listings with the same phone number is a possible cause for suspension. This has worried me somewhat. I own a driving school in the UK and have 4 instructors working for me, each in differen towns/regions. I've created a different Place listing for each of them, with the same company name a genuine addresses (their addresses). I have however listed the my same mobile number for each listing as I take the bookings for each instructor during the day. I've not had any problems thus far but do you think this could be a problem in the future?

Page1Listings.com said...

Thanks for your very nice comment. Google has a stated policy of allowing a business to have 3 locations with one phone number on Places. I tend to error on the side of caution, and usually recommend to my clients with multiple locations that they have a distinct number for each location. If they wish to have a central switchboard or phone where all calls are answered, I merely have all numbers forwarded to the main number.

Jody Thomas said...

Many thanks for you advice. I will certainly be using your company should I need help in the future!