Google is paving the way for small business owners to take a proactive approach toward online marketing. For lots of folks seeking better local exposure claiming their business at the Google Local Business Center is their first step into the realm of search marketing. But, it's not always smooth sailing. The maps system has bugs, limitations, and can sometimes misrepresent a business causing a steady decline in leads. Here are 6 common mishaps straight from the Goolge Maps help forum.
Problem: Unable to Verify By Phone
Answer: For security reasons some listings need to be verified by post card, it's probably best to verify your listing first by mail if you have time. For those hard pressed for time if the phone number area code is in the same area as the business, phone verification should go smoothly.
Problem: Listing Flagged
Answer: This can happen if guidelines are not followed correctly, and from reading the forums it will sometimes happens even if you're following the guidelines. To remedy, post something to the LBC Maps forum and make sure it includes the word "Flagged." Generally a Google employee will look at this and get back to you. Here are two examples of that happening.
Forum Thread, Forum Thread
Problem: Listing Not Showing Up
Answer: Once a listing is claimed you will be able to view it via a link inside the Local Business Center. It's a common complaint across the forums that listings do not show up for specific keyword searches. For example, someone claims a listing, populates info and then is upset they are unable to find it for a related keyword search. This doesn't mean that your listing is inactive. It only means it is not being shown for that particular search term. The best remedy is to make sure that your business is listed under the correct category. If not Google will refer you to this page for tips on map optimization
Problem: Multiple Listings or Duplicate Listings
Answer: Claim both of the listings, then make sure each are absolutely identical. That includes address, categories, titles, descriptions, everything. Google should then catch this and update it. Sometimes it can happen quickly, other times not so much. If nothing changes in two weeks notify Google via their forum and it is likely they will resolve the issue.
Problem: Removing A Negative Review
Answer: A negative review can certainly be detrimental. But, Google isn't going to remove that review just upon your request. It is Google's incentive to provide searches with the most information possible about your business. The best defense against negative reviews is to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews. Like they say, the best defense is a good offense.
Forum Thread, Forum Thread
Problem: Your Company Shares an Office Building & The Address Is Used By Another Company
Answer: You're screwed, no kidding.
Conclusion: During the time I spent cruising the forums I found a lot of unanswered questions, but having said that, many of the unanswered questions are from folks that aren't taking the time to read the guidelines and support material provided by Google. Google provides this here , they also have a handy video about claiming your business . A final recommendation would be to use the website www.getlisted.org which is a basic tool for checking the status of your map listing.
Jeff is the founder of Catch Search Marketing. Catch offers local businesses free guides to help improve their online marketing knowledge, including a local search marketing training course. Jeff has delivered SEO results for major consumer oriented websites all the way down to local businesses, he has spoken about SEO at Higher Ed Heroes.
Away from the laptop Jeff enjoys anything mountain oriented, and a constant itch for music. .
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