Problems in the Google Local Business Center: Awaiting Next Update

Here are today’s topics in the Google Maps for Business Blog:

•waiting for business listing update
•Awaiting Next Update since Oct 5 2007
•Why isn’t my business showing?
•Awaiting next update
•How to correct listing errors (bulk upload succeeded, but some errors remain)
•Awaiting next update, Which decade?
•Making my business visable
•Awaiting Next Update
•Not listing

If you notice literally 9 out of the 10 postings refer to “Awaiting Next Listing” or “Not showing”. These posts are from small business owners that thought they had gone through the steps that Google indicated and still perceive that they have a problem with their local listing not showing up within the time indicated..(the 10th listing reflects the problems that people have with the bulk updating procedure which is a story for another day). Upon investigation it is almost impossible to tell exactly what these problems really are because the posters rarely if ever provide enough detail and obviously, rarely if ever read the previous posts.

On one level these problems reflect the larger problem of self provisioning and the difficulty in providing a system that is understandable by most small business people. However the problem also reflects problems with Google Local Business Center interface and procedures.


They may in fact reflect a technical problem with Google’s ability to integrate these listings into the main Map results. However more often than not the problem is caused by a communication & interface problems within the Local Business Center itself. Whether this problem is just bad interface design or poor updating protocols within the business center it isn’t clear. It is clear that most small business people find it frustrating.

When I have been able to investigate these problems in the past, only occasionally was Google unable to integrate the listing into the Maps data set. Typically once a small business owner updates a listing it says in the LBC: “Awaiting Next Update” but the listing typically appears in the Maps data set within the next day. The message however remains in the LBC until the next update and often longer than that. Most small business people don’t seem to bother to check if their record is in the Maps data set, don’t know to check if it is the listing or perhaps don’t find it in the Local OneBox. Google for whatever reason keeps the “Awaiting Next Update” message in plain view even after the record has been integrated.

When you combine this problem with the one I noted in Google Local Business Center listings propagate like rabbits of users being confused between suspending and deleting their listing, I have come to the conclusion that the LBC desperately needs an interface lift. While it won’t solve all of the problems small business owners face in attempting to control their listing, it would certainly be a start.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Problems in the Google Local Business Center: Awaiting Next Update by

3 thoughts on “Problems in the Google Local Business Center: Awaiting Next Update”

  1. Thanks, Mike:

    That is a great observation. Early on, in late 2006 and early 2007, when Google Maps became more visable as an aspect of Universal Search via an insert into organic google searches, I saw these types of problems for businesses I review and support. I tried the type of general queries and requests from the support staff at Google Local Business Center and the response was nil. Frankly, Google didn’t have the information to help my sites.

    Then I tried again with specific information as to the site, address, category, etc. Google rectified the situtation rather quickly.

    Subsequent to that I responded to one such query suggesting that they be very specific. Both the frustrated website owner and the Google support team acknowledged the assistance. I assume the wrong data was identified by google and corrected.

    It is both a frustrating experience for the business/organization/and website owners to try and rectify these problems which show up with greater frequency for searches in Google. Similarly, it is a waste of time for Google support staff to deal with endless queries that don’t make it possible to correct the problems, due to a lack of specific information.

    This problem is not unique to Google. Yahoo and MSN’s data bases of local businesses are similarly replete with errors and mistakes.

    The engine that tackles these problems the most aggressively and moves to a more accurate data base of correct information will have a big heads up with regard to the viability and possibly the volume of usage.

    Nice commentary.

    Dave

  2. Yes as you point out, an improvement on the feedback mechanisim from the small business owner to Google would improve things as well. Perhaps even an interface within the LBC that provided a more structured feeback facility into the Google Maps for Business Groups.

  3. I am currently in this same situation of Awaiting Next Update for over 3 weeks now and reading posts from October 2007 shows that the improvement has not come yet.

    There were issues with the batch upload, which got sorted later on, but there was a clear lack of information on how I could get the listing verified.
    Little did I know I was going to have to count on Google to verify the listing.

    Lack of information and lack of support of the Local Business listing could be the downfall of the service.

    The solution ? As mentioned above, structured feedback and improved interface would be the first step. I guess resources in Google aren’t being used on LBC and it must still be a low priority project.

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