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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

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.