Google Map Local Business Center Update – New Interface & Features

Upon entry in LBC

Update 6/16/08: According to Brett Gilbertson, the new interface is available in Australia and in Canada but according to Martijn Beijk not in Europe as yet. Also of note is that the bulk upload capabilities are not included in the new interface. For a work around for the absent bulk upload, read the comments below.

Google appears to be in the process of a major facelift to the Local Business Center interface. The new interface:
•asks your business name and lists out a choice of countries

•checks against and match the business up to a listing already in Maps at that address,

•requires confirmation that the business is yours

•takes you a new single page entry from with no tabs

•and then onto the PIN verification

The upgrade consolidates the interface and appears to standardize it accross the 24 countries listed. It appears that the upgrade is on-going as not all fields were functional in my test. The verification and matching of your entry with an existing business should limit duplicate erroneous entries and may play a role in spam control.

Another difference was that it now once again requires that I receive and enter a PIN. This requirement had been relaxed on LBC accounts with large numbers of entries. That may also be a spam control measure.

Click to view a pdf of the new data entry screen. Here is a screen shot of the old tabbed interface for reference. Some additional screen shots of the new steps and processes….

Click to view larger, scroll for the balance of images:

Upon entry in LBC

List of Countries Available

List of Countries Available

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Map Local Business Center Update - New Interface & Features by

40 thoughts on “Google Map Local Business Center Update – New Interface & Features”

  1. Another difference was that it now once again requires that I receive and enter a PIN. This requirement had been relaxed on LBC accounts with large numbers of entries. That may also be a spam control measure.

    That sounds like a giant hassle for you. Google should introduce some ‘Verified Local Submitter’ program or something akin to it.

  2. Hi Ahmed

    If it is in fact the case, it will cause professional marketers and agencies a huge problem and as you suggest a ‘Verified Local Submitter’ program would be absolutely critical to any efficiency.

    Given that the interface did not appear fully operational I will wait and see what it looks like when it is working properly.

    Mike

  3. Thanks for the update. I hope we continue to see improvement in this area. There is certainly a lot of potential with Google Maps Local Business Listings, but as you document on this blog, there is also far too much abuse happening and it will continue to get worse unless Google nips the problems in the bud.

  4. no interface change here in Spain, Netherlands and not even in the UK (Google’s European playground ). Also no change in functionality, even when I switched to .com and read the instructions for NL and ES they were still talking about old category system etc.
    I wonder what will happen. And what Google encourages people to do? register their business with local google engines or use the .com (which is errr, more advanced/ease of use? ). Still the photo upload feature takes me back to 1997, Whats wrong with a decent upload application?

    In my opinion, this interface change is to encourage people to add more details to their local business listings. With a single form format people are probably more likely to enter more information. (in old interface, you could just go for finish, instead of going for the next tab) Perhaps some people were not even aware of the extra tabs because of this.

    BTW : when did you get the page listed in first screenshot ?

  5. @Jim – right you are, lots of potential and as you, I am hopeful that it can be reached. This change in interface and verification is a critical first stop in the battle against spam but it is just a first stop…

    @Martin thanks for checking in Europe and reminding me that I too could have checked by changing the URL from a .com to .es and leaving the English language modifier (hl=en-US) intact.

    I am not sure if you are referring to the primary business name entry screen (first on my “more” page) or the confirmation screen (the first screen in the post).

    The business entry screen came up immediately upon the first time back to the LBC even before taking me to the list of businesses. Now that I have returned to the LBC and logged in again it comes up when I select the “+ Add new listing”.

    The confirmation of me claiming the listing came up immediately after I selected edit on the “Edit or Suspend” Screen….so the sequence was

    1- Primary Business Info with country drop down —>
    2- Edit or Suspend Screen with a pop up for the Confirmation Screen —>
    3- The single page details entry screen

    Mike

  6. I meant the confirmation screen, but your sequence layout made it all clear. I’ll keep my eyes out for changes here in Europe!

  7. Hi – this certainly has a huge impact on doing mass uploads. It’s going to be a mass headache.

    Bulk uploads were still available to be done on Thursday & Friday but we did notice a lot off issues trying to work within Google on those days.
    And yes I see those changes in Canada. I was trying to do a bulk upload and kept hitting this single entry snag. I really thought I had lost the plot ! I was singing my ” I hate Google Song” ( it keeps me from wanting to send a 4 letter feed back to Google)

    Does anyone have any idea if they will be restoring the bulk upload ability? Do they honestly think a CMR or any company with mulitple locations will be doing individual entry?

    I think I’m going to be very busy for a very long time. Please send donations to ” Save Joan’s Sanity Foundation” …. aaaaargh.

    I’m going to have RSI like nobodies business.

    Joan

  8. @Joan, try and switch to a european engine (change the &gl parameter and/or domain to a european one, you can keep the hl in your prefered language ) and see if you are still able to upload using bulk-upload.

    let us know!thx

  9. @martijn – I just changed to &gl=nl and it gives me the option to still use a bulk upload.

    Bedankte.

    Joan

  10. I confirm that it has been updated for New Zealand too. The thing I am finding frustrating though, is that when editing your listing there is no apparent way to change the location marker on the map.

  11. Hi Peter-

    Thanks for the info about NZ. Yes, it seems that you have but one chance to move the listing, when you first grab it. If you want to refine it later, you don’t seem to be given an opportunity.

    Mike

  12. @peter @mike
    for the moment you can use the old interface as a workaround to that problem.

    I think Google is just using this ‘play’ with the LBC, to let us file some bugreports in the discussion groups, and then they are able to fix the biggest problems in the close future. (at least I hope! )

  13. It appears the phone verification option to claim your business has been removed from the new interface.

    This leaves only the option of waiting 3-4 weeks for a PIN to be mailed to the business.

    Although this is not very clear, as a text box at the bottom of the screen (with an active continue button) states:
    We’ll send a letter containing a PIN and activation instructions to the business address associated with your listing. After you validate your listing, you may edit your Google Maps listing at any time.

    But there is no confirmation that a request for a PIN has been accepted or is being processed, nor an area to enter a PIN you may have already received in the mail.

  14. Hi Herb-

    I really have not had an opportunity to enter many since the upgrade and was waiting for it all to calm down so I haven’t been in there…so your observations are very interesting an appreciated.

    This certainly makes it very hard for any aggregator and a long delay for any business engaging with the system for the first time.

    Mike

  15. I just went into Local Business Center to remove some photos. It then required me to input in my town and post code and that then required a pin verification. All went fine but my map marker is now incorrect and I cannot find the ‘fix incorrect marker’ button to change it.

  16. HI Anton

    I understand that Google is going to fix the problem of being unable to move a pin once you have entered the record. Currently they only allow you to do so immediately upon taking the record…

    It is also problematic requiring post cards after a record has already been claimed.

    What country are you posting in?

    Mike

  17. We’ve seen several problems since the adoption of internationalization in the GLBC. For a period of several weeks, GLBC applied a country-code prefix to phone numbers. Now with the county as a separate field, the phone prefix isn’t necessary. At this point they’ve reversed the phone number country code prefix (“1″ in the US); however listings verified during that period now cannot be updated without re-verification. Quite a bit of fun to reprovision several hundred listings…

    David Rodecker
    President, RelevantAds
    “getting local business online”

  18. Hi,

    I have a friend who does not have a website, but listed his company details. However, when he googles his business name, it does come up in Google Maps, but shows his competitors URL! How can this happen, and is there any way to correct this? Google is totally unresponsive to our inquires.

    Thanks,

    Alec

  19. Hi Alec

    I would need more info to track this down but there is an obvious bug in Google that has resurfaced in the new update that seems to make this happen more than it was.

    Please send me the business name and the details on the incorrect listing and I will take a look. I probably can not be of much help and I would suggest reposting the Google Maps for Business Group.

    Mike

  20. I own a business where we have multiple addresses but only one business number. I verified 3 sites with the local business center only to find that on the 4th site I could no longer verify by phone and was only left with the option to verify by post card. (2-3 weeks). In the business world, who has this much time to wait on something as simple as listing an address location on a virtual map? The postcard option is a joke! My guess is Google flagged my phone number for spam purposes. But in reality, I have a completely legitimate reason to list multiple business addresses with one phone number. MAKES NO SENSE!!! Anyone know how to get the verify by phone option back?

  21. Hi Brandan

    Once the phone verify option has been turned off you have only two choices (neither of which you will like):

    1)Post at the Google Maps for Business Group and hope that Maps Guide Jen takes pity and turns it back on. This is a bit of a crap shoot.

    or

    2)Take the bullet and get the postcard.

    There is no automated procedure to get the phone number option back once the algo has removed it that I know of. Anyone else?

    Mike

  22. well, you could always use bulk upload (if more than 10 locations) and hope it is processed quickly/quicker than a postcard by mail :)

  23. @martijn

    Do you find that bulk uploads are in any way penalized in ranking due to Google not having as much location authority for them as compared to manual entries in the LBC?

    In the Maslan interview with Eric Enge, Maslan alluded to the question:

    Eric Enge: So the best thing to do at this moment is to do multiple individual uploads to Local Business Center because of the independent verification, right?

    Carter Maslan: Yes, that is the highest form of verification and priority of the data…

    Do you think it affects rank or just trust…and if it is just trust what are the implications of that?

    Mike

  24. @Brandan

    I didn’t realize that it happened as a result of your listing efforts.

    If I were you I would follow Maps Guide Jen’s instruction to the letter, list only your physical locations and hope for the best.

    You may or may not have been banned for spamming. If you have, there is currently NO reinclusion policy.

    Mike

  25. @Mike

    Honestly I cannot tell if it affects or not, the bulk-upload cases I used all rank very very well for various keyword descriptions, but I also have to admit that I always use KML in sitemaps as well. (you would almost say its my religion, hehe ).
    And as that same interview states; adding a sitemap to webmaster central for your URL means that it is authenticated as well.
    So if individual LBC = 2 and BULK+webmaster central = 2, well you get the point.
    I honestly don’t know if we should take some of the words used by carter thát precise or the system thát advanced, but I might be wrong ofcourse ;-)

  26. @Mike

    well, I have to admit that his post to the Google groups could set as an example for some of the other users, if ya know what I mean.

  27. @martijn

    I would agree with your math on the bulk + kml = 2 but I have had little experience measuring ranking success on uploads so I wanted real world verification.

    My sense is that once locale is authenticated, regardless of the method, you are neither rewarded nor penalized.

    Mike

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