How to Fix “Place Closed” in Google Maps

A number of businesses in the Maps Help forums have reported Placed Closed labels being placed on their business listings. This issue was highlighted recently on SearchEngineLand and SEO Roundtable.

It appears that the increase in Place Closed labeling was due to a change on Google’s end and not nefarious community edits. The designation was showing up on both claimed and unclaimed listings. Google Employee Joel has, once again, been providing information and repair strategies in the Forums (Give this man a raise!)

Google Maps Guide Adam has posted an announcement with steps to resolve the dreaded message:

Removing a ‘Place Closed’ Label

Friday, March 6, 2009 | 5:24 PM

 

There was a recent change that displays the label ‘Place Closed’ on some businesses. If the label has been applied incorrectly, it can be corrected with just a few steps.

For listings that have been claimed and verified through the Google Local Business Center, please sign in to your account and select the Edit link. The editing wizard will appear. Click the Submit button.
For listings that aren’t claimed through the Local Business Center, they’re open to community edits. Please select the Edit link below the address and select Restore Place.
The listings will be updated within a few days. If you’re seeing something different, please let us know in our Help Forum, posting a link to the listing in question.
We’re currently evaluating our usage of the label and appreciate the feedback received in this forum regarding the change.

Maps Guide Adam

These types of events highlight the power and pain that is Google Maps. Google tweaks a bit of code, hundreds if not thousands of small business owners are impacted. Some notice and how many do not? I don’t doubt that the messages will continue to come into Maps Forum well into the future.

Google has, at least, put someone in the forums to answer the question and has offered up a fix. They have also highlighted the fix in the announcement area where it will have prominent display. Those are good things and demonstrate a positive direction in real customer support.

But Google’ solution puts the burden back onto the business to fix the error, an error that the business owner had no part in creating and one that affects their income. One can only hope that the overall general improvement in the index from this action was positive and that the number of affected open businesses was small.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
How to Fix "Place Closed" in Google Maps by

17 thoughts on “How to Fix “Place Closed” in Google Maps”

  1. Mike,

    I also applaud Joel’s and Adam’s efforts to clear this up. But how in the world is a business owner expected to find them in the forums? This is the kind of thing that needs a link on the front page of Google.com, or at least Google Maps.

    ‘Has your business been incorrectly marked as closed in Google Maps? Click here to fix it.’

    The tone of this post makes me think you have changed your opinion on community edits…?

  2. @David

    In this particular case it just happens (apparently) to not be due to community edits. So I am not so much defending community edits as pointing out that a changed bit caused the problem. I noted this because the SearchEngineland article and SEORoundtable seemed to be of the opinion that it was due to community edits. I think we need to know what we are battling.

    Google has stated that community edits are here to stay….THEY think they are great. I don’t believe that Google and the greater industry can ever solve the underlying factual issues with opinions. At some point there needs to be a standard reference point that can be verified or this whole thing will go to hell in a hand basket. There needs to be adult supervision.

    So no, I am not changing my opinion about how Google handles community edits. Can i conceive of way that they could compliment a verified system? Yes but not the way that Google is doing it.

    That being said it does seem that Google has ameliorated some of the most negative aspects of community edits but I am not sure it goes anywhere near far enough. Nor do I have enough knowledge to comment with authority.

    I also agree with you that the message should be more prominently displayed…my kudos to Google were to acknowledge and positively reward their steps (even if baby steps) toward customer service. It is in such stark contrast that even this little bit seems like a lot. :)
    Mike

  3. @PanzerM

    Are they marked as closed? Are they open to community edit so they can be marked as closed?

    Mike

  4. “Google’ solution puts the burden back onto the business to fix the error”

    I noticed that too…

    Well, I appreciate the information about how to fix this, but what a mess.

    Here is a hotel that burned down 3 or 4 years ago, sitting in the A position in Maps for a search for ‘lodgings inverness ca”

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=lodgings+inverness+ca&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=28.943777,56.601563&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=12&view=text&ei=be-ySaTjLJSgjQPF5oDQDA&attrid=

    It is open to edit, but the thing is, I believe their restaurant is still open, though the hotel burned down. I won’t edit it because I’m really not totally sure what the deal is at this place in 2009. Maybe they’ve rebuilt the hotel, but I know the last time I drove by, it was still ashes.

    If the hotel is gone, it’s not appropriate that it’s still showing up in a search for lodgings, but this is a complicated situation, because if you removed it, they would lose their listing and their 70 reviews for the restaurant.

    This is a listing I check from time to time to see if anything has been done to it.

    Miriam

  5. Any chance that this “mistake” could get rid of some of the spam listings? Or do the spammers know a more efficient and automated way to fix it for their spammy businesses?

  6. @Debbie

    I am not sure I understand you question.

    @Miriam

    Not sure what I would do with the listing…I suppose no one ishurt by more information rather than less. Changing the categorization via community edit is an option as well.

    Mike

  7. @Mike If businesses are incorrectly labeled as Place Closed unless the business itself takes steps to correct it, couldn’t the same thing happen to invalid spam entries? (But that would be a good thing.)

  8. I’m having a problem where my school is listed in maps as ‘place closed’, but the address shown is not the actual school address. The real address of the school is also listed separately, but for some reason the ‘place closed’ listing is showing up first for searches on the school’s name, while the real school shows up third in the ‘see more results like this’ area. Also the incorrect address shows up when I search on any keyword where our site appears. I’ve tried to claim the incorrect listing, but I cannot verify it because I can’t receive a postcard at that address (it’s the wrong address).

    Any suggestions most appreciated

  9. @Kate

    This relates to the question PanzerMike asked above…
    1)How long will “place closed” listings continue to show up if they are in fact closed and your question:
    2)Is there a way to remove them or suspend them if you don’t control them?

    The answer to 1) is no one except Google knows the answer and they have yet to say. Google has said that obsolete listings will fall out of the index at some point as the signals accumulate that it is closed. But it is possible that the “Place Closed” designation might speed that up…we don’t really know.

    The answer to 2) is that if you can’t verify by post card or phone it is very difficult to suspend the bad listing.

    In your case, the correct listing is showing in Maps but not on the main results page, right? I can see where the “place closed” designation might leave the wrong impression. Not optimal.

    Sooner or later the “place closed” listing will drop from prominence and then from Maps but the timeframe is not clear.

    I realize that I have not been much real help at all, I am afraid. That being said, please provide the specifics of the name and place and we will take a closer look.

  10. That record is open to a community edit. So you can change the title of the record to that of the church or change the address to that of the business. Go to this link and select edit in the bubble (you may have to select edit twice) and then you will be presented with the option to either “Edit details” or ”Remove place”. I would choose edit details and have at it.

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