Google Maps: A Near Death Experience – Why did my listing Disappear & My Stats Drop to Zero?

Over the past 48 hours, both personally and in the forums I have seen a large number of inquiries as to why rankings had dropped, why reviews had disappeared, why citations had gone missing, why the LBC had stopped showing stats and impressions had dropped to zero in Google Maps.

From the Forums in just the past 24 hours:

Have I been penalised?

My listing has moved from page 1 to page 14 !

If you edit your business, does it drop out from maps for a while?

The troubleshooting didn’t help with the listing of our business on maps. Help!

listing disappeared?

My listing has disaapeared from Google Maps & has being replaced by my competitor’s from Google Organic lis

I have suddenly stopped coming up in local map – why

This comment posted on a recent post here is typical of these many inquiries: “she disappeared completely as of today, dropping to 21 for interior design”.

Even though I know better, even though I realize that Maps is a work in progress, has a few quirks and is undergoing a major renovation with the implementation of the all new Places pages, alarms still went off  for me when I saw stats on several accounts drop to zero:

Picture 59

As I told several folks yesterday, despite a nagging voice in my head that God Google was somehow punishing me, it was probably just a temporary aberration as Google makes the transition to Places. In the meantime, I said, don’t neglect all of your non-Google on-line marketing that you have in place. Its a good time to send out a newsletter, refine your Barnacle SEO, optimize your website for long tail local searches, contact your email list, update your blog and post to Twitter.

Well late yesterday, things started returning to normal on some listings. Reviews were returning, web references were starting to show up and listings were once again popping into the 10-Pack. It does appear that it was/is a temporary phenomena. My working theory is that Google temporarily rolled back to an older data set as part of the Places upgrade. I think the issue will persist across a range of listings until whatever internal changes Google is making are firmly in place.

Google has wanted small businesses to pay attention to Maps. I am not sure that this Pavlovian response was what they had in mind.

To the many small businesses I say, use this as a wake up call that while Google Maps is an important component of your on-line strategy, it should not be the only component. If you have yet to develop those alternative marketing tactics then, rather than developing a Maps religion, become more agnostic and do it now. Religion in this context does not serve you well.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps: A Near Death Experience - Why did my listing Disappear & My Stats Drop to Zero? by

31 thoughts on “Google Maps: A Near Death Experience – Why did my listing Disappear & My Stats Drop to Zero?”

  1. Mike: I like what David Rubin posted earlier re: Google “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”

    Hurry up Google fix these problems ASAP. Today would be great!!!!

    I referenced to you that some of our smb’s have some very very old duplicate and multiple listings in Maps. Some of the data has to be at least 7 years old, coming from some old print YP or something like that. The information gives wrong addresses for two businesses that relocated, both within the last 7 years.

    I decided to WAIT until this “hiccup” settles down, before making changes in the LBC. To quote the first George Bush….”It seems PRUDENT”.

    Nice commentary, everyone needs diversified marketing. Maybe you should publish something about Bing or Yahoo. They are, after all doing some things these days, in fact I’m seeing slight increases in Bing traffic.

  2. Mike,

    You’re advice about not neglecting your non-Google marketing methods is a salient one. Putting all your eggs in the Google basket is not wise. Just ask those businesses that didn’t survive the Florida update.

  3. I think the theory of switching to an older dataset is plausible. Overall, I think we’ll need to change tactics in category keywords, and perhaps even keywords in title if they undergo manual reviews.

  4. I think they may end up at manual reviews, but I suspect they’ll continue to strive to address spam programmatically for a while. Google hates to bring in the human factor if they can avoid it.

  5. @earl
    I think to may SMB’s, Maps seems so easy and productive that they forget that they are there by Google’s graces. When you sleep with an elephant watch out when it rolls over.

    @Jim
    “was” is a little too optimistic I think

    @Brian & Dev
    They have been doing manual reviews on an “as needed basis” but they have been and are making great strides algorythmically against spam as well… I also agree that folks are going to need to change their category and title tactics going forward.

    The case of the “Boobs” was interesting because it was so similar to what we saw last year in LA that I am surprised that it made it through the gauntlet. Obviously the algo has a way to go.

  6. @MikeB

    Eggs —-> basket

    I agree with you mikeB the google maps is a shifting sand and castles should not be built with them.. I have had issues with previous updates I will not lie though this one quite frankly was all fire and brimstone

    but yes The google gods are generous..I will stop wearing my off with matt cutt’s head t-shirt…….for now……

  7. Some listings moving toward normal for me… not completely normal yet but (for example) some citations that disappeared are slowing coming back.

    otoh, claiming businesses looks whacked. “Claim Your Business” gives a completely blank form, no data pulled in from the biz I’m trying to claim.

  8. Another thing that I have noticed is a general slowness of citations being accumulated and listed in the LBL’s. Although this has been going on for about a month and a half as opposed to these changes in the past 7-10 days.

  9. Well, Well, Well ( yes 3 holes in the ground) – It seems Google has lost data from the LBC? Now there’s a HUGE surprise. It’s almost like expecting a cop at a donut shop. You know it’s going to happen, you are taken aback when you see them and yet not surprised.

    I would happen to agree that it is more than likely an issue with PLACES coming on line. I’ve also noticed along with that, some of the listings I have done do NOT show all the additional details I have provided them, sometimes not even the hours of operation, or payment methods. When I click DETAILS – nada, zero, zip, zilch. No details and I toggle over the the LBC and sure as little green apples it’s in the LBC.
    Yet when I go to the same listing through the Universal (WEB) option all the details are there.

    Perhaps it’s growing pains. I’m hoping it is. I’ll be checking my LBC’s in the next few days very carefully to ensure that this is just a pimple on Googles “spotless” complexion.

  10. @ Joan

    “…some of the listings I have done do NOT show all the additional details I have provided them”

    Same. I was logged in yesterday with a client & all the extra info we added weeks ago was gone.

    It’s kinda like a new type of Google dance.

  11. oh “misplaced” sounds so much better. I’ll convey that to my clients that have been wondering what’s been happening to their details, they shouldn’t worry, Google has only misplaced them.
    And as the old nursery rhyme goes …” Leave them alone and they’ll come home wagging their tails behind them. ”

    So I’ll try to be Bo Peep and calmly await the arrival of all the “misplaced” details. :) Let’s hope they are Jack of the Jack be Nimble fame!

    Sincerely
    BoPeep.

  12. Hi there and hello from the UK! Just wondered how you are all getting on with the ‘misplaced’ data issue within Google Local? Exactly the same thing has happened to us here in the UK and, as yet, we still seem to have almost all of September’s updated Local content missing from Maps altogether. Have things improved across the Atlantic?

    Best Wishes

    PB

  13. @ Phil – All right then mate?

    I just checked several of my LBC’s and a couple dozen of my listings that have reports and everyone has a zero count on Oct 6th. Which could be because they haven’t figured out the tally yet for the Impressions & Activities OR it’s all buggered up.

    Again.

    *sighs*

  14. Things have for the most part returned to normal. I think that the zero stats issue is separate from the missing listings. I think tha perhaps they are not updating the stats as frequently during the upgrade process. The missing stats will show up once they do so. I have not rec’d an answer as to what happens to the listings or why they may need to dial back to an earlier data set.

  15. Thanks for your comments Joan and Mike! Guess it’s a case of wait and see what happens. Will keep checking your fine blog.

  16. I’ve had a similar experience to what you mentioned but have been looking for an answer for over a month now. Google maps have always showed up for keyword + location for my business, but for about a month, a google map was also showing up when I typed in my company name only (no location). The map has since disappeared from the company name only keyword results and I’m not sure if it was google just testing things out, if I did something to get the map to appear, or if I perhaps did something to make is disappear. Any ideas?

  17. I am having an issue right now with my maps listing it seems. I changed my physical address and POOF, my listing is gone. I “show up” under my new address for my business name and that’s it. I just changed my address yesterday, so I’m trying not to panic. Should I be worried that my listing went from being a dominant #1 listing in my former city to number 100 or so in my new city?? Does it just take time to creep up?

  18. Nate,

    It’s likely that much of what was being seen as a citation by Google was lost when you made the move. This is especially the case if you changed your phone number as well.

    You should update your address (and phone number) at all the places you listed your address.

  19. @Brian Combs,

    Thanks for the reply! I did not change my phone number, just the address.

    I moved from Peoria, AZ to Phoenix, AZ. It’s about 10 miles away. I am working feverishly to update my citation sources like Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, etc, I just didn’t think I would literally disappear from the Google Local results.

    I used to be the OneBox holder for all search terms in Peoria, AZ, now I don’t even exist in the search. I don’t appear for Phoenix either, which is what is alarming…

  20. Nate,

    Your listing is no longer based in Peoria, so you’re less likely to come up there. And Phoenix is likely a much more competitive market than Peoria, so it may take some effort to rank there.

    Brian

  21. Thanks guys. I read both those posts before I changed my address. I suppose I will sit an wait to see what happens…

  22. I spent days at end to get a first page spot on some of the local business listings on keywords I needed. I wake up today and wham! no more listing at all, from 1st page to nowhere …. if some1 can assist, please feel free to write to me.

  23. Hey Mike,

    Wondering if you could help me with something. A few weeks back, I claimed an unverified listing for a client. The new verified listing was doing great ranking for the client’s keywords. All of a sudden today, I google their keywords and the old unverified listing is back. How the heck is that possible? What do I need to do to get the verified lasting showing up in Google maps again?

    Here’s the old/unverified listing that is showing on Google Maps now. http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=la+roofing+fort+worth&fb=1&gl=us&hq=la+roofing&hnear=fort+worth&cid=9987239898784051979&dtab=2&action=open&ei=7drgS-OqFsX_lgeB7sDwCA&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=write-review&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQtwQwAA

    and here’s the new/owner verified listing that is no longer showing up
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&georestrict=input_srcid%3A16468fb14efd2fc1

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

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