Google LBC Requiring Reverification of Some Listings

For historical reasons, I have a number of very small clients that I have done some local work for in my Local Business Center account. While not the best arrangement for many situations, it works well for these small clients that are barely computer literate. It has the added benefit of highlighting certain Google behaviors in one spot. Several weeks ago roughly 10% of the listings in my LBC were requiring that they be reverified.

It is not clear what or why these businesses are being required to reverify.

Some of them had geo phrases in the title, some are home based businesses that use residential phones and some are just main street businesses with nothing to distinguish them. All had been in my LBC for quite some time and doing fine.

I am curious if others have been required to reverify? If so, was there any obvious reason?

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Google LBC Requiring Reverification of Some Listings by

20 thoughts on “Google LBC Requiring Reverification of Some Listings”

  1. Couple quick thoughts that come to mind as possible reasons:

    1. A competitor submitted a spam report, prompting reverification.
    2. A “customer” clicked the Is this accurate link, prompting reverification.

    I just went through most of my clients accounts and did not run into that at all fortunately. If either of those two assumptions are correct, that would seem a bit aggressive.

  2. Over the past six months or so I have been contacted by a number of local businesses that are complaining of seeing listings for businesses in addresses that do not exist. Maybe Google is seeing the same thing.

  3. @Taylor

    Interesting theories that could be tested….it is odd that I saw 5 or 6 listings in very different markets where this happened….

    Perhaps just the fact that I had so many in my LBC prompted some statistical review

  4. @Mike

    I have been researching the implications of local search vs. certain phone numbers lately and found that local or residential phone numbers are a possible red flags for certain businesses.

    I have clients that use alternate phone numbers that they own and are actual land lines that have been getting dinged in the local maps. Google’s algorethm is smart enough to figure out what phone number exchange belongs to what business. XXX-YYY-ZZZZ. The area code (XXX) doesn’t matter because local phone numbers all will share this in common. Where the discrepancy comes in is in the number exchange (YYY). This tells you what exchange your calls will route through. A single town may have numerous exchange centers and other towns may not. If you choose this exchange incorrectly you might be telling Google that your number is in fact not as local as you thought, connecting to an exchange farther away than it could be?? Any thoughts?

    I am not 100% sure, but i have had luck with some exchanges and less luck with others.

    Mike, maybe we are coming close to a unification system for tracked calls now ;)

  5. @Kyle

    I have seen Google in fact not trusting certain numbers more than others and imposing different verification methods as a result. I have also seen certain listings using home phones receive “less favorite listing status”.

    In these cases (or at least 2 of the 3 above), the numbers were business landlines and have been at the locations for quite some time.

  6. We were required to re-verify a couple of our listings a few weeks ago – both in the same account, one in Australia and one in the UK.

    We noticed the issue because we suddenly dropped out of our usual place in the 10 pack, but once re-verified we popped straight back in.

    We wondered about a “competitor submitting a Spam report” too – although that’s probably paranoia more than anything, as it’s highly unlikely that both would have been targeted.

    These were the only 2 listings in the account, and both were pretty standard business listings – nothing unusual or different about them that we’ve been able to ascertain anyway.

  7. @Andy

    Thanks for the feedback…how old were your listings? Perhaps Google is going thru some of the very old ones and checking some %?

  8. Hi Mike,

    Oddly, this evening I received an email that was detailed for a “Google Local Business Center Updates for Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting.” I’ve received this type of email before for a business we have claimed, however, in this instance, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, have I ever claimed a business related to Maaco. This is totally incorrect.

    Glitch perhaps in their system? Very strange. The email header checked out, doesn’t appear to be spam. Sender =”localbusinesscenter@google.com”

    Has anyone experienced this before?

    Thanks,

    Danielle

  9. I run a small business from my home and advertise on the Google LBL using my home address and cell phone number since I am a service business and don’t have or need a physical business office for customers to come to. LBL is my only form of advertising and my conversion rate from views to clicks is about 35% from clicks to calls about 30% and from calls to jobs about 75%. I am more than happy with my return, and am always very surprised to see how many larger more established businesses than mine have not even claimed their listing.
    The dark side of Google however is that an unscrupulous business could claim the unclaimed LBL of a competitor, leave the address the same, change the phone number and email to their own, and no one would know about it unless the other business happened to look at their listing (which since they hadn’t even claimed it wouldn’t be likely to happen) or a customer complained to Google.

  10. Just checked all of our accounts too, Mike…and so far, not happening to any of our clients….

    Does make me wonder tho…..I did note that one client now has “missing” stats…were there just last Monday but now all that shows for them is a hyphen….

    Hmm…more google-ness to wonder about….sigh!

    Jim

  11. @Paul

    The ROI in many business is very good, that’s for sure. As more businesses realize this it will become more difficult for the early adopters…

    The ability to hijack listings which was at a peak early last year, has been severely restricted by Google. I would be curious if you have or know of specific techniques to allow the hijacking without the involvement of the owner (ie social engineering)…

    @Jim

    Ah the pleasures of Google Maps…

  12. Hi Mike,

    I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on including those SME business listings in *your* LBC account vs creating their own account for them that they ‘own’

    Do you have any existing posts about this? If not, would you mind expanding on this in a future post?

    I was under the impression it was best (for them) to have their own acount – which would then tie in with their own webmaster tools etc
    But you obviously have a large number of accounts under your own banner…

    thanks in advance for listening

    mike

  13. @Mike

    I have not done any posts about it.

    For the most part, the best practice currently is to claim a business into their own LBC as it does work better with Adwords and ultimately gives the client more control over their listing.

    Most of the ones I have in the LBC have been there for a very long time, long before there was even a best practice or locally targeted adwords or concerns client control of their own listing. It was a time when it was thought that Google was moving towards an agency model for the LBC about and there were no guidance from Google on the matter.

    Also many of these listings are personal friends or long time acquaintances that really want nothing to do with the LBC with whom I have long standing relations. They are perfectly happy with me managing the listings for them.

    Nowadays I typically open a new Google account for new LBC entries.

    That all being said, managing LBC listings in multiple accounts is complicated, confusing and time consuming. They are a growing pain to set up and more work to access. Everybody develops their own work flow but they are not in the least friendly to an agency workflow. Since I typically control the mail server for many of my clients I can work around some of the limitations and still create the account with an email at their domain.

    There are still benefits to having a single login and view of the information and occasionally I will still put a small client into my LBC.

    Ideally Google will get their act together and provide some multi level access so that there are fewer compromises.

  14. Last month we had 7 of our 14 previously existing Local Business Listings come up as “Awaiting Verification” out of the blue. Started a thread about this on the Google forums as there didn’t appear to be any other related issues posted at the time.

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=15da0d201d22b790&hl=en

    Maps Guide Cecelia replied stating that “There may be a technical issue here.” She was then kind enough to email us and confirm the account details, suggesting that if we trigger the postcard verification they would then approve the listings from their end. Sadly that was the last we heard from Cecelia or anyone at Google on the issue, and the postcards arrived this week. We’ve since entered the codes from the postcards and the listings have now been reinstated.

    Still curious as to what may have caused this initially, and what if anything can be done to avoid a repeat of this in the future.

  15. Mike,
    Experienced this with a client’s listing and all of their store locations. One of the locations had some geo keywords in the business title so I can see that one needing to be changed but the 3 others did not. Frustrating because it was difficult to get these verified in the first place since sometimes there was the phone option vs others you only get the postcard option. These listings were verified well over a year ago and there was no notification of this re-verification unless you go into the LBC or search of the listing (angry client call is how I found out).

    What’s interesting is that this client uses their local business listings to show AdWords local business ads too. Google continues to show the local business ads but no longer shows the business listings. Go figure.

    DR

  16. @Calvin

    Thanks for the url. I knew that i had seen others with the problem but due to an aging brain could not for the life of me remember where.

    @Dave R
    It is ironic that they didn’t stop running the ads…but now that I have more examples of it happening relatively spontaneously.

  17. @mike,

    Both our listings had been in place for quite some time – maybe a couple of years – and were probably originally setup about the same time.

    So perhaps the re-verification was triggered by a “listing age” factor. Both listings had been modified over this period though – one just a few months ago.

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