Google Places – Do 800#’s Put Your Listing in Places Purgatory?

The general consensus in the Local Search industry has been that using an 800# in a Places listing might be a cause for some loss of rank but was generally not considered a deal breaker. Has the new Google Places Rejection algo now found a place for burying businesses that use an 800 number?

This poster, who recently had been relegated to Google Places Purgatory, found his way back to the promised land by simply replacing his 800# with a local exchange:

My Listing disappeared from Google Maps even though my listing is “active”

hac76
Level 1
11/12/10
I received an email from Google Places advising me that my business Google Places tag was recently deactivated for violating Google Places Quality Guidelines. I made changes to the tag line and the listing is completely accurate. However, my listing does not appear on google even though my listing appears as “active.” Please help.

eGumBall
Level 2
11/13/10
Yep… 2009 geo phrase tricks in the business categories… Google will no longer support that location.  While you have to reset up your listing in another account maybe its time to consider using a local line over the 800#.

hac76
Level 1
11/13/10
Looks like the phone number was the problem. I changed the 800 number to the main land line and the listing appeared. You all have been very helpful. Thanks again for all of your help!

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places - Do 800#'s Put Your Listing in Places Purgatory? by

10 thoughts on “Google Places – Do 800#’s Put Your Listing in Places Purgatory?”

  1. While I’ve always recommended people use their official local (not a call tracking number either) over 800s in Google Places, this is the example to top off my official Places Do’s an Don’ts sundae.

  2. @Ryan
    I am with you. Although we will never know if Purgatory is a binary state (single cause, in or out) or based on a continuum… ie does it need a score of 8 out of 10 and by changing that one item they fell below the threshold?

    Theory aside, not using an 800 number has always made sense and more so now.

  3. Hmm,
    The account that i had condemned wasn’t using 0800 numbers. However it was using a geo number that went to a different location (the main booking office).

  4. Was just a regular phone number like what you would have in your home. Had a normal area code, just not for the right area.

  5. Hmmm interesting… I have a client that has both the local and #800 for both biz and fax. They are servicing locally but have another part of the business with customers all over Canada and the world. They have lousy placement now due to the changes in local… but before the Oct. 27th they had held good positions just having the city in the title and using the usual contact info on every page.

  6. My feeling, and has been this way for quite some time, is that the reject algo is very new and a lot slides under the table. I think it also comes in to play a lot more on new accounts or accounts that update information while a lot of people with older accounts slide through the back door to the ranking party.

    So, 800 #’s are more than likely going to hurt and drop rankings but a few people will get by un-harmed….like false business titles, locations in categories, and the ever changing penalties for the description box that only seem to hit a few.

  7. This is not really a new phenomena. We first experienced the toll free flag a few months back and no longer submit client toll-free numbers at all. It really is incredible the power Google is having over local businesses. Pretty soon all small businesses will be like the companies in Texas (you know Longhorn Steakhouse, Texas BBQ, Texas Dental, Lonestar Taxes, etc) and will have to file DBA registrations as “Florist Los Angeles” or “Plumber Palm Springs”. I guess it is a normal transition though… reminds me of companies named AAA Whatever to be ranked at the top of Yellow Pages books.

  8. @Mark

    I would agree that the phenom is not new… the method of punishment though appears to me somewhat new (within the past 6 months). There is not much written about what causes the entry into purgatory nor how to get out of it…. this case is just one of the solutions.

  9. @Nick
    Perhaps the odd area code did play a roll

    @Terry
    There are also penalites around geo phrases in the title. But most changes since the 27th revolve around the much heavier current reliance on organic strength.

    @Mike R
    I think you are right. Although it seems in some account, Google is starting to circle back and apply some of these new restrictions.

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