Google Places Tidbits & Updates – Google Locates Dashboard Data & Some Reviews

The Dashboard analytic reporting that has been MIA since the 3rd week of February seems to be slowly catching up. Hat tip to E-mphaisis Internet Marketing for pointing this out. The data in most of the accounts that I check show the data is current as of March 11th. Still not current but only a week behind reality.


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Google has slowly (very slowly) been quashing some of the bugs in their review system that have been so prevalent since last fall. They seem to have quashed another.

My business listing in Google had suffered from a bug that “orphaned” reviews and prevented their association with my business. Reviews that have been missing from my account since last summer but were visible in the review history of the posters have finally returned. While it hardly qualifies as adequate public comment on the many issues of surrounding reviews I will remove my sidebar reminder of Google’s lack of communication on the issue.

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Google Places observer Plamen has noticed Google sporadically returning OneBoxes on direct phone searches of late. Whether it is a bug or upcoming feature it is hard tell:

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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11 thoughts on “Google Places Tidbits & Updates – Google Locates Dashboard Data & Some Reviews”

  1. Mike: I wined the other day abt how crummy the dashboard is…in that it’s data was 3 weeks late. Now I see data up to 3/12. Relative to how Google Places has reported in the past…typically several days behind…that one week delay isn’t bad, but only relavent to the poor delivery of timely data. The Places dashboard has always been late.

    But today I saw something utterly crazy, that the dashboard has never delivered before for one of my accts.

    The business is not a hotel. The business does nothing that hotels do. People don’t sleep over there, they don’t hold meetings there, we don’t have an onsite restaurant.

    Its just not a hotel. But the dashboard is telling me that of 3700+ impressions over the last month….180+ were for the words hotel or hotels.

    Why am I getting this info. Is this business now showing in a map(s) for searches for hotels?

    Boy that would be dumb.

    Perhaps the words hotel/hotels are meant for another account. Maybe google Places is mixing up my data with a different account. We all know that has occurred.

    That would be horrible!!!

    I wonder if a different account is getting some of my data? I believe that has occurred also.

    Frankly the information is typically crap. I have no idea if the information google is sending me represents searches within a 5 mile radius a 15 mile radius or a 70 mile radius.

    Are people from afar looking locally for my business? If I dig a bit in google analytics I can find that. Can’t tell from the G Places dashboard though.

    Fairly regularly I see data in Google Dashboard that mixes in geographical terms on searches for various business terms related to an account. This has continuously occurred even as Google Places has told us they specifically aren’t going to do this.

    When I compare these numbers to analytics I get or more coherently to Adwords wherein I’m running 24/7 accounts with pretty wide geographical areas…..the information from the dashboard and from Adwords is incredibly different. Maybe its adwords stats that are off.

    All I know is the same business is sending me incredibly different data. Doesn’t give me much faith in what they do send.

    Frankly, I’ve always seen the dashboard as a crummy tool, that was thrown up to try and entice smbs into claiming places……and ultimately giving google a shot at getting them to spend advertising money with them.

    I’d like one enhancement in the dashboard. It would make it far more meaningful. Google could close in on this data if not be perfect on it.

    Allow me to establish a radius around a point to tell me about impressions and actions on my site and my maps records.

    As a local business that would be insightful. As it stands now, why write about a tool that is a worthless piece of misinformation???

  2. Mike: I mostly dislike the Google Places dashboard for 2 reasons:

    1. Google developed it and has subsequently marketed it as a helpful, inciteful tool for business owners. Its subsequently used to get business owners to claim one’s listing. Subsequently Google uses it to direct sell to smbs.

    But its lousy information. Business owners should not depend on it.

    2. The dashboard delivers crummy information. Its scarecely helpful and could send business owners in bad directions. Its often terrible information.

    I use the information one of my accts picked up on the dashboard as described above.

    You know the business Mike. Its not a hotel. Why is this information showing? What is going on? Should I be concerned?

    If I’m a business owner what am I to think? Have I done something wrong? Why is my business showing up for a topic for which there is no relevance. I am assured that in the last decade nobody has bought this service for any reason whatsoever that would associate it with a hotel.

    Did I make a mistake? Has Google Places mistakenly configured my business with another as it has done with other businesses?

    So I looked harder. I have a little SEO knowledge. I did a google “advanced search”. I used the word hotel in the search and then put ” ” around the address of my business.

    Some website somewhere showed up. It had created a series of “directories. Every page on this directory had an error. On the top of each list of businesses there was a line describing the businesses as hotels.

    Somehow I suspect the Google algo that picks up directories found this site. Now hundreds of businesses that aren’t hotels are somehow characterized as hotels. Hopefully, Google’s algo’s don’t take this any further. So far it appears they haven’t.

    I searched in G Maps for hotel with the business address. I looked through 150 listings. My business wasn’t there.

    What does that mean or imply? Could it be that the business is showing in conjunction with the category of hotel, but it is so buried that nobody will ever find it ever.

    If that is the case, why is the dashboard showing me this information. Of what possible use could that be?

    I suppose if I were a business person roped into claiming my business in Google Places because of the “insights” from Google and then dependent on the Dashboard for critical information I’d be in big trouble.

    In general we have learned over time that the Google Places index and its algo’s are very problematic with lots of errors, much of which are algorithmic in nature. Its a problematic portion of google.

    On top of that, it has created what I feel is a half-@ssed package of information that has little value, and at worse could lead a business person down the wrong road of analysis.

    So google is somehow getting better at delivering more timely information. In the case of the Dashboard that really may not be a good thing. SMB owners beware.

  3. We were checking reports for clients. On March 22 and on each of our clients the data was current through March 20. On one of the accounts. There was an abnormal traffic spike that accounted for about 48% of the traffic for the month. Has anybody seen any other examples of abnormal traffic spikes as Google is starting to bring the analytical data back online?

  4. New Business listings only have the “postcard” option for validation? – is this standard now or does this still vary?

    Editing a phone number will require postcard validation and editing an address requires phone validation. Mike are you aware of a “standard” process or are there many potential factors?

    Thanks. J

  5. New Business listings only have the “postcard” option for validation? – is this standard now or does this still vary?

    It is generally true but still does vary. I still am offered the phone option on new listings on occasion. I assume that it depends on Google’s confidence in the listing and their confidence in the source IP #.

    Editing a phone number will require postcard validation and editing an address requires phone validation.

    My experience that this has always been this way

  6. Mike – postcard verification is required if Google does not recognize the phone number or if the phone number is recognized but the submitted data does not mesh with what the alg thinks it should be.

    As for the dashboard we are experiencing wholesale “Rejected” flags across entire user accounts. These are for listings that are way within the Google terms of service not spammy listings at all. Also the dashboard data is missing on other accounts.

    Oh how I love Google.

  7. @Mark
    Do the rejected listings include a reconsideration link?

    I would love to look at some of the rejections to see if they are “false positives” ie Google thinking they are spam when in fact they are not.

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