Google Places Alert: Another Ugly Bug That Could Nuke Your Listing

There is a reported service area bug in the Google Places Dashboard that has an easy work around but terrible results if you aren’t aware of it. (Thanks to Steve King of Simpartners for also highlighting the issue to me.)

When a business selects service area the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” check defaults to checked EVERY time you go in an edit your record. Thus it is necessary to deselect the check box or you will suffer the outcome associated with hiding your address. YOUR LISTING WILL DROP OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH (As defined by Maps).

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Google Places Alert: Another Ugly Bug That Could Nuke Your Listing by

18 thoughts on “Google Places Alert: Another Ugly Bug That Could Nuke Your Listing”

  1. Hi Mike, we came across this today working on a client listing, only worse than above even when we had deselected the option the listing was NOT showing the location pin marker and receiving the treatment you mention. For now we’ve had to select the ‘customers come to the business location option’ which is not ideal 🙁

    1. @Andrew
      Hmm… I will keep my out for that.

      If you change too much content during the claim, a duplicate listing is left in the index. You need to report it as a duplicate via the report a problem and wait for a merge. It could take 4-6 weeks.

  2. Hi Mike,

    I’ve come across another problem, whilst helping out a friend list her hair salon with Go ogle Places..

    Initially there was already an unverified profile on Google Places. I took the necessary steps to claim this place and amend details. A week later (after verification via postcard pin entry) we now have 2 separate listings, 1 the original as it was pre verification, and the other the listing I had fully completed with the verification.

    The annoying thing is, the old listing still ranks for the searches it did before, with the new one nowhere to be seen (except in brand searches).

    Do you know what I can do to help convince Google to keep the new fully complete listing and ditch the other 1 completely?

    Any help would be appreciated.



  3. Mike – Remember I was hit the last bug, the dreaded “smooshed phone number bug”, and made the suggested repair of “submitting twice”. That took care of that.

    After reading your post today, I went into my Places Listing just to make sure that I didn’t have the new bug (since I recently updated my Listing with the FIRST bug) and low and behold, my “Service Area and Location Setting” which has ALWAYS been set to “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations”, was NOW set to “No, customers come to the business location.” We’re a plumbing company and customers never come to our location.

    I KNOW I had this set correctly and hadn’t changed it. Now, what I don’t know is WHEN this happened.

    I changed it back. We’ll see what happens.

    1. @Laura
      If you have service area set, every time you go into edit mode, the box will be selected. Deselecting it and re-submit. It will be correct but will default back next time you visit the edit mode.

  4. Hi Mike,
    we’ve been recently hit by that bug as well, and though we changed the service area to “Customers come to the business location” there’s still no data in the dashboard. Any suggestions are highly appreciated. Thanks.

  5. Hi Mike, thanks for the great info about this. I noticed it last week for all 3 of one of my client’s listings. His listings haven’t dropped off the face of the earth (knock on wood!), in part because we just kept unchecking the box (which I’m glad to see is what you suggest).

    But I pose a riddle to you: if the “Do not show” box is checked every time I log in, and I have to UN-check it before I hit “Submit,” and the box is re-checked every time I log BACK into the Edit area, how do we know the box is in fact ever being saved as “unchecked” over at Google HQ? (Sorry to ask you the old “If a tree falls in the woods…” koan!)

    It seems to me you’re saying that there’s no time delay–that you know you handled the bug wrong if your listing all of a sudden goes poof?

    If that makes any sense…

    Btw, you’ve probably noticed this, but it DOES seem as though you don’t run any risk of tangling with the bug if you just steer clear of your GP “Edit” area entirely.

  6. @Phil
    Yes, I did notice that not editing at all avoids the problem. The problem ONLY occurs if you go to the edit screen and if you have service area checked.

    The “Hide your Address” feature will instantly turn your Pin on the map from a tear drop to a circle located at or near the centroid.

    It is this feature, that effectively NUKES your listing in Maps view and in the 7 Pack (but not in the blended results) as it dramatically diminishes the trust that Google has in the listing and it no longer will rank.

    So if you go into edit, have service area selected and inadvertantly leave “hide address” selected you will know because the pin goes to the round shape.

  7. @Laura
    In Google Places > Dashboard > There is no data for your request.
    Our business info is 100% complete, the listing shows up for several queries, and still no data in the dashboard. At the same time I can see some visits from Google Maps in the new Google Analytics dashboard. It’s really frustrating and hope they fix it soon.

  8. Thanks Mike,
    It’s a fresh listing with a brand new address and with no previous history. Is it possible just mentioning “SEO” in custom category, description and custom detail section to trigger a penalty(might be to much)?

  9. I got the hide your address bug. We were number one, dominating GP’s for our area of operation.

    I followed your advice described above….How long do you think before the listing comes back?

    Thanks for the info:)

    1. @Thomas
      If there are not other issues with the listing and the Pin is now pointed, then it should bounce back to its prior state usually within 24 hours

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