Google+ Local Pages Category Confusion

With the rollout of the new G+ local pages, a number of readers reported seeing erroneous categories associated with their listing in G+ local. Jim Froling of 949local.com sent along the examples below that show the types of information that is showing up.

Joel Headley noted at the Getlisted Local Advanced seminar in Seattle last week (if you weren’t there you missed a great day) that it isn’t some new bug or quirk. These additional categories are showing because Google already had the information associated with your listing but up until the G+ local rollout had not been showing the information. If you want to fix this information you can request a category removal either via the new community edit or directly in MapMaker.

David Mihm noted last week that he had noticed that Google+ Local was pulling information from MapMaker and perhaps even giving preferential treatment to that information. At some level that is true.

In March, Google updated the backend of their data pipeline in Places. This is the technology that pushes data from one of Google’s many trusted sources (Dashboard, MapMaker, 3rd Party Sources, vetted community edits or Google edits) to the Place/Google+ Local page. This new backend views MapMaker as one of the sources of trusted data AND due to upgrades in the flow of data pushes that data into G+ local fairly quickly. At the moment, even more quickly than the Dashboard does. Once the dashboard has been updated and the Google+ business page has been created from the Google+ local page, that dashboard will push data even faster to a claimed, an even more trusted, way. For now, Google MapMaker is the fastest way to get information onto a Google+ local page.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google+ Local Pages Category Confusion by

6 thoughts on “Google+ Local Pages Category Confusion”

  1. “Google MapMaker is the fastest way to get information onto a Google+ local page”

    That’s great, except in the UK, where it still hasn’t been implemented afaik. :/

  2. @nigedo
    Google is both rapidly rolling out the new infrastructure for the G+ local business pages and is expanding the reach of MapMaker. In the meantime the Google Places Dashboard will manage a G+ local page just fine (except for videos… which are not working anywhere yet while they upgrade).

  3. Mike: I still don’t get mapmaker and google’s reliance on it.

    I used mapmaker a number of times. I edited info that was “places” oriented than maps oriented. Every edit was accurate. Every edit was denied by a reviewer.

    Ha ha. So much for my own mapmaker “trust” level.

    On a second level you look at histories in mapmaker. It appears that many edits come from ‘bots’. I’ve heard that confirmed from a person w/ deep mapmaker experience.

    One problem on the mapmaker side is that one of those edits can permeate quickly into the Places/Maps side–especially as it relates to NAP info….and the record goes haywire. Not a good thing. My gut is that hit one of my records.

    It is evidently fast…but its reliability might be questionable at times…and its impact can be severe.

    But hey….what influence do I have??? It is google’s world.

  4. update edit: The other thing I’ve noticed in mapmaker is that there are categories up the kazoo. Huge volumes of categories!!! Where do they all come from. It actually looked like spammer heaven to me.

    Alternatively it appears that the categories came from hundreds of web directories with every kind of category a spammer could love.

    My reviews of it…didn’t make mapmaker look like a quality source for that kind of info, at least IMHO

  5. I am afraid my experience with low level Map Maker moderators is also as dismal as Earls.

    They do not seem to check what is in a Places account before denying our edits, or worse making edits they have ‘made up’.

    Also there seems to be an excessive amount of bot ‘chatter’, some of it making ‘Null’ edits.

    We had a Closed office slowly morph into the open office via ‘Chinese’ whispers from moderators and bots. Also google somehow came up with 4 duplicates of the open office by similar morphing. Luckily a Googler took pity on the client and cleared all the Map Maker data. And that is after many calls from India!. The expected Map Maker entry from a new PIN validated Places entry still contains some previous history and the added business name from a Closed office.

    Also for another client a new set of PIN verified offices had one replaced by the office they had moved from and another morph via one office into another. At least I had been posting on Map Maker enough, and despite all those ‘denied’ edits, I seem to have started getting some email feedback and managed to convince the higher moderators my edits were right.

    There needs to be a program of training and some guidelines for the moderators to follow, written by someone who understands Places and the real business world.

    I think Places is poor but Map Maker is just a shambles and you says its driving the blended search results. Oh joy.

    Andrew Huskinson B.Sc. MBCS C.Eng CITP

    AKA SQLPerformance

  6. @Earl

    The many categories are a function of scraping the many directories, user input, dashboard input etc etc etc.

    I think google is using the rollout of G+Local as an excuse to get the SMB to crowd source their categories in MapMaker and get them more or less squared away.

    @andrew
    One of the reasons you see what look like “null” edits by anonymous is that everytime someone even opens a listing for an edit, Google tracks it. That is usually what you are seeing is an edit that has nothing entered. So it was in fact a null edit.

    Naming conventions and variations in NAP are frequently at the core of the duplicates generated by Google. Thus good local ecosystem hygene is critical.

    That all being said, it is still a bitch of an environment where it is just as easy to make it go wrong than right.

    Once the back and front end to G+ local pages roll out, the listing will put significantly more trust in dashboard data. It won’t solve the duplicate issue but it make the main listing cleaner and more reflective of owner desires. Its hard to judge what we see to day as it is so half finished.

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