Google+ Pages For Local – Known Bugs & Quirks After the G+ Local Merge

Vietnamese Giant Water Bug

The initial rollout allowing single location businesses to merge their G+Local page into the fully social G+ Page for local, while very limited, has surfaced very few bugs. The rollout which occurred on August 3rd has been smooth by Google standards for local but any time a company strives to “release early and often” there will be some.

Here is the list of known bugs, assembled with the help of the top contributors in the forum, to be on the watch out for. Most of these are non threatening but given the limited targeting of this rollout I strongly suggest that you be sure that your business is a good fit for merge. You should be a single location b & m business with both a G+ page and a Places/+Local Page, not be a service area business with hidden address and most importantly be sure that there are no duplicates or other issues with your existing listing.

Problem Description Comments
After a merge, the content on the About Us page doesn’t show at all or the content is from the description in the dashboard The entry from the G+ Page magangment area is not visible MB Note: Rich Text from the original G+ page doesn’t show after merge as it is likely that Rich Text is incompatible with other Mapping products. Google is apparently working on a solution
The content on the About us page shows HTML After rich text content has been approved/stripped for showing on the merged About us page, various HTML code shows to the public MB Note: This problem may have been solved.
Owner of Newly Merged Page Unable to respond to reviews.Reference If the Business page and the Places dashboard are claimed under different emails then the new page owner is unable to respond to reviews Googler Jade:@AutoRevo, I think that happened because your email address in Google Places for Business was different than the Google+ email address you are using now to manage your listing. This is known, probably won’t get resolved. Reposting the responses is the bes
Page in local business/place category disappearing after local verification.Reference After PIN verification “some” of the social Google+ Business Pages are returning a 404 Not Found although the Google+ Local Page will still be visible. The owner/manager can no longer see the Google+ Business Page through the Google+ Page management area Googler Jade: We’re investigating your reports that some Google+ pages in the local business/place category are deleted after going through the PIN verification process. Thanks for bringing it to our attention
500 Error when trying to verify social local Google+ page.Reference 500 Error when attempting to enter the PIN for verification TC Kaleh: Seeing reports of users getting 500 errors when attempting to verify their social local Google+ page. The team’s aware and working on it. I’ll post back on this thread with updates.
500 Error when trying to manage verified page from within Google+. Reference From within Google+ some users of verified pages are getting 500 errors when they are in the “Pages” area of their Google+ profile and click on “Switch to this page” TC Kaleh: Edit on August 17: Now I am also seeing reports of users getting 500 errors when trying to manage their verified page. Similar, but different issue — team’s looking into that one, too!
Some verified pages are not displaying the map.Reference 1, 2, 3 The lack of a Map on the merged page is a symptom of a merge gone wrong or only partially “taking”. It appears related to the fact that a duplicate listing exists in the index. It sometimes manifests itself with a missing URL and/or one of the 500 Errors MB Noted above TC Kaleh: No confirmation that they recognize this as an issueMB Note: Reporting the duplicate listing and affecting the merge will likely resolve
Only 1 or 2 Categories Display on Local Page.Reference The dropdown menu on the merged & G+ local page no long shows the additional categories. MB Note: It is not clear whether this is a bug or a feature. Given that Google has barely acknowledged and has done nothing this is likely to be the new normal. If you need to know categories of a listing visit the MapMaker record.
Some verified Pages not showing URLs This seems to occur when the merge occurs with a duplicate listing instead of the primary one MB Note: Reporting the duplicate listing affecting the merge will likely resolve

If you have any doubts here are three articles to read before your merge:

Google+ Business Pages: To Merge Or Not to Merge, That is the Question

Step by Step Guide to the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process

Syncing Your Google Plus and +Local Pages: Plusses and Minuses

 

* Note: The image above is an Asian Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus indicus). Why a photo of a Giant Water Bug? Glad you asked. My daughter is studying in Viet Nam and has been trying a range of Vietnamese food. Last night she reported having tried Bánh cuon (literally “rolled cake”). This delicate roll made with  fermented rice batter occasionally also includes a drop of cà cuong, which is the essence of a giant water bugLethocerus indicus. Apparently the amount of this insect pheromone on the tip of a toothpick is enough to flavor a whole pot of soup. How cool is that?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google+ Pages For Local - Known Bugs & Quirks After the G+ Local Merge by

24 thoughts on “Google+ Pages For Local – Known Bugs & Quirks After the G+ Local Merge”

  1. Mike, I believe there are still problems with the merge. The other day I merged a listing which seemed to have no problems with the guidelines and three days later it was hit by the dreaded ” we currently do not support” message.

    Google has not given clear instructions to service area business who also serve at their location and I have read different intepertations of the their instructions on different blogs on the net.

    Even in your in your description of a good fit not all is clear – “other issues with your existing listing”. What issues are you referencing too and how would one know if they are ifluencing the listing or not.

    The lack of clear instructions on Google’s part have contributed to businesses losing their online pressence yet again.

  2. @Epanko

    ” we currently do not support” is not a bug with the merge process but a penalty that has existed for quite some time. The merge may have precipitated a manual or automatic review of your listing and they found it wanting on some level. Any business that is located in a residential area should indicate in the Places dashboard to hide their address as Google is on the war path to clean out Maps of businesses that people can’t drive to.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the quick reply!

    The listing I am refering too actually has its name posted on the front door and welcomes customers to visit. I would not even try to verify it if it did not comply with Google’s guidelines.

    “Any business that is located in a residential area should indicate in the Places dashboard to hide their address as Google is on the war path to clean out Maps of businesses that people can’t drive to.”

    I am wondering if there are any references to this statement within Google’s guidelines… The fact that one’s office is located in a residential area does not indicate that people cannot drive to it.

    I was also wondering how one might know if there are other issues that may influence the listing like you pointed out in your post.

    Once again, thanks for the quick reply and your help.

  4. Google Jade’s response about different email addresses for Places and G+ Pages ‘not likely to be resolved is kinda scary; …your email address in Google Places for Business was different than the Google+ email address you are using now to manage your listing. This is known, probably won’t get resolved.
    I thought they were going to deal with this. If not, it will be a huge problem for a lot of people.

  5. @epanko

    No there are no references to it in the guidelines. It comes from experience. Google assumes (algos always make some assumptions) that a business in a residential neighborhood does not receive visitors. It goes on a list and then is usually called by a Google staffer, sometimes in India and sometimes the US. If for some reason that call isn’t answered, doesn’t go well or the “wrong” answers are given, the listing is nuked as being in violation.

    Your only recourse is to file via the Google For Business Help Fix a Problem report, get a staffer to look at the listing and resucitate it.

  6. @Andy

    This is a very early stage of the rollout. As I have noted this version of the merge is best suited for those that have the same address in both places. If you have different emails then you probably should not yet do the merge.

    At some point in the near future they will open up the process to more business and account types AND close down the inputs from the Places Dashboard. Until then you should hold tight. At that point, all management will be done via the Plus management feature.

    The issue is that they are mid way through the transition and need to offer both side the opportunity to add content. When the Dashboard does that, the email address for the dashboard once again become dominant.

  7. I’ve held off for almost all of my clients to assess bugs (thanks for today’s post); I’m going to start transitioning a few today and see how it goes. Those with differing emails will wait :-)

  8. Thanks for correlating and publishing Mike. Sorry I couldn’t do more to contribute last week.

    epanko, a couple issues. Mike is right. Plus if you view their location on maps what do you see? If it just looks like a house a moderator is not going to know they see customers there ESPECIALLY if it fits the mold of a service business that normally only does work on-site. If it looks like a house in maps, it’s likely to get whacked.

    Plus service area businesses even without addresses hidden are not eligible for merge yet. Google does not want them to merge because there is no service area feature built into G+ yet. So it’s possible the merge did trigger a manual look at the listing. Or listing could have just been on a list a moderator got and timing was a coincidence.

  9. Any tips for when an address is wrong on the Google Maps? I have tried to change it on the Google Places and Google Plus listings. I have also submitted it as an error on Google Maps. The location of the pin is correct, but the street is wrong. Please help :)

  10. @Brandon

    If the street is wrong and the pin is located accurately then Google has the wrong name for the street. Only solution is to go into MapMaker and edit the street so that it is properly names. Best to provide references (city website or such) that proves your contention.

  11. Any one else having an issue of phone number and website not appearing in organic/local, Maps, or Plus (local and social)?

    This happened after I verified a Google Plus page (local category). Info appears on Plus (social) page only when it’s in edit mode.

  12. @Linda
    Plus service area businesses even without addresses hidden are not eligible for merge yet. Google does not want them to merge because there is no service area feature built into G+ yet.

    Since service area is not used in any ranking algo and is no longer displayed in Maps I see little reason to hold for this (non?) feature.

  13. If the dropdown menu for categories is indeed a thing of the past already, do you suggest continue to add categories in Map Maker? I’d sure love to see what will pick up the slack in providing Google with data regarding relevance to provide the best search results for users. Optimized descriptions, other directories, the business website, or all of the above?

  14. @Kerry
    The display of the categories seems to be a thing of the past. For now at least, the easiest is to add them in your Places Dashboard. If that isn’t a choice, then MapMaker is an alternative. They still appear to influence relevancy.

  15. @Mike “Since service area is not used in any ranking algo and is no longer displayed in Maps I see little reason to hold for this (non?) feature.”

    I agree but remember someone high up specifically told us SABs are are not supposed to yet. That’s what I was going by.

  16. @Linda

    “Since service area is not used in any ranking algo and is no longer displayed in Maps I see little reason to hold for this (non?) feature.”

    Why keep it on your listing? S*&t can it and move on. Just because Google doesn’t support it in G+ Pages is no reason to not upgrade if after weighing all the evidence you think you should. Deselect it and get on with it.

  17. @Linda

    If service area is not used in any ranking algo why keep it on your listing? S*&t can it and move on. Just because Google doesn’t support it in G+ Pages is no reason to not upgrade if after weighing all the evidence you think you should. Deselect it and get on with it.

  18. Well, I can’t believe no one made any comment about the giant water bug. Cool that your daughter is studying in Viet Nam, and she’s very adventurous if she will eat bug-flavored soup. So many cultures do eat bugs….must be the prejudices of my upbringing, but bugs just don’t ever look appetizing to me. Some folks swear by them.

  19. We had the issue of two different Google Places accounts, different emails. Shame on me for jumping on the Google Plus for business band wagon early. I MUST PAY MORE ATTENTION to MIKE!

    On another note. Since Google serves up the wrong location information for maps a great percentage of the time, I am not sure how valuable the Maps listings are. They use the Searchers ISP routers information for location, and in my case (and I suspect a large percentage of cases) I get results in maps from a suburb two cities away.

  20. @Miriam

    Have never tried one (a bug that is) but in this case its just the essence of the bug not the bug itself… bug spice as it were.

    @MikeB

    Now you are getting with the program. :)

    The ability to geo locate desktop users is still in its infancy. The signals available to the browser and Google as you note are often skewed by the ISP routers.. Don’t you think though that most users if they need to look for local either change the location or add a geo modifier?

  21. “Don’t you think though that most users if they need to look for local either change the location or add a geo modifier? ”

    @Mike, I don’t know. I think its a very valuable question. I am going to send out a survey and ask how many people have changed their location on the browser when searching for a local type business.

    I suspect the great majority of non Internet savey users will not have a clue what I am talking about, while the group that works around the Internet will have a majority “yes” response.

    Today Google thinks I am in Erie Colorado. Yesterday they thought I was in Northglenn CO.. I am in Lafayette. Must be the Dynamic IP address Comcast uses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments links could be nofollow free.