Current Google Plus Page URL Cluster F%&k Alert

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.44.48 PMStarting Monday we started seeing a growing number of weirdly formatted G+ Pages for local. Apparently it is being caused by the fact that Google has changed EVERY MANY G+ Plus page url for local (not all pages but definitely some…).

Most of the new URL’s redirect accurately but for some fairly large percentage that is not the case. In those cases, the old URL’s 404 and the new ones take users to a franken-page that looks half local and half brand.

Uncle Bob s Self Storage About Google

Uncle Bob’s Storage, a large national storage company with their HQs in Buffalo,  was tracking the change and noticed that of their 537 locations, 482 correctly redirected but that 55 of their locations did NOT redirect correctly. Thus somewhere on the order of 10% of all G+ Pages for Local that were redirected may be in this malformed state*. And the old URL’s are generating 404 errors!

Here are two URLs from Uncle Bob’s larger sample that show both a malformed & problematic outcome and one where the redirect works correctly:

Old URL New URL Status
https://plus.google.com/104293257073313824810 https://plus.google.com/104654323590397403528/about Old URL 404’s and new one is a Franken page
https://plus.google.com/116238460079913628835 https://plus.google.com/b/114198565595588604622/ Was broken and now fixed
https://plus.google.com/110463140997869677948 https://plus.google.com/103476571530254149133/about Redirects Correctly

A bigger problem confronts those of you that were using your G+ Page URL in your marketing to get your customers to your page. Some fairly large* percentage of those URLS are currently broken and need to be tested.

The problem is that these new franken-pages do not show reviews and do not offer any way to gather reviews so until Google fixes this there is no easy work around if you are using the Plus url for your review program other than sending users to a search for your company.

This sort of craziness demonstrates why as a user or agency you should always track the URLs for your local page in Plus, Maps and Mapmaker and track the core CID.

* We don’t really know how many pages were affected by the redirect and of those how many didn’t redirect correctly. While my sample size is largish, it is for just one business. They could be the unlucky ones. We don’t know whether their % is typical of those pages that were redirected and we have no idea of how many pages in total were redirected. Regardless, capture your URL now and watch the page for the next several weeks if you are using the URL in your marketing

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Current Google Plus Page URL Cluster F%&k Alert by

28 thoughts on “Current Google Plus Page URL Cluster F%&k Alert”

  1. @Phil
    The way Google works is that they roll out an “upgrade” to some subset of users. Then they see how things went. If they catch problems before all are affected their stop, fix it and then go for it again.

    That could explain why you were not affected.

  2. “The way Google works is that they roll out an “upgrade” to some subset of users.” Yes, I’m aware. I’ve been doing this for a while, too.

    But you wrote: “Google has changed EVERY G+ Plus page url for local (all pages?).”

  3. Something similar happened to about 7 of my locations a few months ago.

    Shortly after getting verified the G+ URLs changed with no redirect.

  4. Thanks for the heads up, I haven’t noticed any issues with a handful of ones I checked.

    Any chance there is a way to bulk download all Google+ URL’s? Checking 1500+ location listings, one at a time is not how I want to spend the rest of my day.

  5. This happened to one of my clients last week. We first noticed it on October 22nd. The live Google+ page didn’t have reviews, a review button, or a phone number. All that information was correct in the GMB dashboard and if I clicked the link from the dashboard, the page looked like a verified Google+ Local business page. I tried a variety of edits in the dashboard with no luck.

    I contacted Google support and they fixed the issue in less than 24 hours.

  6. Interesting! I also heard that Wix based websites were being progressively un-indexed this week? Maybe Google is having a bad week ….

  7. It would be interesting to see how many companies decide to migrate their sites from Wix to a new platform after this issue. That’s a significant problem that as far as I can tell hasn’t been resolved yet.

  8. @Sarah
    @Derek

    The issue with Wix sites is that they use AJAX pagination, which recently Google stopped crawling (it least in the way they used to). Wix sites have had crawlability issues for a while, in my experience.

    Although it’s really Wix’s fault (as Mike said), enough people use Wix that Google’s engineers are “working on it,” apparently:

    http://searchengineland.com/google-has-deprecated-their-ajax-crawling-scheme-233402

    That problem’s almost certainly unrelated to Google’s botched Places/Plus URLs, though.

  9. I have noticed the same thing that you describe. If the business only has one google pg and it turns into a franken page (love that term) I have been able to find the new url by searching the business name and “google plus page”. If the company has multiple locations then I have a tough time. Once I was able to call google and get a url for that pg but it depends on the tech you get and if they have a clue. The % I am seeing match your example fairly closely.

  10. So is this an intermediary step on the way towards finally fixing their local pages, or a sign that they have no idea what they’re doing?

    Also your link to Uncle Bob’s Storage is broken, fwiw.

    1. @John
      Yes.

      For Google it has always been 2 step forward and 1 back. With Plus and its extrication its been 1 step forward and 2 back. Time will tell whether know what they are doing or not.

      Thanks for the heads up on the link…. Safari seems to want to hide URLs these days.

  11. Hi everybody,

    regarding to the article from October, 28th 2015, we have the new type of duplicate (franken-pages) pegged as a new challenge which is unquenchable on your own.

    By having contacted Google we’ve received the answer for these unquenchable duplicates. The franken-pages arised from deleted, confirmed or not-confirmed, entries from Google Maps. These Google+Pages haven’t been updated for a long time, which is the reason why Google Maps deleted these entries. These Google+Pages can only be deleted from the account which created it.

    There are two different approaches to initiate the deletion:

    1. Confirmed unequenchable duplicates you can apply for possessorship by calling Google.
    2. You have to pass in a thievery of identity, to delete un-confirmed unequenchable duplicates.

    It can take upto 1 year, that these franken-pages will be deleted by the system.

    Does anyone have any ideas for an faster solution. 😉

    Greetings from Germany.

  12. We have seen versions of this in our bulk GMB listings. The page in the feed is just fine. However, clicking on a link to the G+ listing from the agency page — which had previously been correct — goes to a “Frankenpage” with the same URL as the correct listing.

    I did click on all 4 links provided in Mike’s article above and didn’t get any Frankenpages — just identical local listings, that look pretty standard.

  13. @Mike
    I’m sure it’s still in a state of flux, which is why your “bad” examples are now “good.” I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something. It’s probably best to let it all sort out a bit. We started an email thread with Google support sharing some examples but have no answers, just acknowledgement.

    1. @Matt given that the other 40 or so are still broken and my example one is fixed I would suggest that Google did a “hand job” on an embarrassing public example. I added the next one down the line. Maybe they will fix that one next. 🙂 It could take a long time to get through all 39 remaining.

  14. Hey guys, I am having the most difficult time finding the Google Plus URLs for businesses as of late. I usually search “business name google plus” and that has typically returned the right URL in the SERPs but I have a business now that is not showing up in the SERPs even though they have a listing on the Map. I find it difficult to believe that Google would have them on the Map but have no associated Google Plus listing (even if unverified to date). I know Google has been hiding the MyBusiness URLs for a while. Not even sure why? Great topic for discussion possibly.

    1. @Lane
      Google has said that they will be removing these types of pages. That being said, I am still seeing them for most non verified listings. Try site:plus.google.com Name Phone Number and see if it returns it.

  15. I just noticed that my custom g+ URL is broken on both my Zazzle Store page and my Redbubble page. Who knows how long this has been the case? Any ideas if they are ever going to fix it? or can I fix it…

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