Category Archives: Google Places (Maps & Local)

Comments, research and information about Google Maps (Google Local)

Procedure for Reinstatement of Removed “We Currently Do Not Support” Locations Still Not Available

Google For Business Community Manager Jade W has just posted this sticky note in the forum:

Hey all,

The troubleshooter under “My listing has incorrect information” for Google+ Local support (http://goo.gl/6RYFm) is currently unavailable. It’ll be back in about a week.

In the meantime, the support team’s working hard to go through the previously submitted requests. We’re also working on revamping and improving some of the troubleshooting processes we’ve got in place.

Don’t worry — the rest of the troubleshooter and the main channel for reporting incorrect information are still available. Here’s the deal:

1.) Listing is live but has data issues/incorrect information? Go through Report a problem on Google Maps or Edit business details on Google+ Local. Requesting data changes through these channels is not automatic — they are all reviewed — so don’t expect to see an immediate fix.

2.) “Do not support this location” issue? These listings will have a chance to be reviewed and reinstated, working on getting a better process in place. For now, review the quality guidelines and make sure the listing complies. Give it a poke and wait a few days. Keep an eye out here for when the support team is available again.

3.) Verification issue? Go through the troubleshooter as always — that part is still available (http://goo.gl/6RYFm).

I’ll update this post with more information as needed.

Thanks,
Jade

Clearly, Google is struggling with handling the problems created by the move to Google+Local and the self inflicted problems caused by the “We Currently Do Not Support” take downs. For those of you that were improperly taken down the comments above hold out some hope but nothing very soon. For those of you that have been merged or have the wrong reviews, you will have to wait until Google catches up.

Best Practice For Your Google Listing- Record the URLs from +, Maps and MapMaker

MapMaker, despite its bugs and quirks, has taken on an ever increasing role in the health of your business listing in Google. Being able to find and edit the listing in MapMaker has become critical.

Last week in Dan Austin’s post: A Step By Step To Recover Your “We Currently Do Not Support This” Location in MapMaker he noted that it was a best practice to record your listing’s url in Google+, Google Maps and Google MapMaker. Having these handy in times of trouble will facilitate diagnosis and repair if your listing goes south. 

I wanted to highlight his suggestion in its own post so that the recommendation achieved the visibility it deserved. Here are the steps to obtaining this critical information for your listing:

1- From the Places Dashboard click on “view” from the analytics page or “See your listing in Google Maps” from the locations page and it will take you to the Google+ URL & number that will look like:

https://plus.google.com/102992615806778826953/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

Which can be shortened to:
Google+ Local URL: https://plus.google.com/102992615806778826953/

2- From Google Plus Local page click on the Map Pin for the listing and it will take you to Google Maps and give the Maps URL and its CID:

https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&cid=9198701853947205333&q=South+Towns+Surgical+Associates+-+Alvarez+Julio+A+MD&iwloc=A&gl=US&hl=en-US

Which can be shortened to:
Google Maps URL: https://maps.google.com/maps?cid=9198701853947205333

3- You can then take the CID from that URL and insert it into the following Mapmaker url: “http://www.google.com/mapmaker?gw=90&cid=”
to create the MapMaker URL for the listing:

Google MapMaker URL: http://www.google.com/mapmaker?gw=90&cid=9198701853947205333

With this information you can communicate clearly to Google Places for Business support and as Dan noted “If you have that info, then almost any POI [in MapMaker] is recoverable and editable, no matter what it’s status”.

The Sound of Trouble Knocking – A Call from Google Places India

When Google wants to verify information about a business and when unable to verify it in a fully automated way, they have someone call that business. The calls can result in suspensions and removals from the index (“We do not support this location”).

The call may be precipitated by a change you made to the listing that could not be automatically verified, it could be precipitated by someone marking you as closed, Google could just be looking for service area businesses that has not properly hidden their address or businesses using fake locations and call forwarding.

Regardless the someone making the call for Google is from India and the calls are always very weird. The Indians don’t always understand what is said and for sure, don’t understand the pace of our lives. The calls are somewhat jarring and out of context, the caller only identifies themselves as from Google if asked directly and they are inevitably viewed with suspicion by the local business.

In this particular case, Precision Door Memphis, is a totally legit business with a long time track record at a location where they accept client visits. Google called from 650-253-2000 and shows up as GOOGLE INC in the caller id but the receptionist did not have that information available to her at the time of the call.

Unfortunately for the business, Google sounded much too much like the daily spam local SEO marketing calls and the receptionist hung up on the first caller. The listing disappeared that night and showed the now infamous “We do not support this location” message. To Google’s credit they called back again to be sure and again, sounding like spammers, the receptionist hung up on them.

Here are the actual recordings of the calls.

The first call:

And four days later another call:

Your thoughts? Have you gotten these calls? How did your organization respond? What should Google do differently when human verifying the calls?

A note of caution. On each recording the initial sound (shown as two, wide vertical segments) of the ringing is very loud and the subsequent conversations are quite soft. So block your ears for the beginning and crank it up after that section to hear the details

A Step By Step To Recover Your “We Currently Do Not Support This” Location in MapMaker

Pending Google’s recovering listings that had been erroneously removed from the Local index, Google advised businesses that they could try to recover the listing themselves via MapMaker.

Jeff Maltz asked the question as to the specifics of how this was to done. I thought the question deserved a thorough and technical answer so that others in the same place could enter MapMaker partially armed. Not being fully versed in the arcane world of MapMaker, I asked Dan Austin, a long time MapMaker user and expert to explain the process in detail.

Jeff’s question:

I’m curious if anyone out there has actually been successful at getting a listing that was removed from Places, but still showing up on Maps, back on Places per Google’s note

“If you’re confident that your business fits within our guidelines, then search for your business at mapmaker.google.com and see if it has been marked as removed. If you’re able to find it, attempt to undo the removal and reinstate your listing on Maps. It may take a couple of days for your reinstatement to be processed.”

How do you undo a removal from Places? What are the exact steps i should take here? My listing is still showing up in Maps just not Places.

Thanks for your help in advance!

Jeff

Dan Austin’s answer:

The trouble is in finding it [a record that has been removed from the Places index] in MM. Most business owners never bothered to save their Place page URL, but if you can recover that, about 50% of the time you can recover the original MapMaker URL. The other half of the problem is some POIs are not recoverable from MM, no matter what you do. That is the “widespread technical” issue that Google is talking about.

I’m also confused by his terminology. Visible on Maps but not Places? I assume he mean Map Maker:

1. Go to the Place page. If it shows the message We don’t support this location, that isn’t an issue.
2. Recover the CID number from the Place page, which should look like this:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=705997672099256085 (The Place page is visible if you click on Edit business details or Edit details on the Google+ Page. It also recoverable by clicking on the Map pin to the right of listing.)
3. Plug the CID number (which is only a number—no letters: 705997672099256085) into this formula:

http://www.google.com/mapmaker?gw=90&cid=

…so it reads:

http://www.google.com/mapmaker?gw=90&cid=705997672099256085

4. Cut/paste the URL into the address bar of your browser. Open that location.
5. If it comes up with an error message, then the POI is most likely irretrievably lost. Go to step 16.
6. If it shows as Removed or Closed in details view, click on Edit.
7. If it doesn’t show as Removed or Closed, open it for editing to check the status.
8. If there are checkboxes for Remove or Closed, uncheck them.
9. If there are no checkboxes, then look for any recent edits that say Place removed or Place closed in history. Undo that edit, choose reason as Correcting poor data. If there are no recent edits with that status, then it’s likely unrecoverable. You can try to undo the most recent edits that have no status message, but this may or may not work, since you don’t know what you’re undoing.
10. If you’re able to uncheck the boxes or undo the edit, save the edit. Any error messages means it’s likely unrecoverable.
11. Copy/paste the MM URL from your pending edits, and go this forum:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!categories/google-mapmaker/review-edits-requests

12. As the title, post the location (NY, NY)
13. Explain what you’re trying to do.
14. Wait for approval from either Google Map Maker Reviewers (GR) or an Regional Expert Reviewer (RER). Post again if you don’t get a satisfactory response within 48 hours.
15. Place page should reappear within 24 hours (often instantly). If it doesn’t appear, then there’s other issues that can’t be resolved in MM, and you’ll need to use Places support.
_____________________________________

16. Search for the POI in MM (http://www.google.com/mapmaker), using the search box. Is it a dupe that you’re editing, rather than the original?
Here’s how to check if it’s a dupe, or if it’s the original:
16a. Open the POI in a separate tab. Right click on URL, open in separate tab.
16b. Edit. Click history. Does the history match with the changes you’ve made? Does it have a history? If no on either question, then it’s likely a dupe, and your original Place page is unrecoverable.
16c. To check further, right click, Find cid. Does the CID match the original Place page URL? If you don’t have the original Place page URL, plug the copy/pasted CID number (example: 705997672099256085) into the following URL formula: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=
so it reads http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=705997672099256085
16d. Open this URL. If it’s a We do not support this location or a page that doesn’t match your original listing, then it’s not your claimed listing.
_____________________________________

Best practices for managing Place pages.

Record the following URLs:
1. Google+
2. Place
3. Map Maker

Example for Good Food Store:
1. Google+: https://plus.google.com/107937670594974239538/
2. Places: https://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=705997672099256085
3. MM: http://www.google.com/mapmaker?gw=39&fid=0x535dcddf42144869:0x84ed04d79b4b8549

If you have that info, then almost any POI is recoverable and editable, no matter what it’s status.

Why Google’s New Policy on Professional Practices & Practitioners Makes Sense

Apparently Google+ Local (aka Places) has finally established a firm policy on how to handle Medical/Legal Practice and Practitioner listings that now requires that both the practice and the practitioners be listed. Linda Buquet has taken a Sky is Falling attitude to the change:

Big departure from what we are used to and this could make it really difficult to rank for Medical, Dental and Legal practices with multiple practitioners.

If in fact there is a new policy, I would suggest that actually having a policy in this regard is a positive step in the right direction. In the past some practices wanted to show just the practice (and they suffered from dupes) and some practices wanted to show the practice and practitioners (and they suffered mergings). It was not ideal for either approach and it involved a lot whack a mole for one and a lot of frustration for the other.

As I understand the new Google+ local pages, there will be a great deal more trust placed on the data provided by the verified owners of the listing. Thus they are less likely to be merged or changed. If that is the case, then the change (not really change rather a firming up) of the policy in regards to professional practices makes sense.

If there is only one way to do it and that way involves having practice and practitioner listings AND they do not merge, then for once we have a concrete target that both we and Google can strive for. So while it is a change, it really should make life easier IF in fact Google 1)puts in place the technology to support the practice & practitioner listings in the index without merging and 2)keeps that same policy firm going forward.

As Linda noted, tagging departed practitioners with a ““This Place is permanently closed”” tag is wildly inappropriate messaging. But other than that gotcha which Google should be able to solve, I am hopeful that there will be only one way to handle practice and practitioner listings and that way will actually work.

The G+ Merge Has Started: Google Now Processing Manual Merge Requests

Google is now processing manual Merge/Verification requests that were made to expedite the integration of the Google+ Local and the Googe+ Business pages. I assume that the bulk of merges have now begun.

I and several others received this email in the last few minutes (just before 3:00 pm EST):

Hello,

Congratulations your Google+ page is verified and upgraded! Remember to keep the information on your page up-to-date by editing in your Google+ account. Please note that after you verify, changes you make to your page may be subject to review before being published. Learn more at http://support.google.com/business/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2566475&p=edits_policy

Since you are one of the first users to be verified, we’d love to get some feedback on your experience so far, this will greatly help us improve the product. Please take a few minutes to take our survey.
https://docs.google.com/a/google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dEthemZhcURpVWRIdkF1d2kwUklkbVE6MQ

If you have any other question regarding your verified local Google+ page, check out our help center articles at http://support.google.com/plus/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=2566084&parent=1710599&ctx=topic

Cheers,
The Google Team

As Greg Magnusson of Leo’s Pet Care noted, only one of the three links is currently live. I particularly was curious to understand what was meant by this sentence and link; Please note that after you verify, changes you make to your page may be subject to review before being published. Learn more at http://support.google.com/business/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2566475&p=edits_policy. Unfortunately the link is not yet live.

The other problem is that the form makes no indication which listing is being merged. If you have more than one on an email address it can be confusing.

Update: the links are now live.

Policy for edits to local Google+ pages
Any content that you have on your local Google+ page should follow the Google+ content policy. Information about your business should also follow the quality guidelines for listings.

All new listings or changes to your existing listing are subject to review. Please wait a few days for your changes to appear on your local Google+ page. Having problems editing? Let us know.

This page about service area businesses appears to be new:

Service area businesses
If you’re a service area business and have hidden your address in Google Places for Business, your address is already hidden on the local Google+ page for your business as well. Once we roll out the ability to verify your upgraded local Google+ page, doing so will respect that selection to hide your address.

The Over Promise, Under Delivery Of Google’s G+ Signup Nagging & What it Means

Google is on a mission. If you have been in Siberia studying methane emissions from tundra ponds, you might not have noticed. Otherwise their incredibly aggressive nagging to get you to get a G+ account may have seemed like an ever present specter in your daily Google jaunt.

This nag, brought to my attention by Mike Ramsey, seemed particularly lame. Here’s the pitch with the benefits as to why you should join.

(Click to view larger)

The delivery?
Continue reading

Google’s Worst Customer Service Response EVER

Several week ago a large number of mostly service area listings started receiving the dreaded “We currently do not support the location” message. At the time Google noted that “your listing may have been dropped due to a technical issue that we cannot yet resolve. We hope to have a resolution soon for this issue, at which point we will be in touch with next steps to help you return your business to Google Maps“.

Last week Michael Borgelt sent me a copy of this email that Google had started sending to those inappropriately affected by the “We do not support” message on their listing (bold mine) :

Hello,

Thanks for your patience in waiting for an update on your Google Maps listing. If you’re still receiving the “We currently do not support the location” error message, then your listing was affected by a technical issue and there are a couple of things you can do to help restore it to Google Maps.

First, review our quality guidelines. If your location doesn’t meet these guidelines, it may have been removed from Maps. Especially check out this article about service-area businesses, and hiding your address in case your business is at a residential location:http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=177103

If you’re confident that your business fits within our guidelines, then search for your business at mapmaker.google.com and see if it has been marked as removed. If you’re able to find it, attempt to undo the removal and reinstate your listing on Maps. It may take a couple of days for your reinstatement to be processed.

If you’re unable to reinstate your page this way, then please remove your listing from your Google Places dashboard by clicking “Delete” then “Remove my listing from my Google Places account,” then recreate the listing. You will need to undergo PIN verification again if that was your original verification process, but doing so may cause your listing to surface cleanly on Maps once you input your new PIN.

Thanks for your patience and understanding with this process, and we hope to continue to improve your experience in Google Local and on Google Maps.

Best,
The Google Local Team

This response qualifies as not just the worst customer service response ever from Google, but perhaps the worst customer service response ever. It is as if the printed Yellow Pages didn’t print your listing due to their error and then told you that you needed to go down to their office and enter it yourself on their arcane typesetting machine. Hello?

Some notes: Continue reading

Google for business Forum Update: Photos Uploaded in Dashboard May Take 1 Month To Appear

Jade, in her first ever solo video, makes it short and sweet. The new that you need to be aware of is that photos that you upload and were uploaded via the dashboard will experience interminable delays.

Summary if you don’t want to watch:

1-All links to your old Places listing links will now redirect correctly to the new Google+ local page. (A corollary is that you can no longer see your old Places page. If anyone has figured out a way to do so, let me know.)

2-Photo uploads have been (seriously) delayed. If you uploaded photos within the past week it may take as much as another month for photos uploaded in the last week to show up. (the implication? That a new dashboard may occur in that timeframe?)

3- The 404 errors to from the Google+ local page to external links are still occasionally happening when links are clicked. This problem should be resolved soon.

4- There are two types of local pages in G+; the Google+ local page that you update from the dashboard and the Google+. (If you are still confused by this,well…)

5-Google+ local tip of the week: How to remove an inappropriate photo. Click on the photo and on bottom left select options and then report.

6- Forum tip: subscribe to a specific forum thread by clicking on envelope below the gear in the upper right of the forum thread and you will receive emails any time someone comments on the thread.