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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Google and the PlusBox Blues

The Google Maps for Business Group has had countless requests for help with erroneous Plus Boxes like this one:

TOPIC: “+” Sign shows Wrong Address & Phone # in Google Search Results! HELP!
Date: Mon, Mar 3 2008 12:10 pm
From: rjfny
Hi Jen,

Here is the link to our search results page

Top Hat Dance Studio is listed on the search results page twice. Thelisting at the top of the page has the correct address which is….

Correct: 10771 Bustleton Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19116

However, there is an incorrect listing with a “+” Sign that shows the wrong address.

Incorrect: 3114 Willits Rd Philadelphia, PA 19136

We have tried for a year to have this address changed to no avail. The address has been changed in Google local business, Google maps, the business web site, and on search engines throughout the internet. No one seems to know how to change the “+” Sign Google address or determine the source of the incorrect listing data.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Most writers to this group assume that since the information in the PlusBox is local in nature that Google must logically be taking the information from a verified business listing in the Local Business Center. One would naturally come to that conclusion. The assumption is that the most reliable local data would be taken from the business controlled and updated record in the LBC. That appears to not be the case.

Google’s PlusBox has evolved on the organic side of their house and seems to use its webcrawlers as the source of the erroneous data not the presumably more reliable manually entered data in the LBC. Bill Slawski has written about how Google gathers local data in this 2005 patent review at Cre8asite and in the Patents involved in the PlusBox at SeobytheSea and noted:

The elided data may be extracted and associated with the target document in a repository created by a crawling engine that “crawls” content, copies the content in a repository, and then indexes the content.

Here is the screen shot from the search Top Hat Dance Studio, Philadelphia:plusboxdata.jpg

The Google site: command + address for the TopHat site clearly shows that Google still has the erroneous street data in their index from the Top Hat site that the site owner had thought they had removed:plusboxsitecommand.jpg

Google appears to make this indicator the primary source for the PlusBox. In my experience (limited sample size but 100% to date), it is the primary site associated with the PlusBox that Google is referencing for the PlusBox Data. The business owner needs to remove the pages with the bad address and have them removed from Google’s index. If my theory is correct, the PlusBox problem will disappear.

There are a number of other sites on the web that reference Top Hat’s old address and I would suggest to the business owner to attempt to correct those as well for the customer’s sake. However, my experience indicates that those signals only reinforce the information from the Top Hat website populating Google’s PlusBox. Some tests are being run now to validate these findings.

One wonders why the PlusBox algo doesn’t give precedence to the Local Business Center data as opposed to the web index. It certainly should signal the PlusBox with updated data. It appears from this example and others I have seen that the PlusBox and the Authoritative OneBox use different sources for their data.

The other question for me is, if my observations are even partially correct, why has Google not said so in the forum?There have been many cases, like this one, that have been dragging on for extended periods. In at least one reported case, there has been negative customer reactions and business outcomes as the erroneous plusbox address indicated a downtown address and the school had moved to the burbs.

These problems deserve attention, communication and ideally resolution from Google.