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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Why the Google Local Business Center Fails

Update: Be sure to readthe related article at SEO Igloo Blog » The Local New Year’s Resolution I Wish Eric Schmidt Would Make by Miriam Ellis.

Google Maps is marching towards dominance in the mapping world and the Universal Local results often generate traffic and  sales for those businesses able to achieve Local 10 Pack Status. It offers the promise of a single resource where a business could turn to achieve local marketing success.

Yet in so many ways the Local Business Center continues to fail in its promise and the possibilities remain unfulfilled.  It is still bug ridden, the interface & process is hard for most people to learn, and it seems to be a poor step child in the pantheon of Google products. Despite its importance in the marketing plans for many bricks and mortar business the LBC receives little in the way of upgrades and less in the way of support.

I think that most small, medium and large businesses with a local presence could forgive the technology failings if at the end of the day, there was some way to reach a human and get an answer to the sticky problems that often arise. Most would gladly pay to have a consistent, helping hand while Google works out the technical problems with the Center. Many businesses have come to depend on Google in general and the Local Business Center in particular and Google as a whole seems incapable of living up to the responsibility.

Here is a posting in the Google Maps Help Group: How Do I that encapsulates many of the frustrations heaped on one poor fellow tasked with the job of getting his local business listing squared away:

1.   View profile  More options Jan 6, 3:07 pm

I hope someone from Google reads this & is able ot contact me…

I am having difficulty correcting a listing. The listing is for Jeffrey Specialty Equipment at 398 Woodruff Rd. Woodruff, SC 29388. This company is a subsidiary of the company I work for in NJ. (K-Tron International if you need ot verify that)

I originally asked for a “postcard” to be mailed to the SC address for a verification pin #. But since I am not located at that office, and no one at that location remembers seeing the postcard arrive, I requested a telephone verification.

I listed the SC office number, but for some reason the Google Pages said “the call was unsuccessful”. So I thought I’d put my own office number as the contact & have Google call me to verify. It would not… It would only allow me to get another postcard.

I’m actually at deadline for revising this listing. The company shown merged with another on 1/1/09 and the listing MUST show the corrected name according to our Sarbanes Oxley regulations.

I called Google and asked for someone familiar with “Local Business Listings” and was told they do not offer support. At all. (?!!!) So does ANYONE have an idea how I can get this fixed or if there is actually a human being at Google that I could speak with?

They will not send a postcard to my NJ office for a SC location. They will not call a NJ phone for a SC location. They will not allow me ot change the listing until they verify, but when they tried to call it was unsuccesful and I don’t know why. (the number is correct) I’m at a total loss… and quite frustrated. Please…

Google needs to understand that Local is different than Search, that accuracy is more important than relevance, and they need to embrace the business listing side of Maps if for no other reason than these folks are the future growth of Adwords. If it takes charging a monthly fee to have the resources to service this side of the business then so be it.

But the argument goes beyond mere business possibilities as Google becomes the repository for all of the world’s data. Google needs to recognize that real people’s lives are continually affected and that obligates Google beyond just good business practice.