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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Google Maps: A Near Death Experience – Why did my listing Disappear & My Stats Drop to Zero?

Over the past 48 hours, both personally and in the forums I have seen a large number of inquiries as to why rankings had dropped, why reviews had disappeared, why citations had gone missing, why the LBC had stopped showing stats and impressions had dropped to zero in Google Maps.

From the Forums in just the past 24 hours:

Have I been penalised?

My listing has moved from page 1 to page 14 !

If you edit your business, does it drop out from maps for a while?

The troubleshooting didn’t help with the listing of our business on maps. Help!

listing disappeared?

My listing has disaapeared from Google Maps & has being replaced by my competitor’s from Google Organic lis

I have suddenly stopped coming up in local map – why

This comment posted on a recent post here is typical of these many inquiries: “she disappeared completely as of today, dropping to 21 for interior design”.

Even though I know better, even though I realize that Maps is a work in progress, has a few quirks and is undergoing a major renovation with the implementation of the all new Places pages, alarms still went off  for me when I saw stats on several accounts drop to zero:

Picture 59

As I told several folks yesterday, despite a nagging voice in my head that God Google was somehow punishing me, it was probably just a temporary aberration as Google makes the transition to Places. In the meantime, I said, don’t neglect all of your non-Google on-line marketing that you have in place. Its a good time to send out a newsletter, refine your Barnacle SEO, optimize your website for long tail local searches, contact your email list, update your blog and post to Twitter.

Well late yesterday, things started returning to normal on some listings. Reviews were returning, web references were starting to show up and listings were once again popping into the 10-Pack. It does appear that it was/is a temporary phenomena. My working theory is that Google temporarily rolled back to an older data set as part of the Places upgrade. I think the issue will persist across a range of listings until whatever internal changes Google is making are firmly in place.

Google has wanted small businesses to pay attention to Maps. I am not sure that this Pavlovian response was what they had in mind.

To the many small businesses I say, use this as a wake up call that while Google Maps is an important component of your on-line strategy, it should not be the only component. If you have yet to develop those alternative marketing tactics then, rather than developing a Maps religion, become more agnostic and do it now. Religion in this context does not serve you well.