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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

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 Old URL 404’s and new one is a Franken page Was broken and now fixed 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