Thursday 22 Mar 2012
Andrew Shotland had just posted a solution to a mystery that has been circulating through the Local SEO industry every since his Google Places listing was obliterated after he had a phone conversation with a Google Rep.
Apparently, he had violated a guideline I’ve never heard about, and that he’d never heard about and that I doubt a single SEO or local business owner has ever heard about:
“If you business serves customers at their locations but does not receive customers at your location, you should select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard.”
I’ve got to say, I’ve seen Google come up with some weird things in the 5+ years I’ve been paying attention to Local, but this takes the cake. So, from this day forward, let it be known that the following businesses (and more) had better hide their addresses lest they be cast into the outer darkness:
Gas & Electric Companies
Local Internet Service Providers
At-home Elder Care Providers
Large Animal Vets
And let’s not forget…Locksmiths
That’s just off the top of my head…but HONESTLY…how does Google plan to get the word across to the millions of professionals working in these fields that they are now considered to be in violation of an obscure guideline that I couldn’t even find a direct link to and that they are in danger of having their listing axed?
In my mind, I see lines of local business people jumping through hoops just to deal with the whole claiming-my-advertisment-that-Google-made-without-telling-me-first business, and then there is the very thorny issue of reviews that come and go like the tide, and merging and bugs and on and on. I think Google has confused local business owners with circus animals. It’s undignified to jump through hoops. Here’s just one more hoop, and a really big and dumb one, that we just don’t need.
Please, Google, reconsider this. It’s stupid.