Thursday 23 Apr 2009
You’ve got a client whom you’re helping to edit and create local profiles in order to ensure that their local contact information is well and truly represented across the web. It’s not a hard task, and really, the only challenging part comes in when the client’s participation is required as part of the editing process…as is the case with doing edits to a Google Local Business Center Listing.
The job at hand is to make a simple change to the client’s phone number. Your client is an incredibly busy small business owner, and you want to make everything as quick and trouble-free for them as possible. You’ve got the client’s Google login info. You’ve logged in. You’ve changed the phone number from their generic 800 number to their more geo-friendly local number. You hit save and reach the page that asks you if you’d like a phone call or a postcard in order to verify that you are making an authorized change to the record.
You phone the client, rejoice that you reach him, give him his pin number and tell him to sit tight by the phone. For some reason, despite the fact that you’ve just entered the new local area code number, Google says it wants to call the 800 number. You ask the client if he can answer that phone at this moment. He says, “no sweat.” Man, you feel good. This is going to be a breeze. So, you hang up, request the phone call and wait to hear that all has gone well.
A minute later, the LBC screen says it tried to call but was unsuccessful. You call the client back and he says, “I don’t understand what happened. It asked me to press 1 if I wanted to continue. I pressed 1 and then nothing happened after that.”
In a cheerful tone of perseverance, you tell the client, “oops, let’s try it again.”
You authorize phone call #2 and this time, for some reason you can’t figure out, Google is saying they will call the new local number. Only God knows why. You give the client the new pin, wait the 5 minutes for Google to call and, yet again, see the dreaded message that the call, which Google is now saying it placed to the 800 number despite saying 5 minutes ago it was going to call the local number, was unsuccessful. You call the client back. He’s sounding a little flustered at this point and says, “So I got through the part where I pressed 1 this time and it told me to enter my pin number. I did, and then nothing happened.”
“There wasn’t a confirmation that you’d entered the pin?”
“No…it’s like there was nothing there.”
Your cheerful tone of perseverance sounds a bit shaky this time as you say,
“Well, it sounds like something must be wrong with Google’s phone system right now, and unfortunately, they won’t let us keep trying indefinitely, so I think we may need to go the route of them sending you a postcard.”
“But won’t that delay things?”
“Yes, it will a bit. Hopefully not too much. I’m afraid these problems with Google’s Local Business Center are pretty common. It’s a headache, I know. You’ll get a postcard with a phone number and a pin number on it. You’ll call the number and enter the pin.”
And if your client says, “and I bet that will work just great,” who can blame him? His confidence in Google’s Local Business Center has just shriveled up like last month’s birthday balloon. And you’re feeling pretty annoyed that, having gotten everything lined up for a smooth run-through of your task as the Local SEO, every step went off without a hitch until it was Google’s turn to come through.
I know, there are always reports circulating of people having an utterly frustrating experience with the LBC, and going through it with your own clients makes you shake your head at the thought of the small business owners who are trying to get some simple task like this done without any outside guidance at all. My client today wasn’t sure whether his pin number had been accepted on the last call or not, and it was only Google’s ‘unsuccessful’ message in the dashboard that told me we had failed to get our business done.
I would really like to know what that monkey business was with Google saying it was calling one number and then saying it had called a different one. I’d like to know why, after entering the new local number, Google said it was going to call the 800 number in the first place. We’re entering a NEW number. Can you call us at the new number? Yes, no, maybe, uh…
As a Local SEO, I see one of my main duties as being the organization of various tasks that need to get done in order to strengthen a client’s local visibility. For a small business owner, it’s pretty helpful to be able to depend on someone like me who can tell them, “now we need to do this, and now this, and now this.” I have a little list of places I like to create profiles. Some local indexes make it so easy. But I’ve begun to notice that every time I have to make changes in Google’s LBC, I have this breathless feeling of not knowing whether what I’m about to do is going to actually work and make my client happy or fizzle like a wet firecracker and leave me looking impotent. I really can do good things for my local clients…really I can…if Google lets me.
I ended up feeling frustrated throughout the rest of my work day today because of this mysterious glitch in the LBC. Why couldn’t it just have gone well? Oh, well. Anyone else having this issue lately? Tell me about it.