Call me a local nut, but sometimes I just sit around looking at listings of local businesses…for fun. Tonight I came across a rather poignant example of why it’s so necessary to claim your Google Local Business Listing.
There’s a Mexican restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area called Maya Palenque. I’ve always liked the name. They’ve been in business for years and years and I imagine they have quite a few regulars, but I doubt they’d be happy to learn that any new potential patrons are being sent to Texas by Google when looking to dine with them. Here’s their listing in Google, with the website of Texas restaurant called the Palenque Grill being incorrectly billed as Maya Palenque’s home base on the web:
The correct URL for Maya Palenque is TastyMexican.com
and I’ll shoot them a little link juice in case it may help Google hit upon the wide difference between Texas and California. Sadly, the restaurant’s website isn’t in very good shape and is lost on Page 2 of the Universal SERPs for its own name (it’s not even ranking at the top for Tasty Mexican…I wouldn’t have thought that would be terribly competitive…or terribly useful!)
Looking at the citations for the restaurant, we see a big culprit right at the top of the list:
For some reason, the completely unrelated grill in Texas is being pulled as a citation for the California restaurant. There is no connection I can see. It’s not a chain. It’s not even the same name. This isn’t a case of Bob’s Doughnuts in Phoenix being confused with Bob’s Doughnuts in Chicago (oh, THAT Bob’s Doughnuts!). I haven’t looked very deeply into how Google’s signals got mixed up on this but it’s just one more sterling example of why not claiming your listing is dangerous and, as my Mexican great-great grandmother would have said, “estupido!”
But Abuelita didn’t have the compassion I have for restaurant owners like the head man at Maya Palenque who is doubtless without a clue that his guests are being told to go eat in Texas by Google. Really, what I’d like is to help the guy out. In just minutes, he could be logging in, fixing that web address and getting his online rep back on track. And then I’d like to get my little hands on his website!
But speaking of that, how much attention is Google really paying to websites when it comes to Local? My gut feeling is that your website is very important, but then I see Maya Palenque ranking near the top of Maps for a broad search for ‘restaurants novato ca’ and it’s clear that their 30+ citations, 40+ reviews and other factors are outweighing the fact, in the mind of Google, that their restaurant is apparently located way down south in Laredo, TX. Pretty strange.
In conclusion, I hope someone who eats or works at Maya Palenque will stumble across this post at some point and take strong action to clear up this situation that is doubtless bewildering hungry diners across the Bay Area and beyond. Buena Suerte!
UPDATE: As of February 8, 2009, Maya Palenque’s Maps’ lisiting has been fixed to show the correct URL: tastymexican.com. I don’t know if this post had anything to do with it, but I’m glad to see this change!