Best Google Places Troubleshooting Posts (2011 – Early 2012)

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Having problems with Google Places?  Of course you are!

Like Frogger, Google Places is full of hazards and problemsLocal Google is a minefield of bugs, glitches, often-murky “Quality Guidelines,” sudden algorithm changes, and possibly unethical competitors. Tiptoeing your way around all the hazards requires luck or know-how.  If you don’t feel like playing Russian Roulette with your business’s local presence, then you’d probably prefer the extra know-how.

“But Phil, I’m not having any problems in Google Places…I just want to rank higher.”

Well, if you want to rank more visibly, you first need to make sure your wings aren’t being clipped by a host of particularly common hazards.  Even if you’re already ranking well in Google Places, you need to know how to identify, fix, or prevent these problems.  Just because you haven’t encountered them doesn’t mean you won’t.

That’s why I’ve rounded up 7 posts that help to troubleshoot some difficulties you might encounter—or maybe have encountered—in Google Places.

Taking a few minutes to read these posts might just be enough to get you out of whatever Google-related jam you’re in—or to prevent future troubles.

Problem: Merged Listings
If your Google Places listing has a bunch of incorrect info on it, it might be “merged” with another business’s Google listing.  Mike “Professor Maps” Blumenthal shows you how to deal with a merged listing.

Problem: Spam Reviews from Competitors
Are your competitors spreading lies or talking smack about you—on your own Google Places page?  Here are some great tips for handling spam reviews.  By the way, I suggest you read all the comments on that post; there are some great suggestions in there as well.

Problem: Sudden Drop-off in Rankings
If you’ve had a decent—or very good ranking—vanish all of a sudden, this post from Linda Buquet might light the way for you.

Problem: Frustrating, Unclear Error Messages from Google
Nyagoslav Zhekov tells you what to do when you have no idea why you’re receiving an error message from Google.

Problem: Other Puzzling TARFU Situations in Google Places
A “part 2” to the above post, this deals with other common Google problems you may encounter.

Problem: Duplicate Google Places Listings
“Duplicate” listings are a huge problem in Places.  They’re also one of the most annoying and tricky issues to solve.  An excellent step-by-step guide for how to unravel duplicate listings.

Problem: Worried about Getting Ripped off by SEO Scammers
In addition to being a crackerjack troubleshooter, Nyagoslav has some great tips for how you can sniff out and avoid unethical local SEO companies.

Any questions that aren’t answered by these awesome posts?  It’s hard to imagine that’s the case, but if it is, just leave a comment and I may be able to take a crack at it.

Got any suggestions for a great Google Places troubleshooting post I should know about?  Email me, tweet to me, or (again) leave a comment.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the share it’s a really helpful Google Places trouble shooting guide.

  2. Hey Phil,

    Thank you very much for the many mentions! A truly great list of articles related to solving Google Places problems.

    • Hey Nyagoslav,

      No problem! Thanks for putting together such excellent posts, as always. Seems to me that you could assemble them into a superb free report that people could sign up to get, or eventually combine them into one monolithic, comprehensive troubleshooting guide. Anyway, just my two cents!

      • I’ve actually thought of doing so, but things change so fast I am scared someone might use them as a reference in some point in the future when they would not be valid anymore. Thus, I prefer not to risk with doing so. Instead I encourage people to bookmark and/or subscribe for blogs like yours. There are only a handful of others that provide so much and so comprehensive information, so it should not be a problem for even an SMB owner to follow up.

        • Point taken–although I think you could do one hell of a post and/or report on your Google Places troubleshooting methodology. Obviously, there are underlying techniques (other than just critical thinking) that help you deal with a wide variety of problems. Maybe it could be called “10 Techniques for Dealing with ANY Problem in Google Places.”

          That would be…awesome. (Just thinking out loud again!)

  3. avatar JudeWates says:

    Any updates on how to get reviews back? Your blog has some really interesting stuff in it, but this is a problem I am incurring at the moment

    • @JudeWates

      Great question–I wish I had a great answer. Basically, missing reviews is a HUGE bug in Google Places. If you have a bunch of Google reviews (as opposed to reviews on third-party sites) that disappear entirely, there’s nothing you can do but wait for Google to restore them. The good news, though, is that Google usually does restore them. Sometimes it takes a few weeks, but they usually return.

      So, there’s a bug floating around that probably explains it. But if your reviews have been gone for more than a couple of weeks…or if it’s not only Google reviews that are missing…or if you just don’t think it’s the “general” bug that’s causing it but instead something specific to your listing, feel free to shoot me a link to your Places page and I’ll have a look.

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