Local Search Engine Optimization Is Powerful For Small Businesses
If you are a small or medium business trying to leverage your online presence, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Google Places (also called Google Local). It’s a great free product from Google that creates listings of brick and mortar businesses. These business listings show up in results when people search Google, Google Maps, Google Shopping and Google on mobile devices. These heavily integrated search results are the basis for local search engine optimization or local SEO.
Don’t Get Hurt In The Google Local Rankings
Google Places is still technically in beta and offers little support to users. This causes a lot of frustration for people that encounter errors with their Google Local listing, and for small businesses that don’t have websites or can’t afford SEO services, an error on a Google Local business listing can be the difference between significant revenue. Below I’ll detail out a solution to a common problem – removing duplicate Google local listings. This is important because if your business information is displayed for multiple listings, you are losing trust from Google and you are hurting yourself in organic web and local search results.
I’ll be using the following business information in my example, which I know has a duplicate Google local problem:
White Oak Dental
1580 White Oak Drive, Chaska, MN 55318
Note: You should only proceed with these steps if your desired Google local is verified in Google.
- Search your phone number on maps.google.com.
- You’ll see every business listed under that phone number. Typically it’s the same business with slightly different information. In this case, there are four businesses listed under the White Oak Dental phone number. I know I want result B as the only listing, so the rest of the steps focus on achieving that.
- Click to one of the undesired listings. I clicked to result A. Select “more” and then “report problem”.
- Select “Place has another listing”. In the Details box, type the business information exactly as it appears on the correct Google Local listing.
- When you click “report problem” you are done and Google politely thanks you for your feedback. I always select “Send email when the problem is reviewed” because Google does follow up and notify you if action has been taken. Be sure you are signed in to a Google account so you can receive the follow up email.
If you research how long it will take to rectify the problem, you may find some Google help forums ask for 4-6 weeks before you repeat your actions. I’ve seen Google reply in as little as one week, but they put enough disclaimers everywhere so that they don’t have to reply, nor are they required to take any action. However, if your report of an incorrect listing is justified, it is likely to be fixed.