Well over the last few maybe three weeks I have gotten a little more grey. My story, the first week of July I made some changes to a clients Google Places page. We started the page in March for this client and all was going well it did give them an additional placement for their keywords over 700 visitors were using it to get directions to the office it was sending some visitors to their web site. We even got our first review. All was good in the world of Google Places.
Then the client ask to make some changes to the description, contact email, mail URL.
I signed into the places dashboard and all seem good. There is a warning about changing the name of the company, address or mail phone. If you change these things you will need to reverify the page. I was not changing any of those thing so all was good. Or so I thought!
After making the changes everything on the page disappeared except for the address, company name, phone number, URL and the main photo. Everything else was gone including the review.
My client ask what happened I read the help section and it had a warning at the top of the page that said the listing needed to be reverified. (I later found out that was a bug) So I clicked on the link in the warning tell me to reverify and it ask what method we used last time to verify. We used mail so then it told me that we should wait for. 2 to 3 weeks and we would get a card in the mail and then add that pin to your page and we would be ready to go. I told my client that and we waited, and waited 3 weeks went by and no card.
The client was asking me what was going on. I had done 30 or more of these listing and never had this problem. So for the next week I read everything I could find talked to anyone I could think of (Google gives no support on free offerings). This is what I found.
Google places is a VERY buggy piece of software and that at the same time I made my change Google made changes to the way Places displays. I found some great blog posts ( search 25 things I hate about google places) and all started to become clear. And after 6 weeks past all the content that was going to show up showed up. It did not contain all of my changes I am still waiting for that. But we are moving forward. We did lose the great review but it is back and does give us another listing for the keywords we want. So it is not is not a total loss.
The take away: until Google Places Gets it shit together make sure you have all the information you want on your page When you create the page. The other pages that I have are not having those issue. Don’t edit the page until you know it is safe. Do it right the first time!
Don’t get me wrong Google Places is a must do. It really works to get you seen in local search. It can get you to the top of the page. And will add you to the mobile listing. Just make sure you get it right the first time! Did I say that before? Good luck, it will be a lesson in patience.
Remember slow and steady wins the race.