Articles Tagged with Google My Business

My Experience Using the New Google My Business Redressal Complaint Form

* UPDATE – 24th March: it looks as thought 2 of the 3 listings have now come back online, and with their spammy business names (boooo…) *

Delete button (Prismafied)Google Maps has a spam problem. From seemingly randomly-left reviews to businesses spamming their Google My Business (GMB) listings so heavily that there’s even a dedicated hashtag for it (#stopcraponthemap), the situation becomes further frustrating when you realise that Google doesn’t (or can’t) do much about the situation. Sure, you can ‘suggest edits’ on Google Maps, but in my experience the process is largely pointless, and if you really need to contact Google to do something, you have to (ironically) contact them via Twitter or Facebook. Huh…

It’s starting to feel like it’s getting to boiling point, with the ne’er-do-well spammy types getting away with their efforts and reaping the benefits.

So when Google announced its Business Redressal Complaint Form a few weeks ago, I did a little eye-roll, said “yeah, ok” and reluctantly gave it a go on a couple of a client’s competitors who are notorious GMB listing spammers, expecting the usual to happen: something between ‘very little’ and ‘nothing’.

Boy was I in for a shock.

What’s in a (spammy) name?

I’ll keep the example anonymous but let’s say my client is a family-run, independent widget seller with two shops in South Wales. Their main competitors are UK-wide chains with dozens of locations across the country. One of them has two locations in Cardiff, while another has just the one. While my client uses their business name properly in the Name field (e.g. “Bonafide Widgets”), the competitors have gone with a “Business Name Keyword Location” approach, with the competitor with two Cardiff locations going as far as listing the sub-location as well (e.g. “Widgets-R-Us Cheap Widgets Cardiff”, “SuperWidgets Cheap Widgets Cardiff Central” and “SuperWidgets Cheap Widgets Cardiff North”). Ugh. Tacky. And frustratingly, they’d often rank higher in Google Maps for keywords – suggesting that this dodgy practice was working well for them, too. No fair.

Despite this behaviour being against Google My Business’ guidelines (see Name > Learn more > Service or product / Location information on that link), and despite me regularly using the ‘suggest an edit’ feature on the three listings to ‘correct’ the business names to be more guidelines-compliant, very little would happen. Either nothing would happen (and I’d simply have to try again), or the changes would only last for a day or two, with the original spammy versions returning shortly afterwards. I was about to try the contact-via-Twitter/Facebook method with them when the Redressal Form was introduced.

Click to read more!

The 1-Star Sucker-punch – Dropping the Ball on Online Reviews

Seeing stars imageAs SEOs we often have our focuses and our biases: our remit is to help improve clients’ visibility in search engines, after all.

However when working with SMEs in particular, you might be their go-to guy/girl for all their online marketing questions – not just SEO. I always try to offer help and advice on other areas if I can – such as social media and UX – but ultimately some things slip through the cracks. This post is an example where giving the client too much a focus can actually be a bad thing… They may perform one task really well, but then struggle to adjust strategy when it matters…

One of my clients has a big focus is on Local SEO: boosting the Map listing. If you Google “[keyword] [location]” keywords then oftentimes a Google Map shows up. And a big factor of that is getting positive Google reviews against the listing. We do pretty well all things considered, especially given that they’re not based in Cardiff city centre and instead operate on the edge of the city.

I did all the right stuff: I told them who was best to contact (happy clients) as well as the optimum time to contact them (just after a project had finished). I gave them an adaptable email template to use, containing info for the clients on how to leave a review and the appropriate links to the listing, etc. Over time, they hit the (ideal) minimum of five reviews and just kept going and going, eventually hitting more than ten 5-star reviews.

Click to read more!

A Small Change in a Big World… My First Edit on Google Maps

(This may seem a lame and OTT post, but y’know what? It’s my blog and I can write what I want and I don’t care la-la-la I’m not listening to you…)

Google Map pin badgesWorking in SEO and PPC, a lot of what I do revolves around Google. Be that as it may, I’m usually the first to have a moan about them, as anyone who’s ever spent five minutes reading my tweets can most likely attest to. Usually it’s because I just get annoyed that their Help sections aren’t helpful or their UX isn’t up to scratch, and business owners are the ones who end up suffering as a result.

But let’s face it. Where would we be without Google? How handy is Gmail? And when you’re figuring out where to go, how much do you rely on Google Maps?

Doing a lot of ‘Local SEO’ for clients, i.e. the process of optimising a Google My Business listing (formerly/also known as Google Places, Google+ Local and about 50 other things…), I recently had to sort out a fundamental issue with Google Maps causing one of my clients a bit of grief. Google were adamant that their address – let’s say “101 High Street” – was 100 yards down the road and on the other side of the road, so they thought that our map marker/pin location suggestion (the actual location) was inaccurate. The only way to fix it was to delve into Google Map Maker and make the change myself. Once it was done, they started to rank really well not long after.

I’d never really touched Map Maker before that, and to be honest, I didn’t realise that Google took user data into such strong consideration. I made a few Local SEO-related tweaks to help out a client, but nothing ‘proper’, if you get me.

…Until I noticed some woods near my house were missing a footpath…

Map Maker edit screenshot
(Click to enlarge)

Click to read more!

How I Removed A Slanderous Google Review – A Case Study (2013)

* Important intro note * – Originally the title of this post was “How To Remove Slanderous Google Reviews,” because – at the time (March 2013) – following these steps (especially #4, country-depending) would work well to remove your review. Over the years however, Google have changed their processes, making this post obsolete in some aspects – you’ll see in the comments (especially later ones) that more and more people have said that the steps below haven’t necessarily worked for them. I wanted to keep this post up for reference, but please understand that what’s written here may not 100% correspond with what you need to do these days. I’m actually considering writing a follow-up, as my folks’ business has been hit by another fake bad review (as of October 2015), in which case I’ll update this post with a link to it.

* Regarding contacting me * – I sometimes get people contacting me asking for help with this, especially if they’re struggling. Please understand that if you followed the instructions in this post, there’s really not much more I can do to help I’m afraid. And while you can hire me for SEO work, I don’t offer help on this front on an individual basis. Sorry.

Evil Computer photoEarlier this week, I had to deal with a slanderous review left on my parents’ company’s Google Places (a.k.a. Google+ Local) page. When researching how best to get it deleted, I came across a mishmash of info on a mix of blog posts and forums, which wasn’t very helpful, so I wanted to write about my experiences in getting it sorted.

Surprisingly, Google doesn’t exactly make the process easy. Well, they do, but it’s one of those ‘once you know, you know’ scenarios. And after reading about some horror stories, I wanted to outline how I managed it. So if you’re in a similar boat then I hope this helps you out.

The review’s discovery

Computer Recruiter logoMy parents run an IT recruitment agency called Computer Recruiter. I’d been working from home on the day that we discovered the review, as I was still recovering from an on-going, on-again-off-again illness (more about that in an upcoming blog post by the way), but as my folks are based nearby, they invited me over for lunch. We were talking about recent rankings (as I’ve done a bit of work for them in the past) and we got onto the subject of their Places page. I wanted to show them something on the page, but then we spotted it…

A review, left 3 weeks ago, with a rating of “Poor to Fair.”

Then we actually read the review…

Click to read more!

How To Market Your Live Music Bar Online

Intro from Steve: After my first guest post publication, Mike – who I’ve known on Twitter for a while – asked if he could publish one as well. Given its subject matter, I couldn’t say no. I used to work at a live music bar a lifetime ago (The Musician Pub in Leicester, if you’re ever in the area), so this post struck a chord (oww, sorry!) with me. Enjoy!

Following the Live Music Act 2012 (which allowed venues with a capacity of less than 200 people to put on live music without a license*), it seems a growing number of bars are taking advantage and starting to book live bands. With the growing number of options for live music lovers, how do you stand out and persuade potential punters through your door?

The following tips will help you to stand out against your local competition and dominate the online arena.

*Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19783855

Get a Google Places Listing

For any local business, a Google Places for Business listing is essential – not only will your business show up in Google Maps enabling people to easily get directions to your premises, but it will also provide searchers with an ‘at-a-glance’ overview of your address, contact details and opening hours direct from the search results page.

Click to read more!