Working Out the Google Quirks

by cj Advertising | December 21, 2012

This blog post was written by A. Chris Turner, an SEO Specialist at cj Advertising.

In a post from earlier this year, Google+ Pages replace Google Local, we discussed the upgrade of the local business listing system that supports Google’s Map. In the Map system, business owners have the option of taking control of the information listed for them. By taking control, business owners can “contribute” to the way Google presents their businesses to users of the popular search engine.

During the process of taking over a listing linked in a Map result, business owners have to verify that the email address (assigned to a Google Account) requesting permission to edit the business information is truly associated with a physical location. Google does this through a PIN postcard process; however, there are still a few quirks that business owners and members of the cj Advertising Interactive team have encountered that are important to know.

While following the verification process for one of our clients in Raleigh, North Carolina, HensonFuerst Attorneys, we noticed something wasn’t correct.

After verifying the information displaying on the Google+ Page was accurate, we selected the verification option. On the Google+ Page, the address displayed was:

HensonFuerst – 2501 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 390, Raleigh, NC 27607

Meanwhile, on the final page that offers a preview of the PIN postcard and asks +Page managers to verify the mailing address, the address linked to the Google+ Page was:

HensonFuerst – 2317 Sunset Ave. Rocky Mount, NC 27804

The connection between the front-end page and the actual database(s) that produce any Map listing are not directly connected. What this means is that somewhere between what business managers can edit and the data contained in Google’s local system servers was misconnected.

In situations such as this there are two options that Google recommends. One is to simply report the error in using a troubleshooter available on the public and administrative side of all +Pages. The second option is to publish an issue in the troubleshooting forums. With this type of issue, we first decided to turn to the forums, as it can take up to eight weeks to receive a reply using the troubleshooter.

After posting a few details about the issue, we quickly received replies from community members attempting to help us troubleshoot and offering feedback. These community members are not affiliated with Google, but they are search marketing industry professionals who share their insight and experience. After a few exchanges, the community members and our staff came to the determination that we would have to use the troubleshooter, as it appeared to be beyond our control.

On occasion, a Google Administrator may intervene in an issue or comment on a forum entry. In the case of HensonFuerst, Jade Wang, Community Manager for Google+ Local, jumped in and actually reviewed the situation. In the end, after questioning whether the issue was due to user error or a technical quirk, Jade responded, “I think it was a technical quirk :)”

google+ community manager jade wang

Intervention such as this is out of the ordinary, but if this should happen again, we have an established process for what we’ll do to find a solution:

  • Step 1: Re-verify all information contained in Profile, Page and Listing.
  • Step 2: Confirm there is an issue. In some cases, it takes up to 2 weeks for changes to be accepted or resolved.
  • Step 3: Check known issues on the community forums, Google technical support, or other reliable sources.
  • Step 4: Complete the troubleshooter associated with the system.
  • Step 5: Report an issue with the listing.

As cj’s Interactive department works to ensure that we obtain the results we want for our clients and our clients find success with our services, we know problems may arise due to forces outside our control; but finding solutions to issues is part of what we come to work to do.  Every system, even Google, has a few quirks now and then.