Time To Close Up Shop… Google Just Shut Down Your Local Business

  • November 24, 2011
  • Blog
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Several Unsuspecting Business Owners Are Finding Out That Their Online Presence Is Listed As “Permanently Closed” On Google

In recent weeks, the media has been tearing Google apart for a loophole in their Google Places system that could allow anyone to report that a business has closed down.

If you’re not familiar with Google Places, it’s a directory of local businesses that Google has created out of data gathered from general Internet users.

When you search Google for a term such as “Chicago locksmith,” you will get results consisting of Google Places, or actual brick-and-mortar businesses indicated by a teardrop shape with a letter in the middle. What makes matters worse for some business owners, is that these results will rank higher than their company websites. Since they are generated from data that Google itself has gathered, they are given preferential rankings in the search results.

If your business happens to be one that was reported as closed, it will say so on your business’ Place Page. Visitors landing on your Place Page will likely not bother to call, or stop by your business because of the incorrect information on your Place Page.

Google Errors Costing Local Businesses Thousands Of Dollars

This false information has cost some businesses thousands of dollars in lost revenue and potential customers.

Although this flaw is prone to be abused by some unscrupulous individuals, most of the erroneous data comes from uneducated or misinformed users that did not have the technical capacity to correctly use the system.

However, the New York Times has reported that some shady business owners have been akin to mark their competitors as permanently closed. Unfortunately, it’s not too difficult to have a business listed as closed. By only carrying out a couple of clicks by a small number of people, your Google Place page could be made to report that your business is shut down.

Claim & Correct Wrong Information About Your Local Business

Although business owners can correct the false information, it can take days or weeks for Google to update their system. The process is a bit complicated as it requires that you sign up for a Google account and answer a somewhat lengthy questionnaire about your business, and then Google mails you a postcard to verify your address. The postcard contains a verification code that must then be entered into the Google website by you, and then the process is complete.

Many business owners complain that they just do not have the time to go through the whole process. Many small businesses have been outsourcing this task to RGV SEO. We have staff trained and prepared to deal with this process from start to finish.

Google reported on their company blog that they’ve been working on a solution for about two weeks. Sadly, they had to learn about the abuse from the news buzzing around in the blogoshpere, as opposed to their own internal countermeasures for spam.

We Can Fix Your Online Presence And Boost Your Exposure

RGV SEO can help you claim your Google Place page to help keep Google from shutting your business down erroneously. Additionally, by letting us help you claim your Place page, you will have a professionally optimized profile on Google that will distinguish you from your competitors. Your business will gain a much more sophisticated and professional appearance that will engage your online visitors, and build a rapport with them through trust and technology.

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