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Google+ Woes


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3 replies to this topic

#1 sim

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:14 AM

I am finding Google's change from Places to Local Pages (which in theory you can merge with a G+ business page) to be quite a nightmare, and I wonder what other's experiences have been?

 

For this particular business I am battling G+ over, I had a place (and a website) for a natural health small business, and a separate website (and place) for a subsidiary of that business which is an independent, state-wide distributorship of products, which ties in with marketing that comes from the international head office. Until G+, everything ran smoothly.

When G+ arrived, I created a Business Page for the small business (which we have not been able to verify... I've gone through about 6 pins, and each one they send out is declared to be incorrect). But then when they changed Places to Local Pages, I noticed that the resulting Local page was a mashup of the 2 former places, with out of date information that was not updated even though the place pages were updated. I also tried to merge the Local page with the Business page, and I've not had any success. So I turned to the G+ support forum, as their Help pages tended to lead to 404s. I'm not getting anywhere, but am learning a lot of unwritten rules:

 

- Google don't allow multiple businesses at the same address.. Small businesses which take up a single room of a building are in trouble then. I've had to choose whether I wanted a Local page for the health business OR the distributorship, and delete the place entry for the other. (The places page for the distributorship used to get a lot of visits. Since the manual merge of the 2 places, impressions have gone down significantly.)


- Using links in the About section on the Business page (courtesy of the handy Link tool in the WYSIWYG editor) is not allowed. Inserting links in a description is spam, apparently. (So why not disable that functionality in the editor..?)
 

- Listing the services offered in the description in Places ("Natural therapy business offering....") is "category spam". Even though the Local page only offers one category (down from 5 when it was Places), and the one G+ selected is one of the minor services of the business rather than one of the main services provided. I've asked them what then is allowed in the description, if you can't describe what you do...

They also made the comment that "you need to apply similar de-spamming to your website and web directory entries.". I've asked them to clarify what they mean. Are they suggesting that the website for the business can't describe what services are offered?? 

So, after 2 months of communications with G+ support, I'm no closer to resolving this, as each time they come up with new things they want deleted. They signed the most recent email with: "Google Places and the new more complicated Google+ environment is not one you can treat lightly." I have no idea what they mean by that (I've asked), but it is certainly making me even less inclined to bother with G+ at all. Knowing that the content they have selected for this Local page is incomplete, and in some cases downright wrong, I have no confidence that the other information in Local pages is correct.  I've helped numerous clients with Facebook pages and Places entries in the past, but I am not in a hurry to suggest / help them do anything on G+!

 

 



#2 sim

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:19 PM

Still not getting anywhere with Google, but learning that they are in fact enforcing penalties for new rules that are applying to new and edited places, but are not retrospectively being applied. These rules are not documented anywhere you are likely to come across them - they are buried in a forum post at http://productforums...ice/a_0wy7uNOBY
 
I have found that the Places Page I mentioned above is not showing up in google searches; it looks like these newly enforced penalties are taking Places Pages out of search. So if you have a description that mentions your location and your services, and you update that Places Page, you can expect it to have a penalty applied and drop out of search results. Google recommends that the description be an "elevator pitch", but it can't mention what you actually do. In the forum link above they have recommended a pitch like "We offer great value for money. Drop in to see us today!".
 
 
Even though Google has rolled out functionality to merge a G+ Page and  Places Page, it appears that they are actually advising against doing so!  In their latest response, they said:
 
 
 
 

I know this is a bit confusing.  Try to understand that it's still new, even Google is still figuring it out.  There is no law that says you must merge the two pages.  Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

 

It's a bit of unchartered territory, kinda like going off the paved roads into the Outback.  And many experts are advising their clients and readers to stay on the pavement right now where it's safe.  You'll need some patience if you insist on moving forward.

 
Well, it's got me advising my clients to avoid Google Pages & Places altogether!
 
 
 

#3 Jill

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

Well, it's got me advising my clients to avoid Google Pages & Places altogether!

 

Just because it may not be working as you want doesn't necessarily mean it should be avoided all together. That seems a bit like biting your nose off to spite your face. 



#4 sim

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

 

Just because it may not be working as you want doesn't necessarily mean it should be avoided all together. That seems a bit like biting your nose off to spite your face. 

 

True. I just find it concerning that Google staff are recommending not using their new functionality until they have ironed it all out.  

They are now suggesting that because I was an early adopter of G+ Pages, I may have to scrap the existing Place Page and Google+ Page for this business and start over to get it functioning correctly again. Google's new Pages (both G+ business pages and the Places Pages) seem to be in too much flux. For businesses with existing Places that have not been updated in some time, things seem to be fine. But for newer entries (including old ones that have been updated), the rules are still being made up as they go along. 






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