14 February, 2014

Google is Going to Delete Your Local Page!

Update: May 2017

Google used this approach only once to cleanse GMB listings.

However, they do still recommend you log in and check the information in your dashboard periodically.  From time to time they update the information about your business based on edits from the public or information they find elsewhere on the web.  To ensure the correct info displays, it’s wise to check on it regularly.

At time of writing, Google is making lots of changes to the attributes on listings (formerly called Google Places), so I recommend people check their listings monthly.

Headline spotted on several blog posts around the web:  Google is Going to Delete Your Local Page!

Err…. really?!

Aaaaagh – the sky is falling, the sky is falling! At least that’s what the scare mongers want you to believe.  And it couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you haven’t received an email from Google asking you to verify your Places listing before Feb 21, 2014 AND you’re an Australian business, double check your spam filter on your inbox.

If you have, it will look something like this:

Google Places Warning email 2014All you need do is login to your places account and press the submit button on your listing.

Very important point – not every business will have received the email! AFAIK, it only applies to *some* Australian local businesses.

Why are they doing this? While there’s no official line, I believe it’s being done to clear out a whole lot of bodgy and spammy listings that are cluttering up the search results and giving Aussie searchers a bum steer. When it’s all said and done, we should see good, honest businesses being rewarded for setting up their Places pages the right way.

To be doubly sure, you can manually check your listing

  1.  Log into Google Places for Business
  2.  When you log in, you’ll have a red “edit” box with a warning sign on your listing.  When you click on the listing, you’ll have a red “edit” box in line with your business name like so:
    google dashboard red edit button
  3. When you click on the red box, you’ll go to your listing with a big red banner across the tip looking like this:
    warning banner
  4. If there’s something that needs to be updated on your listing, now is the time to do it.
  5. Scroll down to the blue submit button and click it. All done!

If you have none of this when you go into your listing, forget about the whole fuss.

Getting Scammed, or not

Regardless of whether your listing has an issue, you may have also been the victim of a scammers.

Here’s what one unlucky local business owner experienced:

I just got a call from a man named “Jerry” from “Google” saying that my business needs to pay $299.00 before Feb 21st or our “Google listing” will no longer appear…I’m at such a loss for words and I need to know if this is true or if it is a scam. please help!!!

Google does not charge for local business listings, and they’re not trying to extort money from unsuspecting businesses to keep their listings.  That’s the work of criminals.

They have their cue from well-known web-sites going down the tabloid track of attention grabbing headlines along the lines of “Google Sending Warnings To Business Owners: 3 Weeks To Save Their Google Places Listing”.

Google local is in enough of a turmoil at the moment without hysteria thrown in.

This kind of behaviour ticks me right off.

So much so that if you are concerned about your Places page, I will give you a few minutes of my time for free to speak you and have a look.  Call me or email me with the web address of your listing and I’ll come back to you as soon I can.