In the land of Google, change is the modus operandi. One recent troubling problem afflicting Google Place pages is easy ability to mark a business as closed. Some business owners are having to check multiple times a day because competitors are using this flaw against them.
“Every year, thousands of businesses open, close, move, change their hours, get a new website, or make other types of changes. We can’t be on the ground in every city and town, so we enable our great community of users to let us know when something needs to be updated. The vast majority of edits people have made to business listings have improved the quality and accuracy of Google Maps for the benefit of all Maps users. However, we’re aware that abuse – such as “place closed” spam reports – can become an issue, and we’re working on improvements to the system to prevent and flag any malicious or incorrect edits.”
What other testers have found is that it can take only two people to mark a business as closed for the listing to display “closed”.
It’s also important to understand that Google is using crowd-sourcing to update their maps and local place information. Here’s more info from Google:
As a business owner, you might not always have the time to keep your Places listing up-to-date. If we receive more recent information about your business, we’ll automatically update your listing on our sites (like Google Search and Google Maps). We hope that this not only helps customers find accurate information about your business, but also makes it easier for you to keep your information updated online.
Each time your listing is updated, you’ll receive an email notification that a change will happen on your external business listing within the next 4 weeks. You won’t be notified again when the change is published online.
If you have more accurate or recent information about your business, you can sign-in to Google Places for Business and click Edit, then click Submit. If your listing is part of a bulk upload, click Edit your Data File to make any changes. Upcoming edits to your Place page won’t be reflected in your Places account.
Edits we may make to your listing include:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Pin marker location
- Applying the label of ‘Permanently Closed’
If your business is marked as permanently closed when it isn’t, click the Not true? link on your Place page.
I’ve added some highlights and color changes to show you the important parts. In their efforts to be efficient and get others to do the work, they’ve opened themselves to spammers and nefarious actors (i.e. your unethical competitors) exploiting this open-source updating policy.
The reality is that you need to monitor your place page regularly. Having a partner like Blue Dagger Media can relieve you of this concern since we have packages that own, optimize, and monitor your Google Place pages. Don’t let this flaw in Google Place rob you of business. Put a strategy in place to own and monitor your online properties.