Taking too long?

Taking too long?

Hot on the heels of a video pointing out how the Google algorithm is less than perfect, we have another Google Update here – this time on Google Places/Maps/Local.

The migration from Google Places to Google+ Local has been fraught with problems over many, many months. Many trying to follow the Google rules on what to do will have found it confusing and, worst of all, intensely frustrating. The forums are littered with complaints from businesses who tried to migrate to the Google+ system and then found their rankings/listed decimated. To add insult to injury, there has in many instances been no answer to their problems.

A well-documented article here described the migration as a train wreck, which might have seemed over-the-top at the time – but if you read his piece you will see he has supported his criticisms with a lot of data.
Quotes from the 60+ comments are:

  • “but I can’t help wonder whether they ignore the situation in an attempt to force them into AdWords Advertising”
  • “As others have mentioned, clearly Google is concentrating on where it makes money and that is their AdWords program”

…. and the point is being made – Adwords has always worked well and been well supported – why not Places?

Matt McGee has just written an article on the latest developments here Google Upgrades Its Google Places Dashboard With Google+ Local Integration where Google has announced some improvements to their product. Aha ! The situation is finally being rectified!

The conclusions drawn are:

  1. New design
  2. Better integration with social aspects of Google+
  3. Speedier updates in Google Maps once you’ve initiated changes

That does not look like a huge leap forward. If you read the ‘train crash’ article (and in particular the comments!) I would suggest none of the main issues have been addressed and very little has really changed.

This is a huge shame to small businesses – as Places is probably the most powerful Google  tool/product for them to market their businesses in an internet world where bigger companies with their larger budgets are getting ever more dominant.

We await eagerly the next update on this migration.

  • Hi
    While the roll out was not everything that it could be, the biggest changes are under the hood and to the architecture of the dashboard. And on the branding front it is still a total mess. That being said….

    Under the hood Google has totally revamped their data handling by way of implementing knowledge graph technology and constructed all new pipelines to move the data into it. This will 1)prevent as many merging issues (already obvious if you go in the forums) and 2)mean that once this update is rolled out data will flow from the SMB to the Google search results much more quickly….

    The architectural change involves a change to the dashboard itself. They have essentially “widgetized” it so that they can easily add new “app” or “widgets” to add additional functionality so that they can upgrade the product quickly and easily. I think we will see significant new widgets in the near future.

    The third thing they have done is made clear the “future”. 1)They have communicated clearly and gave the community notice that this change was coming and 2)been very explicit about what businesses should do.

    Thus while the rollout is by no means everything we should have expected, they have dealt with my biggest complaints in the Train Wreck at the Junction article. There is still work to do integrating the new Dashboard into + and dealing with claimed listings that are in non personal accounts but I am hopeful that those details will be dealt with fairly quickly.

    Just the fact though that they are communicating is a huge difference and the main grounds that I would posit that they have responded to the Train Wreck in a constructive way.

    • Thanks Mike.

      Just for completeness – let me add the Google post here http://googleandyourbusiness.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/improving-look-and-feel-of-google_2.html

    • Google recommends “If you’re an existing user of Google Places for Business, this new
      interface is coming soon. You’ll receive an email notification once
      we’ve upgraded your account, and see the new interface once you sign in
      as usual. If you haven’t yet verified your business listing, now is the
      time to do it!
      ” and directs you to the general page http://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/

      The problem we have is that claiming these listings in the past (when already in Google Places) has led to nothing but problems. Clients do not want to hear about the problems Google are having with their migration. Clients want smooth transitions and continued listings.

      • Right, Google is saying forget the G+ merging process and wait for your dashboard to be upgraded. Once that happens the user will have a clear path to upgrade their G+ Page for local to social.

        For those that have already gone through the crazy merge process successfully, hold tight and the new Dashboard will also come to you.

        So in theory, this is both simpler and more likely to just work. Time will tell.

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Ian Smith
Dr Ian Smith

32 years of marketing experience to help small businesses understand the world of website marketing.

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