Does Google know that we are not living in the Wild Wild West? I understand they want the “user” who is searching online to have the freedom of the range. But are they really benefiting searchers by penalizing business owners? Google Places has grown in importance as a component of local search. Some local businesses primary marketing resource is their Google Places listing (whether they know it or not). Unfortunately in the interests of “keeping it fair” Google does not provide feedback to owners of business listings if there is a problem. The notifications are pretty well non existent when there is an issue with your Google Places account.
There is no email notification to advise the account holder that anything has happened or an “I have suspend your Google Place” postcard, because your not following the guidelines of the “Google Wild Wild West.” I have occasionally run into this issue with some of my clients Google Places Accounts and it is really mind boggling to me. Google will arbitrarily suspend or reject a business listing because it does not meet the quality guidelines. I understand the reasoning, abuse leads to bad information for searchers. I just feel it could be handled better for the genuine business owner. It is sometimes difficult for me to figure out the problem because most of the time the guidelines are vague and this is my passion! So how does a business owner with a business to run find the time to fully investigate the nuances of Googles policy. I know – its free. So what do you expect? Consider though; if Google was not getting the feedback from owners about their listing would Google provide such quality information. It is defensible that we are all working to help Google when we “verify” our business listing.
Most of the time, you can review your places account and not fully understand that you are violating any of Google’s guidelines. All that is left is making an educated guess with small changes in areas and hope for the best! We are living in Google’s own Wild Wild West and trying to survive! Of course the thing about the Wild Wild West is there was great opportunity if you got it right. Maybe that is Google’s goal after all!