Google Automatically Changing Google Places Listings and What It Means For Your Dealership
Last week Google Places began sending out emails to its users notifying various businesses that in the coming weeks Google would be automatically making adjustments to the listing based on information they have gathered from other sources. The reason for these changes? To improve accuracy in business address and business name based on citations of the business around the web. If you didn’t receive one of these notification, congratulations, that means you most likely have up to date and consistent business information featured across the web. If you received a notification, it’s time to start thinking about how you list your business online.
How This May Help Combat Spam
While most of the stuff our clients have approached us about has been changes to address information, one thing that this may help clean up is business name spam. Many SEO’s and local businesses try and game the Google Places algorithm by putting keywords in their business name. By putting things like “ABC Auto Sales – Beverly Hills Mercedes” they may see a bump in relevance and placement. However, the upcoming updates from Google Places may combat this. By looking at outside citations from sites other sites Google may start switching business names to things like “ABC Auto, Cars” or “Mercedes, ABC Auto.”
Business Listing Consistency Is More Crucial Than Ever
Google has stated that this is going to be an ongoing effort, which means that consistency in your business listing information is more crucial than ever. If your business is listed on Google Places as “123 Main St. #200? and on sites like Yelp, etc. you are only listing yourself as “123 Main St.” you are now risking Google overwriting your listing without the suite number. In most of the cases we have seen thus far, these are the kinds of changes Google has been making.
We have stressed in the past that consistency in your name, address, and phone number in online business listings is important, but now with automatic updates, it will be more crucial than ever. Additionally claiming and verifying your business information is correct on various local portals is even more crucial than it was in the past. A good rule of thumb is to match your Google Places listing to your website information. Then for every online listing you build after the fact copy the information from your Google Places listing. This will force you to be consistent and ultimately help prevent duplicate listings showing up in the search results, and now potentially prevent your listing from being overwritten.
If you’re unhappy with the changes being made to your listing, there is a solution. According to the emails from Google, you can go to your business listing and make an edit to the listing and then click “submit” and you will be opted out of the change. While many feel that Google is overstepping its boundaries by automatically updating your business information, I feel this creates a great opportunity for spam cleanup. For those businesses not monitoring their local presence, the automatic update could give dealerships who are playing by the rules a bit of an advantage. What do you think of the new changes? Has your dealership been impacted, and if so what sorts of changes is Google recommending for your listing?