It has been quite a long ago that me, and anyone else following the trends in local search, stopped getting amazed by the recentness of the problems and glitches related to Google’s +Local (ex-Places) product. However, it is rather rare that two (or more) major problems occur simultaneously. Currently there are three withstanding issues, some of which date a few months back:
1) Mass “We currently do not support the location” glitch.
The reports of disappearing listings started in the beginning of May. The engineers were reportedly working on fixing it, but a more major fix came just in early July. There are still thousands, or probably even tens of thousands of listings that are still in the limbo, and some of them will most probably never get back to their previous status. Here is what Google suggested to some business owners which reported the problem with their disappeared listings:
“If you’re unable to reinstate your page this way, then please remove your listing from your Google Places dashboard by clicking “Delete” then “Remove my listing from my Google Places account,” then recreate the listing.”
In other words: “We provide advice that will most probably not work, because the glitch is on our end, and your listings are most probably not anymore in our public database, thus there is not much you can do. However, try these, and if they don’t work, well… simply delete your listing and start all over.”
I’ve been telling in some conversations that the listings affected by the initial error on Google’s end were probably hundreds of thousands, and I was asked how I came up with this estimate. Here is how:
“Assuming there are appx. 50 million business listings on Google Maps in the whole world, probably about at least 40-50% are listings of service-based businesses. So this is 20-25 million. And if from these even 1% were hit (and the percentage seems to be much higher from what I see and hear) this is already 200,000 listings.”
2) Not working troubleshooter.
The troubleshooter for Google+ Local incorrect data problems has been down for a few days. It is actually still down if you try to go to it through the Google Places Support Center. The link leads to this page:
If you go directly to this link though, it works normally. I doubt even a hundredth of all people that will visit the support center and will click on the “dead” link will come to my blog and see this link, so Google needs to fix this as soon as possible.
3) Only one page of Google+ Local organic search results.
Google currently shows only up to 10 Google+ Local results even if you click on “More results near …” under the listings in the organic local search results. This seems to be spread across a large number of cities, and for queries mostly related to service-based businesses. Here is an example of the Places search results for [plumber New York]:
One can only guess if this is a result of the major “loss” of service-based business listings.