Aug 102012

Google+ Local is obviously not a perfect product. From incorrect data to lost reviews, the problems associated with it are countless. Last year Google opened a “Moderator page” for questions and ideas related to Google Places. There were many great suggestions. Some of them are already reality:

Notifications on changes happening on business’s verified listing

- Multi-user management over listing(s) (came with Google+ Local)

- Integration of social media into business profiles on Google+ (came with Google+ Local)

Faster work on reported problems, such as merges and duplicates

Some are yet to be worked on:

- More feedback on issues related to listing suspension or rejection

- Better control over third-party data overwriting the owner-verified data

- Ability to get Google reviews directly on business’s website

- Better anti-spam options

- More and better structured analytics data for Google Places

- Google Places certification program for professionals

What are some of the features that you see as important to be improved as soon as possible with Google+ Local? What are the things that you hate with Google+ Local?

  8 Responses to “Discussion: What Would You Like to Be Improved with Google+ Local?”

Comments (8)
  1. I would like a place in the dashboard that lists the reviews and your responses to them so you can see right away when you get a new one.

  2. Nyagoslav:

    I could write a book on improvements I’d like to see…lol…but here are the main ones that come to mind:

    1. Make it it easy to clean up duplicates by simplifying the claiming process. If there is more than one listing for my business, I should be able to just claim them all as usual and then simply delete the ones I don’t want right within the dashboard. It’s ridiculous you have to “report a problem” or send a troubleshoot ticket to delete your own duplicate listing!

    2. A smarter data scraper. If I own “Bob’s Plumbing” and I claim my listing, Google’s data scraper should be able to match claimed listings with data it scrapes from other sites (or gets as direct feeds). So if it sees a “Bob’s Plumbing” listing on another directory site instead of creating a new listing, it would match it against the claimed listings in its database and if it already existed, it wouldn’t create an unnecessary duplicate.

    3. Don’t give home-based businesses and service-based businesses who operate out of their home so much grief. How hard can this be to get figured out? All you have to do is have an option in the dashboard where the business could select: “This business operates out of a home.” And then if you selected that option, the address would automatically be hidden. Then on the public side of the G+ Local page, it would say, “This business operates out of a home.” And if a business selects this option, they don’t have to worry about Google giving them that annoying, “we don’t support this location” or any other issues. It would “just work.”

    4. Allow law firms, doctors, dentists, etc. who have multiple practitioners working for them to determine if they want multiple listings or not. If there is a law firm with 30 attorneys, let’s say, they should be able to determine if they want one listing representing their law firm or 31 (one for the law firm and one for each attorney).

    Travis Van Slooten

  3. Hey Nyagoslav,

    Great discussion you’ve started here!

    Big, important items I’d like to see fixed:

    1. All the stuff you mentioned

    2. All the stuff Travis mentioned

    3. Some competent handling of reviews (as in ensuring that legitimate reviews posted by real customers actually make it onto the intended Google+Local pages for all to see)

    4. Some on-page indication as to whether a given Google+Local page has been claimed

    5. A paid-support option. Not for advice on how to rank well or anything like that, but rather for people whose page just went “poof” and need some basic direction.

    Little items that would be nice to have / fix on the Google+Local pages:

    6. An on-page URL shortener, like what Places pages had.

    7. On the backend, in whatever new “dashboard” they come out with, it would be nice to have a way to reorder photos without having to remove and then re-upload them.

    8. A way for people to see the FULL name of the business / G+L page. Currently, if the business name is longer than about 30 characters, it will be cut off and ellipsed. You can’t see the full name if you hover over or click on it; you can only see the full name if you hover over the browser tab or go back to the SERP and search for the business by name or look at its “preview” to the right.

    I’m sure I can think of others…those are just the ones in the bucket I’ve been carrying around :)

  4. I second everyone’s comments and agree with all. So many issues, but you guys covered most of them.

    My biggest hot buttons right now are dupe problems which Travis hit on and discrimination against home based service area businesses which Travis also mentioned. And one other…

    When businesses move don’t force them to have a “This Place is Permanently Closed” label that reads to consumers “This Place is busted and out of business.” I know Google is finally working on this but it can’t happen soon enough for me.

    Think I have a ton more, not fully awake yet. May add more later.

  5. Thanks for all the great comments! From what I hear, it seems ALMOST EVERYTHING in Google’s +Local functionality needs significant improvement :) Probably something I hear more rarely (maybe because the other issues are just too major) is some UI/dashboard design features. We are still not completely sure how the dashboard will look like, but I believe the messaging and the help titles on a potential dashboard should be much more obvious and complete then they are right now. In terms of UI, something that previously Mike Blumenthal has mentioned on a few occasions might be very relevant - when you have a long description in the new merged pages, the reviews are pushed way down. Some additional reordering, such as moving some of the information bits to the sidebar might also prove useful.

  6. I agree with all the above points as well.

    I’d also like to add improved functions for “service oriented businesses with ONE corporate location”

    Specifically - the ability to select “service areas” to utilize market expansion lines to establish local presence via (area codes / prefixes) A specific number with a specific service area. Set a max limit - something to kill spammers. Right now there are WAY too many respectable, awesome, great small businesses that lack exposure because they have a headquarters outside the city limits (and i’m not talking about home based businesses) i.e. a business based in Salem, Oregon but operates in Portland, Oregon for example.

    Note*** Where I live there are 4 different local area codes within a legitimate service area.

    And when Google talks about local - stop using pizza restaurants as an example of how great Google Local is - There is way more to local than pizza delivery :-) It’s my personal pet peeve because Google always seems to use the most local centric example when describing local.

  7. I’m with ya, Zachary: I can’t stand how Google uses pizza (or sushi) in every example. Wrong audience. 90% of restaurateurs don’t know what local search is and don’t care. (Not criticizing them; many seem to do fine with foot traffic and word-of-mouth.)

    Nor generally are restaurant owners the types to fork over for PPC; it’s business owners in the service-based industries who’ve made Google what it is today by using Adwords.

    Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a local-searcher who just wants to see everyone get a fair shake…

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