Google’s enhanced listings for local search results are called the “PlusBox” because clicking the plus sign opens an inline box with additional information about a business. Over the past several weeks I’ve written about the problem of erroneous address information appearing in the Google PlusBox (here and here), and recently Bill Slawski covered the issue with one of his Google patent reviews.
I’ve seen several pleas for help in fixing incorrect listings in the Google Maps for Business Group. It’s a straightforward (though sometimes time-consuming) process to fix these incorrect listings, such as this one from Steppingstone Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota:
This is a problem that many posters to Google Maps for Business Group have reported about. Some of these requests seemed to have been handled quickly by Google staff, while some have been outstanding for many, many months.
The way I see it is that you have five steps to follow to have the old address showing in the PlusBox fixed or removed in Google Search:
Step 1: Remove all references to the old address from your website.It appears that 4 pages on the Steppingstone Theatre site contain the old address: site:steppingstonetheatre.org 75
I see that every page of your site has your new address on it in a form that Google can understand. That’s good, but that and your change to your record in the Local Business Center is not quite enough for Google to “get it”.
Step 2: Update/check your record at InfoUSA & Axciom, the primary business data suppliers to Google. The easiest way to do this is at this great page by Frank Fuchs with links to all of these sites (and the yellow page sites as well): How To Get Your Business Listed on Local Search Engines.
Step 3: Contact all of the other websites that still list your old address and ask them to make the change. It appears that there are many (399?). See the search: “steppingstone theatre” “5th St”.
Focus on the larger national review and Yellow Page sites that show your address in the above results, such as:
- Yahoo Local
If you want to be particularly thorough in this effort, you may also want to search on “Fifth St,” which finds another 50 or so web references that have your old address.
Step 4: Wait 6 to 8 weeks to see if this has had an impact.
Step 5: Repeat the above steps. In programming terms, this is referred to as an endless loop.
If all else fails, you can always hope that Google Maps Guide Jen takes pity on you and fixes the erroneous address in the Plus Box.
The good news is that you have obviously been successful and active in promoting your theater online in that Google seems to show almost 450 web site pages with your old address. The bad news is that the old information will dog you for years to come, unless you take a proactive role in changing the now erroneous information that is on the web. When it comes to finding new information on the web, Google is fast and efficient. However, it’s not so good at recognizing things like changes in address.
Google could provide better tools to fix this problem, or a more responsive reporting system. Unfortunately, they do not at this time offer any real solution to addressing this issue. They have not informed anyone where the erroneous data comes from, so all of the above suggestions are just educated guesses.
Mike Blumenthal is a student of life, political economy and local search. He writes the blog Understanding Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search and is a partner in a small web design company in upstate NY.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.