Google Maps displaying redirect notice alerts when users click on business website URLs
A bug within Google Maps may be resulting in traffic loss to company websites and locations.
For approximately five days now, if a searcher tries to click your website URL within your Google Maps listing, they will receive a “redirect notice” from Google. The notice reads: “The previous page is sending you to [the URL you clicked on],” and then adds, “If you do not want to visit that page, you can return to the previous page.”
This is likely causing a drop in traffic from Google Maps and may be impacting local businesses in terms of foot traffic and website traffic.
The issue. If you go to Google Maps and search for a business, and then click on the URL within their local panel, it won’t send you to the site immediately.
Here is a screen shot of my local business listing in Google Maps:
When you click on that URL, this is the notice that displays:
First reports. First reports of the issue came in approximately five days ago in this Google support thread. Since then, dozens of complaints have been posted in this same thread, as well as other threads in that support forum. Google has yet to respond to the complaints. @JoyanneHawkins tipped off Search Engine Land to the issue.
Is this a feature or bug? The big question I have: Is this a feature or a bug? Did Google intentionally make this change or was this change made by mistake? One would have to assume this is a mistake because it does not work this way with other links within the local panel or other search results.
Since Google has not responded yet, we don’t know how long it will take for the issue to be resolved.
Why we should care. As mentioned above, if people are getting these notices when trying to click over to your website, it might surprise them, concern them, or possibly scare them not to click through to your website. This may result in less traffic to your web site, potentially less visits from customers to your physical location, and ultimately less revenue for your company.
Fixed. Google changed it to no longer serve a redirect. Google did not explain if this was a bug or feature or something else. All we know is the redirect warning is no longer there.