I cannot begin to tell you the stories that I have heard about Google dropping Google Places pages and how this has impacted businesses; strangling their local placement and impacting sales from business owners who call us for help. The common thread in all of these stories has been that the business in question has tried to manipulate Google Places results and as a consequence Google has dropped their page or pages – disastrously impacting their business.
First, it is very important to remember that Google Places is a free service. Your Google Places page is created using Google’s free tools. You use the program by adhering to Google’s rules. There is no complaining to Google, no customer service line, and no recourse when you get caught scamming the system.
Frequently this is what I see a business doing that gets it dropped from the Place index:
- Created multiple pages using addresses that may be rental properties locations, friends’ home addresses, and even corner gas station addresses.
- Tried to set up a Places page using a fictitious address or old address they have used before.
- Tried to scam the verification system.
How can you fix a situation where your Places Page has been dropped from the Google index?
- If you don’t have a legitimate office location in the area you will never be able to get and verify your Places page. There is no work around, no manipulating that can be done to force Google to set up, verify, and show your Places page.
- If you have been dropped due to trying to manipulate placement your only recourse is to delete all Places pages you have created and then set up a Places page again with the correct information.
Often I hear a business owner say, “I don’t want to delete my Places page as I will lose my reviews!” If Google has dropped you from the Places index your page isn’t showing anyway. Understand that reviews are tied to your business name not a Google Places page. Google knows your address not from what you tell it in Google Places set up, but rather from spidering pages about your business from around the Web. There is no fooling Google into thinking that you have a new location when you do not.
Even with a clean set up there is simply no guarantee that Google will show your Google Places page in their index. Remember, this is a free service with the rules and penalties set up and governed by Google on THEIR platform. If you don’t play the game their way, they have every right to exclude your content from their index.