Local business owners – Claim your location on Google Maps before someone else does

My family owns a brick and mortar toy store called LearningTower Toys located in Port Jefferson Station. It’s a small town located on Long Island, New York, for those not familiar with the Northeast. The business has been in existence since 1996 and has had a website since 1998. They recently discovered that their business was listed as “Place closed” on Google maps. For obvious reasons, this is not good. I received a call from my mother to assist and here is an overview of what transpired:

  • Discovered that the listing had been flagged as “Place Closed”
  • I attempted to claim the business using Google maps’ “Add or Edit your Business” feature. I entered in all the relevant information and was prompted to confirm this with a call placed to the phone number on record. Using this feature, an automated Google service called and we entered a PIN to confirm we were the business owner.
  • Upon completion, the entry was listed as “pending approval”. It was no longer listed as “place closed,” so I assumed we were in good shape.
  • A few hours later, a Google representative called to confirm the listing. This seemed strange since we confirmed with the phone number on file, but they simply asked my mother to confirm the physical address. Unfortunately, with the hustle of the store, my mother didn’t have the time to get a callback number to reach the representative.
  • Within minutes, the listing which I took time to correct was listed as “removal requested,” and a new listing was created by Google with errors in the address. It seems the representative didn’t bother checking the content of the other listing and just deleted it. They created a newer listing which was now in the wrong location and had limited data (no url, photos, etc.).
  • The new listing wasn’t editable and the old (proper listing) was in the process of deletion and had no option to edit or reactivate.
  • My only recourse was to create yet another listing and flag the other two for deletion, citing duplicate entries.

Here is the current listing:


View Larger Map

So finally we have a proper listing in Google Maps. However, Google seems to apply some form of page rank to these listings. We went from the top couple listings on page 1 for “Port Jefferson Toy Store,” to page 3 or 4. This should correct in time, but it’s still quite annoying. The lesson: claim your business now before someone, erroneously or maliciously, deletes or edits your listing.

Add your business to Google Maps

——EDIT 3/37/2009——
The saga continues. The LearningTower Toys map pin in now broken. It’s coming up as “Learning Tower of Pizza” in Ankeny, IA or “Gamestop” in Islandia NY. Very strange.

I was able to locate LearningTower Toys listing but it’s marked as “Place Closed” yet again. Hopefully I’ll have some resolution soon.


View Larger Map

  • Archie Galarza Jul 5, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Nice put up! I am just beginning out in neighborhood management/advertising media and attempting to learn to do it nicely – sources like this text are incredibly helpful. As our company relies in the US, it?s all a bit new to us. The instance above is one thing that I worry about as well, the way show your individual real enthusiasm and share the fact your product is beneficial in that case.

  • Search Engine Optimization Sep 27, 2011, 9:16 pm

    Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I will certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  • eGoh Dec 17, 2009, 11:33 am

    Mark,

    Google is going to give preference when the exact term appears in the name and/or web site. So, it seems they have “backup generator” in their text. Perhaps the business you’re trying to help does not? You can add to the business listing with a better description, etc. and that may help a bit. Give me the client name/URL and I can take a look. Feel free to post it here or email me at the contact info above.

    Eric

  • Mark Dec 17, 2009, 10:31 am

    As a follow up I noticed though, the local listing looks COMPLETELY different if the word “backup” is taken off….

    EX. Google search: generators silver spring md

    http://www.google.com/search?q=generators+silver+spring+md&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Is there a way of tagging key words for the local listings? I’m not seeing that. Confused?

  • Mark Dec 17, 2009, 10:22 am

    Eric,

    Can you explain how one business can come up as the ONLY listing under Google in terms of the “local business” in multiple cities? How is this happening? As I know you’ll need an example, please see links below:

    Search under Google for: Backup Generators McLean Va

    http://www.google.com/search?q=backup+generators+mclean+va&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Search under Google for: Backup Generators Great Falls Va

    http://www.google.com/search?q=backup+generators+great+falls+va&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    ditto for: Backup Generators Silver Spring Md

    http://www.google.com/search?q=backup+generators+silver+spring+md&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    I’m trying to help a competitor of this business, and he’s in a city that’s closer to Silver Spring Md for sure. But as you can see, the business listed – Kinzi – is not in the cities searched for but under those search terms he’s the ONLY one coming up??

    So, how does another business combat this positioning? How can they get listed there too?

    Regards,

    Mark

  • wilf_barnes Mar 1, 2009, 7:21 pm

    Hey Eric’

    Thanks for sharing this example. I consult with clients on a regular basis on the importance of claiming their local business listing – not just on Google, but on Yahoo, MSN and everywhere possible. I often explain the concept of “listing hijacking” and I get met with disbelief.

    DirectSolo.com is a link to help any business claim a universal business listing for only $30.00/yr. The service is a no-brainer because you spend the same time that you spent on claiming your Gmap listing but now you get your data submitted to Google and roughly 50 other directories, search engines, internet yellow pages, GPS etc.

    It also allows a business to affect some consistency in how their data is presented all over the web. It benefits a business to be consistent with it’s name, phone number, business address etc. Your public business data is being shared by many of these directories and it’s crucial to get control of these data records. Google for instance pulls a lot of it’s data from InfoUSA. So if data is wrong in one place, it can be pulled and served in many different places – incorrectly.

    If you have ANY listings out there that you have not claimed, then those listings may not be accurate (ie old phone numbers, wrong business name, incomplete address) or worse, they may have been hijacked by spammers. Your story is a good illustration of a legitimate listing gone awry.

    Claiming your listings is also an opportunity to be found more often, by more people, in more places and by more mediums (think smart phones!) Do a good job and you will establish a much wider and deeper footprint for your business in terms of how searchers can find you.

    And people are now searching more than 2/3 of the time online looking for product and business information that they are interested in buying locally. Not all of the search resources used are Google – many other local search engines and directories can be a very valuable – and free – source of new local visitors for your enterprise.

    Thanks for this story Eric, I will share it with my clients!

    Cheers
    –Wilf

    Btw – I just followed you on twitter too 🙂