Tag Archive for: Google+ Local Listings

Many businesses only use their Google+ Local profile for SEO. It is an important part of increasing your brand’s visibility on Google and it is incredibly easy to sign up, reap the benefits, and leave the profile alone from then on. But, it is crucial to make sure you at least set the profile up completely, otherwise you might get some interesting results.

When you leave parts of your profile empty, especially your photos, Google tends to do their best to fill in the gaps. But, this doesn’t aways have the best results. For example, take Mutt Industries from Portland. Todd Mintz spotlighted their appearance on Google Plus Local and search results.

Mutt Industries

If you don’t upload pictures to your profile, Google will just use whatever they can find to fill the spot, and it might be and entirely random photo from your WordPress content. In Mutt’s case, that random photo also seemingly shows someone doing something still illegal in the majority of states, including Oregon. Obviously the image isn’t displayed prominently on Mutt’s website. It is just a random low-quality image from their hosted content.

Mike Blumenthal also noted that their Google+ Local Page is pretty much entirely devoid of all content. It has been claimed, but there is nothing else for Google to work with. If they had added just a single photo, they likely would have avoided the mix-up altogether.

If you aren’t going to use your Google+ Local Page in an attempt to engage the community, at least be sure to add enough to make your business identifiable and allow you to have some control over how you appear to searchers. A “Full-Service Creative Agency” might not be too hurt by a stoned appearance, but you probably don’t want people to think your serious business has gone to pot when they search for you.

Yesterday we reported on the mass hijacking of thousands of Google+ Local listings. In short, over a short period of time a huge number of hotels with business listings for Google Maps and Search. The story was broke open by Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, who attempted to track down the source of the spam attack, with no concrete evidence to suggest who the culprit actually is.

While the issue could have a big affect on many businesses it the hotel sector, it is more notable for showing that other attacks could happen in the future. Even worse, no one outside of Google has been able to explain how this could occur, especially with the number of big hotel chains affected. The hotels hit with the spam weren’t mom-and-pop bed and breakfast places. Most of the listings were for huge hotel chains, such as the Marriott hotel shown in the example of a hijacked link below.

If Google does know how this was able to happen, they aren’t telling. In fact, Google has been terribly quiet on the issue. They’ve yet to issue an official public statement, aside from telling Sullivan that he could confirm they were aware of the problem and working to resolve it.

The only direct word from Google on the hijackings is a simple response in an obscure Google Business Help thread from Google’s Community Manager, Jade Wang. If it weren’t for Barry Schwartz’s watchful eye, it is possible the statement would never have been widely seen. Wang said:

We’ve identified a spam issue in Places for Business that is impacting a limited number of business listings in the hotel vertical. The issue is limited to changing the URLs for the business. The team is working to fix the problem as soon as possible and prevent it from happening again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.