This is post #2 in an ongoing series where I attempt to surface the very most important threads from the Google Places forum to ensure you don’t miss any important updates, issues, bugs or fixes. In installment #1 on April 10th I went with the labels Hot Tips, Warnings, Bugs, Bloopers, Blunders. But this issue I’m doing a little differently and just starting with the primary description of the issue in bold caps, so you can easily scan to find topics about specific situations.

MAJOR BUG – RESOLVED Only 10 results for places show now what if I’m #12? – I blogged this April 17th and reported to Google. I just discovered it’s fixed and posted an update on my blog and the forum.

BAN for SPAM REVIEWS? Would You Support a Google’s Decision to Ban Listings That Have Numerous Fake Positive Reviews – Good discussion brewing between Top Contributor Nyagoslav and local pro Mary Bowling.

INTERESTING INSIGHTS from GOOGLE SUPPORT EMAIL Google Places Listing Jumbled – Copy of email from Google support with interesting updates about edit times and what shows and how it influences things. CONFIRMATION that the algo DOES look at the more details section of dashboard. “The attributes you supply are still helpful in the ordering and presentation of Place pages, but all of them may not appear on your Place page.”

SMB BLUNDER Google Places account gone! – Got taken down for using PO box. User keeps trying to bribe Vanessa to help him and then says he’ll pay Google $500 to get his listing back up. Keep telling the guy that when you break the rules, you can’t pay G for reinstatement, just need to wait for support. But he’s pretty desperate. (I keep telling Google if they offered a paid priority support option, people would go for it. Here’s proof!) 😉

DUPES & NAP INTEGRITY deleted account has just reappeared – I offer quite a bit of good advice here. Below is one thing I tell SMBs often. Feel free to quote or copy to your clients… “NAP is your most important online asset. It’s like your business ID on the web. Much like social security number is for individuals – your NAP can never change!” Plus see other advice in that thread if you deal with lots of dupe nightmares.

DOCTOR/LAWYER DUPES Question about listings for Doctors and their Practice Name – If you deal with professionals like Dentists, Doctors and Lawyers then this post may be helpful in deciding whether to have one listing for the practice or individual listings for practitioners.

SMB BLUNDER Idea or suggestion to Google – Don’t come to forum looking for help and complaining about Google, if you don’t have your house in order. ESPECIALLY don’t say “Linda please support me in this” if you are violating guidelines and have your data wrong. He’s saying G should offer an option to “lock down” proactively managed Places so they can’t keep getting changed. Totally agree, but you can see from my dissection of his Place page, why the algo needs to often step in to correct bad data or to suspend listings. 😉

HIDE ADDRESS In regards to “hide your address” Why is Google not explaining to business owners the reason for their call? – User makes some VERY valid points. Vanessa says they hear all the frustration about the mysterious or poor English Google calls followed by a TAKE DOWN of Place pages. Google is working to make this issue less problematic?

RANT AGAINST GOOGLE Google is killing small businesses by being negligent – Fresh post from this AM. The guy makes some really good points! “However, our biggest challenge has been Google Places itself! Google Places is full of bugs and glitches, our data gets messed up and we don’t have any control over it whatsoever. Why has Google integrated a faulty product/service in the main search results…”

VIRTUAL OFFICES Google Location taken down. Disputed. Google thinks I don’t have some locations but I do! Help! – Are virtual offices OK? What about shared offices? What about locations that are by appointment only? If these questions come up for you, there is some good info in this thread.

HOT TIP Why did my ranking drop after business name change and new address? – Top Contributor Jim Jaggers gives a good explanation.

LOCAL SEO TIPS Help – My listing is near bottom, but I think I set up everything right? – More On-site SEO and site localization tips from yours truly.

LOCAL SEO TIPS How to improve my ranking to get map marker instead of a dot – Simple explanation of how the algo works with ranking tips for SMBs.

SPLIT DUPE PROBLEM Listing SPLIT – Ranking gone – I’ve been seeing lots of what I call SPLIT dupes again. These are not regular dupes. This is one listing in dash that SPLITs into 2 live listings. They are tricky and cause all kinds of problems. This is one I’m helping with and it looks to me like the edits by Google or the algo may have had something to do with it? Not sure, still investigating. Have a couple of these I’m dealing with for my own clients too.

REVIEW BUG Reviews not in chronological order – Vanessa says it’s a known issue they are working on. Update: she thinks this has been resolved. However I still note a weird problem. When someone leaves a review from mobile phone, for some reason reviews go to bottom of heap. I reported and engineers are investigating.

Learn anything new? Was this is helpful? Let me know in comments below. If I missed anything important, feel free to share in comments as well! Also would love it if you’d share any insights or ideas on these issues.

FYI I have gotten so much positive feedback that I am going to try to move this to a weekly series because there is always SO much important info coming into the forum. So stay tuned to Catalyst for more like this.