What do you do when Google loses an entire city in the blended search results? Is it a SERPs issue? A Places issue? A Maps issue? Where do I report it? (Read on and you’ll see it’s not an easy question to answer.) I’m just going to talk out loud as I try to work through this problem. PLUS I’m blogging this problems because I’ve had better luck getting Google’s attention on bugs by blogging and tweeting, than using ‘report a problem’ or the Google help forums, so here goes. (I know it’s sort of a convoluted way to get help, but then again Google’s help system or lack thereof is pretty convoluted!)

Google has a major bug when it comes to city names that are located in more than one state. I’ll give 4 examples today because companies in these cities are having problems and need help. These cities are largely missing from Google.

MISSING IN ACTION – 1st up – Farmington, CT. I have a new client in Farmington, CT and am just starting to optimize her Place page. But wondering how I can get her to rank since Google shows Farmington, NM results when you search for any business in Farmington, CT. Google LOST this city! Poor client, poor me. What are we to do?

PITY THE POOR ADWORDS ADVERTISERS – When I Google Farmington Dentist (With Farmington, CT selected as location) here is what I see. All the ‘blended’ local search results at the top of Google are NM businesses. The organic are correct and are CT businesses. The ADWORDS ads are a mess. There are Adwords ads (racking up bogus clicks no doubt) for Michigan, Colorado and NM dentists. I doubt a consumer in CT wants to travel that far to see a Dentist.

Again my location is set to Farmington, CT and yes I’ve checked with client and she sees the same results from her IP in CT. I’ve had her check from office and home. I’ve had her search for Farmington plumber and other businesses and Farmington Dentist (or plumber or anything else) pulls results from NM. So that means her potential patients are finding NM results instead of results in their own backyard too. So all the Dentists (and other local businesses) in Farmington, CT are out of luck and missing from the SERPs.

Here are 2 reports from the Google Places forum just last week about 2 other cities that are MIA. No replies from Google and no help for these businesses, they are just MIA and SOL!

Searching any business followed by “Encino” (a city in California) always pulls up Encino results from NM instead – Posted 7/28

Name of my business: Sherly M Soleiman MD, location: Encino, CA. Searching any topic with “Encino” (a city in CA) gives results for Encino, NM. Even though IPL signing in is from California. Is the city of Encino, California not registered into google maps’ search list?

Places Listings From Medford MA Showing Up In Medford OR – Posted 7/27

Google places from Medford MA are showing up the results when I search. I live in Medford OR.

I have tried other computers (from friends and family) with other internet providers and the same thing is happening. The organic results are pulling up correctly in that they are relevant for my area. Google Adwords are also showing up from Medford MA which I am sure these business owners are not to happy about.

There are lots of other examples as well. For instance I just checked Portland Maine and Texas. They both show Portland OR results. Is this a recent problem? Why aren’t more businesses concerned? I’m surprised there isn’t a story in the WSJ about this.

How can mistakes this big happen? Why hasn’t Google fixed? What is the best way for me to try to get it fixed for my CT client? I mean I’ll report in maps, etc. but it seems like it’s a global problem. I don’t think it’s as simple as turning on results for that one city. It appears to be a core problem on a bigger level.