I’ve been researching an odd situation regarding missing images on Google+ Local and thought I’d give the local pros that read this blog, one more Google+ Local troubleshooting step you should be aware of. Not sure I’ve gotten to the bottom of this, but am far enough in my investigation to just give you guys a heads up about a potential problem.

Tons of users have been reporting missing images in the forum. Jade said images are delayed and could currently take up to a month to show up on the live listing. My initial assumption was just clogged/slow data on the backend due to the pending update or possibly some buginess. But it appears there is also another issue and that’s what I wanted to alert you guys to.

If you have a client with missing images and it’s been more than a couple weeks OR their existing images never showed up after the upgrade to G+ Local, then check this out and I’ll attempt to explain below.

I’ll use an example of someone on the forum that’s having the problem. You need to set your search location for the city. Then do an exact name search with no city in the query. Ellen Marie Day Spa (Larchmont NY set as location.) Below is a screen shot and you can click to see full size.

As you see Google search is showing the images from the G+ Local page. BUT if you click one of the images from that search page, it takes you to her G+ Local page and as you see, the images are not displaying there. So the images are clearly attached to her page on the back end, because a click takes you to the page – they just don’t show up.

Here’s another example. Alligator Laundry (city set to Panorama City, CA). Images show in brand search preview, click to +Local and no images show up. That 2nd example was from this long forum page of missing image complaints.

So question 1 – why can Google SERPS can find the images, but their own +Local page can’t find them? One could assume the +Local page display was just buggy or backed up I guess.

HOWEVER – check this out. This forum post shows an agency that has the problem on all 15 of their auto dealer listings. They show 3 total examples of this same issue: Google+local photos showing on SERP but not migrating to the Google+ Local listing

Jade posted: “Took a peek at the listing, and it seems like it’s got multiple verified owners. Owner with the photo’s got some suspension issues, and the other owner doesn’t have photos up. If you’re the former, you’ll have to clean up your account, and if the latter, you’ll have to upload photos through your account in the dashboard.

I’m going to reply in that thread and dig deeper. I have some questions for Jade and also for the marketing consultant that posted. So if this issue interests you or you think you have similar problem star this thread so you can come back to it, in case I get some more insights.

SO MY TIP FOR THE DAY – If your images are missing for too long, do the test above. If images show in SERPS but not on the +Local page, then push clients and explore whether they could have a listing in another account or if there is anyone else that created a listing for them. When I push clients because I see symptoms that make me suspect other listings, clients usually tell me “no!” I push and push. Then a month later out of the blue they say “I just logged into Panoramio and forgot I even had that account and sure enough there’s another Place page.” OR “Just found out my wife or webmaster created a listing I didn’t know about.” OR of course sometimes it’s a previous SEO that did it.

OTHER DUAL OWNERSHIP/MULTIPLE ACCOUNT PROBLEMS – In fact I would go so far as to say best practice for new account set up should include grilling clients in detail to find out if they or anyone else could have set up any other Place pages. Other problems that can happen when listings are claimed in more than one account include pending review, suspension, data inconsistencies and changes on the live listing you can’t control AND the inability to respond to reviews. I HIGHLY SUSPECT that at least some of these missing review issues or reviews posted but not showing up, could also be related to multiple account issues as well.

BUT THEN THE BIGGEST ISSUE OF ALL IS – if by chance there ARE multiple owned listings, or what I call a hidden merged dupe, then as Jade suggests above, that other invisible listing in another account you didn’t even know existed, COULD be suspended, and that could be causing a variety of problems on the listing you are trying to optimize.

HOW TO FIX? You may wonder – How do I fix it if I do find there are multiple owners and I can’t get access to the other listing to clean it up and remove it? (For instance if a previous SEO did it.) IF there is any incorrect info on the listing, like live address does not match what’s in dash – then you can use the incorrect data troubleshooter to report the incorrect info. THEN after you get the reply from support, email them back and ask them to UNverify any owners of the account other than the account you are using.