The Importance of Being Earnest, a Cautionary Tale.
A friend of ours has a nice little mom and pop business in Tucson, AZ. Over the years Ricky has developed a respectable car service business. Although he is not a web developer, he worked at it and built his own website myairportdriver.com, hosting it at Network Solutions for $12 a year. Until recently, he was at the top of Google Maps with 38 really good reviews.
One day, that all disappeared. What did he do wrong? When I heard about it from him his theory was a “Google Virus”. In an organic Google search he still comes up in the top ten for searches like “Tucson Airport Shuttle” but ironically, what really got him the business was the Google Maps listing. Now, we aren’t exactly sure what knocked him off Google Maps in the first place (we are looking into it and are interested in any and all theories out there), but a quick look and we see many red flags. His actual address on his site is a defunct mail center for one. And over the years he has done many sloppy things with his site - he has other domains randomly aliased to it and at the most basic level, he has never done any basic SEO optimization of the pages themselves. He never really looked at his analytics until now - after all, everything was just going well.
So the moral to this story is if you are serious about your business it pays to hire a web developer. But beyond that, the moral is to be on top of your game. Maintain and develop your business and your web site. Keep it current and be honest, especially when your reviews are good and you have something to brag about. And don’t get tricky. Google doesn’t like tricks. Google doesn’t like being lied to.
But back to Ricky’s theory for a minute. Could Google actually just screw up? Could Google’s servers be compromised? Could there be a new Google algorithm or even some kind of a merge gone awry with Google Local or Google+ that just wiped out somebody like Ricky with his 38 reviews? Does anyone out there have a similar story? We’d love to hear about it.
-Danny Vinik, BRINK President/Creative Director
About a week after I posted this I got this email from Ricky:
The reviews are back:
See the reply from google below:
Thank you for contacting Google. After investigating your problem, we’ve found that it is being caused by a technical issue we have since resolved. Please allow a few days for your listing to display again.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Google Team
Original Message Follows:
Subject: Google Places for Business Help
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 17:46:51 +0000
AutoDetectedBrowser: Firefox 1
AutoDetectedOS: Windows 7
physical_address: Hi I wrote before but I have found no help or resolve.
When I go to see my business listing I get this message: “We currently do not support the location” I had 32 five star reviews and they and my business listing is just gone, cant be found in google maps or anywhere. Please help me, all my work has come to a halt and I am not able to support my 4 kids since this happened.
Please have someone contact me that can help. I worked so hard to build those reviews over 5 years and now they are gone.
My Airport Driver