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Be there!

(Oh, and if you have qs, send them my way or leave them directly on the +Google+ Your Business page and we'll try to get to them.)
 
Next Hangout On Air: Google Places
Join +Joel Headley and +Vanessa Schneider at 11 a.m. PST this Wednesday, 4.4, as they discuss how to get started on Google Places for business (google.com/places), a tool to help you manage your local business listing on Google.

Have a question for the team? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll try to get to them during the Hangout.

Missed our past Hangouts? Make some popcorn, pull up and chair, and watch our previous tutorials on the Google Business YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/Dp0q1
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Jeff Collins's profile photoMichael Ehline's profile photoAbhinab Robert Rao's profile photoScott L Smith's profile photo
28 comments
 
When a business simply relocates what is the best way to set up the new address in Places? Do you eliminate the old address, redo the address in the existing record, or create a new address? Also how can you support this via outside data: ie what do you do with IYP's and other data sources that feed Google Places? Finally what happens with reviews attached to the original and now old record? Do they move to the new record? tx
 
What is the relationship between editing in Places and editing in Google Map? How do you get incorrect keywords removed? If requests for edits have already been submitted then what next option is available? If the auto generated overview words are wrong, what should users do? When does the map appear in google search results on the right? If it isn't, what should users do?
 
What's the best way to handle businesses that share a building? Is there any way to prevent merging other than going directory crazy and keeping your fingers crossed?
 
+david oremland +Nicholas Gracilla +Sharon Oakley All great Qs that come up a lot! Best practice for closing and moving, how do Places and Maps and MapMaker interact and connect and how to try to prevent merges. These are all important Qs that come up enough I think we should have a FAQ or help doc on them. I think this hangout has a beginner "getting started" focus. BUT I bet if we said pretty please and there was enough demand, we could get them to do a more advanced troubleshooting type of help desk hangout.
 
Why do addresses on the frontend/public version of a Google places page change format, especially when we build citations using the format specified in the placed backend. For example, some businesses will auto change to #145 when we input Ste 145. We build citations using Ste 145 but Google automatically creates the places page at #145
 
+Linda Buquet I'll most certainly add a "pretty please" for the advanced session. I'm sure to learn much in the starter session too. But when the editing interfaces don't work as expected (and users don't understand the editorial process) it can be frustrating to work with. Pretty please!? ;-)
 
Yes, pretty please may we have an advanced troubleshooting hangout? I'll bring the virtual cookies. :)
 
We've had issues with the "at a glance" portion of place pages. After reporting issues and getting them resolved, the same problems come back a few weeks later. Are there any advancements coming in this area? Additionally, we've had place pages go completely blank with content (not a new submission) while under review. Reporting a problem is grayed out (it is available in our country), and I've not found any help through various forums or FAQs online. Thank you!
 
One more question! We've started to use tracking numbers for various local listing websites, is there any danger to this? We try to keep all the data in-sync throughout the net, however, to effectively track the phone calls off of each listing program different tracking numbers are used and hard coded for each listing. Business name, address, hours, images, etc are all kept the same but we are wondering if there's a potential hidden danger to having different phone numbers on the network of local listings (given each program scrubs each other for data, consistency, etc).
 
+Ian Judge-Lord EXACTLY. No matter what a business owner does, including adding their own unique suite number, does not matter. Citation providers change the data and if it does not match exactly, Google goes ahead and merges your listing with a nearby business, with a similar name and you are SCREWED. It has been around a year, and almost all of our offices are merged with other businesses. Our business has decreased to a snails pace and we just don't trust adwords, as we have never gotten a ROI. Most educated users ignore PPC and go straight to Local or Organic. The calls we did get from PPC were garbage calls who had already been turned down by every organically listed company. Google needs to scrap the Places merge algo and rely upon owner data and understand that "ste, #, 5th, Fifth, W. W, West" are the same! Stop splitting owner verified data. And stop saying it's a "free" service so no biggie. How is it "free", when Google adds data on its own and business owners like me spend 8-9 hours a day sending e mails and correcting bad data. Clients call another firm thinking it is us!!! THIS IS CRAZY!!!
 
+David Xing , tracking numbers are bad news. I can't tell you how much time I've spent cleaning up the mess they create. Having different numbers across directories makes google think those listings might not all belong to the same business, which can really hurt your place page ranking. The core to success in places is consistent NAP. See +Linda Buquet or +Mike Blumenthal 's blogs for more details on the hows and whys.
 
+Sharon Oakley All the more reason that Google should trust the phone number from OWNER VERIFIED INFO and look at business name above all else, not a similar name with a different phone number, in the same office building!! Agreed?
 
+Michael Ehline +Sharon Oakley Thanks for the information guys, very helpful. It was always my growing suspicion that this might be an issue. Phone numbers change so often (especially in a world of ROI). I can understand not using tracking numbers for now but this will be a growing necessity! Phone numbers are the only conversion piece some businesses are looking for.

We need a "Tracking Number" field for local listings!
 
+David Xing That is a great idea. But you have an even bigger problem. Most places that lease office space to businesses on the same floor, do not provide suite or mail box numbers. Even when they do, data providers like www.citysearch.com strip them out if the suite number is on "Address line 2" (even though Places Guidelines say to put suite number on address line 2) and only return the actual physical location address. So when that happens, if there is a nearby business, even if it is NOT in your building, with a similar name to yours, you get merged with some other business and lose everything, including employees, money for your local business license, everything, POOF! You also have clients calling some other company, as Google returns someone else, when a client does a search for your name! This is so freaking evil.
 
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We're seeing issues with people being able to post a review. This has been happening for the last week or so....have you seen this else where? Customers will create a Google account, write a review, and the POST REVIEW button disappears or won't be highlighted for them to click. So there is no way for them to post a review....
 
Am I missing something? it's 11:17am PST and no Hangout?
 
How do you control clustering or merging? I have 2 places listings Peters Chevrolet and Peters Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
 
Your screwed bro. They say 4 to 6 weeks. But it's been a year for me and it gets even worse with time. 
 
Jeff. I seriously wonder if the people who set up this algo have ever owned a business or had to make payroll. We should do a blog called "scrap the algo". Google has a monopoly. Yahoo and bing suck. They need to get Carter Maslan and Diane Westgate back at Places. What if u were a doctor and a heart patient googled you and got results for another doctor? And what if the other doctor has a patient with your name? Think of the train wreck google is causing with these merges!!! 
 
Fantastic examples. This is not helping me much at this point.
 
Jeff. We have already had one client drive to the valley where we do not have an office, looking for our firm because google decided my firm is another firm where we don't have an office. We lost that client. He was pissed. this is an anti trust lawsuit waiting to happen. all u can do is report it. When I reported it, I got even more merges. So report the merge at your own risk. 
 
+1 for the more Advanced Version that Linda mentioned!!
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