Does Google Know Your Business Better Than You Do?

A follow up from yesterday’s post:

With several thousand listings in management, DAC Group has more than a few e-mail notifications from Google’s new notification system. This new system was launched after Google caught some bad press in the New York Times regarding, “This Place is Closed.  Not True?”.  Google Places started taking crowd sourced data edits more seriously. Google launched a new workflow to weed out fake edits from real edits.  Here is a flowchart outlining the current process.

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A notification system was also launched to update the account owner that an edit has been made to a listing. As of October 13th, Google started notifying businesses that Google would update their listing. See below for the notice sent to business owners. These notifications now include the updated information, allowing business owners to see if the information is accurate:

Your listing on Google has changed
As a business owner, you might not always have the time to keep your Places listing up-to-date. If we receive more recent information about your business, we’ll automatically update your listing on our sites (like Google Search and Google Maps). We hope that this not only helps customers find accurate information about your business, but also makes it easier for you to keep your information updated online.
Each time your listing is updated, you’ll receive an email notification that a change will happen on your external business listing within a few weeks. You won’t be notified again when the change is published online.
If you have more accurate or recent information about your business, you can sign-in to Google Places for Business and click Edit, then click Submit. If your listing is part of a bulk upload,click Edit your Data File to make any changes.Upcoming edits to your Place Page won’t be reflected in your Places account. Edits we may make to your listing include:
  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Pin marker location
  • Applying the label of ‘Permanently Closed’

If your business is marked as permanently closed when it isn’t, click the Not true? link on your Place Page.

If you are an AdWords or Boost customer, your ads won’t be affected by this change, and will continue to display that information you’ve provided.

The important point above is how Google refers to it’s ‘sites’. This terminology distinguishes two unique sites, Google Search and Google Maps. When I re-read some of these notifications and saw the distinction made between Google Search and Google Maps this reaffirmed a theory that I have been developing for some time:

Google Maps was never replaced by Google Places. Google Places is how the businesses and consumers interact with the data. Google Places is just another ‘river’ contributing content from it’s tributaries, SMB’s and Agencies. Infogroup are other contributors, which I’ve detailed below. The tributaries to infogroup are yellow page directories, over 900k pages scanned per year. They also make phone verifications to every business in their database, over 25 million calls per year. Infogroup also relies on ExpressUpdate, which is the method that Businesses and Agencies submit data directly to infogroup. The third tributary is represented by a ‘rest of the web symbol’, this could be an aggregation of content, or content from other prominent Core Data Providers, such as Localeze or Acxiom:

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As crowd sourcing and ‘automatic updates’ continue, it is increasingly important to update data and maintain accuracy and consistency across the web. The days where managing your listings directly on Google Places are behind us; Google is looking beyond Google Places for data to update Google Maps.

Phil Britton, Product Manager- Location Based Search

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