Your Google Local Business Listing – Look What Happens If You Don’t Claim It!

by on October 9, 2008 · 18 comments

Take a look what happens if you don’t claim your Google Local listing.

I was doing some research for a client, and found that many Google Local profiles and being pointed to business directories. Take a look at this local search result for “hair salons saratoga,ca”

Notice how the website address for many of the listings is “www.sanjose.com.”

If you click to go to the website for the business, it takes you to a directory page full of advertisements, with no mention of the business you found on Google Local!

It seems that this is happening primarily to businesses who have not claimed their listing in Google. The company that runs this sanjose.com website, Boulevards, appears to be a data provider to Google. Somehow the website for these profiles is getting pointed to the business directory, whether the business owner has a website or not.

If you look at the actual Google profiles for the businesses, they are not claimed by the business owner, and the URL is replaced with the sanjose.com URL.

However, I found that for a friend of mine who owns a local business, they had their proper URL to their website in their Google profile, and it was replaced with the directory URL. I don’t want to disclose this businesses name, but I have screenshots of before and after this occurred.

This is just wrong. Looking into this domain a little bit, it seems to be owned by a company named Boulevards. Perhaps they are managing this portal for the city of San Jose, I can’t tell.

Businesses who have legitimate websites but may not have claimed their Google profile are losing valuable web traffic and giving it away to this unethical web data provider.

Anyone who helps small businesses with local search will tell you to claim your Google Local  profile. See our QuickStart Guide for Local Search for some tips. Here is yet another example of the importance of claiming it.

If you have any information on this, please chime in below or contact me.

Update: This is similar to the floral industry case that Mike Blumenthal blogged about here. But it is a little different, in that it is a city business directory that the profiles get pointed at.

Update #2: After comments from Mike and others, this is different from the hijacking and map spam cases. This may just be Google’s algorithm mistakenly pointing profiles that have not been claimed to what it thinks is an authoritative source.

But either way, this is a very good reason to claim your profile so it doesn’t happen to your business.

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Understanding Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search October 9, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Hi Don

I think that what you are seeing here is a case of Google’s somewhat aggressive algo that wants to assign an authoritative web site to a business listing.

There is no indication that this record has been edited via community edit..you would see an edit history in that case. No one has claimed the record as indicated by the details tab.

This algo which is pretty good at assigning the best webpage to a business listing can do some weird stuff. Once it assigned a competitor to a listing that I had claimed but neglected to add the URL to.

In this case, Google appears to have assigned the directory listing as the business probably had no web site.

Mike Blumenthal

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Don Campbell October 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Thanks Mike. What you are saying makes sense, and I see the difference between this case and the hijacking cases now.

So this probably had nothing to do with sanjose.com or Boulevards, rather Google’s algo mistakenly pointing the directory to the wrong URL.

I’ve modified the post so that it doesn’t come down on Boulevards.

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David Mihm October 10, 2008 at 5:12 am

Hey Don,

Mike is definitely the expert here on this kind of thing, so I’ll defer to him. But I tend to agree that Boulevards wouldn’t be engaging in any malicious behavior, since companies like the ones listed here are their target audience for selling advertising. It’s clear just how important it is to claim your LBC listing, though!

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Understanding Google Maps and Yahoo Local Search October 10, 2008 at 7:01 am

As David, says it is but one more reason to claim your listing.

It is also very confusing to those small businesses that see a wrong URL on their listing or their URL on someone else’s listing. If you go into the groups it is usually ascribed to competitor skullduggery as many don’t even realize that they should claim their listing.

Mike Blumenthal

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Matthew Hunt December 4, 2008 at 8:42 pm

this may not have been a case of google local spam, but it does happen. the point i think Don was making is that sm biz’s need to claim their listings to help protect themselves and that is solid advice. it still always surprises me when a sm biz has not yet taken advantage of these free local listings offered by the search engines.

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John Granacki January 5, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I often wonder where Google finds some its more obscure business information, particularly of newer businesses which haven’t even had telephones installed, much less gotten themselves listed in directories, but it is clear that Google is aggressively building its local business database and something is feeding it the data. I wonder if SanJose.com has, or has once had, a comprehensive directory of businesses in their neighborhood, including some for which data could not be found anywhere else–or at least not at the time Google ultimately decided that SanJose.com’s information was good enough? Perhaps they struck a deal with Boulevards, or more likely they are adopting a policy of linking to uncollaborated source in order to minimize potential for ip infringement liability.

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Personal trainer January 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Pretty interesting information, looks like google still has some stuff to iron out.

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Divakar February 7, 2009 at 3:41 am

I am agree with the writer he as given useful information.

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richard March 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I have read your comments and I have another senario I own a directory where I have a lot of other business that pay me a fee to list their services on my website.
each business has their own profile page with a unique URL. it( for example http://www.mywebsite.com.au/toms_moving)

The business that are also on my website some have their own URL website that are on the local area search (for example: http://www.tommoving.com.au. The question I am trying to find out is if I also list the business name and place my (url http://www.mywebsite.com.au/toms_moving ) with their own website (www.tommoving.com.au) would this be allowed by google being the same name , and a directory website listing my customer profile page

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Listorbit March 19, 2009 at 3:16 am

I think we can claim against those kind of spammy listings.

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Chris Chong April 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

YIKES!!! That is crappy, but yes, I think you can report that kind of thing.

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MICR Toner World June 9, 2009 at 6:25 am

interesting find.. gonna look into that

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Gene September 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

Hi…I’m having the same problem. I have a former real estate agent that claimed the listing in GLBC when he was here in 2007, which we knew nothing about. Now, when you do a search for “Highland Lakes Real Estate Agent” his URL pops up instead of http://www.highlandlakes-realtors.com. I’ve claimed the business and changed the URL but it still point to the former employees website. This has GOT to be fixed. I don’t see why it is taking so long.

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dave krajovic December 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm

This is really simple and basic and must be why no one really talks about it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important. I am gald you saw the importance of writing about it. Thanks for raising the awareness. I appreciate it and will double check the status of all my sites.

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Bert December 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I’ve been preaching this same phenomenon for a long time now. It’s so simple to do but is still an unknown and scary concept for many business owners. Excellent post!

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lynda July 17, 2011 at 6:02 am

Great article.. I’m thinking of doing some local Social Media management.. and this is one great reason.. the question is always.. “how did that happen?” Now I have an answer. Thanks

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Manchester Escorts June 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

great article but i also add many time some website in google local listing but not show any where, why how i can do that……….

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Manish March 5, 2014 at 5:45 am

I agree we should learn to eat the cake, after we have taken pain to prepare it. Or else others don’t mind eating your well prepared cake. I will also like to see post on how to reclaim it back with least effort from Don / Mike Blumenthal

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