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Thread: Thanks to Mike Blumenthal Google creates a correction mechanism for a nagging problem

  1. #1
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    Thanks to Mike Blumenthal Google creates a correction mechanism for a nagging problem

    For some time there has been a nagging problem that has impacted local search wherein address information for various businesses has been showing up with wrong addresses either in an authoritative onebox for a business or a plusbox.

    These problems show in organic searches......and Google has led webmasters and business owners/site owners to turn to the Google Local Business Center to try and make corrections. But efforts to correct the wrong addresses haven't worked. The crescendo of complaints has consistently risen.

    But a correction mechanism hasn't worked till today. Mike Blumenthal, at his blog today reports that Google has instituted an address correction button that will enable webmasters and business/site owners to correct addresses.

    I've assisted Mike in this effort, but boy did he carry the heavy load on this issue. We've gotten commentary from Bill Slawski here at Seobythesea in trying to ascertain how these bad addresses keep populating the plusbox.

    At one point Mike described "5 (not so ) Simple Steps to correct" this erroneous address information here at SearchEngineland. Additionally he had responded to a number of the poor complainers at google groups for business owners who were faced with this problem. Per Mike's blog of today there had been 75 such complaints in the last 45 days.

    I'd tried to help one group with this vexing problem for several months. Not only had the group first reported the problem in November of '07, had gotten a single hopeful comment from one of Google's commentators at this group that they may be able to address the problem, but had never had the problem corrected. I zipped off an email to them today referencing Mike's blog article.

    In any case, this should quietly resolve this algo enigma, and problem for business owners going forward.

    Congrats to Mike. He tackled the problem, aired it in his own blog and at SEL, got Bill Slawski to address the issue, commented at Google Groups, and most amazingly suggested the "correction button" that google has now incorporated into the Google Local Business Center.

    Very impressive both with regard to addressing the problem and then kudo's to Google for instituting a "fix".

  2. #2
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    I just ran into this issue with a friend's business... good to know he'll be able to fix it. Good work EP and Mike!

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    This whole thing was an APRIL FOOL's JOKE

    Okay. So the entire thing is an April Fool's Joke.

    and I got taken in.

    I spoke w/Mike after A) reading t(he article, B) writing about it here C) writing a commentary note on seobythesea...(where I even referenced I hoped it wasn't an april fools joke D) sent an email to the folks I've been helping suggesting there was a fix....and then spoke by phone to Mike.

    UGH!!!!!

    We laughed about it. I acknowledge with him that it is a vexing problem for business/site owners.

    Google has directed people to the Local Business Center to get these errors fixed. That doesn't work. Bill Slawski, in the above referenced blog entry reviewed all of 's patents on the topic and admitted we can't know where the problem (wrong info) is coming from.

    Mike feels its from a combination of old data on a website and 3rd party sources. I think that is reprehensible, if the wrong data is coming from crawls of 3rd party sources. You simply can't get every source to correct old, outdated address info.

    Google's personnel who comment in Google Groups for Business Owners fix some of these issues. It appears to be a hand fix and it takes them about 1 week. There is probably a lot of interaction amongst personnel internally to deal with the issue.

    and by the way....the group I've been trying to help were so psyched....they responded to my email right away saying that they couldn't find the "fix it" button. (I emailed them back telling them I got taken in by the April Fools Joke.).

    Clearly they'd like a solution. They first reported this error showing in searches back in November last year, referenced problems it has caused, and still haven't been able to get the bad info fixed.

    So the dilemma continues.

    It's too bad hasn't come up with a simple fix yet. It's a mysterious algo issue in which they have referenced a solution that doesn't work and their method of responding to complaints is entirely inconsistent.

    But I must admit......the April Fool's Joke by Mike really made its point.

  4. #4
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    My apologies to Dave (and to the folks in Pittsburgh). But I couldn't resist

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by mblumenthal View Post
    My apologies to Dave (and to the folks in Pittsburgh). But I couldn't resist

    Mike
    Well played, sir. It's the only one I've fallen for yet today.

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    I was mighty gullible on that one. The Pittsburgh guys responded to my first email so quickly. They were excited, sent me a screen shot which showed the lbc without the fixit button.

    I had to respond right away saying it was an April Fool's Joke.

    In a sense they oh sooooooooooooooo wanted an easy fix rather than the "Hypothetical 5 NOT SO SIMPLE SIMPLE STEPS" to correct this issue.

    hypothetical in the sense that we aren't sure this would fix the problems.

    I got this feeling I'm gonna contact a public writer on tech issues for one of the major newspapers.

    Maybe if this airs even more broadly then the SEO world, Google might take some more active steps to correct this issue.

    It is interesting after all that Skitz's friend has the same issue.....I suspect he has yet to contact Google Groups for Business Owners.

    A "fixit button" would be a nice correction gizmo. Though I still would like to get my hands around that algo.......if google is inputting this old erroneous address info from crawling 3rd party sites.....that is oh so wrong. So many webmaster's/site owners would never get it fixed.

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    And the latest response from the guys in Pittsburgh w/ bad plusbox info....


    HAHA a little SEO April Fool's Joke... Well I hope they come up with
    that anyways!
    ~Scott
    they would like a "blumenthal styled fixit button"

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    Quote Originally Posted by earlpearl View Post

    It is interesting after all that Skitz's friend has the same issue.....I suspect he has yet to contact Google Groups for Business Owners.
    He didn't even know about the problem until I tried to Google his office number. I'll have to go back through all your resources on this and give him step by step instructions on what to do. He's not very tech savvy.

  9. #9
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    Here are my articles on the topic:

    How to change your Business Address in the Internet Age

    5 Simple Steps to fix the plus box (yea right)

    Google Plus Box - Where does the (wrong) data come from?

    Google and the PlusBox Blues

    In my articles you will find references to Bill Slawski's great patent reviews, the Google Groups stuff and some great comments from among others, Dave.

    As you can see I am feeling a touch guilty over here (but not too much).

    Mike

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    heheh......i'm glad you feel "a little bad". But skitz, the guys from pittsburgh, and I all laughed at being taken in by the april fools joke.

    Of interest I cite this comment by a writer in google groups for business owners that Mike cited in "Google Has the Plusbox blues, (link above)

    We have tried for a year to have this address changed to no avail. The address has been changed in Google local business, Google maps, the business web site, and on search engines throughout the internet. No one seems to know how to change the “+” Sign Google address or determine the source of the incorrect listing data.
    Therein lies the crux of the problem. No body outside of Google knows how to fix this....."and Google ain't talking".

    We have surmised the bad data comes from crawling Google does on the web (thanks to Bill Slawski- also cited above).

    A fixit button would be an ideal solution.....and Google would never have to speak to its algo's.

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