One of my most popular posts ever, traffic-wise, has been the “We currently do not support the location” Google+ Local/Maps/Places error article I posted back in July of 2012.
It seems there are a lot of frustrated small business owners in the same boat. It did make my business look bad because we help clients with local marketing and “SEO.”
Our experience, however, pales in comparison to the horror stories I’ve been hearing from business owners that rely on Google Places listings alone (now called Google+ Local) for being found by local customers, which you should not do. But that’s a topic for another day.
A recap of the “We currently do not support the location” error
Google Places (Now Google+ Local) was the way in which local business owners were able to submit and manage listings that appeared in local-centric Google searches. It also managed how your listing showed up in Google Maps and in the now defunct Google Places search interface. This particular error shows up when a listing is no longer visible in Maps. It doesn’t show up for users searching for your business listing, just from the link within the Google Places admin panel that was titled “view your listing on Google Maps.”
Seeing this error means your listing just isn’t there. That’s why normal users of Google Search, Places, Maps, etc. never run into this. It’s a very specific error that only listing owners and managers see. And it basically means the start of a very long, dark road that can end with your listing being missing – or just gone – for months.
There seem to be no end to the reasons that this can happen. Many of these reasons are perfectly acceptable, including violation of Google’s content standards, which are so easy to violate without realizing what you’re doing.
The problem isn’t the technical or content issues – that’s all easily understood. Where Google drops the ball with this is with horrible communication with listing owners. See this article for more in-depth information on what happened to our listing.
How We “Fixed” The Error
My last post on this subject ended with a brief update that my listing had been down for over 59 days and counting. I finally took action on day 81. I had the problem resolved by day 99!
Looking back, I would suggest that you wait no longer than 2 weeks to take action after contacting Google and hoping like hell they will resolve the problem.
My reviews were gone and still are. That’s painful. It’s the one thing, along with my ranking for some keywords, that I couldn’t get back. This is why I waited so long. But in waiting, there were customers probably searching for services that we offer that never found Bossa Nova Interactive. And that’s more painful.
Here’s what I did. It may not work for all, so please don’t feel like this is a guaranteed solution. It was a desperate move carried out by a desperate man.
Google Places is now Google+ Local
This all happened while the transition from Google Places to Google+ Local was happening. My Places listing was managed by my personal gmail account. That account was also on Google+, and I had long ago created a brand page for Bossa Nova Interactive on Google+. The problem was that even though my Google+ Brand page had all of the same info my Places listing did, it was still considered a second listing. So I made another Google+ Account.
Use Another Google Account
Our email here at bossanovainteractive.com happens to also be a Google Apps account. I highly recommend this
free inexpensive service for all organizational email, even down to anyone who owns a domain name. Check it out here.
I turned my primary bossanovainteractive.com account (which is technically a Gmail account) into a Google+ account. I just opted right in, set up a profile, and then went to my personal Google+ account and added the business email as a manager of the Google+ Brand page for Bossa Nova Interactive.
Then I had to wait a few weeks before I could make that new account the owner of the page. Google requires that new managers stay managers for two weeks or so before you can make them the owner. But that was time well spent because then I went back to my Google+ business email account and then went to Google+ Local (note, this is different than a Brand page) and searched for my business. It wasn’t there. So I submitted a listing and duplicated my original listing, which I could still see in my old personal email Places account.
A verification process followed, which involved the normal postcard process. While I waited, I made sure to go back to the Brand page and add/update all address information and really worked on the content. Google+ Brand pages are way more robust than the old places listing.
Transferring Ownership, Merging
So the Places listing would become Google+ Local, if it were still around. But it wasn’t, so I created a Google+ Local listing from scratch. It still uses the Places dashboard, but now it is under a different Google Account.
Once I verified the Google+ Local listing, and if needed, the Google+ Brand page, I made sure they were both verified.
At first, they seemed to be two different listings. But I made sure that all of their information was exactly the same.
Finally it was time to make my business Google+ account the owner of the Brand Page. I can’t remember if it made me go through another verification. It felt like I verified these damn things way more than necessary, but in the end…
They merged. I don’t recall if I had to ask for them to be merged. It just seemed like the Google+ Local listing and the Google+ Brand page became the same thing.
Today marks 190 days since my original listing went down. Its still down. And still in my old account’s Places dashboard. No one can see it except for me.
So, if all of this seems complicated – it is!
I’ll try to simplify it, though.
- I used another Google Account to join Google+, then set up a new Places/Local/Maps listing from scratch.
- I had a Brand page already, so I made the new account a manager of that Brand page and had to wait a few weeks before I could make them an owner.
- I went through the verification process for both the Brand page and Local listing (Google needs to verify your physical location by either postcard or phone number.)
- When I transferred ownership of the Brand page to the new account, the Local listing and the Brand page merged.
If you don’t have a Brand page, you can make one with your new Google account. It’s highly recommended.
Links Mentioned In This Article
- Google Plus (aka Google+) signup
- Google Places
- Google+ Local
- Google+ Brand page
- Google Apps
- Google+ Local/Places Support
Having this problem? Please continue to let me know how your struggles with this problem pan out.