A Cautionary Tale About Google Places
I recently fell foul of an incorrect Google search result. A friend and I were taking his young niece out for a birthday treat. My parents used to take my own niece to a place called the ‘Dolls House Emporium’, which she loved. So we decided to take her there. I ‘Googled’ the showroom, checked the opening times, made a note of the postcode and (for some unknown reason) the phone number. Google is very helpful and tells you if the business is open or closed in real time. This screenshot was taken today just after 4:00 pm so shows the showroom will shut soon, i.e. 5:00 pm.
We set off for a drive of about one and a half hours in total. The sat nav brought us to the location well enough but we could not locate the business. Thinking we were making some silly mistake I called the shop to ask for directions but could not get through. So I called my Dad to see if he could give me a clue as to where the place was hidden. He was convinced we were in the wrong place altogether.
I called the shop again and got through this time only to be told that the showroom had been closed. Not the business, just that shop. I heard myself say “but it’s still on Google….” I was pretty p’d off, particularly as this was all my idea and was supposed to be a great treat. Thankfully it turns out that if you are 7, have never been to Ikea before and it is half term so there’s free face painting and you can sit on any of the displays you can still have a very enjoyable day out.
Once home I looked up the showroom again and left a review, not to complain as such but to warn others from making the journey. It then occurred to me that if someone didn’t know anything about Google Places they would blame the business and therefore lose some, if not all, faith in them.
I then looked up their Google Places page….
Only to discover the tell-tale ‘map as a cover photo’ and the “Is this your business?” box.
Both signs of an unclaimed Google Places page.
I try to impress on my clients how important it is to use Google+ and Google Places, even though most are only getting to grips with the idea they may need to visit facebook.com for the first time in their lives. Hopefully this example will show, in a small way, how not using Google properly can affect your business negatively.
If you have a business make sure you check to see if Google has set you up a Places page!
Incidentally, whilst looking at Google results to create the screen shots for writing this, I discovered that the Dolls House Emporium’s web presence is generally disjointed and out of date. They appear to have two domains dollshouse.com and dollshouseemporium.co.uk. The .com site makes no mention of the Ripley shop and has the business based in Kent. Although Google still has them in Ripley:
The .co.uk site has the business still located in Ripley:
Yet bizarrely this site does actually mention the closure of the Ripley showroom:
This domain has a link to their current, as of February 20th 2014, Facebook page. And guess where that says they are?
People rely heavily on Google for information now. Businesses need to ensure that information about them that they have control over, e.g. your address, is accurate.
Having said that, if you spot anything wrong with my business information please let me know 😉