Yesterday, Google announced a significant change in the Places algorithm to improve the index rate, and automatically update claimed listings from trusted 3rd party sources.  What does this mean to you?  Well, if you have a claimed Places listing, Google may automatically update your account without your consent.  An email will be sent to you if an update is about to occur, which will give you the opportunity to override any changes that will occur.

" if a user provides new information about a business they know — or if our system identifies information from another source on the web that may be more recent than the data the business owner provided via Google Places — the organic listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change." 

Google is obviously trying to shore up discrepancies that creep into their database.  Late last year, Google announced a similar program that had a 60-day window for business owners to react.  This new change will make these changes much more imminent, a few weeks in most cases.

Keep a lookout, below is an excerpt of the letter that will be sent to business owners:

Dear Google Places user,

Google will soon update your listing data on our consumer properties such as Google and Google Maps to more accurately reflect the latest information we have about your business.  We use many sources to determine the accuracy of our listing data and to provide the best possible experience for business owners and consumers who use Google and Google Maps to find local information.

Below is a summary of what your listing(s) will contain once it’s updated in the next few weeks. This will be visible on your Place page and listings across Google properties, but it will not be reflected in your Google Places account

According to Google, local searches now account for 20% of all searches on Google, which equates to 2.8 billion searches per month.  Because of this massive shift to local resources, Google has invested a ton of resources to ensure the local search model is successful, it seems logical they would start at the heart of the program, Places.

Overall if this program is carefully implemented, I think it will end with good results.  Since only 2% of business owners have claimed their Places account, they know they have to push the envelop in many areas.  The downside to this new program, is business owners will need to keep a watchful eye on updates that occur.

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18 Responses to Google Places Updates Will Happen Quicker

  1. Well, you could take this two ways really, either Google is taking to many liberties with your web sites or they are actually trying to help business owners out by allowing them to keep their ranking high. If the updates that Google does are good then I don’t see a problem with that, if they are a rush job just because, then you may want to reconsider accepting it or not.

  2. To me this sounds like another good reason to have a SEO service in place when any company has a web site. If the SEO service is performing as it is supposed to then it will be making updates to the content as well as location information (as it changes) on a regular basis (every three days or so) and Google won’t have to update anything for you. But if they are updating information that has come up from other searches it might not be such a bad thing. Let Google make its updates, because again if your SEO service is doing what it is supposed to do they can change that update that Google made (ie: update it again) and it will be the best content available at the time. Kudos to Google for making the effort

    • Very true Joy.  Unfortunately, many businesses are on their own to recognize changes in their account.  I don't see many owners being proactive on this front, they are just too busy running their business!

  3. If Google starts making updates to your web site, if they do it enough will they start charging for SEO services? Pretty soon you will be able to get every thing you need to run your web site proficiently form Google, they will be like the Wal-Mart of internet.

  4. Automatically updating business information seems a little to invasive for my pallet. I realize that inaccuracies occur when businesses don’t update information, but isn’t that their responsibility? Let them be more accountable!

  5. That’s good to hear. It’s good that Google made that move.

  6. I am glad that Google finally decided to step in and do this in an effort to help buisness’. Maybe this will also prevent some of the sandboxing that Google does because you are building links to fast. If they are doing the updates and such maybe they will see that is not the case and leave it alone.

  7. Thank you for the tip. This is good to know and maybe this update can be used like a loop hole to take advantage of a top ranking on Google. From my understanding of this announcement, it seems to me that if you update your Google Places account, it may just get a top ranking on Google. If so, then it is a good idea so so. But I wonder if you don’t already have a Google Places listing, if you can create a new one now and take advantage of this update.

  8. I am glad that someone announced this before it actually took place, it could have been a big surprise to some. I don’t think this is a bad idea because after all Google is the one that gives you the first page ranking on their search engine. Maybe the updates they make so quickly will help with that matter as well. Let’s see what these updates bring, thanks for sharing this information.

  9. I for one appreciate the idea that Google is trying to help us small business people out by making updates to our web sites. And I think it is great that they allow you so many days to dispute the changes they make which still keeps the company accountable for the information being correct or not. Great idea, great post, much appreciated.

  10. I think this is a great idea. I think in letting google make the updates as soon as they find something new will save on the web site owner having to make so many updates in order to keep their ranking. Google will use their own web spiders to track new things right, giving them the first look at the updates? Are they going to just throw updates out there even if they are not necessarily right? If they do that then the web site owner will have to monitor that part of it and make any changes that need to be made correct?

  11. I think this is great, how can you go wrong with Google when they are the one that is making the updates they can’t blame you for anything going wrong. I assume you will have to stay on top of the updates so we can see what they are updating and whether we want them to remove it or not if it proves to be wrong content. Great post I really enjoyed it and look forward to any updates you may have.

  12. So could it mean that anytime Google announces an update, it is a fancy way of saying “we have wiped your data from our database because we feel like cleaning things up. We do not care about you data nor the time you spent tweaking your places listing. From time to time, whenever we feel like it, we will wipe you out and it is up to you to register your listing again and again and again in the near future. I think I will take inspiration from Google and run my membership web site the same way. Anytime I need to do maintenance or migrate my database, I will simply send out a mass mailer telling them to register again. I realize it may not work as well for me since I don’t command the power and influence of Google.

  13. I am left wondering if this update for Google Places has created an opening of sorts for people to capture one of those top listings. I guess this would have to depend on whether or not the existing Google Places listings fail to renew their listing by updating their information, and if failure to do so means your losing your listing. This was not clear to me in this article. I have read the article twice and I still do not fully understand the implications of this update

  14. I don’t always agree with what Google does as far as policy changes and such but this one sounds like it will be a good move for all parties.

    You can always count on Google to make moves that will improve the experience for who they consider to be their customer, which is the searcher. Even if it is the websites that provide its content and its advertisers who provide much of their revenue, they are going to make sure they provide the best search experience to the user and that has increasingly included local searches in that experience.

    So long as they are out there giving the best results to users, other sites like Bing & Yahoo won’t be able to touch them.

  15. @Betty – the update is implied now. Prior to this change, the only way an update could have occurred to a Places listing was for the business owner to physically make the change. Now, if Google picks up information from a 3rd party, and they consider it reliable, the update may happen without consent. Keep in mind, the owner will still get notified and, they can still override the change.

    Dan

  16. I have read that customer reviews are a big factor in how your business ranks in the Google Places local search results. And I’m sure everyone knows how reviews are crucial for winning more customerswho often make buying decisions based largely on which local business has the best reviews. But what are the facts about reviews in Google Places? I would like more information about reviews and their effect on Google Places. For instance, how likely you are to rank in the top-3 if you have the most reviews in your local market? How many reviews will you likely need if you want your business to rank on page one of Google Places? How many reviews does the average number one ranking business have? Is there information about this topic on this web site?

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