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Thread: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

  1. #1
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
    Linda Buquet is offline Community Leader - Google Local Specialist
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    Exclamation Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    When I discovered this last night, I wasn't sure if it was a bug or update.
    Now I'm calling bug and will explain why below.
    1st the problem.

    Don Berthiaume, one of our Local Search Pros reported the problem last night in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Berthiaume View Post
    hmm.... not sure what's happening now because if I check various Places pages, there IS only one category showing, unlike before when G showed two, then you had to click on those cats to see them all.
    So I went and checked some previous clients that I knew that all had 5 cats and most are showing only 1 category and a few are showing 2. The 1st I checked is only showing one category and it's not his CORE cat Dentist, it's Cosmetic Dentist.

    Then checked my personal Place page because I know for sure I have 5 cats in dash. Yep only 1 is showing. (BTW my page is a fully merged page, so it's not just affecting the unmerged G+ Local pages) I checked a bunch of other listings. All cats are missing.

    Last night I told Don "One quick initial observation. This does not seem to me to be affecting ranking. I didn't do a complete rank check comparison, but did a quick manual check for the dentist who's cats are gone and it only shows cosmetic dentist - he still ranks for city teeth whitening and city dental implants. In past if you didn't have those cats in dash you normally would not rank. So it appears Google is still READING what's in dash - she's just not displaying everything.

    Then today Colan Nielsen confirmed this saying:
    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    I'm seeing this on listings as well, in the insurance industry. So far I haven't observed any ranking drops that could be attributed to this. In fact I have seen some ranking increases as of this morning...coincidence I'm sure..
    Last night at 1st I was not sure if this is a new update or just a temp bug.
    But after further checking, I'm calling this just a bug.


    Because Google's G+ Local shows cats: Google - About - Google+
    And so does the Meatball shop. The Meatball Shop - About - Google+

    If it was a feature change or display update I would think it would be consistent across the board.

    I'll report to Google as a bug. Will report back as I get more info.

    Then I'll be back in a few to tell you how you can see missing cats on listings you don't own, if you need to for new prospects or competitive research.
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    Don Berthiaume (08-29-2012)

  3. #2
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    So here's how to check categories if you need to for potential new clients you are researching OR competitive analysis.

    The following example also proves somewhat to me that Google is still READING the cats in dash, just not displaying them on the G+ Local page.

    This is random example, not a client or anything.

    Maps search for Dallas Teeth Whitening = Dallas Teeth Whitening - Google Maps
    Check any listings but lets' just take the A spot. Lakewood Family Dental Care shows
    Category: Teeth Whitening Service

    But when you click to their G+ Local page, the only cat that shows is Dentist.
    Lakewood Family Dental Care - About - Google+

    So that kinda tells me Google can still read the categories and therefore the cats are not TOTALLY missing, which would affect ranking. This appears to just be a display bug on the G+ L pages. (Not all of them, but the great majority of them.)
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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Talked to several people at Google today but they didn't really admit bug or even say they would look into it. All they would say is "use the feedback form!"

    In case you have not noticed that reporting option, it's under "manage this page" at the link that says "Send Feedback". That form goes to G+ specialists and this appears to be a G+ display problem, as opposed to a Google Places problem.
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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Don, Colan (and other interested Pros) Please see important post in the back room titled "Missing Categories."
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Hey Linda,

    Just thought I'd chime in to help with the cause. I've been seeing the exact same thing happening this week across a large number of listings as well. If there is anything I can do to help out, please let me know.

    Do you think this could be an update and they are considering getting rid of the 5 category feature all together?

    If we take Jade's comments into consideration (between the 30-45 second mark) about Google being able to seamlessly update place pages to fully-merged G+ Local pages, it could make sense.

    We currently know there is no "categories" field within the G+ Local Page dashboard and dialogue from Google around integrating this feature has been seemingly nonexistent (from my understanding). Now, listings that will be seamlessly integrated via Jade's statement would have 5 categories (thus putting these listings at what I'd think to be a huge advantage). So this could be Google setting a standard prior to converting the old Place Pages to the updated G+ Local format.

    On the other hand, it could be a way for Google to place everyone on an even playing field with one category and integrate a 'categories' feature once every listing is updated to the G+ Local format (to possibly prevent listings from having more than 5 categories - as this was a concern when places listings were intentionally claimed in 2 accounts so they could have 10 categories, seemingly doubling the listing's visibility).

    What is your opinion - do you think categories will be gone for good? If so, would this put more weight on a G+ Local listing's website to determine how it will perform? I wouldn't be surprised if they were heading in that direction.

    Who knows, just thinking out loud here and trying to spark some conversation!

    Thanks,
    Matt

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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Thanks Matt, some of us have wondered whether it was by design as well.

    In fact I had many of the same thoughts you did and maybe even went a bit further in this thread:
    Missing Categories Conspiracy theory

    BUT Jade in the forum replied they are looking into this, so then it made me think bug.

    So we were discussing in the back room and I had some of the guys use the troubleshooter so we could find out what support has to say. So far they are all getting consistent replies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    Reported on Aug 31, 2012 - Answered on Sep 4, 2012
    "Thank you for contacting Google. After investigating your problem, we've found that it is being caused by a technical issue and we are pursuing a resolution. At this time, we cannot say when the issue will be resolved and when you will see your reported problem fixed."
    That reply leads me to a new conspiracy theory. Not sure I'm ready to verbalize it yet.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Hey Linda,

    Thank you for sharing! That is very interesting, I appreciate the insight. Hopefully we'll see how this plays out sooner rather than later.

    Thanks again,
    Matt

  9. #8
    Colan Nielsen's Avatar
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    I'm loving all this conspiracy theory talk.....I'm suddenly in the mood to go watch season 1 of The X-Files on Net Flix.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  10. #9
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Well a month later and many industry leaders I know are writing this off as a new feature or design change rather than a bug.

    We keep asking Google and have not gotten any clear answers. In fact we have asked in the past week and were unable to get an answer.

    ESPECIALLY concerning is the fact that some WRONG categories that can get businesses in trouble are showing and owners can't change them. (License issues like the only category showing for a Dentist as Orthodontist when he isn't a licensed ortho OR a Chiropractor showing up as Physician.)

    HOWEVER Jade just posted in the forum and once again it's sounding like a bug.

    Categories not showing on local Google+ pages? - Google Groups

    It seems that categories are not appearing on some local Google+ pages. (Or, relatedly, some categories are showing, and some are not.)

    Team's aware and working on it, but here are a few things you can do in the meantime that may help.

    Poke/Null Edit:
    - Go into your dashboard to edit your page.
    - Submit the edit without changing anything.

    MapMaker:
    - Find your location on mapmaker.google.com
    - Edit -> Select a Place, then click where your business is located
    - Edit -> Edit this place
    - add your desired category if it's not already there, Submit
    Please note -- MapMaker edits need to go through review (just like all other edits) before going live.
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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon". ;-)

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    Exclamation Re: Google+ Local - Category Bug Bites Listings

    Prior to properly building out my website, I belatedly tried to claim my own Local G+ page today, and was not able to select any categories, other than 'Professional Services' from one dropdown list, during registration. This however, is not showing up on the About page.
    Does this mean that I can't add any categories whatsoever?

    Edit:
    Forget what I said before, I didn't realise that I could still claim a Google Places page. Going to try filling that out now.

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