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  1. #1
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    Angry Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    Warning: If you have a merged Local Google+ Business page, log in, check the edit details screen and be sure the bots didn't go wild on you.

    Based on 2 situations I just ran into I think bots are adding categories like mad.
    Bogus categories that are violations to boot!

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    You know how there are no custom categories and there are lots of categories missing that businesses feel they need? You also know how Google adds the "at a glance" snippets based on info she scrapes?

    I predicted awhile back, I think Google was going to do this with categories. Pick our categories FOR US, based on info she deems important. Yes, I know she's been adding cats for a long time even on the old Place pages. But that was usually one or 2.

    I'm working with a Pediatric Dentist. His listing became disconnected in blended and I could not find anything wrong that would cause it. No mismatched NAP, dupes, violations or anything. They had merged before they came to me (which I would have recommended against) and most of their problems so far have been because they merged with G+. So since they've had so many problems, I KNEW they would not go in and change anything without asking me, so initially did not think to log in and check their data in the dashboard. Logged in for another reason and here is what I saw.

    Pediatric Dentist - Bad Categories Added by Google

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    The only cats they added were Pediatric Dentist + Dentist. Google added the rest.

    Google added "Dental" which is a violation of the category rule. Doctor - which they are not, emergency services - which they are not, health - again a category violation, POLYCLINIC. I didn't even know what that was and had to look it up. I've never heard the term used in the US but I think it's sort of like an Urgent Care clinic. And added Company (yes company by itself as a stand alone category).

    When I went to the next screen, most of those categories were either violations or incorrect. Most had red labels saying "This category is invalid"

    So next I checked my own merged Google+ page to see if it was just a glitch on their page OR a possible trend. In my Google+ dashboard the only category I had listed was: Internet Marketing Service.

    Look What Google Did to My Listing

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    Google added: Computers, Internet, Marketing, Marketing Agency, Electronics, Company (yes company by itself as a stand alone category)

    The ones in RED are not only incorrect but they all violate Google's own category guidelines.
    Check out the category edit screen.

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    Most all of them say "This category is invalid" but Google added them, not me!

    FYI, in the case of the Pediatric Dentist the bad cats were not showing up when viewing edit details OR on map maker. (But in dash it said "Google has already updated your listings") On my listing since address is hidden and Google deleted SABs from Map Maker you can't view either one.

    So my point is you need to log in to the Google+ dashboard and click edit details to check your categories.

    Double check your listings and let me know if you suffered a category bot attack!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  2. #2
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    Just spot checked a few of them (both merged and not merged) and all had the "bot attack". With the tons of pages that I manage, I will now have a lot of work ahead of me to correct each listing. As Charlie Brown would say....UUUUGGGGGHHHHH!
    Scott Rawlins - Find Local Company in Atlanta GA
    Follow Me on G+

  3. #3
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    ALL had the "bot attack" both merged and not merged?
    Were some of them category violations like the ones I showed?
    Thanks for checking and reporting back so quickly Scott!

    Oh man, my spidey senses are tingling and telling me this could be widespread.
    I'll alert Google to this thread.

    Keep the reports coming if you spot a problem...
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  4. #4
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    After checking a few more, not ALL, but definitely merged ones and so far, just a few of the others.
    Scott Rawlins - Find Local Company in Atlanta GA
    Follow Me on G+

  5. #5
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    I saw a strange thing with the coverage area last week. Google added a bunch of areas that had similar names to towns in this client's coverage area but the towns were in foreign countries. I assumed it was an isolated incident but it might be similar to Google adding strange categories.

  6. #6
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    Ahhh, that's weird too. Thanks for sharing Wade! Could be related. Sounds like some type of filter is just set way to loose or something?

    You know I just remembered a complaint at the Google forum where someone said Google added cities to his service area. But I'd never known bots to go into a dashboard and add that type of data, so assumed it was operator error or miscommunication.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  7. #7
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    I would have taken a screen shot but didn't think much about it. Assumed it was google adding location preferences to Google+. The week before we couldn't edit the coverage area. Then I find out that locations in the UK and Alberta were designated as part of the coverage area. The edits I made last week have remained. It is just like the old Places system.
    But this biz isn't showing in local results for the new areas. Yet.

  8. #8
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    YIKES! Thanks for the update... We're checking through all of our auto dealers, and so far 100% have been hit...

    Why the heck would they do this? Seems really idiotic to go through and hose so many listings with auto-added illegal categories... but then, this is Google that we're talking about...

  9. #9
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gifford View Post
    YIKES! Thanks for the update... We're checking through all of our auto dealers, and so far 100% have been hit...

    Why the heck would they do this? Seems really idiotic to go through and hose so many listings with auto-added illegal categories... but then, this is Google that we're talking about...
    100% hit? YIKES is right!

    You know what though. I feel bad. I think I noticed this on my own listing a couple weeks ago. But I was flying around looking for something else and I don't really use my own listing per se, except for testing, so didn't really pay attention at the time.

    But when I saw the problem on the Pediatric Dentist's listing I remembered seeing something odd on mine so went back to check.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  10. #10
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    Re: Merged Google+ Local Category Bots Gone Wild Warning

    Google added "Company" as a category to another client. I believe that is a violation as well.

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