Google+ Local POKES - How and When to Poke your Listing


Linda Buquet

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<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/poke.jpg" alt="" title="poke" width="200" align="left" hspace="6" /> <strong>How do you POKE a Place page?
Why should you poke it?
What type of problems can a poke solve?
How often should you POKE it?</strong>
(See tech Google support emails below.)


This post will be remedial for some of the Google Local pros - but I'm amazed at how many companies I do G+ Local training for that don't know about this trick.

In my Advanced training I refer to a POKE as your new 2nd best friend! :p

Many companies I train work on Place pages daily, but their core focus is more on SEO or building vertical turn-key sites and Places is just a value-add service they offer. So they don't have a 100% Places focus and therefore don't know some of the tricks of the trade, like how to poke, why to poke and when to poke. I'd say about 65% of my training clients don't know what a Poke is and most that come to me for training are pretty serious professionals, so that tells me lots of my other readers especially business owners, likely don't know what a poke is either.

<strong>WHAT IS A POKE?</strong> A poke is technically called a "null edit". I think of it like rebooting a computer when it gets slow or buggy. Sometimes it just fixes it for some mysterious reason. A poke won't fix every type of problem - but it's a quick, easy, non-invasive troubleshooting step, you need in your tool box.

<strong>WHY POKE?</strong> What the poke really does on the back end, is send a signal to Google that this listing is actively managed and the data in this dashboard should take precedence. Now that does not mean it always will. Remember when Google started sending those emails saying - warning your info is about to change? The way they told you to suppress the change was to do a null edit.

Also if there are multiple owners of a listing like: the secretary you fired created a listing too with some funky address formatting and you can't get the log in, so your address keeps changing to the bad format. Well in cases like that, the last submit wins. So a poke tells Google to pay attention to the data in YOUR dashboard instead of hers.

<strong>WHAT PROBLEMS CAN A POKE HELP?</strong> When something is a little buggy on a listing - like the address on live Place page does not match what's in dash or categories are off. I've even seen Google recommend a poke to snap a listing back from pending review if it's compliant, but just stuck. AGAIN it does not work for everything but it's a quick, easy, non-invasive troubleshooting step.

<strong>HOW TO POKE</strong> - Poking is easy. Log in - click edit, DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING, then hit submit. Pokes used to be pretty much instant, so if you poked you could tell right away if it fixed the problem. However with the current back end dataflow, it can take a few days before you know if the poke worked. So poke, wait 4 days and if still problems, use the troubleshooter.

<strong>HOW OFTEN TO POKE</strong> - <strong>Google support is now telling users in problem follow-up emails to poke on a regular basis.</strong> (See support emails below.) I see some guys on the forum that have missing listings due to all the service area business problems that say they are poking their listing several times a day. Bad move and overkill, I say! <strong>I recommend poking once a month, even on normal healthy listings, which I think is a proactive step that could prevent problems like Google changing the address on you.</strong>

Snippets below from 3 different support emails that recommend "regular pokes."

(This one was in reply to a missing listing G was trying to revive)

"To ensure that your listings contain the most accurate information possible please continue to freshen the data on your listing from your account by clicking “Edit” from your dashboard, then clicking “Submit” to send your information to Google Maps on a regular basis"

(This one in reply to a partial merge)

"Please continue to update your listing from your account by clicking "Edit" from your dashboard, then clicking "Submit" to send your information to Google Maps. Doing this regularly will ensure that your listings contain the most accurate information possible."

(This one I believe was in reply to a pending review)


“If you sign into your Places account, click “Edit” on the affected listing, and then click “Submit”. Within a few days, your listing should show as “Active” from your account and link to your live listing on Maps.”
<strong>What do you think? Did you know all about pokes?

Have you poked your listing lately???</strong>

Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/noodle93/4162849840/">Tom Newby Photography</a>
 

krowe

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I have to admit that I did not know about this. Glad this thread was revived.
 

Linda Buquet

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Welcome to the forum krowe. Glad you learned something new.

We have a thread going though about the fact that with the NEW Places dashboard that is rolling out to all users now, there does not seem to be a way to poke.

But one of the biggest reasons to poke is due to dual claimed listings and you can't dual claim any more once the new dash rolls out either.
 

Elpi

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I learn new things today and thanks for the share Linda, I've been doing local citation almost 4 months and I have never done a tactic like this.
 

codymoulton

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Hi Linda,
Would you say these same principle applies when managing a Google+ Local page? Can this data re-submission or freshness signal be achieved from posting and interacting socially? I am trying to figure out how much time should be spent "poking" compared to posting. Any ideas are greatly appreciated! Thank you. -Cody
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Cody,

Pokes don't work per se in the new Places dash or G+.

Here is a post about Poking in the new Places dash: Will The "Poke" Die With The Old Places Dashboard?

Realize that one of the big reasons for poking was it showed your listing was active if there was by chance a dual claimed listing. But with the new structure since you can't reclaim listings any more, and since Google is locking/warning about duplicate listings - the dual claimed listing problems will eventually be stamped out.

I don't really think posting does the same thing, but I don't really think poking is needed any more either.

I am trying to figure out how much time should be spent "poking" compared to posting. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!
How much time is not an issue. Back when you could poke it took 2 seconds. Posting takes much longer and is done for other reasons than a poke, so not even similar tasks. I guess it does show that the G+ page is active and being used, but that's not really what a poke did.

A poke was more for resubmitting the dash date to show Google the NAP data was correct. So a post on a G+ page would not really do the same thing.

If for whatever reason you wanted to simulate a poke I think you'd need to do a minor edit - like change a word in your description. But I would not do it more often than a month AND I don't even think it's necessary these days.

Still should post, but posting should be done for all the reasons you would normally post - traffic and interaction.

Should I write a new post? "Poking is Dead"? (Like SEO is Dead? LOL)
 

codymoulton

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Hi Linda,
I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I totally agree with your comment and understand the one owner rule that Google uses in the plus dashboard. This would eliminate part of the need to constantly resubmit (poke) the business information if multiple accounts had claimed the listing. I would love to see an article on "poking is dead!" I think if you were going to write a new article I would be very curious to see what you would say the top 5 things we could do for our clients Google+ Local pages would be (in order for them to rank well). Kind of like the new version or form of a poke we could be doing in + Local if there is such a thing. I was under the impression that saving the information in the "edit business info" area was still a form of a poke and showing the Google Gods that I am actively managing these pages (and hoping it was helping my ranking and minimizing page errors). On a monthly basis what should I be doing to these pages? Writing a post? Circling, +1's etc?
 

Linda Buquet

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I was under the impression that saving the information in the "edit business info" area was still a form of a poke and showing the Google Gods that I am actively managing these pages (and hoping it was helping my ranking and minimizing page errors).
Well a poke never really helped with ranking or page errors really. It just helped your dashboard data maybe take a little more precedence over other data Google is getting for the business.

The other main thing is to be sure all citations and 3rd party listings everywhere and correct any bad data. Because when Google changes your data on you, she's not just making it up, she's pulling it from somewhere.

That's a good idea for an article. Maybe one of these days when I get time I'll do it, but right now I buried working on my training content and am short staffed here at the forum with my Admin out in the hospital, so not sure when I'll be able to get around to it. Thanks for the suggestion though. Appreciate it!
 

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