Home > Google Maps > Google Maps: Evolution or Uncontrolled Frenzy?

Google Maps: Evolution or Uncontrolled Frenzy?

Mike Blumenthal, an expert on Google Maps, has been very actively tracking all the changes on the leading local search site.  See: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2009/11/06/google-changes-guidelines-again/.  If you didn’t know,  Google Maps has been going through a massive overhaul to try and clean up many data issues, improve offers to small businesses (local listing ads for only $20) and even moving from Teleatlas data to their own.   Of course, with any major overhaul, it comes with some issues.    Lately, this includes entire streets (and all the businesses located there) disappearing from Google Maps.   This can be a huge issue for small businesses that depend on their new and existing customers to find them on GMaps.     If this happened to you, reach out to Google directly in the Maps forum at: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/label?lid=15a100aba709dee8&hl=en.   Unfortunately, there are no guarantees, they’re are well documented issues with the response and timeliness of resolutions. 

All of these changes are in part a continuing strategy for Google to provide added value for end users, while at the same time, (in my opinion) keep SEOs on their toes.    This is a strategy that Google uses just like on their web search results to prevent companies from beating (and/or spamming) the system.  A recent article by  Growmap on backlinks also presents a similar situation.   Their findings present that Google’s documented backlinks are much fewer than Yahoo and Bing.  http://www.growmap.com/backlinks/.  They may actually document more and just report less.  Who knows.

Furthermore, the guidelines for Google Maps continue to evolve.   It is now up to 34 pages.  Google continues to try to reduce spamming from their map site, but as their usage and market share continues to grow, spamming will only continue.   It will also continue to be a challenge while they offer up the capability for anyone to create a listing without any verification.   If you go back just a few years, listing data was limited to content provided by business databases with information that was verified and controlled, but this new world of user generated content will continue to create challenges for businesses and consumers trying to find businesses.   The more content added, it can become very hard to find what you’re looking for.  In addition, user generated content is rarely removed or deleted, which continues to make things challenging for finding accurate information.   There is some verification required to claim a listing, but not little to add a listing (can use any cell phone number).  Do you think Google Maps should have more verification of additions to the database?  If so, what?

Categories: Google Maps
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