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Thread: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

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    Exclamation Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Yes dear, there is such a thing as phone NAP consistency... (or at least using your real business name when you answer your business line.)

    IF YOU HAVE CLIENTS THAT ARE SABs (Service Area Businesses) this info is all pretty important.

    Joel Headley who heads up the Google+ Local and Google Maps team raised this issue at LocalU this week and asked me to broadcast it to you guys to be sure you know this is an issue. Here is a direct quote.
    (And below that, some back story from me.)

    Joel Headley from Google said:


    "NAP consistency is important not just online, but real world. Not just signage, but in phone conversations. I expect, and so does our quality team, to hear the full and complete name of the business over the phone. When it is answered or when specifically asked."
    I always encourage consultants I train to learn to think like Google Local. (Meaning think like the algo, the spam filters, the moderators that call to verify listings and the map team.)

    The algo and most rules are designed to weed out spammers, scammers, hijackers and fake Place page builders. SABs pull all kinds of things to try to rank, for instance setting up additional Place pages at employees homes to rank in other cities, which is prohibited.

    Additionally the Google local algo is VERY data sensitive and is always looking for relevancy and proof the business is: A) A REAL business B) Really the name as listed C) Listed at a valid location D) Really in the industry you say it is) E) That you are really the owner or authorized representative.

    COACH CLIENTS HOW TO HANDLE A GOOGLE MODERATION CALL (Especially if they are a service area business and/or home-based. I know many legit businesses that were deleted just because they didn't handle these calls right.)

    If a Google moderator does a sweep of an industry or for any reason decides a listing may be suspicious, they will check all kinds of things (like street view on maps, signage etc.) to see that everything matches up and aligns to prove this is a REAL business, that the name is correctly listed and the location is valid.

    IF THEY CALL THEY EXPECT A REAL BUSINESS TO ANSWER PHONE WITH THE REAL NAME WHICH SHOULD ALSO BE THE NAME LISTED ON THE G+ L PAGE!

    If they call what is supposed to be a REAL business and hear "Hello" or "This is Mary, how can I help" or generically "Business Office" it will trip a warning sign.

    REAL businesses answer the phone with the REAL business name.

    ALSO WARNING RE SABs, HIDDEN ADDRESSES & MODERATOR CALLS

    In addition to answering with their name, let clients know they need to have short VERY clear answers to location related questions and questions about whether they see clients there.

    Also even if their address is properly hidden on the G+L page coach them to SPELL IT OUT short and sweet. (There is a problem where lots of hidden address listings are showing the address on MM and I don't think the moderators can see it's properly hidden in dash.)

    (I've seen compliant listings get deleted and I fear this MM glitch could be part of the reason.)

    So I would coach clients if a moderator call comes in to say "No we don't see customers here, but please note our address is properly hidden in our Places dashboard per the guidelines."

    So learn to think like Google. Put yourself in the shoes of a moderator who is calling spammy and fake listings all day. Your client could be legit, but if YOU were a mod that saw something you find questionable (like a residential location) then you call and the phone is answered in one of the following ways, what conclusion would you jump to? Examples - phone is answered; by a kid, or a call center that generically answers "Business Office" or an answering machine that says "This is Joe, we're not home right now".

    OR a different situation: Name on listing is "Dallas Roof Repair Service" and the phone is answered Johnson Roofing. What does that tell you their name is in the 'real' world? (Not that any of YOUR listings would have fake names like that, just illustrating the type of thing these mods run into all day long and part of the reason they likely think many SABs are just scammy.)

    LAST TIP for moderation calls... We get TONS of complaints at the Google forum from SMBs that think these scammers that call pretending to be Google are really Google. SMBs are getting HAMMERED by these guys!

    I've even helped SMBs at the G forum that were so tired of telemarketers, they start answering the phone saying "This is NOT a business line, leave me alone!" Guess what happens next, if it really WAS Google?
    Yep, Google deletes their listing!


    SO COACH CLIENTS TO CHECK CALLER ID. IF IT'S 650 AREA CODE, it's probably really Google.

    Having a client get suspended or deleted can take them offline for months, waste a lot of your time and cause all kinds of grief for the client and even lost income!

    A little pro-active warning and coaching for how to handle a Google call is well worth your time!
    And I would go so far as to say coaching clients is a MUST DO if they are a SAB and/or home-based.
    Tell them to keep answers short, specific and honest!

    But the main point of this post which branched off into related issues I've been wanting to stress to you guys, is Joel's point about business name and moderation calls.

    So remember "Real" businesses usually answer the phone with the "real" business name.
    Let your clients know it could be an issue.
    Mike Wilton likes this.
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

    Are you a PRO? Join the "Local Search Pros" G+ Community!

    New Expanded Advanced Google+ Local Training and Local On-site SEO Training

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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Ah, thanks so much for spelling all of this out Linda. It really needed to be done.

    Anyway, I think (although I have trained clients up a bit, there is definitely room for improvement as some of them are just plain "laid back" about it.

    I have just one question. You mentioned that they do lots of quality checks like street view etc. With street view, surely they aren't looking for lots of signage from an SAB? After all, they are not claiming to have a street presence. In fact, there are even plenty of non-SABs that don't have fancy signage.
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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick.SEOSpark View Post
    I have just one question. You mentioned that they do lots of quality checks like street view etc. With street view, surely they aren't looking for lots of signage from an SAB? After all, they are not claiming to have a street presence. In fact, there are even plenty of non-SABs that don't have fancy signage.
    Oh you bet they do. Joel even said it "NAP consistency is important not just online, but real world.
    Not just signage…"

    "surely they aren't looking for lots of signage from an SAB". Where I've seen it come up a lot is home based SABs that insist customers come to their home on a regular basis. One I remember was a mechanic that did repairs out of his garage. Swore he had a sign but moderators could not see it on street view so didn't believe he really saw customers there.

    Another reason they check signs even on B&M businesses is to see if the G+L title is correct or KW stuffing.

    There is a big long heated thread here about it. With mappers and they say Google too checked a bunch of State Farm agents physical signs on doors and in front of buildings. Name on listings is State Farm Insurance, mappers said Google ruled in part due to signage, the name should only be listed as State Farm. It’s being debated between the MM and Places team, but point being real world signage was evaluated and was part of Google's decision.

    Several posts in this thread by Gregg and Andrew mention Google checking signage to determine what version of the name was correct as displayed in the 'real' world.
    http://localsearchforum.catalystemar....html#post9451
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

    Are you a PRO? Join the "Local Search Pros" G+ Community!

    New Expanded Advanced Google+ Local Training and Local On-site SEO Training

    Also offering: White Label Local SEO, Consulting & Troubleshooting for SEOs & Agencies

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    Nick.SEOSpark (02-11-2013)

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    Angry re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    It's getting more stupid every day, seriously!

    My dentist has his practice in a high rise building, ZERO signage for obvious reasons. So is Google taking the time to park the car, get out, go into the building, find the building directory to see if the practice is named there?

    and...

    Now businesses have to worry that any one who answers the phone states the exact name of the business as it's listed on their + page?

    What about businesses that use calling systems that are automated which funnel callers to the proper department in the business? Are they taking the time to get through to a live person or do they just decide to moderate the listing and delete it. Hmm I think we know the answer to that question don't we.

    GET REALISTIC GOOGLE PLEASE!!

    My old construction company's name was pretty long so we always answered the phone using an abbreviated version of the name. Prospects and customers were never confused but I can guarantee you the Google overseas English as a second language moderators don't get it.

    When you outsource the moderation from the same area in the World that most spammers are calling from tell me again how you expect the business owner to know the difference? Oh wait yes we must screen each call for the area code! PLEASE!

    Sorry for the rant but as each day goes by the more I get pissed about Google's level of arrogance towards small businesses.

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    Nick.SEOSpark (02-11-2013)

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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    It's getting more stupid every day, seriously!

    My dentist has his practice in a high rise building, ZERO signage for obvious reasons. So is Google taking the time to park the car, get out, go into the building, find the building directory to see if the practice is named there?

    and...

    Now businesses have to worry that any one who answers the phone states the exact name of the business as it's listed on their + page?

    What about businesses that use calling systems that are automated which funnel callers to the proper department in the business? Are they taking the time to get through to a live person or do they just decide to moderate the listing and delete it. Hmm I think we know the answer to that question don't we.

    GET REALISTIC GOOGLE PLEASE!!

    My old construction company's name was pretty long so we always answered the phone using an abbreviated version of the name. Prospects and customers were never confused but I can guarantee you the Google overseas English as a second language moderators don't get it.

    When you outsource the moderation from the same area in the World that most spammers are calling from tell me again how you expect the business owner to know the difference? Oh wait yes we must screen each call for the area code! PLEASE!

    Sorry for the rant but as each day goes by the more I get pissed about Google's level of arrogance towards small businesses.
    I have to echo the rant from Russ as this does seem way too strict for all of the reasons listed above. I can't help but laugh thinking of them zooming in on street view to have a look for the signage. I can think of so many businesses in my city (large and small) with signage that would be difficult to see.
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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    I think the way they are checking is a bit unrealistic with today's typical business. Many small businesses work out of their homes may or may not have a sign and may or may not answer the phone correctly. I have a client that actually owns several businesses and he has all of his calls funneled to his office phone. He always answers with just his name. We have spammers to thank for the strict guidelines but I do think Google needs to get a bit more in touch with today's small business owner.

    I do appreciate you passing along the information because very little bit helps with each client!
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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Marie Ysais

    Agreed, I've been saying for the past year that Google is totally out of touch with how SBO's operate.

    As for home based businesses, many municipalities don't require them to post signage and charge extra if the owner wants a sign. Additionally many areas have covenants that don't allow any type of signage except political signage. Does that automatically discount them as a legit business? Not by any means.

    Again Google is just out of touch and ignorant in my opinion.

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    Nick.SEOSpark (02-11-2013)

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    re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie Ysais View Post
    I think the way they are checking is a bit unrealistic with today's typical business. Many small businesses work out of their homes may or may not have a sign and may or may not answer the phone correctly. I have a client that actually owns several businesses and he has all of his calls funneled to his office phone. He always answers with just his name. We have spammers to thank for the strict guidelines but I do think Google needs to get a bit more in touch with today's small business owner.

    I do appreciate you passing along the information because very little bit helps with each client!
    Yes, thanks a lot to Linda for passing on the valuable information.

    It does seem like a very strict and difficult system for small businesses to deal with. It would be nice if they got the people employed for all this "checking" and fixed the problems with G+ Local. (just a thought for them!)..
    Linda Buquet, Russ and Marie Ysais like this.
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    Re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    The examples of high rises is not one where someone would be deleted for not having a sign.

    Again, if you are an SAB and hiding your address, no one expects you to have a sign. If you insist you have a storefront at your house or industrial park site and your address should be displayed, then they'd expect to see a sign.

    But it is reasonable and expected that a non-SAB business in a high rise would not necessarily have an exterior sign. I would expect them to be listed on the lobby directory, but that is not something that can be checked from Street View, unless there is an interior tour. No one would delete a non-SAB in a high rise for not showing signage. There are lots of other checks that are done to determine legitimacy.

    What this topic about is making sure your business name is real world. So if you signage that we can clearly see in Street View says "Joe's Plumbing", but make your listing name "San Francisco 24 Hour Plumber", and then try to say "That's our DBA name, you can find it on our website"; you can expect at the minimum the name to be deleted and possibly the entire listing to be taken down.

    Your name is to be what is being used in the real world. Signage, if visible, is one way to check it. Joel is letting you know that how the phone is answered is another check that is done because that is also real world.
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    Re: Google: NAME Consistency EVEN ON PHONE Important + Other Warnings for SMBs

    Yes I agree Gregg and thanks for those clarifications. Much appreciated!
    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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