In the past, if Google didn’t like the information they found in your Google Places (Local) account, or it violated their terms of service, they would just ban or suspend your account, and you’d be left trying to figure out what was wrong.
But as of 11/30/10, a kinder, gentler Google is e-mailing the owner of the account and making “suggestions” and asking the owner to consider making the change they’re suggesting (thank you, Google).
In one instance, a client forwarded me the e-mail he received and they were suggesting that he change the web address on his account from….
abccompany.com to http://www.abccompany.com
This makes sense since Google largely recognized his site as the latter web address.
Another client received a suggestion that he should change one his categories from Medical Malpractice Attorney to Wrongful Death Attorney. Again, Google made this suggestion based on what it knows about his online presence and what potential clients are searching for in his city. This can do nothing but help.
And a third client received an e-mail that blew me away. This client has his website and a separate blog on the first page of Google for a number of very lucrative search terms, in a large city. They actually “suggested” that he change the destination web address on his Places Page (Local) to the other web address that shows on the first page of Google, because from their perspective, it is the stronger of the two sites.
And the client and I had just discussed that same idea three weeks prior, shortly after Google merged geographically based search and Places (Local) in early November.
I have a call today with this client to discuss, and perhaps implement, what Google has suggested.
Bottom line is this – if you receive one of these e-mails, don’t panic. Read it carefully and consider what they are suggesting. If it makes a lot of sense, go ahead and make the change.