Or should I say, “Google breaks local business listings.” I noticed a major change last week, with the number one spot in local business listings of the moderately competetive keyphrase “bay area web design” being taken by a company that looked to be defunct and was not taking on new clients.
When I checked yesterday, I was presented with this bizarre scene:
The “Digg” result is apparently a laundromat categorized under web design:
Could the engineers at Google actually be that inept? Or is it something else?
When Bing launched last summer, I noted how horrible their local business listings were. A search for “Pleasanton Web Design” resulted in not one business located in Pleasanton, and only one in the (925) area code. Now, almost 3 months later, there has been no improvement, and my local business listing is still marked as “Pending.” I also noted that Bing had sponsored results located prominently in the failed local business search area. Let’s face it – sponsored listings are search engine’s bread and butter, and is it really so much of a stretch to think the would throw local businesses to the wolves in order to get more clicks on their sponsored results? The typical searcher doesn’t know a sponsored result from a natural result so most people don’t notice. Maybe they will get a little frustrated, but Bing has shown significant growth after its launch, so maybe they are copying their model of short-term profit before quality. Or maybe Google’s destruction of their local business listings was purely an accident and will be fixed soon. Only time will tell.