If you are a small business owner or are responsible for the online marketing efforts of one, you are surely familiar (I hope) with Google+ Local. And more importantly, you are surely familiar with the bugs, incorrect data, duplicates, verification issues, and other frustrating inaccuracies of the current Google+ Local platform. Ever since the switch from Google Places to Google+ Local, this important marketing channel has done more harm than good for many of us, especially our blood pressure.
However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon! First seen on January 8th, 2013, Google is now providing phone support for Google+ Local users experiencing verification issues with their listings. To make things even better, that phone support line will lead you to a real, live, breathing human being who can help you with your issues. In fact, I called in today and spoke with Matt, a very friendly and knowledgeable Google+ Local specialist. EUREKA!
To access Google+ Local phone support, follow these simple steps:
1. Go to the Google Places for business help site
2. Select I’m having a problem verifying my listing(s)
3. Choose I tried PIN verification for a single listing. Then choose The status is not ‘Needs Action’. Finally, choose Postcard if that is the verification option you are having trouble with (there is currently no phone support option for Phone-based verification issues.)
4. If you have waited 15 days for your listing to become verified by postcard, choose Yes.
You will see the Call Us link immediately. Once you click that and fill out the required fields on the Contacting Us page, you should receive a call from Google within minutes.
Right now, the phone support line is primarily meant to be used by businesses experiencing listing verification issues. Local search agencies and professionals can also use the phone support system as long as they have the e-mail associated with the listing and access to their client’s Google Places dashboard. It is unclear whether or not Google will expand the different types of listing issues that this phone support system can address. In addition, this new feature is only available to businesses located in the United States* at this time.
One thing is for sure though; this is a much-needed improvement for Google+ Local. It will hopefully help alleviate millions of headaches caused by listing verification issues for US-based local business owners and marketers. Knowing Google, there will probably be changes upon changes to the phone support system in the future. While it might not fix all of the listing problems you are currently experiencing, for now it is definitely a welcomed addition to the claiming process and a step in the right direction!