Local Search

Have You Tried Google Support for Local Lately?

By July 16, 2013 15 Comments

google-maps-iconSince the dawn of Local Search, getting meaningful support for problems with local business listings on Google has been hit or miss. For a long time, the attitude seemed to be that a free product didn’t warrant any support, but the problems that so many SMBs experienced with their listings were so dire that it caused a great deal ill-will towards Google.

Over the past year or so, Google’s support for local listings has increasingly improved. It’s now better than the help we can get for many products and services that we pay for that offer much less value to us. In fact, it’s become so good that I have to give well-deserved kudos to the Googler responsible for the amazing turn-around.

Joel Headley and his team are now wow-ing us with unprecedented phone support for our Google business listings! To experience this yourself, just log into the account that holds the listing for which you need help. Then go to this URL and enter your phone number. You’ll get a call back very quickly from a knowledgeable person willing and able to assist you.

Google Call Back Support Form

In many cases, your problem will be resolved while you’re on the phone and you’ll get a realistic estimate of when you can expect the changes to be live online. Everyone that I’ve suggested this to has been extremely happy and completely amazed with the experience. Of course, if you are intentionally violating any of the listing quality guidelines or simply want to argue about why those guidelines should not apply to you, I wouldn’t recommend calling.

There’s also a new category I just noticed in the help forum called Announcements and subtitled News from the Google team, which I’m bookmarking right now. I want to know anything they are willing and able to share and having it all in one place should help with that.

This is a huge and very much welcomed turn-around for Google and shows that it truly is concerned with presenting accurate business information in its results. Thanks Joel H. and Jade W. and the entire Local support team at Google!


  • Marcus says:

    Hey Mary

    That’s probably the most actionable and important post about Local I have read in 12 months. We often pick up clients that have problems and we have seen some corkers so having an avenue to actually explain the issue and get it sorted there and then is fantastic.

    As it goes, we have had some good success with manually reporting issues via the ‘report a problem’ link on Google+ profiles and in many cases these issues are resolved in 24 to 48 hours.

    That said, we have one really sticky issue at the moment where a clients business is called the same thing as his fathers now closed business and they did share the same address at one point. Google associates my clients URL with his fathers closed business and despite reporting this it has not been correctly resolved.

    We will certainly give this a go tomorrow though and see how we get on. I’ll report back as well as we all love a happy ending eh! 🙂


    • Mary Bowling says:

      Hi Marcus,
      It’s surprising to me that Google isn’t tooting its own horn on how much support you can get in resolving listing problems. I think it’s a really big deal!

      • Cheryl says:

        YES!I agree! It Is a big deal! I just spoke with a very nice young women who helped me resolve a Google Places Issue! Whoo Hoo!

  • alex says:

    I’ve noticed the competence of phone support has significantly gone down hill since this feature was launched in January

  • Marcus says:

    Hey Mary

    Myself and a client have tried from the UK this morning and no luck as of yet. My client got a message stating that ‘Phone support is currently closed. Please try again during business hours.’

    I tried and got:

    ‘Thank You


    So… I may try again a little later today but if anyone has any intel on timezones and opening times that would be really helpful. 🙂


  • Jackson Lo says:

    Great post Mary. I ran a couple of issues by the local team via phone and they were able to get the changes live within 24 hours. These clients Im working with are both in Canada. Great to see they are providing more support here 🙂

  • Linda Buquet says:

    Hey Mary great post and totally agree with you that phone support is an amazing step up considering the level of support we’ve had in the past.

    You gave me another important head’s up I’m taking to Google right now. We had requested Jade set up that announcements forum to keep the important pure Google announcements separate and easy to find. I knew she had set it up but had not checked it until I just clicked your link above. Hardly any of the important announcements got moved over and all kinds of people are making regular posts there. So it does not serve the intended purpose at all. I’ll let her know today.

    So in the meantime the best place to find those announcements is in the stickies at the main part of the G forum.

    Thanks again!

    • Mary Bowling says:

      Thanks Linda, I noticed that as well, but you are actually in a position to bring it to the attention of the right people. I’ve also signed up to receive announcements via email, but I can’t recall ever getting one. Do you know if these are being sent out?

  • Mary,
    You are making a great point – Google support for local listings improved significantly in the last year. However, it is still not as helpful as it can be.

    We are having a lot of issues merging pages and places on Google Plus for our clients – many of the issues are for international businesses. We tried the phone support, but most of our requests were escalated and eventually died after several “someone will get back to you” promises. All we were asking for is help because our clients were not receiving cards with pins to verify their business address.

    I am all for following Google’s rules. But once there is a process, it is good practice to provide support for people who have to follow the process. In the end, everybody wins if the data is correct for local businesses. I am hopeful, however, that the support will improve even more.

  • Peter says:


    I used the service.

    Inputted my data on the form and was called back instantly. It surprised me. The phone call went into our main # and one of our staff answered, heard the initial automated response and just hung up. So I checked with staff and she told me what occurred.

    I called again. I’d make sure people who use this watch the speed with which the call back occurs. If you are looking for the assistance, make sure you pick up that call immediately and/or tell your phone answering staff to be aware of the call and switch it to you.

    The automated phone response is FAST. Then I called back, got an immediate response call from Google. I was put on hold for a bit. The MUZAK was pleasant.

    Ultimately a person got on the phone with service. Very responsive and pleasant. I identified the issues with the record. Relatively simple and straightforward issues. The rep went into the dashboard with me and saw what I was referring to.

    I have an old dashboard currently. Its not responsive on certain issues. I identified two issues.

    The rep cleaned one of them up and it showed IMMEDIATELY!!!! hallelujah!!!!

    The rep said he made the change on the other issue but informed me it would take a while to show. I suspect its a sort of interior algo/data issue of some sort. (longish story). Regardless he told me it would show correctly in about 48 hours. I hope so.

    The service was terrific. I chatted with the rep a bit. Nice and informative person. We went over a slightly different issue and he gave me some clues. FANTASTIC. A way to work through the category issues.

    At the end he told me I could call back with further issues and/or the issue that wasn’t showing as solved immediately. He added in calling back I could ask for him by name.

    HOLY CROW!!!!! that is not the google local from the past!!!! Congrats to google for taking a step forward.

  • Will Dolezal says:

    Google Support for Local is great. Being able to call in and figure out why a listing isn’t accepting an address or can’t be claimed sure bets a lengthy email chain.

    Now if only they would do something about the mind numbing hold music. Even the canned smooth jazz in elevators is leagues better and that is saying something.

  • Mary Bowling says:

    Update on August 23, 2013:
    Unfortunately, each time I’ve needed to call support since I wrote this, it has seemed to take longer and longer to get to speak to a person at Google support.

    Maybe I spoke too soon? Or maybe I should have kept it a secret instead of telling all of you about it?

    Anyway, today I’ve been on hold listening to the same song play over and over again for 32 minutes – yes, 32 minutes! I expected better.

  • Mary Bowling says:

    My recent experiences with call back support have been extremely helpful. I think it’s a matter of trying at different times of the day. I seem to a person on the line very quickly when I call mid-late afternoon. (I’m on Mountain Time in the US)

  • Roy McClean says:

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for this post! I used the Google Local Help support form (by clicking on your linked in this post) and received a phone call from a Google rep within a few minutes. The rep helped me go through several issues that I have been battling with for quite awhile. And the support really helped!

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