Bulk verification in Google Local

We’ve been doing a lot of work with Google Local recently and have come across a lot of challenges. In the next few weeks we’re going to be covering some of the issues on the blog.

Google allows businesses to add new listings or claim existing listings via the web interface but for businesses with thousands of locations that’s not really possible. Luckily Google offers a bulk upload feature which allows you to upload a spreadsheet of all your locations nice and easily.

Hotel Leeds

The main issue with bulk uploads is that in the past there was no way of verifying the data so it was treated with the same trust as data which Google had scraped from one of the large online business directories and often didn’t show up in the listings. In August Google announced a new feature which allowed people to fill in a form to verify their data based on a declaration and AdWords login.

Generally, the best way to verify that you own a business is by receiving a phone call or postcard with a PIN. However, this process can be difficult if you have many business locations. If you have a minimum of 10 locations, you can submit a bulk upload. Bulk uploaded data is not verified and so may not show up on Google Maps.

To verify a bulk upload, first make sure that it satisfies the following requirements:

  • Accurate and up-to-date data
  • Full compliance with our Local Business Center Quality Guidelines
  • Submitted by the owner of all businesses listed
  • All businesses have only been submitted by a single user

You must make sure to update your bulk upload whenever anything changes. We’ll review your account periodically for freshness of data, and listings will become unverified it if we find it doesn’t meet the requirements.If your bulk upload meets all of the requirements above, please fill out the form below. Please note that we will not respond to all requests.

This all sounds great in principle but after we tried the form for a business with 1400 locations we saw the message “Flagged, waiting for content check”. I naturally assumed that Google would check the content and then make the listings live but after waiting 6 weeks it turns out that there isn’t anybody monitoring these listings so it took some manual intervention to get them pushed through.

The moral of this story is that you should always do manual verification where possible but if you have to use a bulk upload it’s very likely to get flagged and require somebody from Google to manually make it live which will take some time.

By Patrick Altoft. at 12:18PM on Thursday, 05 Nov 2009

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

  • http://www.tag44.com tag44

    Thanks for the post, yes it really requires someone from Google to make that bulk submission approved.

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  • http://www.seoverflow.com Mike Belasco

    Did you ever get your data verified?

    • http://www.blogstorm.co.uk Patrick Altoft

      Yes we did Mike. Took a few weeks though.

  • http://twitter.com/kwegner Kyle

    I’ve done plenty of individually verified LBC accounts, but never a bulk upload. When you bulk upload and verify, is the only way to update a listing through a new bulk upload sheet or can you go in and change/optimize an individual listing through the LBC interface?

  • Lucy

    How do you get someone from Google to do the manual verification approved?

  • http://www.guest.com Guest

    It does take Google up to 2 or 3 weeks as per their guidelines, please see:
    http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/static.p