As Local SEO becomes ever more prevalent to a business’s survival, I am sad to say that Google’s business listing and verification process is a joke. Sorry Google, I only say this because I love you.

I have stepped outside my boundaries as a social media consultant and living content developer to address an immediate problem for one of my clients. Recently I discovered that they have multiple listings of their business in Google Maps. Looking at these listings, I have noticed that only some of the information is correct, where as the rest is complete bunk. What’s worse? Someone else is actively verifying false listings of my client.

Google’s solution? You can create another listing of your company (make sure all the information is correct) and then go report those false listings and they will look into it…and hopefully deactivate them. There is no one to talk to and it can literally take months to straighten the issue out, if at all.

I’m not blaming Google, as this is a free service, and they are still working on a better system, I’m sure (yes, I have faith, don’t be bitter). In the mean time, my client’s SEO presence is in pure, detrimental chaos. We were working our way up the Google ranks, but now? Now we are getting thrown around like a rag doll in a tornado.

I recommend keeping a close eye on your company’s listing online. Search for yourself under google maps and see what pops up. You can no longer ignore or avoid it, unless your company’s growth does not benefit from showing up online. To learn more about local SEO, be sure to check out Nifty Marketing and The Search Engine Journal. If you are looking for detailed instructions on how to report a bogus listing, I found this Vertical Measures blog article helpful, even if the process sucks.