Aside from internet marketing, I also have a local business as a webhost here in Portland and my business has been on Google Places for years now.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I had no new local inquiries or traffic for a few days, so I tried to take a look at my Google places page, and I saw this screen, telling me “We currently do not support the location”.

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What?!?

Was there an informational link? A place to “report a problem”?  A link to a help file? A notification in my gmail?  Nope – nothing.

This drove me semi-crazy for a few days, (after all, it was my own business and I had other priorities), but then it happened to a client as well, so I REALLY had to dig in and find a solution.

Luckily I found this post by Mike Blumenthal thet he had written just two days earlier showing a workaround for this issue, and my traffic returned.

You can see here below, where it dropped to zero for a couple of weeks.

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Mike’s workaround solution was to add a comment on your own page as the owner. I did that, and the business was back immediately – really – 5 seconds. I then did the same thing to my own business, and went about my merry way.

This morning it happened again to another business, and after I fixed it the same way, I checked my previous clients listing, and it was fine. But then checked my own listing, and it’s happened again!

My traffic is now completely gone again from local search. I’d gone from as many as 55 impressions in a day, down to zero again two times in a month.

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So here’s the workaround –

1. Go inside your google Places account where you see your listing(s) and click on the title of the affected listing.

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2. In the top right of your business page, create a comment, and get it posted.

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3. Be sure the comment you leave is one that you don’t mind being seen by the public, because it will immediately appear right below your review stars.

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Far more important is the question of WHY this is happening?

If it is somehow legitimate, and we’re violating one of the Google Local Commandments, then we should be notified. Why leave it up to us to stumble across, only after either noticing a significant drop in traffic or a client phone call?

Google has every right to interpret the guidelines and change the rules however they wish, and I realize that technical glitches happen, but notifying site owners / managers of issues should be a priority.

We can have a client website monitored for “down time” but not a Google Places listing, (which Google often shows instead of a site) so they’re just supposed to be “out of luck”?

I’m afraid this could continue for a long time, just like their failure to notify us about malware in Webmaster Tools has the past year.

Going forward, we’ve made it a weekly task now to click on every single Google Places listing we manage, and if you value your local traffic, you should too.

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I'm the CEO of Search Commander, Inc. and the founder / creator of SEO Automatic. I live with my wife and two sons in Portland Oregon, USA. and you should stalk me at Twitter or Google+, or even at both!

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