Kristen

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For one of our clients, we had previously used keyword rich (not spammy) custom categories in the old dashboard and it looks like these are still in the place page after the upgrade, but there is a message that says "There is a problem with this data. Please update it".

This client is ranking #1 and #2 for all their primary keywords and we're worried if we update the categories to the new pre-defined categories, we might lose ranking. I subscribe to Linda's philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", but I'm not sure what's best to do here.

Can we leave everything as is in the new dash or do we have no choice but to update the categories with the pre-defined choices and fill in any other missing info that appeared in the new dash like the profile photo?

Thanks!
Kristen
 

Linda Buquet

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but there is a message that says "There is a problem with this data. Please update it".

Hi Kristen, everything you are talking about including the message above is in new Places dash? Is that what we are talking, or is this listing merged/upgraded and you are seeing the message in G+ interface?
 

Kristen

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Hi Kristen, everything you are talking about including the message above is in new Places dash? Is that what we are talking, or is this listing merged/upgraded and you are seeing the message in G+ interface?

Everything referenced above is in the new Places dash, correct. We were just upgraded.

Thanks,
Kristen
 

Linda Buquet

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Not certain. I'm thinking "not broke, don't fix" BUT if the dash is telling you you should, maybe you should.

I "thought" I heard Mike or someone say that once you get the new dash or G+ your old custom cats from the old Places dash go away.

Since I don't work on clients any more and therefore have not tried this with new dash, let's see if Colan and a couple others can weigh in with their opinions.
 
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I would definitely follow Linda's philosophy of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". But to hedge your bets you may want to check categories of your competition. If they are following guidelines and you notices your rank dropping then that maybe one of the first items you fix.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Kristen

Good question. I'd follow Linda's suggestion. I, too, have noticed that the old custom categories don't seem to transfer over into the new dashboard. But you'll probably see that Google has pulled them into the MapMaker record (which you can look at if you click on "Edit details," or just go into MapMaker). Especially now that Google Places custom categories have gone the way of the do-do bird, what categories show up in your MapMaker record seems to matter even more. Google scrapes from all over the place to populate it.
 

Linda Buquet

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On the flip side though, so you know. Having custom cats does not seem to be needed any more, or not as much.

It used to be that if you didn't have sedation dentist (for example) as a custom cat you would not rank for those related KWs. But now I see merged pages that lost that custom cat still rank. So even though the new dash and G+ cats are limited to a smaller set of default cats, I think Google is getting better at understanding all the keywords you should rank for based on what she finds on the site and 3rd party sites.

So bottom line, I'd make sure all KWs are well optimized on the site and maybe even pay a little more attention than before to adding all your KWs to directory listings, etc.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Great points all.

I find it interesting that some custom categories transfer over to the new dashboard (with error message) and some don't.

I have seen several dashboards get upgraded and the custom categories didn't transfer over period. In all of these cases, there was no ranking drop on the categories that didn't make the trip.

So "if it aint broke" is probably a safe bet, but from what I've seen there as been no impact on the ranking of cats that don't make it over.

Plus, I think Linda makes a great point here - "BUT if the dash is telling you you should maybe you should. "
 

Kristen

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Thank you all for your input, great insight. In mapmaker, it looks like there are about 13 keyword rich categories that were added to this listing at various points in time.

At first I thought this might be one of the reasons this client's ranking is so strong and steady (the SEO on their site isn't as strong as it could be due to restrictions with what we could do on the site), but Linda's comments about categories not being as important as they once were is interesting.

We'll keep an eye on their ranking and like Jamie said, if we see a drop, categories is one of first things we'll investigate.

Thanks,
Kristen
 

whitespark

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Speaking of categories in Map Maker, check out this business I discovered the other day. Go to MapMaker and search for "Onsite Instant Lube Miami", then click details to see all their categories. Yep, 42 categories!

I can only assume they spammed this by claiming the listing under at least 8 different accounts. Can any of you think of any other way to get so many categories?

---------- Post Merged at 02:19 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 02:11 PM ----------

They could have pushed all those categories in through MapMaker as well, but I'm surprised they would have gotten approved. I don't see the category additions in the edit history though. Very interesting.
 
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