One of my best performing key phrases usually produces a list of Google Local Business results at the top of page 1 which includes my web site and those of some of my competitors. As of today, the same search produces a single prominent listing with a map for a site which never appeared for that key phrase in the past. My site is gone from page 1 along with about 8 others who were on the list.
I checked the reviews for the site which has appeared all of a sudden and all of the 475 reviews are guest reviews for a large local hotel. It looks like someone has somehow hacked the local business listing for the hotel and changed the contact info to their own. Is there anything I can do?
Very strange - it sounds like the hotel reviews got incorrectly credited to the one business that remains in the results.
This may not be the result of a hack, but rather a data problem at Google Local/Maps. One thing you can do is perform the search, and then at the bottom of the search results page, use the link that says "Disatisfied? Help us improve."
I'm pretty sure Google would want to fix this, from what you describe.
Thanks for the quick replies! I didn't notice the 'disatisfied?' link at the bottom. I don't see a place to report it from within my account (but I am logged in). I'll see if I can report it through AdWords also. I had to increase my spend for a bunch of keywords to get above it again. I'm also contacting the other companies with sponsored results on the page. I'm sure they'd have the same objection as I do.
Here's an update for anyone who has a problem like this in the future. I sent messages to a few other AdWords advertisers appearing on the same page. One of them was a huge national firm. I received a reply from their WebMaster within an hour...
[paraphrase] Their internal keyword team is going to investigate. Since they are a big Adwords customer, they expect to hear directly from Google about the issue. [end paraphrase]
[edited by: tedster at 12:36 am (utc) on July 12, 2008] [edit reason] paraphrase the email text [/edit]