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IMAGES? Surely you jest! Yes, images. And stop calling me Shirley.

Shoot IMAGES? Surely, you jest!
Yes, images. And stop calling me Shirley.

While it may seem that SEO companies don’t have that much to do or do a whole lot of dancing at times, they do. At least we do. I swear to GOD, I have near daily conversations with Google at times it seems. That all shared, I’ve personally been dancing with my friends at Google for about 4 months in some fashion or another to get the My Business listing verified for a local client.

At the heart of this issue was verifying that the business with which we were working was actually located where we said it was.  At the request of our helpful Google rep, we now were going to need IMAGES to prove the business existed where we said it did. So, on Thursday, the beagle and I headed out with our trusty iPhone 4s to take pictures of the local business to PROVE to Google that our client existed where we said that they did. Normally the Big G just sends out postcards with a PIN on them, but in this case, it was impossible to receive it. As a side note, that verification system probably works perfectly well in at least 85% of situations, but the devil is always in those details. There apparently is little room in there for variation on their process.

This particular Google support person was hellbent on sending out a card with a PIN which we knew would never get there – as per the Post office. The representative to whom I spoke was made aware of this repeatedly. And I DO mean repeatedly. But he was adamant that it be sent and we sit and wait on this post card with a PIN to arrive. If you ever go through things with Google such as these, we strongly suggest that you keep real close tabs on it as it’s easy for the process to get bogged down. Nothing happens quickly and any issues with the My Business will take a week or two to straighten out AT BEST. This one? As below, an EPIC journey of about 4 months of back and forth with them. In this case, the first round of verifications was somehow dropped and even after emails and a phone verification, we had to re-initiate our request.

In all fairness, this process usually is NOT that eventful. In order to verify your business, a card/letter is sent out with a PIN and the customer needs to forward that PIN to us so we may verify control of the business. This usually takes a week or two. Problems can ensue like people throwing things from Google away as trash, not understanding that they are receiving something that we need data from, non-helpful employees onsite locally that don’t BELIEVE in the internet and thus stymie-ing the process (don’t even get me started), and sometimes, the card never seems to get sent. I have even had that mentioned to me by a Google rep. It’s probably some patented process they have to skip about 20% of the postcard requests – if they’re a legit business, they’ll RE-request.  Google is always up to something and that little conjecture would NOT surprise me in the least.

Anyway.. the whole wanting to send out a postcard to an address that we know will NEVER receive it – How to explain and share the joy that this has been…

pineapple farmGoogle: “Sure, just go grab a pineapple from the local pineapple farm.”
Us: “We’re in North Carolina. There IS no pineapple farm.”
Google: “You could drive there.”
Us: “There is NO pineapple farm.”
Google: “Well, do you have buses that can get you there?”
Us: “We have buses, but there IS NO pineapple farm.”
Google: “Surely you grow things there. They will have what you need at the farm.”
Us: “Yes, we DO grow things here, but there IS NO PINEAPPLE FARM.”
Google: “We’ll be glad to wait.”
Us: “THERE IS NO PINEAPPLE FARM.”
Google: “Great, just reply to our email when you get the pineapple.”
Us: …

Dealing with Google on things is getting more and more like dealing with a government agency.

This was the final paragraph in my email to Google. The first paragraphs dealt with what the Google reps would see in each of the 5 pictures. I detailed the companies up and down the street with a particular focus on noticing the street addresses on the front of each of the nearby businesses. I omitted the part, though in hindsight, should probably have pointed out that the actual company and the sign could easily be seen in Google’s OWN street map images.

As well, I pointed out the EXIF data features were enabled on my phone (verified our exact latitude and longitude and even our height above sea level). I should have pointed out the frantic looking beagle seen through the car window where I illegally parked to quickly snap these pics. He had to GO I discovered a few minutes later.. Also detailed the various interchanges in the past 4 months for various purposes.

It’s ironic the things that can be done in this country with no ID or minimal verification, but to get listed in Google? Oh my.

Please advise, this epic journey with the local listings has been going on now for four months – I can get a passport to travel to a foreign COUNTRY in less time than this and probably get a governmental security clearance in less time. We have submitted at least a couple requests for transfer, have waited for at least two rounds of post cards – giving each card ample opportunity to NOT be delivered as we expected since they don’t deliver here, I have had the managing partner email verified back on 11/16/2015 on ticket [4-5941xxxxxxxxx] that we are the authorized managers of the Plus page, I believe phone contact to have been made and verified at least once and possibly a couple of times with the Law Firm office. Short of blood samples, I’m not sure what more we can possibly provide. Please advise..

They manually approved the request the next day. Which indicates to me that they DO have the ability to manually approve ANYTHING if they actually choose to do such… Perhaps I need to be buying SOME Google employee up there in the My Business office some regular dinner gift certificates…