By Jake Rainbow, Epiphany Solutions Ltd

I still remember a time when you could navigate the internet without having to resort to using Google as your first port of call, but now it seems I can’t find what I want without it. Google has become a sort of necessity for searchers and even more so for businesses. It’s an obvious statement to say that the internet has opened many doors for national and multinational companies, but Google’s local listings and map searches has helped small local businesses considerably.

Is it the end of the world if Google accidentally misplaces your business? Irritating yes, but if you notice it, it isn’t exactly hard to get it changed. You can just put in a request to Google to fix the issue; according to Google 10,000 corrections or additions are made on Google Maps by users each hour. Google might appear all knowing but they are likely to make quite a few mistakes along their way to world dominance — so they rely on us to help them out.

But what happens if Google accidentally manages to lose an entire town? At first the whole concept seems quite hilarious, but it isn’t for the local business owners of Sunrise, Florida. As far as I am aware, Google hasn’t made a statement as to how or why they lost Sunrise, all we know is that when you tried to search for either the place or a business you were pointed to Sarasota… on the other side of the country, 160 miles away.

The reactions from business owners prove we sometimes have an over reliance on Google’s online products. One business owner stated that her website orders were as “flat as a pancake!” (Flowersfromtherainflorist.com). It would appear that a lot of the residents rely on being found in Google’s local listings and map searches for business, and without it they tend to struggle.

When I first heard about this I was a little shocked that the mayor and businesses were in uproar to this degree - Google sorted it, didn’t they? Yes...for the third time. Sunrise has been lost a whopping three times already with absolutely no concrete explanation as to why!

Local businesses need to be aware that relying on local listings and map search results is not a sustainable way to use the internet, any number of things can go wrong. They need to broaden their options by monitoring how they appear in other search engines and think about PPC campaigns targeting local and regional terms.

Find out more about Epiphany Solutions Ltd at www.epiphanysolutions.co.uk

Join us on