Update: Google Local shenanigans with restaurant listings

As I previously wrote, Google appears to be replacing restaurant web site links with links to third-party review sites such as Yelp and Citysearch. It also appears they’re messing up on the algorithm that assigns these links to local businesses, or there is some malicious activity going on — both cases possibly evidenced by the following links — for Emile’s restaurant in San Jose and Evvia restaurant in Palo Alto, both top-10 restaurants in their respective cities:

I can see how Google may have mis-interpreted “Emile’s” into “e-Miles”, but how the heck did “predictablyirrational” get linked to Evvia? I’d guess this is a result of Google’s new policy of allowing users to edit local business listings – in this case with no real check mechanism to stop abuse. There’s other evidence (here, here, here) that this kind of activity is more widespread than these few restaurant examples I provide.

If you’re the owner of a restaurant, the best defense against this kind of activity is to “claim” your listing through Google’s Local Business Center – it’s free (and for that matter, claim your listing on the other search engines as well).

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