Changing a restaurant menu URL in Google Places -- there has to be a way
February 24, 2016 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Google Places is listing a menu URL for my restaurant, and it's *wrong*. Can you please tell me how to provide a new restaurant menu URL to Google Places. Something this simple shouldn't be impossible!

The thing is --> the Google Places "my business" interface *does not* allow an individual restaurant to add or edit their "menu link". Instead, Google Places displays a menu URL based on some data they seem to get from robots and data partners.

But the URL is wrong! And they won't let me fix it! Grrr. And I don't work with any of the partner companies, all of which charge $$$. I do not want to spend a fortune to fix one datum of incorrect info they insist on posting.

This is costing me a lot of business, as customers are redirected to a site and menu that aren't mine. If the only way to keep them from displaying incorrect info is to pay $$$ to a Google partner site, it also smells more than a little corrupt. "Don't be evil"? Uh ....

Is there anything I can do to provide Google Places with the correct URL for my restaurant's menu? I have programming experience and don't mind getting my hands dirty with XML or APIs if need be.
posted by dacoit to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Have you claimed your business? They send you a postcard to verify that you are the owner. In the meantime, click (or asked others to click) the "suggest an edit" link... It is free.
posted by beyond_pink at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

This page says you can report problems/fix incorrect business info (including website) via Google Maps. Have you tried that route yet?
posted by belladonna at 10:01 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: beyond_pink: Yes, I have claimed the business, and have tried to find a way to change this within the Google "my business" center -- there seems to be no way.

belladonna: It says you can report problems/fix mistakes, but when you do so, it does not allow you to report or fix the *menu URL* that Google displays. It only allows you to change the regular website URL.
posted by dacoit at 10:08 AM on February 24, 2016

This is going to sound backwards, but if you can't get Google to update their listing, change your website so the page that Google thinks is your menu page instead returns a 301 redirect to your actual menu page. Move the former page content to a new page, and update internal links to point to the new location of the former content. After the update only Google should be linking to the page that Google thinks is your menu page, and if a prospective customer clicks the menu link in Google's listing their browser will be transparently redictected to the correct menu page. Even better, Google's crawler might detect the 301 result and update the listing eventually.
posted by RichardP at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Call the main AdWords support line, indicate you have a problem with your My Business listing and talk to a human.

The number is:18662466453
posted by bricksNmortar at 10:34 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you know anyone who works for Google (in any capacity)? I've heard that is one viable way of getting things done.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:35 AM on February 24, 2016

I would try the 301 approach above.

Also, does your correct menu appear in Google search when you do a search like 'my-business-name menu'? If not, there are a couple of ways to alert Google's crawler to hoover up the new url, via either machine-readable site changes or the Google Analytics interface.

I'd also look at your site to see if there's any menu-y link to the incorrect page.
posted by zippy at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2016

RichardP: It's showing a menu that's on "a site and menu that aren't mine" so I don't think what you're suggesting will be possible.
posted by ODiV at 10:50 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

dacoit can correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the issue is that the "menu" link in google often goes to or or some other site that the business owner doesn't control. The 301 thing won't work because dacoit can't control anything about the url being listed.

I know menupages and all those other sites want you to pay them to do anything but have you tried contacting them and complaining about it until they update their information? It's in their site's interest to have accurate information regardless of whether the owners are paying them just for reputation reasons.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Hi everyone, thanks for the replies!

Yes, I should have been more clear -- the incorrect menu URL that Google Places is showing is an external URL. It's some other company's website. We don't have access to the page Google is pointing to.

Very interested in hearing about any of those ways to alert Google's crawler through machine-readable site changes ... just not sure how to get it to stop looking at that other company's page.

Wretch729, yes, you're correct, that's the problem -- I can and will call and argue with them if I'm left with no other choice ... it just seems like a lot of their business model is based on selling their control of that information (or misinformation, as it were).
posted by dacoit at 10:55 AM on February 24, 2016

Best answer: Structured Data might help, although it sounds like they're rolling it out slowly.
We are currently piloting this feature with a restricted set of initial data providers. We hope to soon open up the feature so any provider who implements spec-compliant markup is eligible to participate.
Basically you're embedding a JSON description of your business in the website. Google may or may not be paying attention to it yet, but it won't hurt to add it. Make sure you include the menu markup property.
"menu": "",
"acceptsReservations": "True"
posted by zamboni at 11:29 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for your help everyone. I think that zamboni's advice will be very helpful once Google rolls out structured data for all providers in the future. Still not sure what to do until then. Will try making some calls. All to change the contents of a single (but very important) data field about our own restaurant. It's so absurd.
posted by dacoit at 2:41 PM on February 25, 2016

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