You might remember that a while back—in January, to be specific—we started investigating the Mystery of the Missing Mall. We decided to keep track of the web presence of the shops at La Costa Town Square shopping center, which had its official grand opening this spring. It’s at the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue, and has two roads that run through it. There are several major stores anchoring it, plus lots of small shops and restaurants lining its corridors.
When we first looked into it, despite construction being complete and a substantial number of retailers being open for business, the Street View on Google Maps still showed an empty lot strewn with construction equipment. One of the streets running through the center simply wasn’t there, and the other was mapped incorrectly. However, the biggest problem was that despite more than 20 stores, restaurants, and service providers being open, only 6 businesses had listings—and none of the listings were complete, let alone completely accurate! If you were searching for “coffee near me,” you wouldn’t know about the Starbucks that’s right there. Need an ATM? Hopefully, you were a Wells Fargo or SDCCU customer, because BofA and Chase didn’t show up online. And even if you were with the former two banks, neither displayed accurately on the map.
It’s not as if people are incapable of finding businesses and restaurants for themselves—obviously, if you were at La Costa Town Square, you could see that it wasn’t a construction site, and you could walk or drive around until you found what you were looking for. But having woefully out-of-date and inaccurate information online means that anyone who wasn’t already there wasn’t going to be directed there—at least not by Google, and probably not by Siri, either.
We did some investigating to see if we can come closer to solving the mystery. There’s been some improvement, but not as much as you might think. The shopping center itself now shows up with an attractive street view from the main intersections and a 360º view of their directory sign, all done by Google Certified photographer Louis Nava of SD 360 Tours. Still, other than the directory sign area, you can’t effectively use street view within La Costa Town Square—and the streets still aren’t accurately depicted on Google Maps. Though Via Campanile and Via Montebello now intersect, a portion of Via Mercato is still missing from the map—it should continue on after meeting Via Campanile past the Starbucks to take you to the businesses in the section of the shopping center closest to the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue. Possibly of greater importance, if you’ve got GPS giving you directions: The portion of Via Campanile that actually connects to Rancho Santa Fe Road is a one-way street (as seen in the pic at the top of this post), but Google Maps doesn’t seem to know that.
What about business listings? Last time we looked, we could hardly find any clues on Google as to what businesses were in La Costa Town Square. Again, there’s been improvement—but a substantial number of businesses are still invisible if you’re searching on the web. In particular, of the independent businesses (i.e., those that aren’t part of a regional or national chain) in La Costa Town Square, only three have claimed listings that show up on the map. There are a decent number of small businesses in the shopping center, from dentists to dry cleaners, but unless you’re already at La Costa Town Square, the web isn’t going to help you find them.
There are many more claimed, verified listings than there were back in January. That said, there’s still a fair amount of mystery when it comes to exactly what you’ll find at La Costa Town Square. Some big businesses—notably Starbucks and Petco—still haven’t claimed their listings. Chipotle has somehow wound up with two listings (and two locations) on the map, one of which is verified and claimed, and one of which is not. DIY pizza restaurant Project Pie only shows up with an unverified listing that doesn’t even spell its name correctly! Besides lacking photos and any personalization, many of these unclaimed listings don’t have specific addresses for the locations. If you were searching using your phone, all you’d know is that the location is somewhere in Carlsbad. (The pic below gives you an idea of how the shopping center’s actual footprint—as seen in their map on the left—compares to Google’s current version, on the right.)
Given that the La Costa Town Square has now been open for almost a year, it’s even more striking that despite the steps that have been taken—both by the shopping center management and by some of the businesses—the information available to someone searching online is still inaccurate and incomplete. It makes you realize that Google isn’t quite as all knowing and all-powerful as we sometimes think! Sometimes—especially if you’re a small business—you need to give them a little help. Have you claimed and verified your Google My Business listing? If you haven’t, don’t wait! Call Higher Power SEO at 760-881-4736. We can help you not only with Google, but with setup for local listings across the web. People are out there searching for businesses “near me”—we want to make sure they find you!