Does Google Permanently Sandbox Deleted/Restored G+ Local SAB Listings?

Linda Buquet

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Now I'm not saying the opinion below is true... Just throwing it out there for discussion and as always have some observations to share...

This user in the Google Business forum is basically saying that she believes all the listings that were deleted due to the service area business/hide your address fiasco, then were restored, even though they are now live again, they are carrying a permanent ranking penalty and will never be able to achieve their previous rankings.

Read Kellen's post then see my comments below...

Back to "Pending" AGAIN (Just a snippet below. She writes a very long comment with other interesting theories)

Based on what I've seen with all of the other service area businesses who has had their listings removed, it is my opinion that the listings as they were before being removed, as far as ranking/position, are basically gone.

In my opinion there is no technical issue that is causing the delays in getting these removed listings to reappear or to be restored/revived, but rather a penalty by Google.

And the length of time of this penalty of being removed is dependent upon which guideline(s) Google determines that you've broken.

There appears to be 3 phases to the penalty, resulting in your listing virtually be permanently removed.

The first phase is that your listing is removed for months.

The second phase is your listing is in "pending status" for a long time.

And the third phase (the permanent phase) is that, after months when or if your listing is eventually "revived/restored" it is positioned so far back in the search results that it will still be virtually invisible, and its usefulness/effectiveness will be no better and no different than while it was removed and not showing at all because your listing will never be found or seen by users anyway.

The results/effects of this penalty is that your listing will, in essence, be like a new listing, positioned at the back of the search results and starting by scratch, all over again, in ranking/positioning, requiring many more months before working its way back to where it had been before, if it even does, which likely never will.
FYI yesterday I posted something semi-related:
http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local/1850-google-sometimes-permanently-bans-google-local-listings.html

So being live and sandboxed is better than being permanently banned, never to have a listing ever again! (At least you can still use the page for reviews and send customers the link even if it does not rank to help attract new customers.)

But regarding her theory of restored listings never being able to rank again, I'm not sure about that. But have a couple thoughts.

1st of all it makes perfect sense to me that if a listing is down for weeks or months and then is restored or recreated... it would probably have to start over in the ranking cycle as new listings do. This is not a penalty, but it just takes time to fully work into the local database. Usually about 6 - 8 weeks before you'll start to see ranking for KW searches with new listings. So that may be part of what Kellen is experiencing.

But the other thing I noticed a LONG time ago on some listings I worked on. They had been suspended or rejected long before they came to me. But then came to me like 6 months later, because no matter what they did they could not rank. Then after I worked on the listing for a couple months it would magically rank. I don't have any special super powers. The things I did should have worked right away but didn't and for awhile they just stayed stuck. Then suddenly popped up. I had this happen a few times and in every case it seemed like they were sandboxed for about 8 months AFTER the violation was cleaned up.

Again that was a long time ago. But for awhile I did believe there was a lingering ranking penalty after a major violation sometimes. And back then to me it seemed to last around 8 - 9 months.

So again, just throwing it out there for discussion.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Have you had any listings restored that seem to suffer a ranking penalty?
 

BCLocal

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Jul 31, 2012
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32
Interesting idea. I've experienced something somewhat similar.

I had a listing hit by the dreaded "not supported" removal. We were following the Quality Guidelines to a T, had the address hidden and everything (as it was a service based biz).

Where my experience differs is I got a quick response from Google's +Local support team (that never happens right?!) and after a short "pending review" period (about 2 weeks) the listing was back up. It ranked way BETTER than it did before the removal BUT it only lasted about 2 weeks. I theorized that it was in the sandbox of sorts to see how well it served in that position, which I thought it served well (maybe the business owner cussed people out, I'm not sure). After the two weeks it was cast back down in the ranks.

Brandon
 

Charles

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Jan 23, 2013
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I have yet to see a listing permanently banned and I've seen listings penalized return in time. The listings that remained stable after their return we listings that did not conflict with address violations (such as the use of a mail box). Age of record appears to be able, by itself, to bring a listing back in time if major guidelines are not violated with regard to the address data. Of course, getting more NAP congruence will coax it along faster in theory.
 
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Why would Google penalize listings only to release them into the wild without a probationary period. I doubt Google would perminantly lower their rank, or keep it artificially low, forever. But it is not like they're just going to restore a listing to a #2 spot when said listing was running against the guidelines. Not ranking in the top 10 doesn't mean Google is "penalizing" a feature. I tend to think people think of restoration as a light switch being turned on, rather than filling up a pool with a garden hose. 'But I want it, NOW!!!'
 

Linda Buquet

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Kellen, the woman I quoted in the 1st post that had a theory that deleted and restored listings will never rank again...

Her listing is ranking again. Right back up where it used to rank.

I asked her how long it was from being restored to ranking again. Her reply...

Back to "Pending" AGAIN

"Can you tell me how long it was from time listing was restored until it started ranking high again?"

Yes, it was 3 weeks to the day. It was after I had emailed to the very helpful person from Google Places who helped me in getting the listing restored, regarding another question not pertaining to ranking/positioning. I had only mentioned in the email that our listing was still at the back of the results (it was on page 8, 9 and 10 for at least the top 3 keywords/phrases), and when I received a reply I just thought I'd check the listing again (although there was no mention of ranking/positioning in the reply email, etc.) and to my absolute delight the listing was in position A, where it still remains as of today!

The listing went immediately from those back pages to the front/top of the Places results, from late one night to the next day (same timing with the email and reply I mentioned above) for the most popular keywords/phrases. There appeared to be no time that the listing was positioned at any of the pages/positions in Places results in between those back pages (8, 9, 10) and the first page. I'm not sure if the person from Google Places had any influence on this or not.
So restored listings CAN rank again. My suspicion is that they have to work back into the local database, so it could take awhile. But in this case it's not clear if support maybe did something to help it along.
 
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Kellen, the woman I quoted in the 1st post that had a theory that deleted and restored listings will never rank again...

Her listing is ranking again. Right back up where it used to rank.

I asked her how long it was from being restored to ranking again. Her reply...



So restored listings CAN rank again. My suspicion is that they have to work back into the local database, so it could take awhile. But in this case it's not clear if support maybe did something to help it along.
3 weeks is one week sooner than I would have though. My guess would have been a month. I'm sure it is situation specific. Good stuff Linda!
 

Flash

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Jul 20, 2012
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Just a quick note and sorry if some of this was already covered, but as Andrew said people seem to expect everything to happen instantly. Most things work on a cycle; it is only when Google spends a lot of extra money that things update instantly. An example, updates in Map Maker appear on the map instantly, but don't enter Search, Mobile, Earth and Directions until the next update in their respective cycles.

Google could probably "fix" these timelines by spending a lot of money, but why should they? For many different issues I constantly see people that violated the guidelines expect that they should be displaying on the map and ranking at the top as soon as they finally conform to the guidelines. If that were the case, then why not cheat? You could just break the guidelines until caught and not suffer at all. After you're caught and conform, you just start cheating again.

So I don't think there is a penalty specifically issued, but I also don't think Google has any problem with the normal process of things creating a temporary penalty; and they certainly aren't going to spend money to reduce that time period when there is zero return to them and it would in fact encourage more cheating.
 

JustinM

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Jan 30, 2013
Messages
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I was deindexed last September and although I came back in December I've been virtually invisible since. Earlier today (as I was reading this thread and starting to sweat) I decided to check one of my kw's and lo and behold I'm back on page 1.

I believe I fell foul of the hidden address penalty, and I was just starting to think I'd never get back, but thankfully I did.

All is good - for now. Looking forward to participating in the forum and staying ahead of the curve.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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YAY Justin! Glad your listing is back.
Welcome and thanks for sharing!

Can you give us the approx date your listing was revived
so we can start tracking how long it's taking folks to get back in the index?
 

JustinM

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Jan 30, 2013
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I was deindexed on September 16th, restored on December 4th and I saw myself on page 1 again on January 30th. So I guess it took just under 8 weeks to reappear.

Something else that occurred today, I got 4 more reviews back (having lost 9 out of 14 when I was restored) including one from a Google user which was posted 5 months ago but that never previously appeared. Weird.
 
Joined
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I was deindexed on September 16th, restored on December 4th and I saw myself on page 1 again on January 30th. So I guess it took just under 8 weeks to reappear.

Something else that occurred today, I got 4 more reviews back (having lost 9 out of 14 when I was restored) including one from a Google user which was posted 5 months ago but that never previously appeared. Weird.
Good to hear JustinM.

Out of curiosity have you reviewed some of my GMM edits up in NH? The name sounds familiar...
 

Flash

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Jul 20, 2012
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185
It was no coincidence, Google announced today that they were apply new algorithms that should cause less false positives on the reviews.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
I was deindexed on September 16th, restored on December 4th and I saw myself on page 1 again on January 30th. So I guess it took just under 8 weeks to reappear.

Something else that occurred today, I got 4 more reviews back (having lost 9 out of 14 when I was restored) including one from a Google user which was posted 5 months ago but that never previously appeared. Weird.
Thanks for letting us know the timing Justin.

The reviews coming back was a separate deal. Google changed the review algo and some reviews were restored for some listings.

See my announcement with more info here:
http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-reviews/2125-major-google-local-review-improvements-better-algo.html
 

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