Guard Against “Opening Date” Negative SEO

Tim Colling

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Phil Rozek

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@Tim Colling, good find. Had you already specified an opening year (i.e. 1994) in GMB? I would think that'd override a public edit, but that's just a guess.
 

Tim Colling

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Had you already specified an opening year (i.e. 1994) in GMB? I would think that'd override a public edit, but that's just a guess.
Yes, we did indeed already enter January 1994 as the opening year before this happened.

These "GMB vandalism" attacks are becoming more and more frequent, aren't they?
 

Phil Rozek

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@Tim Colling, there certainly are more ways to egg a competitor's house. Wouldn't say I've seen more of that, though, at least in most industries.
 

Tim Colling

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Just yesterday, I spoke with a prospective new client who mentioned that his GMB profile had been marked "permanently closed" last week. At least in that case, for that change, he was notified by Google. <sigh>
 

Somsenater

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I'm not sure about businesses that have yet to open, haven't been able to find any to test, but yes, the ones that are already opened cannot exceed the current date.
 

keyserholiday

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Ok, for a future open date location, you can suggest a new month and/ or year. Last option to use is Jan 2020.

 

Phil Rozek

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@keyserholiday, can I assume, then, that Google's preferred "Add a business before it opens" process has changed? Specifically this part: "Only the year and month of your opening date are required. You can enter a date up to one year in the future. Once you’ve entered the date and verified your business, it will begin to appear on Google 90 days before the opening date."

Or does Google's fix only apply to public edits, and not to business owners' edits in the dashboard?
 

Ewan Kennedy

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Jul 4, 2017
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I just discovered this happened to my own business's GMB listing and I have not received any notification from Google. Astonishing. It caused my business to disappear. I had an opening date from 2007 in place previous to the malicious edit. Fortunately, my business re-appeared seconds after reinstating the correct date.
 

BenFisher

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@Phil Rozek The process is still the same and working as intended. This specific fix was made to address the bug with public edits. However, I would assume that if the owner sets the open date as 4 months from now that the profile would go dark as intended. (Have not tested this)
 

BenFisher

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@Phil Rozek No I would not say that. A public edit can still be made to the opening date, I was more referring to this specific bug with public edits being set to a year out is addressed. I cannot get into the behind the scenes details. But, a public edit should not cause a business to go dark any longer.
 

Phil Rozek

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@BenFisher, gotcha.

It seems now a new type Mapspam is at least possible: people crank out service-area listings at locations they have no intention of occupying/staffing. If challenged by GMB, they just say that of course they aren't at those office locations now, because the opening date is a few months in the future. Then they change the opening date to later as the date approaches, so the place never really "opens," but never is whisked off the map.
 

BenFisher

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That is entirely conceivable, but I would have to wonder why. Since from what I have seen a business with a future open date really does not rank, but is findable by name. I could be totally wrong about this though, as I have not tested it. Have you seen a listing with a future open date rank?
 

Phil Rozek

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That is entirely conceivable, but I would have to wonder why. Since from what I have seen a business with a future open date really does not rank, but is findable by name. I could be totally wrong about this though, as I have not tested it. Have you seen a listing with a future open date rank?
Yes and no. Last year I helped a client to rank pre-opening. (It was an edge case in which that made sense to do.) We did not specify an opening date in GMB, though. Everything went smoothly.
 

BenFisher

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Ahh ok that makes sense, I was thinking along the lines of if someone created a SAB, put a future open date and testing to see if it could rank, since, in theory, I believe those with an open date set are findable in the local finder, but not in desktop search, and from my limited tests, by name only.

So, in theory, with the possible map spam approach, a listing could stuff its name, list a future open date and exist in local finder.

I had a case yesterday, where someone did change the date to 2020 (during the bug) and I was able to find the listing in the local finder, but the listing was gone from desktop search.
 

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