My places page suspended!

John C

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Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
10
I have a service area business with a hidden address, I've always kept the address hidden from Google places. Not so much because I'm afraid of the public finding me or knocking on my door, but because since I don't have a real honest to God brick and mortar storefront I was hiding it to carefully avoid suspension.

https://plus.google.com/100274158469209670963/about?gl=us&hl=en

My Places Dashboard suddenly showed my listing as rejected after being live for over a month, though it appears to still be showing up in search rankings the same as before.....

I'm trying to figure out what if anything I might have done to precipitate this. I looked at the quality guidelines and didn't think I had any violated, but I did remove all the custom categories from my listing just in case.

I hit the re-submit for approval button that was in the "red stripe of death" and the listing now shows as "pending", "being reviewed". But it still says "Account Suspended" at the top with the red stripe.....

Then I got an email:

Hello,
Thank you for requesting a review of your rejected listing(s).

Unfortunately, this process is no longer supported.
You may create a new listing that adheres to our guidelines in order to
show up on Maps.

If your listing shows as pending, please check on Maps to see if it is
live. In that case please be patient as we are currently overhauling the
reconsideration process. Please also have a look in the Help Center at
http://support.google.com/<wbr>places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&<wbr>answer=176520 for
further updates.

Cheers,
The Google Places Team

I feel like there's some mixed messages here. If my listing is still live, does that mean that it's not really suspended? Will it go back to normal if I am not violating any guidelines?

I also noticed today that my address is showing on Map Maker, though it is hidden on Places. Is this normal?

I had posted a link to my Places Page today from my website, encouraging my customers to leave a review..... is that not allowed? I've since removed the link just in case.......

I also had a G+ page for my business (never verified it since address is hidden). I downloaded the Google + app for my smartphone today and experimented with it. (Trying to find a way for customers to leave a review from a smartphone......) So I also deleted my G+ Page just in case that had anything to do with it.

Any ideas as to what may have caused the suspension?

Thanks
 

Linda Buquet

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Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
Hi John,

As I'm sure you know Google is extra strict about locksmiths.

"but because since I don't have a real honest to God brick and mortar storefront I was hiding it to carefully avoid suspension"

That sentence made me wonder about the location listed in your dash. Is it just your home? That's what it looks like in MM.

Share with me the timing. Because at 1st it sound like this was a mature listing. Then you said "after being live for over a month."

So when do you create and verify the listing?

Many of your categories violated the guidelines, but you said you deleted the custom categories now?

Yes I've brought up other listings, that had hidden addresses yet showed address in MM up to Google. I was concerned that businesses would get wrongly penalized. Not sure if that's the issue here.

Making note of your CID which can come in handy for troubleshooting if the listing gets deleted. cid=7218353869923617014

OK so most TCs in the Places forum say once a listing is suspended, it's dead and you have to start over and that's what that email and the help docs say. But then they also kinda make it sound like if it's live and pending there's a little hope? I agree it's conflicting.

Let me know about the timing and then let's see if anyone else weighs in with advice. I've never had a client go suspended so don't have much experience with this type of problem.
 

mborgelt

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
472
Linda,

I think he is saying that the Account is suspended...not the listing.

See below.

As far as I know you need to start all over with a new account even.

 

John C

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
10
Linda,

I suppose google has good reason to be strict on locksmiths with as many unlicensed, phony, or at best 2nd rate "locksmiths" running around using bait and switch tactics, overcharging and damaging stuff. Then you've got the national dispatch only companies that pretend to be local to get customers, then try to sell them back to the real locksmiths as "leads". Only the good Locksmiths won't do business with them, so the customers end up with the 2nd rate wannabe "locksmith" who shows up with a crowbar. Sorry to go off on a tangent there........ just so it's understood that I'm more interested than anybody to keep the phony companies out of Google+Local.

Yes the address in dashboard is my home address, I am a mobile only business. I first set up the listing and verified it in early September at a different address. I moved and changed my address in dashboard sometime in November. I finally got the pin in the mail and verified it and it was back up somewhere around Dec 15th. (I'd had several reviews before the move, but none of them reappeared) The listing has been fine since then until yesterday. The address has always been hidden from the beginning.

My categories before account suspension yesterday were:

Locksmith
Car Keys
Lost Car Keys
Auto Locksmith
Ignition Repair

After re-reading the quality guidelines that say categories must be what your business "is" rather than what it does or offers, I deleted all the categories except "Locksmith". I'm not sure I can think of 5 categories of what my business "is" without saying what it does.

Could these categories really be the reason for suspension?

I never meant to violate the guidelines.... just hadn't read them closely enough.

And would "Auto Locksmith" be considered spammy since it repeats the word "Locksmith"?

Not sure what it means for an "account" to be suspended rather than just the listing....

If I can still edit the listing and it still shows in search results, then what exactly has been suspended?

Heres a screen shot after editing the listing:

Resampled_2013-01-21_14-05-51_191.jpg

 

Linda Buquet

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Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
Yes the address in dashboard is my home address, I am a mobile only business. I first set up the listing and verified it in early September at a different address. I moved and changed my address in dashboard sometime in November.
Are not supposed to just edit the address like that when you move. It can cause lots of problems BUT should not cause suspension.

My categories before account suspension yesterday were:

Locksmith
Car Keys
Lost Car Keys
Auto Locksmith
Ignition Repair

After re-reading the quality guidelines that say categories must be what your business "is" rather than what it does or offers, I deleted all the categories except "Locksmith". I'm not sure I can think of 5 categories of what my business "is" without saying what it does.

Could these categories really be the reason for suspension?
Yes those were minor violations BUT I've only heard of one person being suspended for violating that rule. Normally they don't suspend for that.

HOWEVER just the past couple days I'm seeing a big increase in suspended listing complaints at the G forum. So think someone turned up a spam dial too high somewhere. We're seeing listings there suspended that we can't find anything blatantly wrong on. But we have not gotten to the bottom of it yet.

If I can still edit the listing and it still shows in search results, then what exactly has been suspended?
Sometimes even if suspended listings still are live. I'm curious to see if your changes go live because I suspect the dashboard is dead and you've lost control of the listing and changes won't go through.

I would def not tweak any more unless you find something VERY wrong. Because if (and there is only a VERY tiny IF) IF you really are under review and IF they ever get around to reviewing it, I suspect that every edit sends you back to the end of the line.

But again, I don't want to hold out hope because most say once you are suspended the account is dead and you just need to deleted and start over with a new account.

Maybe wait a couple days and let me see if anything shakes out with the other new suspended listings we are seeing at the Google forum. We asked Google why a couple were suspended and I have had time to check and see if anyone has figured anything out yet.
 

John C

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
10
It just vanished. 404 error.

Not only that, I had an unusually high number of clicks on my adwords ads yesterday..... and an unusually low number of people actually calling me. I didn't even think that my ads were running because I never once saw one pop up yesterday like I normally do when I was checking search results.

I had the ads set to show continuously until the limit was reached instead of evenly throughout the day. This adds up to someone intentionally clicking my ads till they ran out.

So I paused all my adwords, then checked my place listing in search results. That's when I noticed it was gone.

I've noticed several new places listings in the area have popped up in the last week or so for "Locksmith". All previously unknown with generic names and several of them listed more than once. Or listed several times with slight variations in each one. All WITH VISIBLE addresses. One of them at a UPS, one a virtual office building, etc. I suspect that they are all connected with a proxy phone number pyramid. I red flagged a couple of these recently that were blatant duplicates, and they were removed. Now mine has been removed.

What happens at google when a listing gets red flagged by a user?
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
John is there any kind of link near the suspended message that sounds like a review or re-instatement or re-inclusion request? If you see one you can try it. There may be something new in that regard but I'm not sure.
 

John C

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Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Messages
10
I clicked on that as soon as I saw it. I'm pretty sure that is what prompted the email I got saying that process is "no longer supported".

I suppose I may as well just accept that it's dead and start over. If I lose 3 reviews and a month or so of google places business it's not necessarily the end of the world.

My next question is: do i just delete the listing in the dashboard and then create a new one with the same info, or do I need a whole new google account with a new email address?

And can I create a new listing using the same biz name, physical address, phone #, and url? Or is everything associated with the suspended account blacklisted forever?
 

Linda Buquet

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Messages
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Need new account and new email. Domain email like info@yoursite.com is recommended.

Same biz name, physical address, phone #, and url, (As long as the name and address were valid and not part of what got you suspended.)

Read the guidelines and be sure you set up the new listing right, so it's problem-free.

Good luck!
 

Eric Rohrback

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Oct 3, 2012
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Need new account and new email. Domain email like info@yoursite.com is recommended.

Same biz name, physical address, phone #, and url, (As long as the name and address were valid and not part of what got you suspended.)

Read the guidelines and be sure you set up the new listing right, so it's problem-free.

Good luck!
Linda, why is it recommended to use "info@yoursite.com" rather than something like "yourbusiness.local@gmail.com"? I've always done the latter so since it let me create the account for the client and hand them the log in info. It helped remove a step from the process that could be time consuming. Is the domain email recommendation more for the small business owner rather than agencies?
 

Linda Buquet

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Linda, why is it recommended to use "info@yoursite.com" rather than something like "yourbusiness.local@gmail.com"? I've always done the latter so since it let me create the account for the client and hand them the log in info. It helped remove a step from the process that could be time consuming. Is the domain email recommendation more for the small business owner rather than agencies?
Great question Eric!

What I feel and have seen strongly proven many times is that if Google even HINTS at something in the guidelines it's a pretty big deal to pay attention to.

EMAIL shes does not just hint at or make a subtle reference, but comes out and tells us what she prefers.

"Account Email Address: Use a shared business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing. If possible, use an email account under your business domain. For example, if your business website is Google, a matching email address would be you@google.com."

Now it's not a rule and not required, but I do think it gives her more trust in the listing.

One thing I stress in my training is how it's important to learn to think like Google and identify and avoid potential spam patterns. What do spammers do? Or those 3rd world scammy companies that say "Guarantee you top of Google for 100" and set up 1000s of listings that violate the guidelines multiple ways???
They ALL use Gmail accounts because it's easy.

So it's not required. And I get why you want to use Gmail and you CAN, I don't think it will hurt you. Just not the most ideal.

HOWEVER with a case of suspended I think it's even more important to play by ANY of Google's
"strongly suggested rules" since he's already been dinged. AND due to his industry, where there are lots of scammers and fake place page builders, it helps the listing be a little more credible in Google's eyes I think.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Thanks for the response Linda, I guess I never really thought of it that way before. I've had a ton of clients which I've set up gmail accounts for, just because it seemed like a quicker solution to getting them verified rather than have them create an email... give me the login... etc...etc..

I definitely see the upsides to both situations. I know you said it probably doesn't affect your ranking by having an @domain.com email address attached, but part of me wonders whether there might be a benefit to it. So much of SEO rankings revolve around trust, accuracy, and content so in many ways it would make sense to give a boost (although possibly very small) to those using an email matching the domain.

I'm actually in the process of reworking my company's local plan, so this might be an interesting part to consider...
 

Linda Buquet

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Don't think it would affect ranking directly BUT TRUST - definitely!

The biggest thing I see where it could help is IF there are problems and a mapper or Googler is looking at the listing trying to decide if it's fake, spammer, scammy, hijack or whatever. If it's a domain email there will be more trust that it's legit.

But also something I just thought of that COULD affect ranking maybe...

I teach a bunch of different ways (local hooks and stuff) to help give Google strong signals that THIS Place page and THIS web site should match up, so listing ranks in BLENDED. Because some of the reasons listings drop out of blended are dupe confusion and NAP confusion. Never thought of of it before but domain email could be an important factor there.

I liken G+ L algo to a kindergartener playing a match game. Sometimes she gets confused - gets it wrong.

Well if Place page links to joespoolhall.com AND the email on the account is info @joespoolhall.com
it's pretty easy for that kindergartener to see that that page and site must be a match! :)
 

a11c

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Jan 24, 2013
Messages
75
I clicked on that as soon as I saw it. I'm pretty sure that is what prompted the email I got saying that process is "no longer supported".
IN my experience with suspended accounts, I've always had luck using the troubleshooter
Places for business Help

I follow these steps and 9/10 time, the listings are re-activated. The request reactivation button is a trap in my opinion as it does nothing in terms of reactivating the listing.

Troubleshooter-->I'm having a problem verifying my listing(s) --> I tried PIN verification for a single listing. -->The status is Needs Action . --> Fill out the required information. in the input field "What is the complete title and address of the listing which shows as Needs Action" add your complete title and address but also include a brief description of what is happening and what you would like accomplished. Finally, the "which "needs action" message is showing". select "account suspended".

Doing this will allow someone REAL in Local Support to contact you.

hope that helps

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM LINDA: There are 2 troubleshooters on the page he linked to.
He's referring to using the Verification Troubleshooter here.
 
Last edited:

Linda Buquet

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Hey Alex,

Welcome and it's great to see you here!

Thanks SO much for adding that suggestion. I often feel like if a listing appears to not be spammy and possibly wrongly suspended, there should be a way to try to get help. I think that's a great suggestion IF you know you have not violated and the listing is clean.

I'll suggest it to one of my consultants in my private forum who's struggling with the issue.

ON A CLOSELY RELATED NOTE: See this thread I just posted:
http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-important/1864-rash-google-local-suspensions-new-re-inclusion.html
 

a11c

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Jan 24, 2013
Messages
75
Thanks Linda,

and yes, I would only use that method when you know the listing adheres to the quality guidelines. 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Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Light Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> from Google support is that the account was suspended due to a "technical issue" but that is never elaborated on. Though the images below say the account was in "pending status", the accounts were indeed suspended. I've discovered their messaging to be a canned response as detailed in the attached images

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