LBC Workaround to ‘Flagged waiting for content check’ bug?

There has been a long standing “feature” in the Local Business Center where certain listings would be ‘Flagged waiting for content check’. There have been numerous inquiries into the support forums but often with no word from Google as to what the problem was or how to solve it. For example, one post started in August, had no comment from Google after 38 comments with some as recent as December.

Ken O’Connor of MapMyBusiness.com seems to have found a work around for the persistent bug and (dare I say) lack of customer support response to a recent post again reporting the problem:

Hi, regarding ‘Flagged waiting for content check’.

Sorry for the long reply, which first explains the problem, and then the process you must use to solve it.

I have successfully used this process for many clients. It has also worked for a number of members of this group.

THE PROBLEM:
1. Your listing will only be marked as ‘Flagged waiting for content check’ if it contains a word or term that Google does not like.
2. Google personnel do not appear to ever perform content checks – so YOU must correct the problem.
3. The offending word can appear anywhere in the listing. I have found and corrected instances within categories, the description box, business names etc.
4. I have found no pattern to the words or terms that cause problems so prepare to be ‘surprised’.
5. When you have removed the offending word or term, and RESUBMITTED, our listing will change to ‘Awaiting next update’. Unfortunately it can remain in this state indefinitely. However, when your listing
changes to ‘awaiting next update’, it means that you have removed the
offending word(s) or term(s).

THE SOLUTION:
Use the process below to correct your problem:
1. Take a copy of your current details (e.g. copy a screen shot into a word document).
2. Remove information ONE PIECE at a time, and RESUBMIT your listing to determine if you have located the offending item. e.g. Remove your description, then RESUBMIT to see if the status changes to ‘Awaiting next update’
3. When you have identified the offending word, or words, you may start to REENTER the information you removed. Be aware that there might be more than one offending word or term in your listing. When you have reentered all of your information, you can be confident that there are no prohibited terms in your listing.
5. You must now create a completely new version of your listing. Be careful – use the exact same terms that PASSED the content check.

When you validate your new listing, it should go active immediately I hope this works for you, Rgds Ken

I suspect that the workaround does in fact often succeed although I have not had a need to test it myself. I would love feedback from others that have success with it.

However, while the workaround does succeed, the cause might be different than Ken posits. We are unlikely to know without a chime in from Google or some more testing. It might be based on some database limit in addition to a limit on certain words.

In the past, there has been an error state incurred in the posting of an LBC record when field length or the total words in several fields exceeded some arbitrary database field or design limit. I suspect, but am not positive, that this might be the case here. That might explain the apparent randomness of Ken’s solution.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
LBC Workaround to 'Flagged waiting for content check' bug? by

95 thoughts on “LBC Workaround to ‘Flagged waiting for content check’ bug?”

  1. You know this was an issue with unknow physical addresses at first for me. I used a similar solution, deleting the whole thing and rewriting it with different info. Keywords were always the toughest issue. Today it was the address and the method you have here worked well. Thak you Mike.

    Will

  2. Just adding to the data here… I found my main site flagged this morning and I read this post and most comments. I changed my LBC description from “and Google local search” to “and local search”. I clicked the submit button and instantly went to active. Gratefully ;) I might add…

  3. @Mal

    Thanks for the update. They jealously protect against the use of the word Google…in an email address, url or anywhere in the body copy.

  4. We have a beauty salon and the entry was flagged. For me it was the term ‘Playboy’ used for ‘Playboy bikini waxing’ in the description field. Once removed the listing showed active.

  5. @Richard

    That’s a weird one….they have Escort Services with erotic photos just oozing sex and the word “playboy” is flagged. Must be they like prostitutes more than gigolos :)

  6. thank you for this posting, I had listed Google Adwords in one of the categories – changing this to Paid Search Marketing solved the problem – as one of your previous posters said it was the word Google that was the problem

  7. Hurrah!! This solution worked for me. I’d been patiently waiting for the content check. Looks like the word ‘penthouse’ was the problem…

  8. @James
    Great, glad it worked. Now we know one more flagged word…at this rate it will only be 2020 before we figure them all out :)

  9. Hello Ken,

    What if the name of your business has a word that is unfavorable; in this case Sheesha?

    Please advise…Thanks!

    mark

  10. @Mark

    Then it is necessary to post in the forums and attempt to get a Google Guide to look at your listing and approve it. Or wait for the content check….which could be a very long time

  11. I am trying to list several drug rehab clinics and am getting the flagged mssg. Does anyone know if drug keywords trigger this? In the meanwhile, I’ll keep tinkering with the listings to see if I can get them to work.

  12. @Jeff

    I am sure that they do. If you post in the forums perhaps we can get Google to look at the listings. It would be hard to list a Drug Rehab clinic without the use of the word drug

  13. Thanks Mike.

    I added Google Analytics Services in my listings, when removed, I got stats instantly.

    Your point 1, was enough to resolve my issue

    Regards
    Syed

  14. This technique worked well for me. I set up an email address in my listing that used the word “Google” in the name. Actually, it was called google@thestemwarestore.com. I wanted to track emails from my local business listing on Google. At any rate, I changed the email address from ‘google’ to ‘maps’ and voila, the flag was taken away. Thanks for a wonderful article!!

  15. HAHAHAAA – You HAVE to laugh,
    Our listing has been ‘FLAGGED’ for weeks, so I ended up at this page and read through the comments.
    One caught my eye.

    I changed ONE thing on our local business listing and BINGO! it went live again IMMEDIATELY!

    Guess what it was

    in ‘other’ we had added
    Payments also accepted by Google Checkout

    HAHAHAA

    So funny

    removed that

    and our listing is no longer flagged.

    Sorry, but I just have to laugh!

  16. Just ‘unflagged’ another listing with the same technique, just removed any mention of the fact that Google Checkout is accepted and again the listing went back to being live immediately, no waiting.

    This IS madness as we only added this line because in the checkboxes on the business listing form page there is NO option to check ‘Google Checkout’ – even more hilarious is the fact that you CAN choose PAYPAL.

    go figure.

    Surely it is not rocket science for big G to just highlight the fact that you have typed the disallowed word ‘Google’ and indicate that this is not a permitted word.

    Anyway, thanks again to all who have posted on this page – MOST useful and has saved me a lot of possible wasted time mailing G.

  17. thank you, the post helped me to solve the ‘Flagged waiting for content check’
    problem.

    best regards

  18. I removed my “additional Details” and was instantly re-instated as Active!

    As I do SEO work, they had SEO type keywords including “Google AdWords”.

    From previous posts, I guess it triggered the flagging!

  19. ok, it does appear the work around works, I uploaded 10 satellite offices by hand to one account, they did appear and were verified, took a long time. they never showed up though in maps, they did show at first, but after about a month before they hit the index, they all got the dreaded NOT SUPPORTED AT THIS LOCATION

    so we started doing listings for satellite offices to individual accounts, then we hit the dreaded FLAGGED FOR CONTENT

    removed a bunch of stuff, NOTHING WORKED

    then we deleted the listing

    then we just did a skeleton listing, without all the goodies

    bingo, it now shows approved

    so we’ll see if it hits the live maps rotation

    then we can SEO the listing

    it just might be the best way to get a NEW BUSINESS into maps is do a skeleton listing

    then once you can find it in maps tweak it

    anyway, it just might be that once you have FLAGGED status, you delete the listing and start over

    do the name and address and put just name and address in description

    then select only one category

    no images or videos

    leave everything google gives you as default

    enter the url of the business

    that skeleton listing got me approved

    now once I see the listing is indexed, then I can seo it

  20. Hi Guys, this comments thread always produces interesting reading – not least in that we seem to be compiling a list of ‘banned’ words?

    Yours respectfully

    Google Adwords Penthouse Erection Hookah Oral Adsense Black Playboy.

    PS As a side issue we recently saw adsense feeds on one of our sites revert to the ‘charity/not for profit’ ads when we added a 1 paragraph item on our homepage about a recent news item related to the resort we cover, but the case involved the alleged abuse of children in care.

    Drop the story – start earning clicks again, or report the news?

    moral / financial dilemma – or censorship?

    Hmmm

  21. The fix doesnt work; and it seems no one has an answer. Google doesnt respond. I have given up on it. Would be willing to pay for the fix, but never ends. Verification codes, post cards…nothing works.

    Mark

  22. Flagging is not a bug. It is Google’s way of telling you that you have content that might be objectionable.

    The only way to get a flag removed is to either remove the material causing the flag or wait for a human to review the listing. A way to get someone to review a listing IF it has been at least 2 weeks, is to post in the forums.

  23. Almost 6 months, my local business center listing is still flagged. Guess locksmith is still a naughty word. I have been posting in the Google forums, they must be busy mapping the bike trails in Seattle.

  24. @Tyler
    1)Is the phone number a legit landline?
    2)Is the address a real address?
    3)Is the business name the real business name?

  25. @Tyler
    Nothing will be changed till you’ll change it by yourself! The word Locksmith is flagged & that is a fact. You must be more creative with your workaround. Try everything, till the Flagged status will disappear. Evantualy, you’ll succeed!

  26. @Tyler and PureSheer

    Over the past 6 months, sometimes with prodding, Google has in fact removed the flag for Locksmiths. The rules for such are not clear but it has happened.

  27. @Mike,
    What? When it has happened? The only option to see new Locksmith listings with the word Locksmith (as far as i know)- listings that came thru other Local Directories or old listings that Google’ve added to them the word Locksmith in their Categories automaticaly. Can you send an instance if you saw somthing else?

  28. In the forums, Google approved several locksmiths in the late fall, early winter timeframe WITH the category Locksmith.

  29. It may not be the word locksmith. You have to remove everything from the listing except the business name, phone, address, website, email. Choose 1 category from the selection Google gives you. Then submit it. If you get approved, then add a little more copy and submit it again. It is a slow and painful process. If the word locksmith is a problem – try lock repair, lock smith, lock-smith, fix locks…

  30. @Jeff,
    Just one request- as you know, not only ‘white-hat’ locksmiths are reading Mike’s Blog & the fact that Google Flagged Locksmiths listings is not “just because”…
    I must nicely request from you not to give any tips in a blog but in an off line media. What will happen if the scammers will read your suggestions & combine them with some new techniques in order to dominate again the 7 packs? I really don’t want to go back to the ‘Dark Age’ we’ve suffered from in the last 2.5 years. Please, please help me/ us to block this option; let guys come to a conclusions alone & with their own paste.
    Hope you’ll understand..
    Thanks!

  31. I have just had this problem; and guess what I used the word “Goolge” in Google and got flagged. just removed Google and listing is fine once more.

    Funny if you are an SEO.

  32. Hi CWD – did you really mean ‘Goolge’ (as per spelling in your comment) ?

    If not, I guess you fell foul of the same banned word as my ‘ Google Checkout’ comment above (comment #69).

    We have a great example to post in a week or so – a most entertaining example ;)

    Tony

  33. Yes, if you use the word ‘Google’ anywhere in your listing description or categories it tends to trigger the Flagged listing. Remove the word and you should be OK!

  34. I have been fighting Google over my Business placing in Google Local Business after reading this page I was amazed that the word ERECTION isnt allowed in my listing, I own a construction and we specialize in Structural Steel Erection.

    Thank you Ken for your work around!

    Mark

  35. Since the time when this post was written there has been some improvement in how the flagging process works, at least in theory. There is an algo that flags certain words/behaviors. Theoretically in 3-4 weeks a human can/will unflag it IF the language use is appropriate. That is in theory anyways.

    There are several problems with the practice. One such problem is that if it is unflagged ANY change to the record whether involving the suspect word or not will cause the flag to reappear and the process to start over again.

    Despite Google’s claim of a 2-4 week review period many, many seem to take longer but some listings do finally manage to get unflagged. If however there is anything in the record that is inappropriate (defined very broadly) the record will sit flagged for ever. For example if you use your Places Page as your URL, it will sit flagged and NEVER go unflagged until that is removed.

    Additionally, in theory, flaggings reported into the forums will be dealt with in an expedient manner by Google staff. That also has proven to not be the case.

    Finally, rules for flaggings change with no notice so a behavior that was ok previously but now is not will cause the flag with no process for notification.

    It is better than it was but it still really, really sucks!

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