Service Area Business with a verified social local Google+ page? Delete It

NOTE: The article is outdated.

Update 10/3/2013: The relationship between the social page and the new dashboard is different and Google’s rules about how they handle businesses with hidden addresses are different.

If the social + page is associated with a new dashboard listing, deleting the social page will delete the listing.

If you have a listing that was at one time suspended for not hiding the address then you need to call Google support and have them deal with it.

*****

From the rollout of the G+ Local Social merge and bugs showing up when service area businesses attempted to hide their address, Google has said that service area businesses (SABs) should NOT merge their Places listing with their G+ social page. Well, some SABs did not get the message (big surprise eh?) and the question is what should they do now. The answer: Delete the Merged page and rely solely on the dashboard to manage the listing.

Google posted this sticky in the forums:

Are you a Service Area Business (SAB) that has created and verified/merged a social local Google+ page for your business? Read on!

If you do not accept customers at your location, then your address should be hidden. At this time, Google+ currently does not support hidden addresses. You should delete your social local Google+ page from within Google+ (Click on Pages on the ribbon on the left, go to the Settings of your page, and scroll to the bottom and click Delete page).

Don’t worry! You can still manage your business’ presence on Google. Here’s how:

  • If you’re a verified business owner in Google Places for Business…
    • Manage the listing via the Google Places for Business dashboard. Be sure to hide your address.
  • If not, but a listing for your business exists…
    • Find the listing for your business and become a verified business owner by clicking on Manage this page on the right-hand side.
    • Then, manage the page via the Google Places for Business dashboard
  • If no listing for your business exists…

We’ll share updates with you on this thread when we have them.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Service Area Business with a verified social local Google+ page? Delete It by

39 thoughts on “Service Area Business with a verified social local Google+ page? Delete It”

  1. I agree 100%

    If you merge this type of business it will be “suspended” by Google. I know because I experimented just with it.
    Delete the Google+ page and everything goes back to normal.

    However, the downside is having a legitimate brick and mortar business in which Google thinks is a service business. I have a locksmith customer who has an actual 9-5 store and each time I try to make his listing “All customers come to the location” his account gets suspended.

    Locksmiths are a tough one in Google’s eyes and always have been.

  2. Learned this the hard way too. I was a little too excited about the new product and jumped right in, to the detriment of the listing. I wonder how long it is going to take for Google to get this right. I am frankly astonished by their incompetence when it comes to local.

    I recently deleted the page an I am waiting for it to get out of purgatory. I really thought they were going to have a faster response to these issues.

  3. I always wait a month or two after Google rolls out some major change (like Google+ Local) before making changes or recommending any changes to my customers. The relationship between Places and Google+ Local is taking a lot longer for Google to sort out. I don’t recommend merging listings even if you’re a brick & mortar business.

  4. Mike–I’m trying to understand the potential harm here. Assuming that a service business isn’t afraid of listing their physical office address, even if not serving customers there, where is the downside? At the moment, we’re not seeing that anything sticks on G+ Local pages–no photos, no videos, no reviews, no updates, no verification calls or postcards. But on merged pages, we’re at least able to get photos and videos to take. Posts at least allow for some content and engagement. And I’ve been unable to detect any harm to local rankings. (Although in checking just now for “energy audit los angeles” I notice that Building Doctors now displays two separate Google+ page links, one to Posts and one to About.)

    Here’s Building Docs merged page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101441141718220114156/posts

  5. Assuming that a service business isn’t afraid of listing their physical office address, even if not serving customers there, where is the downside?

    Google REQUIRES that a business that does not serve customers at their location to HIDE their address. Failure to do so will result in a take down and the dreaded purge to the freezing cold “we currently do not support” siberia.

    Photos will take from the dashboard but they take 4-5 weeks. Videos will not. But so few people actually make it to the Local+ page it is not that important if a photo is missing.

  6. Peter THOUSANDS (I believe hundreds of thousands) were delete due to not hiding address. Many were down for months, so it’s nothing to mess around with.

    The double G+ links you are seeing in the SERPs is a new display issue that just started being reported. I did some investigating and think I figured out what’s up. I attempt to explain it here and show screen shots, so look and see if this is the same issue. Seeing Double? 2 G+ Local Links in SERPs? Here’s Why?

  7. Mike,
    What happens to any reviews the company has when you delete the merged plus account page? Do they stay with the old places account or do they go away?

  8. It so often feels like I’m invited by Google into a room with a nice rug. Then they pull it out from under me. It’s not the fall I mind so much as the sudden stop at the end.

    For all the nit-picky exactness that Google requires of its users it seems like they take an increasingly haphazard approach to their “Local” product. If we acted like Google, we would ALL be suspended.

  9. I manage several service area businesses with a merged G+Local/business page and have had no problem at all. I imagine the problems come when a business listing already exists prior to merge as all of the ones I work on are brand new businesses.

  10. Dave, the way I believe it works and the way its designed to work…

    You have a Place page, with reviews. Then you have a G+ social page with follow button and circles. You merge them – all those features are combined. Then if you delete the G+ page, you SHOULD just lose the G+ features including social. But I think the reviews should stay, because they are attached to the Places side of the house. HOWEVER we all know reviews are fragile and any change can upset the delicate balance.

    Peter you are welcome and thanks in return for mentioning my comments in your article.

  11. @marco
    If the businesses are service area businesses and do not have their addresses hidden then you will have problems. For G+ you need to show your address but if you do, and you don’t accept clients at your location, then you run the risk of being taken down.

  12. I am in the same boat as marco. My business is new and has only ever had a google+ page (the google places page was a phone verification after the + page was up) I am afraid to delete the + page because if I do I am sure the quasi places page will go away (doesn’t look like a traditional places page, looks like a + page that opens to the “about” section)

    About a month ago I noticed that google was hiding my address for this places page (good by me as that seems to be the issue people are having with the SAB + page)

    Hopefully it works out as this has all been a bit of headache honestly. G local is a mess lately :(

  13. I’ve been experiencing tons of problems with local listings lately, and I think it has something to do with this. Google, get it together already.

  14. the link they show at the end of this post is no good. Damn Google you are so freakin inefficient.

  15. This is the the first time I wasn’t an early adopter , and thank goodness, as I waited before trying to merge a SAB with a G+ Page… now it’s officially on hold.
    Thanks for this important heads up Mike :-)

  16. We have a plumber as a client – it has taken over 2 months to get their Google+ Local page correct. Everything on the backend (dashboard) is right.

    We Hid his address (per Google’s guidelines) but Google kept adding a Street address to their listing. It was a street about 1/2 mile from where the plumber is located. It has happened 3 times – I found a Google+ help friend in the process – but even he wasn’t sure why the street kept appearing.

    Not only that, from the very beginning, we got the “we do not support this location” error, which I knew would take up to a week to go away. Photos took forever to post and the main one, even though I have it posted as the first photo, doesn’t (it’s second), I’ve tried changing. I’ve also had to report duplicates twice.

    The point I’m getting to is that (SEB) Service Area Businesses are not worth us as a business to provide Google+ Local page optimization as one of our services. We won’t take on SEB as a client anymore – too many issues. We design and develop WP Websites. If a client is a SEB and wants s Google+ Local page, we train them how to claim and optimize the page themselves. In the training we provide the Local Forum, Google and Your Business Forum and the Troubleshooter (thank you Linda) as places to go to get help.

    In the future, when Google finally treats SEB’s like they do store front businesses, then we will start taking them on as clients again. We just can’t afford the time it takes for the listing be correct, and believe me, plumbers, electricians, etc. don’t have the time to listen to us as to why their Google+ Local page is not correct.

    The last thing we would do now is to merge that Plumbers page with a Google+ business page. Yikes! More trouble.

  17. Hi Mike,
    Your advise is spot on as far as deleting the plus page. I think there was a change to their system about 2-3 weeks ago that made the issue worse. We work with over 150 service contractors on local SEO and only saw all the places listings start to disappear the second week of December–even though there was no effect on the verified merges over the last 2-3 months before then.

    When you delete the PLUS page you get a 404 error when you view the listing for an hour or so, then all the places listings that had gone away reappear. You were also right about the reviews. The reviews are not lost by doing this.

  18. I did everything as described in this blog. I’ve removed the Google+ page, i’m clicked on “do not show address”. Yet, it’s still in “Pending” status. How long will it take for the pending to be gone?

  19. I ran into this issue–I did not hide my address and well thinking hey I need a google+ page–I created it.

    Lo and behold–I lost my map listing.
    After educating myself–I went ahead and hit the delete key on my google+ business and hid the address and entered my service area–within a few days my listings were back “on the map”

    I think what bothers me the most from this whole learning experience:
    If you google my trade, city state–google has decided that other service industries deserve to have map placement–no website, no verified listing, NOTHING like that and they get listed I guess because well who the heck knows why.

    The ones trying to please the google gods have pending listings and the ones who don’t do anything to setup their listings get primary page one real estate.

    I’m going to sign off and say a prayer to the “google gods” about this–maybe they will listen.

  20. Hi Mike!

    We are a new business with no listing. From what I’m understanding, we should go to places.google.com/local/add. My question is – should I use the email that is linked to my Google+ account or should I use a new gmail that I set up for the business?

    Thank you!

  21. I have a (SAB) and based on the advice on removing my address from my places listing I did so. I never setup/upgraded to a Goggle+ page although Google converted it to a new plus.google URL. I have always placed in the top three spots for all relevant keywords in a very competitive industry. After 2 weeks I can’t see any real change in position or change in the number of impressions or calls etc… I do look out of place without a map maker but i have a circle (thanks Google) two text lines and not three. (maybe that is not such a bad thing because I do stand out a little) My (SAB) competitors still have not made the change. I do feel good about the change because I feel as if my Google master is looking down on me with blessings. One thing that happen today was I started a Google offer and the following message was displayed. ( Google Offers is not available for businesses like yours. Offers aim to bring customers to your door and since you selected to not show your address on your maps listings this product isn’t the right match for you.)

    So NO Goggle Offers from a (SAB) Sorry!!

  22. Hi good people,

    I;m doing local SEO SAB (Service Area Business) and I listened to Google and removed Google+ local pages and hide my adddress and the thing that irritates me the most is that my competitors didn’t do almost anything, and some of them still rank WITH their Google+ Local pages WITH ADDRESSES…
    Anyone experiencing similar issues?

  23. It’s nice to see the update comments that have come through. This is an on-going situation that causes confusion. I have just 1 very simple question: If you are a SAB and the address was ALREADY hidden, do you need to take any action? Should you delete delete the merged place as standard?

  24. We have a google places listing,w hich is a service area business that has all our reviews. and verified

    We have another Google+ sitting on a different account and verified.

    So if you cannot merge the google+ with places for SAB, Which account should you upload videos, photos to and link back to your business??

  25. @samY
    It is not a question of which but of when. Google does not support service area business with hidden address on the social local G+ Page and will remove your G+ Page if they find it.

    So for now there is no way to do video on SAB type businesses. Photos can take a month or more to show up from the dashboard. And there is no simple way to do rel=pub.

  26. Okay, so I know this thread is old, but it seems like the appropriate place for my question.

    If Google’s guidelines are such that when you choose the “Yes, this business serves customers at their locations” you must ALWAYS choose the “Hide my address” option, why do they even include that as an option? Is there ever a business that serves customers at their locations that doesn’t need to hide their address?

  27. @Lauren
    Is there ever a business that serves customers at their locations that doesn’t need to hide their address?< \em>

    Yes. A business that has a storefront AND does on site service like a full service appliance dealer.

  28. About a month ago I was able to delete a merged G+ page and the Places listing stayed intact. Now when I did exactly the same thing….it took the listing with it. Is there a new way to delete just the G+ page and not the original listing?

    I noticed when we added the same listing a couple months later with the new storefront address, it brought back the old suspended page. It does not have a suspended message and looks live but it is not indexed.

    If you delete a listing suspended because of a hidden address; is the Google account flagged like before for any future listings? Can we use it for another business or should it just be deleted with taps playing in the background?

  29. @Patty
    The interaction behavior between the old dashboard + the social page and the new dashboard + the social page are different.

    The new dashboard is now inextricably associated with the social page. See my post: How to Delete Your Google Places for Business Dashboard Listing in One Easy Step (Or Brainfarts + Bad UI = Bad Outcomes). If you delete the social page, as you have learned, you will delete the listing and need to reverify.

    Once you have made a listing social, there is no going back. But there is a solution to not showing the social tab: Delete all posts. If there is no content there (I think) the tab will not show.

    You said:
    I noticed when we added the same listing a couple months later with the new storefront address, it brought back the old suspended page. It does not have a suspended message and looks live but it is not indexed.

    If you delete a listing suspended because of a hidden address; is the Google account flagged like before for any future listings? Can we use it for another business or should it just be deleted with taps playing in the background?

    Deleting a listing only removes your ability to edit it, it does not really delete it from the Google index. If the listing was at one time suspended due to hiding the address, it is necessary to call support so that they can help recover it.

  30. I have been trying to help our various locations get a listing up. Originally we were going to manage them from one account. I worked from day one with Google Places (via email) to make sure everything was perfect. Then the locations started disappearing one by one. So now I have each location create their account and I sent out instructions to set up their own listing.

    This included adding the other managers to a separate circle. I know now that I mistakenly told them after they verified to create a Google+ page. And thinking that +1 was similar to Facebook “likes” told them to +1 the other’s pages. So…those all got suspended.

    Then a couple of them tried to add another listing, others tried to add another +page. A couple deleted the page and the listing and added a new one. What they communicated with me was frustration so I was expected to come up with a solution. I have long given up on Google Places since I can’t even get my office past a pending status and had all of the field offices removed more than once.

    So I tried to help a few of them and found that if we deleted everything but used their same account, the listing and plus page came back exactly like before (not suspended) but did not show up on maps. Then I worked with local support to delete the plus page only to have the listing suspended. Then I helped another manager delete the plus page which of course deleted the listing as well. If they add a new listing…they get a plus page automatically.

    Now they are all asking me what to do and I have no idea what to tell them. Do they try to add a local listing or verify a plus page? Do they use the same account or a different one? Some of them have been at the same address for years and used to have a listing. Some have store fronts some don’t. All I want to do is tell them to add it again the right way so they don’t end up doing a lot of work for nothing. Most are locksmiths and do not like working with computers anyway. I had better get it right before I pass it on to them. :)

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