Google+ Local on Suspensions – The Algo Did It!

All too many Places dashboard users are seeing this message of late: Account suspended. Make sure your listings meet the quality guidelinesCathy Rhulloda of Avante Garden, a long time user and promoter of the Google Places and extremely knowledge about local marketing and the google Places Dashboard, was one of them. Her account was unceremoniously suspended despite a listing that was clean. This has happened to a number of listings of late in both the Dashboard and G+ Page for local environment. The problem however is that in the Dashboard the reinclusion process doesn’t work.

She reached out to Joel Headley via a G+ post and the forums where she noted:  I logged into the Places dashboard last night and received a red message across the top saying ‘Account Suspended’. This listing has been verified for many years. Google photographers have even visited my flower shop (twice!) and shot our location. The images and tour are visible on our G+ page (under Photos -> View All).

Joel’s response on both G+ and in the Forums was illustrative and helpful:

Hey Cathy – account suspensions are best dealt over email. I sent you one. Hang in there, and we’ll get this sorted out. 

 Of note – the phone call had nothing to do with the suspension. As far as I can tell, you didn’t do anything wrong. Instead, for your case, it looks like it was an automated process gone awry. We’re looking into that general problem to see what fix can be made. 
If anyone wants their account fixed after seeing the message below, please email our support team though the Google Places for Business Help Center and we’ll look into it. 

I have run into several of these account suspensions over the past few weeks that appeared to be erroneously applied. In several the account was reinstated. In the other the client received  the dreaded support email that the account could not be reinstated and to start a new account. It is not yet clear why support would say one thing and Joel the other…. we are still working on that.

From: “Google Places” <local-help@google.com>
Date: January 30, 2013, 6:31:00 PM EST
To:
Subject: Re: [#1209057108] Your Google Places Reconsideration Request

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/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176520 for
further updates.

Cheers,
The Google Places Team

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google+ Local on Suspensions - The Algo Did It! by

13 thoughts on “Google+ Local on Suspensions – The Algo Did It!”

  1. Ah, me. With all the advances there are still missteps and movements backwards.

    Hope this “automated process gone awry” as referenced by Joel is not something that gets repeated too often.

    two steps forward, one step backward. sometimes, one step forward –> two steps backward.

    Google Local+, (formerly google places//formerly google maps)…such a long winding road.

  2. Yep. This one is a real puzzler. Glad to have some humans looking into the algo gone awry.

    For SMBs like us, the directive to create a new account and start over (after suspension) just doesn’t make sense. The original account has all the G products – Webmaster Tools, Adwords, Merchant Center, etc… related to the business… so separating out Places in a new account would seem to create even more issues.

    ATM, the Places account still says ‘suspended’ but I’m more hopeful today that it can be fixed than I was yersterday.

  3. @Earl
    True. True

    @Phil
    Dystopian the perfect word… and you don’t know the half of it.

    Cathy
    I too am hopeful that they will fix. Please keep us posted .

  4. I had to do this roughly a year ago and it took me months to get all of our 22+ listings “back”. I now have two accounts that I have to bounce back and forth between to manage our different Google products, which causes all sorts of problems in itself.

  5. @Cathy: It would be a shame: in a sense criminal should you have to start over. that means that every step you took in the past to get visibility and recognition would have to be recreated…or at least many of them.

    Last year I had a record “mysteriously” suffer a dupe, the original was eliminated and the new record ultimately repropagated with the existing data within the web (all those citations and references that boost a site).

    Discussed it here: http://www.ngsmarketing.com/google-local-back-end-problems/

    The new record (that was automatically created via this automated fiasco) had virtually all of the accurate NAP data. Just reread the piece. It took roughly 4 weeks for the strength of the record to reappear and be reflected in the PAC. Some of the strength started reappearing in 2-3 weeks.

    But for the first 2-3, 4 weeks we lost traffic due to lower rankings and the fact that all that old work was wasted.

    By the end of 4 weeks we seemed to be where we are. I go back over citation sources now, looking to keep adding strength.

    In that google’s automated “glitch” caused the problem it would be NICER and better if google fixed EVERYTHING ASAP.

    but nobody gets to boss around google.

    Good luck. Even if you go through an automated “fix” at least you don’t have to recreate innumerable citations, assuming the situation is anything like what I faced.

    And then again…with big opaque google. Who knows???

    GOOD LUCK

  6. I’ve seen this suggestion to create a new listing and it’s ridiculous for all the reasons stated. I have tried working with multiple accounts and it just don’t work. This is unbelievably irritating especially when the guidelines are being followed and the get out is blocked.

    As a side note in Places i’ve got a site that if I put in the keyword+location it does not appear. Just click on the map and refresh and it’s returned as B listing. Weird.

  7. Happy to report that the suspension has been lifted and our Places dashboard working again.

    I certainly hope this ‘algo gone awry’ gets reversed for other businesses, too. Rebuilding a Places page takes lots of time and effort (as @Dave so well outlined).

  8. Cathy:

    Two things. I was checking for your places record and saw it went back up. HOOOOOOORAAAAAYYYYY!!!

    I was also checking all our different records…because, heaven forbid a “glitch” could be become a serious virus….and hit many smb’s.

    hope the glitch doesn’t spread.

  9. Good news from Joel Headley via Google+: The automated email response from the reconsideration request includes text telling folks where to get support.

    Since the prevailing advice had been to just start over with a new account, this message should save some folks some time and grief.

  10. Google is losing the local game! They are just flat out losing it. For one thing, the user experience for the business owner trying to optimize and update their listings is lacking, but secondly and most importantly, the user experience for the end user leaves a lot to be desired. It’s clunky looking, poor design, not easy to leave reviews, and the amount of reviews left for – lets say restaurants in Seattle – has about a 2-3 month latency period from one review to the other, which compares poorly next to Yelp’s, which has latency period of about a week on average. Buying Zagat was not a great move. Google needs to figure out that human contact and interaction and design with this product needs to trump “algo’s” – Foursquare and Yelp…and Twitter…and Facebook will eat their local lunch as time goes by.

  11. This exact thing happened to us two weeks ago! As of today our Places page is no longer “suspended” but all the history from our Places listing has been erased and it’s essentially a new business listing that doesn’t appear in any search result for auto glass. Ironically, we are the ONLY real, brick and mortar auto glass shop in Berkeley, but you can’t find us. I’m wondering if the Google+ page I created for our business (using the same email as the Google Places page) may have somehow interfered with our business listing and made it look like a duplicate. If anyone is aware of a fix, please help!

    https://plus.google.com/116451053324727602720/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

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