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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Flagged (and not) Waiting for Content Check

The Local Business Center status of being Flagged Waiting for content check is one that generates the most posts in the Google Help Forums.

Google has never clearly defined all of the situations that precipitate the message. The technique of line by line and word by word removal of the content and then resaving your listing usually allows one to figure out which word or field is the offending one. The flag may also be triggered by a bug or field limitation. It is known that too many CAPS, the use of the word Google, a url to Google sites, sexual, racsist or hateful language trigger the filter. Until now, it was not known that there were industry specific phrases that might trigger it as well. To further complicate the situation Google has individually made legitimate exceptions via the tortuous path of the forums.

This post in the Help Groups though highlights the process and problems with the status code as well as some of the bigger issues that Google confronts in creating a local index and their awareness of the issues.

I spied it last night at midnight, forwarded it to PureSheer who responded. His response then precipitated a near immediate and unusually forthright response from Google. This post captures all of the themes of Maps in a nutshell; the immature status of the LBC, some of the issues that trigger the Flagged message, the forum based support issues, the difficulties of legitimate business functioning in a spammy Maps world and Google’s work to harness the beast they have unleashed…


Google Help > Maps > Discussions > Problems and Errors > My account ws flagged for the phrase “mobile locksmith service”

 Question: My account ws flagged for the phrase “mobile locksmith service” Remove abuse


Level 1
I opened up an account, brick and mortar local location, local service area, locksmith service in Nashville. The account wsa flagged and so I started stripping out keywords and categories until it was changed to “awaiting next update,” which means the content was approved. Then I added back the one category “24/7 mobile locksmith,” and the account was again flagged. I took out “24/7,” I took out “mobile,” I took out “locksmith,” I stripped that account to the bare bones and had to finally change the name before it again went back to being “awaiting next update.”
   What is so bad about “24/7 mobile locksmith service”

All answers


Level 1
4:48 AM
 Mike CH (Google Employee) says this answers the question:


This term “Mobile  Locksmith” was one of the firsts that Google blocked/ flagged while one using it. The reason- spammers! 1. you can thanks Usafe (see first reference below) that spammed Gmaps very strongly with this term in their categories & additional titles to their listings. 2. you can also thank the mega spammers from Florida (or wherever they are from) about the wide use they made with this term in ALL USA & Canada (see second reference below- Organic results, see all the first pages – most of them belong to the same spammy company). BTW- the term Emergency Locksmith is starting to be flagged as well; that happened in the last week.

My suggestion- don’t use  the flagged terms; the Locksmith industry is under the spot light & you don’t want Google to investigate your listing more than they are doing now (for Locksmiths).

 If this is the only ‘bump’ you encountered with Google in the Locksmith field- you are in a good position!

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Mike CH 

Google Employee
4:58 AM
Puresheer has it right. Try the query [locksmiths in new york] if you want to see something truly sad. We’re cleaning this up and appreciate your patience whilst we try and restore some sanity to the world of locksmiths-on-Google-Maps.
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The takeaways?

For users confronting the problem do what AAALocksmith did and start editing your record to determine what causes the message and see if you can live without it. If you can’t live without the offending words raise the issue in the Forum and request an exception.

For those of you handling multiple records realize that the Flag is not fixed and that Google is changing and tweaking it constantly to mitigate issues in the listings.

For Google, I would suggest that even if you don’t want to be explicit about the many things that trigger the message, you could at least communicate to the listers a more meaningful message and steps that they can take to solve the problem themselves. Doing so would minimize postings in the forum, increase user understanding & satisfaction and reduce the back and forth required to solve the issue.

A second suggestion would be to create a formal exception procedure with a clear access path for the user. This could function much like spam reporting and give those listers that have a legitimate reason to use all caps, or a Google Sites URL or an ambiguous word a way to have their listing ultimately posted in an accurate fashion.

To Google I also say: Good Luck. We are all looking forward to the day when the “innoculation” takes root and the system has developed enough “antibodies” to be resistant to the scourge of Mapspam.