Google My Business Cracks Down on Spam With an Increase in Suspensions and Listings Pending Review


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A lot has changed with Google My Business since June 2019. Google has started to crack down on Google My Business (GMB) spam. While Google still has a long way to go, these new policy changes are having a major impact on business owners.  It’s important to know what has changed but also how you can work with these new changes to correct your issues. While it might feel like Google is picking on you — they are not.   Google has been under a lot of pressure in the last year to fix some of the issues with spam in Google Maps and some of the recent issues are just a side effect of that.

Sterling Sky has several Google My Business Product Experts(PEs) on staff. The PE’s help out and volunteer our time on the Google My Business community forum.

We are seeing an increase in the number of businesses that are having these 2 particular issues.

1.  Google My Business Listings That Have the “Pending Review” Status 

We are seeing a major uptick in businesses that are going into pending review after they verify their listing with the pin number from Google. These listings that are pending review typically clear up within a few days. However, there are countless cases where these listings never clear the pending review status. Normally a user can contact support and get the issue resolved.  However, we are seeing several cases where Google Support is advising users that there is a technical issue beyond Google’s control.
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A majority of the pending issues are able to be resolved by the user and without needing further assistance.  Most of the locations stuck in pending status are for a service area businesses (SABs).  A service area business is a business that services customers at their location, ie. plumbers, locksmiths, and carpet cleaners.  If you are setting up a listing at your home address, you have to hide your address. If you don’t hide your address you are violating Google’s Terms Of Service.

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Once you make these adjustments, the listing should clear the “pending review” status within a few days.   If it doesn’t clear the pending review process in 3 weeks, you likely need further help. We suggest posting a new thread on the GMB forum and providing the following information:

  1. Business name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Website
  5. Screenshot of your info tab
  6. links or photos of your business license

2.  Google My Business Listings That Are Suspended

If your listing gets suspended, the first thing you will need to do is verify that your listing is in compliance with Google’s Terms Of Service. You will need to either edit your listing to comply. If your listing does comply, then you need to fill out the reinstatement form.   You get this form by clicking on your listing, then clicking on the suspended message, then clicking “learn more”.  A new screen will open with the link to file for reinstatement.

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If you made any changes to your listings and you got suspended, you will need to note that in the form. Once you fill out the reinstatement form, Google will email you about the status of the listing. It will take a few days to get a reply back from Google. Do not contact Google My Business support or post on the forum, as there is no way to speed up the process. Once you receive the email you will need to reply to that email if you are asked for more information. 

 

I am hearing that people are recommending that businesses owners delete the listing and start all over. I don’t recommend this. You will lose all of your reviews and likely won’t be able to get them back. There is also no guarantee that you will be able to become reverified again.  You may either not receive a new pin postcard or your listing will go into automatic pending review.  It will be better, in the long run, to get your listing reinstated.

 

The bottom line is that Google doesn’t hate anybody.  They are not singling anybody out.  While having a pending review or suspended listing is frustrating, you can help yourself.   It will require you to remain calm and wait for Google to complete its process.  If your issue is not resolved after several weeks, please come to the GMB forum and somebody will be willing to provide further assistance. 

 

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