shocked

As Google continues to forces users, small businesses, and SEO's to take a hard look at Google Places, many folks are finding themselves stuck in the crossfire. With frequently updating algorithms and quality guideline modifications to combat spam, many are falling victim to quality guideline violations. In most cases, Google won't outright tell you what you have done wrong, but there are a number of things you can do to get your listing back up and running.

Start At The Source

With Google making more frequent changes to its Places Quality Guidelines, it never hurts to freshen up and compare your listing to the guidelines. Its possible a practice that was once ignored by Google could be hurting you. Overuse of location and liberal use of terms that could be mistaken for keywords are good places to start cutting back.

There's No Shame In Asking For Help

Since Google doesn't openly tell Places users what is in violation, many businesses are left wondering what exactly is wrong. If you're stumped, there is no shame in turning to the Places help forums for answers. Search the forum, other business owners may have experienced similar isue and their solutions may help you. If you can't find any previous references to your problem, ask in the forum and oftentimes Googlers or other forum users can point you in the right direction.

Ask For Forgiveness

Google Places now offers a reconsideration request. Once you feel that you've addressed any issues that could be impacting your listing you have to submit a reconsideration request in order for your listing to appear again. It's important to note that when you edit a listing, Google by default tells you that your changes have been accepted and should be visible within a day, however this only applies to changes in an active listing, this does not include reconsideration's. In order to initiate the reconsideration request, you must click on the link in your Dashboard warning message that reads, "Request Review".

The Forgiven

If everything plays out in your favor you should receive an email from Google within a couple of weeks stating that your listing has been reviewed and complies with the Google Places quality guidelines and your listing is now active.

However, there have been a handful of instances where businesses have received this notification and their listing still displays as "Pending Review" in their Google Places dashboard. Under these circumstances the only solution that has been found to re-activate the listing is to make sure your listing has five photos uploaded to the listing. It is unclear why five photos triggers the change, but once completed the listing will revert from "Pending Review" to "Active".

In the end a well optimized Google Places listing shouldn't fall at the hand of Google, but in the unfortunate event your business endures the wrath of Google, these tips should help return your Places listing to the SERPs.

Mike Wilton

Mike Wilton took his love for internet marketing and made it into an obsession. His passion for search engine optimization and social media is only rivaled by his passion for music. Mike is a Southern California SEO specializing in SEO, Local Search Optimization, and Social Media Marketing.

Mike Wilton's Internet Marketing Blog

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6 Responses to “Restoring Your Google Places Listing After Being Removed For A Quality Guideline Violation”

  1. Hi,
    How on earth did someone find out having 5 images triggered the listing status going Active.
    Does the Maps search result still work when the Places entry is showing as Pending?
    Cheers. Andrew.

    • Mike Wilton says:

      Hi Andrew, great questions. The 5 images was discovered from a mix of a comment in a thread on the Google Places help forum and some individual tests. Again, we have no idea WHY this works, but tests show that this is the only adjustment needed after getting the approval email and still having a listing that is stuck in limbo.

      In regards to whether or not the Maps search result still works when the Places entry is showing as Pending, no, the listing does not. In fact in our experience Google will quickly replace the penalized listing with a listing of their own generated using aggregated content. In the handful of listings we have had this problem with, Google has created a replacement listing within 24 hours of taking down the listing in violation. Interestingly enough, as soon as the listing in violation is restored, we found that the Google created listing vanished shortly thereafter.

      Thanks for your comment and good luck with your Places listings!

  2. [...] Restoring Your Google Places Listing After Being Removed For A Quality Guideline Violation – SEP [...]

  3. Glenn says:

    My Google Places listing has not been shown since December 2010. When I log in to local business center it says my listing is "Active", I have gone through the Quality Guidelines and I am sticking to them. Have tried contacting Google Webmasters Forum but have had no luck there, what can I do to get me back up there?
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Mike Wilton says:

      Hi Glenn,

      Have you tried the suggestions above. In my experience we found that just completing a few more items in the listing, such as images, was enough to get the listing displaying again. Whether it's a glitch, or just something Google needs in order to feel the listing is trusted again it's worked each time we've run into the issue you are describing.

      In terms of lack of help from Google are you posting in the Google Webmaster Help forum or the Google Places Help forum? If you are only using the Webmaster Help forum, this may be why you are struggling. Be sure to also check out the Places help forum http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places?hl=en

      If all else fails, I have had one other business that was having serious issues with his Places listing and ultimately opted to start from scratch so that he had more control over his business. He was upset that he lost his reviews, etc., but in the end felt it was worth it because it was better than having no listing online.