7 New and Ongoing Google Business Profile (GMB) Issues, December 2021

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This year has been a wild race when it comes to Google My Business (GMB) – er, I mean Google Business Profile (GBP).

The most notable change in 2021 has been its rebranding and the full deployment of the capability that allows marketers to manage business profiles through Search and Maps.

For a while, Google Business Profile support was overwhelmingly driven by inquiries and the backlog took a few months to clear.

And again, there are several issues going on. It can be frustrating when things aren’t working the way they should, and in some cases it just doesn’t make sense as to why the problem exists or hasn’t been fixed.

But have confidence: Google’s support and engineering teams are constantly working on lots of bugs, new features, and more. They try to stay on top of the issues that are raised in the GBP Community and by Product experts.

So, well done to the team for solving major issues such as the case of the missing manager (linked to the migration of the site manager) and the Kansas bug.

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In this column, we’ll expand on the previous update so you can familiarize yourself with what’s changed since June. First, let’s take a look at a few new GMB / GBP issues that have arisen and what you can do about each of them if your listings are affected.

New issues with Google My Business

1. SAB addresses cannot be deleted

Screenshot from Google Maps, December 2021

We are seeing a trend where company profiles are reinstated after a suspension and the old address that was displayed reverts on reinstatement.

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And the reason why most of these profiles were suspended?

They were displaying an address, so they are still in violation of guidelines and there is no way to erase it.

No clear address link on the Google My Business screenshot, December 2021

The fix: Currently there is no fix, you will have to wait for Google.

Chronology: No estimated timeframe, GBP is investigating the issue.

2. Recovery loops

A “reinstatement loop” is a term used to explain what happens with the 1% profiles or where I noticed they were suspended right after a reinstatement.

The cause was usually that the company was using a FedEx or UPS drop-off point as their address. Since then, I have followed him and have noticed that there has been a distinct growth pattern over the past few months.

We have informed the GBP team and they say they are investigating the matter.

The fix: Currently all you can do is contact support or reply to your reinstatement email. The team may not understand the problem, so a video can help your cause. If that fails and you continue to hang, document the problem using this template:

Hello, I have been suspended and reinstated X times.

Example: 12/02/21: XX-XXXXXXXXX: Reinstated then suspended
Date: Case ID: Resolution
Date: Case ID: Resolution
Date: Case ID: Resolution

If this happens more than once, please report it to the community.

Chronology: No chronology; Google is investigating.

3. Category of service establishment

A business appearing on Google Maps with the supplement Screenshot from Google Maps, December 2021

Service companies appear on Google Maps with the additional category “Establishment of services”.

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If you display a service company on Maps and take a look at the page’s source code (or use one of the many Chrome extensions to do that for you), you’ll find it.

Oddly, there is no “Service Establishment” category in Google My Business. You cannot select it when adding categories to your business profile.

So the category you see on Maps does not appear in the GMB dashboard.

There is no Google My Business screenshot, December 2021

While it sounds harmless, some users with a mix of service areas and storefront business profiles are reporting a drop in the visibility of their SABs.

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Others report that instead of ranking around the address where the listing was verified (this is how SABs are ranked), they rank in another nearby city.

The fix: Do not panic. There is nothing you can do at this time.

The number of reports of declining visibility remains low. In addition, ranking changes may very well be caused by a number of other factors.

Note that Google does not provide support on general ranking issues. If there is no recognized bug here, Google support will not help.

This could indicate a change in the way Google manages service companies. On the other hand, it can also be a small glitch that has no impact today and can be fixed by tomorrow.

Google is aware that this additional category appears on the map.

Chronology: Nothing.

4. Changing phone numbers in India

For months, users in India couldn’t change the phone number on their GMB list.

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At first it seemed like a bug.

However, during the third quarter, Google updated the Help Center document: Understand what happens to changes to your school profile to clarify that this was a deliberate change in place for quality control.

“In India and other areas, we are taking additional steps to confirm that your phone number is correct.”

So although the problem was recognized, for some time it was thought to be a bug. GMB users in India could only change their phone numbers with input from the support team.

The fix: Google updated the workflow for merchants in India. Users are now prompted to upload additional supporting documents when they change their phone number.

Additionally, there is now a Google ad pinned to the top of the Help community which describes the new workflow.

When working with India Company Profiles just make sure you go through the new process carefully and completely.

To note: This additional documentation requirement means that all India phone number changes are handled manually which is a huge task.

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Chronology: No timeline for a fix; however, the new workflow reduces the number of affected users.

Ongoing GMB / GBP issues

1. Reduced support due to COVID-19

Google’s support team remains strained by COVID-19. In the third quarter of 2021, Google added a notification bar at the top of the Help community who reads,

“Currently we are working with a limited support team. Connecting with us may take longer than usual. Thank you for your patience.”

What to do: Expect delays. Consider a little more cuteness. COVID-19 has a different impact on different countries at different times.

Patience is your only option.

2. Legitimate reviews are not displayed

Cases in which legitimate reviews are not displayed continue. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of improvement on this issue.

In short, reviews left for a business are not displayed. The examiner can see it, but it is not displayed publicly.

Here’s what makes it interesting: Power users of Google My Business can often read a review rejected by the Google Nanny bot and identify the problem.

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Prohibited words, subtly derogatory comments, and more, are easy to spot with a little practice.

However, the current wave of filtered reviews is different. Rejected content often shows no clear signs of violating Google’s content policies. Even seasoned GMB convenience stores cannot identify what may have triggered the filter.

The fix: Google’s official word is that in “… most cases, missing reviews were removed for policy violations like spam or inappropriate content.” Merchants should refer to the Help Center document missing notices and delays.

Of course, this does not restore the missing reviews in your business profile!

If you can get a screenshot of a missing review from the reviewer, report the issue in the community forum. Post your business screenshot and Google Maps URL.

A product expert can forward the case to the support team for manual review.

3. The bug at 85% and the logo / cover photo do not seem to update

For months, Google has been inviting users to complete their company profiles, even if they have already filled in all the available fields. The message includes a flag indicating that the list is only 85% complete.

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This percentage varies, generally ranging from 65% to 85%. In any case, this value is absurd.

The post also provides advice on how to “complete” your ad: add your logo.

This suggests that your logo is missing, even if it isn’t! Additionally, adding a logo will not remove the warning.

The fix: There is no workaround. So for now, just ignore the warning.

In early 2021, Google announced that this issue would be resolved before the end of the year. This deadline is fast approaching and there still does not appear to be a solution.

For added peace of mind, you can switch to incognito mode and check your business profile. For some users, you might find that the uploaded logo is in fact publicly visible.

Remember, we are dealing here with human beings; there is a pandemic outbreak in india and it affects all areas of support.

The GMB team has worked hard throughout the pandemic, testing and implementing all kinds of features and attributes to help local businesses stay visible and better connect with customers.

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As with all channels and interactions in business (and, hopefully, life), be respectful and patient.

As a product expert, I have seen GMB solve problems big and small. Kudos to the Google My Business team and other Product Experts striving to improve the platform for everyone!

If you see any new issues popping up, be sure to leave a comment.

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Image credits

Featured Image: Barking / Shutterstock


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