There is nothing predictable with Google Places. That statement has been proven on numerous occasions, when completely out of the blue something happens and millions of listings go pending review. The case from the last week is neither the first, nor (I suppose) would be the last, so everyone used to dealing with Google’s whims was not that surprised. However, something worse happened as a consequence of people trying to overcome the issue as fast as possible.
In my previous post on the topic I wrote about a recommendation: “Without changing content… hit edit >> then submit”, thus reverting the listing back to “Active” status. It seems that everyone who has followed this advice is now in an “enemy” of Google and got penalized with extreme instant decrease in ranking. It seems like Big G doesn’t like being over-tricked.
Here are two examples of listings ranking very well before the pending review era, and after trying the forementioned trick they got lost, (forever?):
Any of these hasn’t changed anything on their Place page, neither there are some reasons for them to be penalized. The only common in both is that they tried to outsmart Google, instead of waiting patiently for the problem to be fixed (which could have taken weeks).
Here is the answer of Google Employee PlacesPro.Jay to this problem:
If you added or updated your listing and you’re unable to find it when doing a search, there’s nothing to worry about. In most cases, you should be able to find your listing by performing a search for [your business name in your city, zip code]. If you just added your listing, it can take 24-48 hours for your listing to show up on Google.
Keep in mind that when you make changes to your listing, it may shift that balance a bit. Your listing’s placement in search results will vary, but in the long run, having a correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date listing is the most effective way to ensure the best possible ranking.
As always, the answer of G staff does not actually answer anything, neither suggests any resolution of the problem. This is an obvious consequential bug and they don’t seem to be worried about it. The bottom line is that the small businesses that care and are very dependent on Google Places suffer.