Apr 062012

In the last two weeks there have been a lot of complaints about Google Places listings being active but showing no statistics or a link to the live page. I like to call this the “stage of no return”, and Mike Blumenthal (who first documented it) calls it “The Purgatory”.

Google Places Active No Impressions

As many people asked me if I’ve seen anything like that I decided to check and see if Google has updated their help article for the Google Places statuses. The last time I checked it was about 5 months ago, and now when I read it, it seemed pretty much the same. It is not the first time that Google does something significant with Places without communicating it to the world, and certainly doesn’t seem to be going to be the last. Furthermore, when you search for similar issues you find only threads from the old Google Places forum, which was closed down and its content removed a few weeks ago. Feeling for the businesses and marketers wondering what’s wrong, I decided to write my own article dedicated to the Google Places statuses, based on personal experience and observations:

Active: The listing is active if you can see a link saying “See my listing on Google Maps” and when you click the link you can see your listing.

Active: The listing might not be active, if it is still too new (verified just a few days ago). You can understand if the listing is still inactive when you click on the link “See my listing on Google Maps” and it displays a blank page with the message “We currently do not support the location”. Note that this might also happen to long-verified listings, too.

Active: If there is no link “See my listing on Google Maps” this most probably means that your account has been suspended and there is no actual way to return it back to life.

Pending: If you just submitted your listing, or just made an edit, this means that some of the terms you used is generally disallowed by Google, so it requires further manual verification. It might take up to 6 months for a listing to be manually reviewed and there is no way either to know which the trigger term was, or how to start over.

Pending: If you have submitted a bulk upload, it will stay in this stage until verified. Even if verified, the listing might still show this status for some time.

Pending: The status will show if the listing was previously rejected and you requested review. The process might take up to a few months.

Need Action Not Yet Published: Usually with such a status you should have either a box to enter a PIN, or a link saying “Request a PIN“. The PIN could generally be received by mail, phone, or SMS, and depending on the country where the business is, the age of the listing, its history, and the trustworthiness of the editor, different options might be available.

Needs Action This listing does not comply with our policy of allowed terms: In your listing there is a term which is banned and is part of the top secret list of Google’s disallowed terms. In case you are puzzled which the term might be, the most comprehensive list of these words could be found here.

Need Action Rejected: The listing did not adhere to the Google Places Quality Guidelines, and has been banned. It can be reinstated if you find your mistakes, fix them, request review, and wait at least 6 weeks.

Suspended: Itt means you removed the listing from Google Maps.

Account Suspended: If this message appears at the top of your account, it means you made numerous violations to the Google Places Quality Guidelines. All the listings under this account have been rejected. Less than 10% of the accounts get back to life after such a penalty.

If you know of any I miss, I’d be happy to hear.

  7 Responses to “The Real Meaning of the Google Places Statuses”

Comments (7)
  1. Hey Nyagoslav,

    Superb post, as always. If someone came up to me and said there are 11 different statuses and told me to name them, I maybe would have gotten 4-5. I think you’ve got the bases covered!

    It seems to me you could make this post even more Epic if you added a couple of bells and whistles:

    1) If you categorized or color-coded them, maybe along the lines of “Red Alert,” “Yellow Alert,” and green something-or-other (I don’t know of Green Alert!). Or maybe green/yellow/red light-just as a way of telling people which statuses warrant what level of attention and action.

    2) I certainly know what you’re talking about, because you described it really well, but some pictures might add a certain je ne sais quoi.

    3) Because you have mad troubleshooting skills, it might be nice to include a blurb below each status, which would give people that extra little direction as to what to do about their particular situation.

    Just my two cents, at least. Again, absolutely awesome post (sorry for the alliteration)!

    • Hey Phil,

      Thanks for the comment and the recommendations!

      The post could definitely use some visual improvement, but the last few weeks I hardly find time to even write anything, left aside format it :( I’m planning on proceeding with the topic of different statuses (and especially the “hidden” ones), so I’ll try my best to deliver a better layout.

      Thanks again!

  2. Another great article, Nyagoslav. Regarding suspended accounts, do you think deleting all listings and starting from scratch might work? I’ve created a Google account with a corporate email, and it would be a pain to have the client create another email.

    Or, do you think that the email is permanently tainted?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      Here is what Vanessa (Community Manager of Google Places) says:

      Listing not live on Maps anymore, or, it is live and it’s not owner-verified? Use this contact form and …
      Select: I have verified > Yes > My listing no longer appears on Google Maps. > Fill out form, hit Submit

      Listing live on Maps, and owner-verified? Use this contact form and …
      Select: Someone else has verified the listing > Fill out form, hit Submit”

      Generally speaking, I’ve never seen an account get back to life after such a penalty, so the chances are very thin + it might take weeks to get un-banned. Sad to say, but if I were you I was going to start from a new account.

      • I was afraid of that. Thanks for the advice, though. Really appreciate your insight.

        • Sure thing :)

          Did you manage to find out what might have caused the problem?

          • Not sure if Google is taking a harder look at these listings because it may be in a spammy vertical. It could have been a) over-optimized description (not technically spammy, but too many keywords matching in category and description), b) failing to tick “hide the address” since the company service customers at the location, c) all the above, or d) none of the above.

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