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Google Business Profile Issues as of December 2021

how to improve local search SEO

2021 has been a wild ride for companies using Google Business Profile (GBP) for their local search SEO strategies. Formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), its most significant change in 2021 was when Google rebranded it to GBP and launched the feature that allowed marketers and local SEO experts to manage company profiles.

Support for Google Business Profile received a massive stream of requests, and it took several months for the backlog to clear out. Despite all this, there are several ongoing problems. Many SEOs were annoyed when things didn’t function properly, and in some cases, it’s baffling how certain issues still persist.

Nevertheless, Google has never stopped working on GBP’s new features and fixing bugs. The company’s support and engineering teams do their best to stay on top of issues that Product Experts and the GBP community highlight.

To help those in the SEO community catch up with the latest news since June, below is a list of GBP’s previous updates, along with the newest issues that have arisen. We’ll also cover some of the things businesses can do if their listings are affected.

New Google Business Profile Issues

1. Cannot clear addresses for SABs

Many SEOs and local SEO experts noticed a pattern where business profiles were reinstated after a suspension. Moreover, the old address that appears returns on reinstatement. Many of these accounts were banned because they show an address, which violates the rules, and there is no way to fix it. Google is still looking for a solution, and there is no estimated timeline for fixing it.

2. Reinstatement loops

A “reinstatement loop” explains why 1% of profiles were immediately suspended after being reinstated. Usually, companies utilise a UPS FedEx drop-off location as their address. Strangely, there has been a distinct increase in numbers for reinstatement loops these past few months.

The only thing businesses can do about it is to contact support or respond to their reinstatement e-mails. The team may not be familiar with the problem, so sending them a detailed video might be helpful. If it fails and the account is still banned, one can report it to the community.

3. Service establishment category

Google Maps shows service businesses with a new category called “Service establishment”. If one searches a service company on Google Maps and views the page’s source code, they will see the category. There is no such category in Google Business Profile; one can’t add this category to their business profile because it does not exist. As such, the category people see on Maps does not show in the company’s GMB dashboard.

Although it might seem like no big deal, certain GBP users have a mix of storefront and service area business profiles, and they are reporting a loss in their SAB visibility. Others claim they are ranking in another city instead of ranking around the verified address.

Right now, GBP users will have to wait for Google’s further announcements. The number of reports for decreasing visibility has remained low, so there is no need to panic. Furthermore, ranking changes may be due to various factors.

It’s important to note that Google does not assist businesses in dealing with common ranking problems. If there is no bug involved, Google support won’t be of any help.

This might signify that the search engine company is reconsidering how it treats service enterprises. On the other hand, it may also be a minor glitch that currently has no effect on performance and may be resolved in the near future. Google knows that this extra category is showing on Maps, but there are no announcements as to when the search engine company would be able to solve this problem.

Ongoing Google Business Profile Issues

1. Reduced support because of COVID-19

The Google support team continues to struggle due to COVID-19. In Q3 2021, Google placed a notification bar on their Help Community page, saying that they have a limited support team and will take longer than usual to get in touch for queries.

2. Legitimate reviews stopped appearing

There are many cases when genuine reviews do not appear, and there are no indications of improvement in this area. Consumer feedback does not display on a business’ page; it’s only visible to the reviewer but does not appear publicly.

Users familiar with Google Business Profile can often tell when a review has been rejected by the Google nanny bot and immediately isolate the problem. Forbidden terms, subtle slander, and so on are simple to spot if one puts in some practice. However, the current filtered reviews are something else. The rejected reviews frequently offer no obvious indication of breaching Google’s content rules. Even seasoned GBP trouble-shooters may struggle to determine why the filter was applied.

Google stated that it removed reviews due to inappropriate content, spam, and other policy violations. One can also post a screenshot and their business’ Google Maps URL of a missing review from a customer on the community forum. Once a product expert sees it, they can escalate the case to Google’s support team for manual review.

3. Cover photo/logo does not show up to update, and the 85 per cent bug

For months, Google has been notifying its users to complete their business profiles even if they’ve already submitted all of the necessary information. The message includes a signal that the listing is only 85 per cent complete. That percentage varies, usually from 65 to 85 per cent. In every instance, however, the given percentage doesn’t make any sense.

The notification also asks GBP users to add their logo to “complete” their listing. This message suggests that the business’ logo is missing, even though this is not the case. Moreover, adding another logo does not dismiss the warning. SEOs can only ignore this warning from Google for the time being as there is currently no solution for this issue.

Google still has no solutions for the issues mentioned above, and the SEO community can only work with what they have and strive to improve their local SEO despite these GBP challenges.

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Some of our typical areas of work include handling your Google My Business account, Google Local, Google Search Console, and more. For a free in-depth SEO audit and a phone consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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