The Case of the Missing GMB Listings: Short Names Causing Suspensions and More

Bianca Cross     16 July 2019

 

 

A few months ago, Google made it possible for users to create customised short names and short URLs specifically for their Google My Business listings. This feature came with a lot of praise from the Google community, as it serves as a sort of replacement for the ‘Goo.gl’ URL Shortener tool that was shut down last year.

While all that sounded great, recently there have been some pretty heavy rumours stating that the feature is causing huge implications for businesses using it. We decided to investigate.


What is a Short URL?

Short names and short URLs are easy-to-remember names for business profiles that can help GMB listings to be accessed directly through the Google My Business platform. It means that businesses can promote their GMB listing to customers in a way that can easily be recalled and presented in marketing material. They can be accessed by going to the URL ‘g.page/[yourshortname]’.

Short names can be up to 32 characters, and they are implemented in the ‘Info > Add profile short name’ section of your Google My Business Menu. They can be changed, but only up to 3 times.

Google has published a help centre article to aid businesses with implementing these short URLs. This also shows us that they are going to be around for good, rather than a temporary or Beta feature.

When the feature initially came out, there were many reports of businesses not having access to it, despite Google saying it was available to all verified GMB businesses. This is interesting, as it was the first of many hiccups to come for short URLs.


What’s Happening to Businesses Implementing Short URLs?

It seems that this feature has had a bumpy introduction ever since it was released, as it has recently become apparent that businesses who have added these short names have had their actual business listings suspended and removed from SERPs.

Joe Youngblood has been keeping everyone up to date on Twitter about the situation. It seems apparent that this has not in fact happened to all businesses implementing a short name, and is instead occurring at random. One thing is for sure, though, removing the short name will reinstate the businesses original ranking positions.

There are plenty of businesses who this hasn’t affected, one SEO specialist named Mike Friedman commented on the Facebook page ‘SEO Signals Lab’ that suspension had occurred to only 2 out of a dozen clients. The businesses it affected were 100% legitimate with no spam and did not have any visible differences from his other listings when it came to quality.

Call it what you want, a bug, an issue, a mistake – but there are plenty out there opposing that this is more than just a mere coincidence. The fact of the matter is that removing the short URL does reinstate the listings within a matter of minutes. This has been a pattern among all of the businesses experiencing this issue.


How did a Google Feature Cause These Implications to Google Listings?

This is apparently a bug within the feature, although Google has not confirmed anything stating the issue itself. They haven’t even acknowledged its existence. Google is usually very quick to acknowledge bugs and get on to making fixes, so this is out of character.

So far, this issue is only based on rumours and anecdotal accounts, but it has been going on for a week now, with no backend solution on the horizon. From the sounds of it, this must be more than just coincidental, and so the mystery continues…


Pure SEO to the rescue!

If you’ve noticed any funny business with your Google SERPs or have been suspended yourself on Google My Business since creating a short name and URL, we can help. Although removing the short name will reinstate your accounts from being suspended, having your listings taken off Google can do crazy things to your SERPs.

Pure SEO has the tools needed to come to the rescue and restore your ranking positions to their rightful places, organically. Read our blog on How to Optimise Your Google My Business Listing or talk to the search engine specialists today!

Author: Bianca Cross

Bianca is a copywriter at Pure SEO. She has a background in branding and advertising and a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Design from AUT. She's passionate about words and the meanings they can hold for people.



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