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Business with Multiple Location - Pages Suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

In our company, all of our service providers are independent contractors, operating in many cities and states under the name of our company - Lorenzo's Dog Training Team.  Each dog trainer has his location listed on Google Maps, with his service area, hours of operation, and etc.  The only thing all of these locations share in common is the 800 number that leads to the central office and the URL website address.

 

After trying to verify one of the new locations with a Google representative who was unexpectedly was giving me a hard time, she told me that our listings in violation of Google policies for business with multiple locations.  She was quite nasty, actually.  As a result, all 27 location became suspended!  After talking to another representative after suspension, I was told that she (representative) is "not authorized to discuss the reason for suspension", and it could be due to the fact that all location have similar names and the same phone number.  This is all seams extremely confusing and unreasonable to me.  The similar company, Sit Means Sit, operates the same way (except different phone number in each location).

 

I am trying to understand if we, indeed, in violation of Google policies, and if we are, what is exactly in violation? Or is it some kind of spiteful representative just flagged us for no reason? 

Please, help!


Here are the links to some of our locations:
Surprise, AZ

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Northlake, TX

Cleveland, OH

Re: Business with Multiple Location - Pages Suspended

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience on the phone. If it's any consolation, I've sometimes had to call in a few times too with clients things to get someone that can help, so it goes. As far as why no one gave you any feedback on why you've been blocked for spam though, that's just Google policy. There's an enormous amount of unscrupulous businesses out there making fake listings, so to help protect against that, Google's decided to not be super up front with people about exactly how to avoid getting blocked, just as a way to prevent that exact knowledge from being well known by the scammers. 

Another interesting wrinkle in all this, Google's automatic algorithms aren't always great at automatically picking up listings that look like spam, so it's actually not uncommon for businesses (like yours) to skate by under the radar with violations that will grind everything to a halt as soon as an actual person sees it, and marks it as spam. Once you're marked though, you're unlikely to get things back to the way things were.

 

As far as guidelines go: 
https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

  • Use a local phone number instead of central, call center helpline number whenever possible.
  • Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible

Having the same phone number for multiple locations is sometimes done, but like I said... any business owner that does it runs the risk of having their whole account shut down for spam at any time. It's risky. Having an 800 number is also strongly recommended against. Best practices may not even fit your business model, but the best way to fix this is to use local numbers for each location. You could always look into local forwarding numbers to keep things central, but you didn't hear that suggestion from me. Google's preferred way for a multi location business to run things, is for calls to actually get the local location owner... though I know that'd mean you'd need to do sales training for people that are probably walking dogs specifically because they'd rather deal with dogs than people. 

As an aside, I'm not sure how much you all are up on your local SEO best practices, but you've likely got an enormous citation NAP cleanup job ahead of you as well. Having wrong phone numbers listed for your business in other directories (Yelp, Angie's List, manta, etc) can hurt rankings, among other potential problems. If/when you decide to change phone numbers, make sure you try and get it cleanup up in as many important places as possible. If you want to know a little more, check out this article:
http://searchengineland.com/local-seo-multi-location-businesses-224732

Good luck!

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Re: Business with Multiple Location - Pages Suspended

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thank you for your detailed and quick response with a lot of useful information. My major concern now is after making the necessary changes that lead our pages to being suspended, will they be reinstated? I noticed that after calling Google Help a couple of times, this option has disappeared for me, leaving only with emailing option. Very brutal. I am just trying to do the right thing here. Thank you.

Re: Business with Multiple Location - Pages Suspended

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆

They should be reinstated, yeah. I haven't actually worked with a company going through that process myself yet though (thank goodness) so I can't tell you from personal experience exactly how it'll go.

 

The call option disappearing doesn't have anything to do with you though, it's president's day in America and I'm guessing that has something to do with it. no call-in support available for me either. You can always try @googlesmallbiz on twitter too (Google's official GMB twitter feed) if you have a short question you want a quick answer to in the meantime, they're surprisingly responsive. Otherwise, get rolling on the changes and expect to be able to call in with a question again tomorrow. 

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