In what appears to be a bug, Google My Business might be suspending accounts. The issue was first reported in a private SEO group on Facebook by local SEO Mike Friedman. A screenshot of Mike’s post was taken by Joe Youngblood and posted to Twitter where it went about as viral as a post about local SEO can go racking up dozens of retweets, likes, and replies within hours.
Local SEO PSA:
Not sure how true this is as I cant test it. pic.twitter.com/9gAWysCogg
— Joe Youngblood (@YoungbloodJoe) July 5, 2019
Mike said that by setting a short name it appears to cause a bug that removes all or some reviews. His solution was to remove the short name and wait, within minutes to hours his reviews reappeared.
Other SEO’s chimed in on Twitter saying that setting a short name lead to their clients listing getting suspended. Unfortunately when this happens it isn’t clear if removing the short name will get the account unsuspended and there’s a chance you’ll need to go through the reinstatement process, which could take several weeks.
It appears that the rumors may be true – adding a @GoogleMyBiz shortname can cause your listing to be suspended???
I am working on a 100% legitimate business profile with 0 quality/spam issues – we just added a shortname and we are now suddenly suspended. Google, what gives? https://t.co/blKJMGpwee
— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) July 9, 2019
Local SEO Morgan Porter, who is based in the UK, said this happened to 4 out 44 listings under her management, or to about 10% of listings. That means hundreds of thousands of businesses world-wide are at risk of this bug currently.
It's true! Had 4 out of 44 locations get swiped off the interwebs. Discovered Google was suggesting names with underscores and those were the ones affected. After we removed the short links, we opened the settings again, this time it was same name but with hypens.
— Morgan Porter (@mporter1144) July 10, 2019
All the SEO’s seem to agree to be careful when selecting a short name, don’t use hyphens or underscores, and you might avoid getting suspended or losing your reviews.