7 new and ongoing Google Business Profile (GMB) issues, December 2021


This year has been a wild ride when it comes to Google My Business (GMB) – er, I mean Google Business Profile (GBP).

The most notable change in 2021 was its rebranding and the full launch of the feature that allows marketers to manage business profiles via Search and Maps.

For a while, Google Business Profile support went through a massive backup of requests, and the backlog took a few months to clear.

And again, there are several ongoing problems. It can be frustrating when things don’t work out the way they should and in some cases it doesn’t make sense why the problem exists or hasn’t been fixed.

But have faith – Google’s support and design teams are constantly working on many bugs, new features, and more. They try to stay up to date on issues raised in the GBP community and by Product Experts.

So, kudos to the team for fixing important issues like the missing manager case (related to site manager migration) and the Kansas Bug.

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In this column, we will delve into the previous update so that you can be updated on what has changed since June. First, let’s take a look at some new GMB / GBP issues that have surfaced and what you can do about each if your listings are affected.

New problems with Google My Business

1. Addresses for SABs cannot be deleted

Screenshot from Google Maps, December 2021

We are seeing a pattern where company profiles are reset after a suspension and the old displayed address reverts upon reset.

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And why have most of these profiles been suspended?

They were showing an address, so they are still violating the guidelines and there is no way to delete it.

No clear link to the address on Screenshot from Google My Business, December 2021

the correction: At the moment there is no solution, you will have to wait for Google.

The timeline: No timeline estimated, GBP is investigating the issue.

2. Recovery cycles

A “reset cycle” is a term used to explain what is happening with the 1% or so of the profiles that I have noticed have been suspended immediately after a reset.

The cause was usually that the company used a FedEx or UPS drop-off point as its address. Since then, I have followed it and have noticed that there has been a distinct growth pattern over the past few months.

We have informed the GBP team and they say they are looking into it.

the correction: At the moment, all you can do is contact support or reply to your reinstatement email. The team may not understand the problem, so a video could help your cause. If it fails and you continue to be suspended, document the problem using this template:

Hi, I’ve been suspended and reinstated X times.

Example: 21/12/21: XX-XXXXXXXXX: Reinstated then suspended
Date: Case ID: Resolution
Date: Case ID: Resolution
Date: Case ID: Resolution

If it happens more than once, please report it to the community.

Timeline: No history; Google is investigating.

3. Category of service establishments

A business that appears on Google Maps with the addition Screenshot from Google Maps, December 2021

Service companies are displayed on Google Maps with the additional category “Service Establishment”.

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If you view a service activity on Maps and examine the page’s source code (or use one of the many Chrome extensions to do it for you), you’ll find it.

Oddly, there is no “Service Establishment” category in Google My Business. You can’t select it when adding categories to your business profile.

And so, the category you see on Maps doesn’t appear in the GMB dashboard.

There is no category Screenshot from Google My Business, December 2021

While this seems harmless, some users with a mix of a service area and store business profiles are reporting a drop in the visibility of their SABs.

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Others report that instead of positioning themselves around the address where the list was checked (which is how SABs are classified), they are positioning themselves in another nearby city.

The correction: Don’t panic. There is nothing you can do at the moment.

The number of reports of decreased visibility remains low. Additionally, rank changes can be caused by a number of other factors.

Please note that Google does not provide support on general classification issues. If no bugs are found here, Google’s support won’t be of any help.

This could indicate a change in the way Google handles service activities. On the other hand, it could also be a small glitch that has no impact today and can be solved by tomorrow.

Google is aware that this additional category is displayed on the map.

Timeline: Nobody.

4. Changing telephone numbers in India

For months, users in India have not been able to change the phone number in their GMB list.

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At first it seemed to be a bug.

During the third quarter, however, Google updated the Help Center document: Understand What Happens to Your Business Profile Changes to make it clear that this was a deliberate change in place for quality control.

“In India and some other regions, we take additional steps to confirm that your phone number is correct.”

So while the problem was recognized, for a while it was believed to be a bug. GMB users in India could only make changes to their phone numbers with input from the support team.

The correction: Google has updated the workflow for merchants in India. Users are now prompted to upload additional supporting documentation when making changes to the phone number.

Plus, there’s now a Google ad pinned to the top of the Help Community outlining the new workflow.

When working with company profiles in India, make sure you follow the new process accurately and completely.

Note: This additional documentation requirement means that all phone number changes in India are processed manually which is a huge task.

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Timeline: No timeline for a fix; however, the new workflow is reducing the number of affected users.

GMB / GBP issues in progress

1. Reduced support due to COVID-19

Google’s support team remains tense from COVID-19. In the third quarter of 2021, Google added a notification bar at the top of the support community that reads:

“Currently, we are working with a limited support team. It may take longer than usual to connect with us. Thanks for your patience.”

What to do: Expect delays. Consider a little extra kindness. COVID-19 is having a different impact on different countries at different times.

Patience is your only option.

2. Legitimate reviews that are not displayed

Cases where legitimate reviews don’t show up continue. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any signs of improvement on this issue.

To sum up, reviews left for a business are not displayed. The reviewer can see it but does not show it publicly.

Here’s what makes it interesting: Powerful Google My Business users can often read a rejected review by Google’s nanny bot and identify the problem.

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Forbidden words, subtly disparaging comments, etc., are easy to spot with a little practice.

However, the current wave of filtered reviews is different. Rejected content often doesn’t show obvious signs of violating Google’s content policies. Even GMB troubleshooting experts are unable to identify what may have triggered the filter.

The correction: Google’s official word is that in “… in most cases, missing reviews have been removed for policy violations such as spam or inappropriate content.” Merchants should refer to the Help Center document missing revisions and delays.

Of course, this doesn’t restore the missing reviews on your business profile!

If you can get a screenshot of a missing review from the reviewer, please report the issue in the community forum. Post the screenshot and Google Maps URL for your business.

A product expert can forward the case to the support team for manual review.

3. The 85% bug and the logo / cover photo are not updated

For months, Google has been asking users to complete their company profiles, even if they have already archived all available fields. The message includes an indicator indicating that the list is only 85% complete.

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This percentage varies, generally between 65% and 85%. In all cases, that value makes no sense.

The message also provides some guidance on how to “complete” your listing: add your logo.

This suggests that your logo is missing, even if it isn’t! Also, adding a logo will not remove the warning.

The correction: There is no solution. So, for now, ignore the warning.

In early 2021, Google announced that it would fix this problem by the end of the year. That deadline is fast approaching and there doesn’t seem to be a solution yet.

For peace of mind, you may want to switch to Incognito mode and check your business profile. For some users, you may find that the uploaded logo is actually publicly visible.

Remember, we’re dealing with humans here; there is a pandemic outbreak in India and this affects all support areas.

GMB’s team has been hard at work testing the pandemic and implementing all kinds of features and attributes to help local businesses stay visible and better connect with customers.

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As with all channels and interactions in business (and hopefully, in life), be respectful and patient.

In my time as a product expert, I’ve seen GMB solve big and small problems. Greetings to the Google My Business team and the other Product Experts who are working to improve the platform for everyone!

If you notice any new problems, be sure to leave a comment.

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Image credits

Featured Image: Barks / Shutterstock





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