Google Local Business Center Flagged Waiting for Content Check

What do you do when Google “Flags” your content in their Local Business Center?  Recently, I had the opportunity to find out first hand how to fix this.In May Google decided to ignore the listing that I had created through the Local Business Center and instead substitute my listing with information that I suspect came from my Better Business Bureau listing.  The main way that I was able to discern this was that the BBB listing had an old phone number which was now the only phone number for my business that was showing up in Google Maps, and Google listed the BBB as one of the pages related to my site.

Since I had been in the top 3 of the 10 pack for several keywords and after the substitution had fallen out completely I got busy working to correct the situation and that’s where it went from bad to worse.  After I successfully claimed the listing and changed the number I had to do some editing.  The new listing had no categories, no description etc.

To my surprise, after filling all of the information out I returned to the dashboard to see this:

google flagged

I’ve created a lot of listings for clients and my own businesses and never run across this before, but my instinct was to adopt a wait and see attitude.  Since I knew there wasn’t anything wrong with the listing I figured it was in some sort of queue at Google that a human would come around and check it and see there wasn’t anything wrong with it and would lift the flagged status. When a few days had gone by and there had been no change I started looking to see who else had, had this problem.  Not surprisingly, I found that Mike Blumenthal had reported on the problem based on a post in the Google Support forums.

The solution posits that the listing has banned words and that this causes the problem and that removing these corrects the problem.  Mike had a slightly different theory.  He thought that listings which got flagged might be running into an issue with too many characters in a certain field as this has been a known problem. It turns out the problem may be neither.

I would suggest that the problem is a bug in the code.  That Google has not commented on it because they don’t know where in the code the bug is coming from and they therefore can’t fix it.  Non programmers find it hard to believe that this kind of thing can occur but ask a programmer, it happens all the time.

So how did I come to my conclusion?  I tried removing the majority of the text in the description of my listing leaving just the line “We’re a small business search engine marketing company.”  I returned to the dashboard to a changed notice.  My listing was no longer flagged it was now awaiting an update.  I should mention at this point that even before I removed anything from the description I was under the allowed 200 characters having used only 189, so it wasn’t a problem of too many characters in this field.

The next thing I did leads me to my theory that this is a bug which Google may know exists but hasn’t been able to find.  I put the exact same text that had originally been there back in and submitted the listing yet again.  And the result.


My recommendation is that you try removing all but a line of your description.  Then, assuming you were happy with your listing as it was you put your original text back and submit again.

Categories: Local Search, Uncategorized

40 Responses to “Google Local Business Center Flagged Waiting for Content CheckComment RSS feed

  • Mike Blumenthal
    June 6th, 2009 11:58 am

    Given the Google’s propensity to offer up one error message for a multitude of actual situations, it is not unlikely that there are multiple causes for this error message to appear.


  • Sean
    July 29th, 2009 7:10 am

    I have got a same problem, and the problem has been fixed following your advice. Thanks.

  • david
    July 29th, 2009 7:33 am
    Author's Reply

    I am glad to hear this post helped Sean. I don’t think most people get that it isn’t about banned words. They think that correlation equals causation and the first word they delete that seems to resolve the problem is the word they think is banned. They should just try to resubmit the content it works all the time for me.

  • Mike Blumenthal
    July 29th, 2009 8:45 am


    If the word S.C.U.B.A causes the flag and a Google employee overrides the flag and allows the listing does that not imply that there could be banned words?

    Try adding the word “Google” or the word “locksmith” to any listing to see for yourself. I would agree that there are likely technical limitations that generate the message but for sure there are words that trigger the message as well.

  • david
    July 29th, 2009 10:10 am
    Author's Reply

    I actually agree with you that there are some words which cause content to be flagged. However, as you’ve pointed out to me Google seems to be lose about when they use which error message. Some times the issue is a banned word, but what has happened is that a lot of people have made the erroneous assumption that some particular word is banned when it clearly isn’t.

    I would always suggest that a company try to clear the “flag” first by removing blocks of content and then replacing them and then saving the changes.

  • Michael
    August 24th, 2009 11:16 am

    Thank You very much; after pulling my hair out for days – removing everything but one simple line of text – did the trick.


  • Jordan McClements
    September 30th, 2009 3:35 am

    Thanks for the info.
    For me, the problem was that I had used ‘Google Adwords’ in my description.
    It seems a bit unfair that I am a qualified Google Advertising Professional, but Google won’t allow me to put it in my local business listing!
    If I put it back in, is there *any* chance that someone will look at it and approve it in the near future?

  • david
    September 30th, 2009 5:55 am
    Author's Reply

    @ Jordan. As an Adwords Qualified Individual I completely agree with you, but no, there’s no chance that they are going to review it. At their whim they could change their policies, but then I would wait to see it published somewhere. Your best bet is to use other likely search terms pay per click, online advertising, search engine marketing etc.

  • Jordan McClements
    September 30th, 2009 6:01 am

    Thanks David, I thought that might be the case…..

  • Tim Martin
    November 7th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Gentlemen, thank you so much for your posts, truly was a help!! But I finally want to lay a rest to this whole thing.

    Reasons for ‘flagged’ status
    ()*_-”‘&^%$#@! – Punctuation marks not allowed (allowable , . /)

    Word flags – (don’t be silly words like ‘fetish’, ‘bondage’,etc. will get flagged for a manual review)


  • Tim Martin
    November 7th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Oh, and Google rocks!!

  • Ray Amsterdam
    November 11th, 2009 2:23 am

    A fascinating thread … but (currently at least) my excitemnt has tuned to disappointment. Today, I first I deleted an exclamation mark – Tim Martin’s recommendation above – thank you. Second, I deleted some text per David’s article above – again thank you. Next I received the “Thank you we’ve received your changes message” … but …

    Not only is my status still set to “Flagged”, the modified date is still set to “yesterday”! Refreshed, logged out, logged in – made no difference. Upshot? Google seems to be ignoring my subsequent changes.

    I do have the word “Google” in my profile, but this would not account for the last modified date still being yesterday. Am I missing something obvious here ??

  • Ray Amsterdam
    November 11th, 2009 2:38 am

    PS: The time difference would still not account for the above.

  • Mike Blumenthal
    November 11th, 2009 4:57 am

    The word “google” will cause a flag every time. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the modified dates.

  • Ray Amsterdam
    November 11th, 2009 8:49 am

    Many many thanks to all: Took the word “Google” out, replaced it with generic text – and voila – instant “Active” status :)

  • David
    November 11th, 2009 10:04 am

    Way to go Ray! Thanks for sharing that. Without a doubt if you live in the US and you have Google in your local business listing you will be flagged. Oddly, if you search Google in Google’s Maps it looks like the same penalty is not applied in Europe. Check it out go to google maps and type in a search like Google Marketing or just click this link:

  • Wyn
    November 28th, 2009 3:22 am

    I have been trying to find a solution for this for months, my solutions was to change the email addresss i had used, ie from google@domina name??

  • david
    November 28th, 2009 7:48 am
    Author's Reply

    It sounds like a good solution, did that work for you?

  • Jeff
    April 12th, 2010 10:17 pm

    I too found this useful. I had too much info on the company description and also had a link to google. After making these changes it actually went through and no more flagging. However it still hasn’t updated my new listing. I deleted an older listing and it is still showing up. The new listing is not. How long does it take for it to read the new profile and show it in the listing?
    Anyways the website is listed above in the window. Please view and let me know what I can do to get this listed and get the other deleted because as far as I know I did delete but it’s still showing up and I don’t want it to.

  • Jeff
    April 12th, 2010 10:18 pm
  • Jeff
    April 12th, 2010 10:18 pm
  • David
    April 13th, 2010 9:05 am

    @ Jeff. All I get when I click the link is a maps page from Google that says “We currently do not support that location” What should I Google to see your listing?

    It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to clear the old listing, but there are a number of things that can happen here. It would be best if I just looked at it.

  • Jeff
    April 14th, 2010 7:22 pm

    David, did you get my email? Was wondering if you knew anything.

  • David
    April 15th, 2010 6:09 am

    @ Jeff
    Based on the details of your email there are a couple of things you can try. The first is if you still have access to the phone number / address of the listing you don’t want to show you can “claim” it and verify it under your Local Business Center. Once it is in your control then suspend it.

    If you can’t do that then go to the listing and under the “More” dropdown menu click “Report a Problem” then mark it as a duplicate listing. See if you can get a few other people to do that as well. It’s a slower process, but it should eventually get it removed.

  • Jeff
    April 18th, 2010 4:20 pm

    I can’t claim the phone number/address if I can’t log into the account. I deleted the account thinking it would delete the profile but it didn’t. Is this what you are talking about? I can’t get control of it. I wish I suspended it. Also secondly, I have gone and clicked on report a problem 2-3 times but nothing happens and this has been going on several weeks. Any other ideas?

  • David
    April 19th, 2010 6:46 am

    Sorry for being slow here, but all Google local business accounts are connected to Google accounts. Are you saying you deleted the google account? You no longer have a Google account with that email and password?

  • Jeff
    April 19th, 2010 9:57 am

    Yes that is what I am saying. Is there any way to bring back the account from deletion and then go in and suspend it?

  • David
    April 19th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Not that I know of, but you should try finding a google group on accounts and ask this same question there and see if you can by some miracle get one of their actual employees to answer.

  • Jeff
    April 22nd, 2010 12:22 pm

    I tried finding a google employee/group to respond. It’s been very difficult just to do that. I sent out 5 different question topics and no answers back. Nothing! I even posted one as attention google employee: please HELP! This is a big problem because I am not getting found on google. I have gone and flagged it as inappropriate content and stated my reasons and nothing has been done whatsoever. You have been the only one to respond. Why can’t we call Google? Why is so non user friendly?

  • David
    April 22nd, 2010 12:57 pm

    Hey Jeff, wish there was more I could do. Google is notorious for their lack of customer service. They are serving the whole world, but really they’re an amazing story of how to do everything wrong when it comes to customer service and still survive.

    If you haven’t already checked and posted this on Mike’s blog you might head over there. Google employees have been known to visit it on rare occasion.

  • dood
    April 23rd, 2010 7:02 am

    Just wanted to say thanks alot for the heads up author and contributors to the topic. What Im mainly getting out of this, … is I better get it right the first time. Cause google really could careless about one of the little people’s having problems. So really appreciate the information provided … thanks alot.

    Was also hoping some of the people with experience here could answer a couple general questions on the subject. Does anyone have a good suggested reference for a guide or tute on doing the google local listing process right ? And was wondering how long its taking, to see new google LBC listings to show up in the SERP’s ?

    Definitely appreciate your helping a newb out, lol. Google makes me nervous, my way of thinking …. it’d be the single most important local listing someone can get. And I dont want to push the wrong button. :D

  • David
    April 23rd, 2010 7:24 am

    Yes, it’s best to get it right the first time. Of course that’s not always easy to be sure of. For example, I had a client whose listing I set up, after weeks of it not showing up and my trying different things, I came to the conclusion that it was the phone number which was a shared phone with another business in the same office space. We came up with a different number, I made the change and the next day he was showing up in the top seven local listings.

    How fast does it happen, I’ve seen it take a few minutes to a few weeks, but typically if you’re going to show highly it will happen within 48 hours.

    While you’re right that this is extremely important space for local businesses, don’t rely on it exclusively. Google has taken it down for various industries and left those who relied to heavily on it crying and I do mean literally crying. Be sure to use organic seo and pay per click in your mix.

    In terms of a guide, I’ve written one but haven’t published it yet. I’ll probably put it up and charge a few bucks for it, but it will be very affordable. I’ll let you know when that happens.

  • dood
    April 23rd, 2010 8:08 am

    Jeff going to try to offer a suggestion that might help. But know that when google doesnt have a claimed listing, for a local business, they pull info from 3rd party data suppliers. So would list your new business listing info on some of the important sites. This site has a bunch of the important one’s listed at the bottom.

    If you were to list consistent info on a bunch of these sites related to the changes you want your updated google local listing to include. When the google spider crawls those sites and indexes that, … it might overwrite your rogue listing and you could claim it. Plus would go to a bunch of the big social review sites and write some favorable reviews listing your business with the info you want to appear.

    Last resort tactic, but would look into some way’s of hijacking a listing. Maybe you can take the thing over … so google hijacking google local listings +variations. Cause Ive seen a technique for doing it … cant give you the URL, dont remember it but it evidently worked. Cause some SEO people were bytching about it being used effectively on them/associates of theirs. Anyway, just a thought hope it helps.

  • dood
    April 23rd, 2010 8:15 am

    Damn … didnt see your post David … thanks for responding, any additional info from someone with experience is a big help. While Im getting lucky here. Can I ask what kind of results a business owner can expect if they claim a good % of their local listings ? I mean I know its industry specific, varies by location and all. But Ive been trying to find out what kind of boost a local business owner can expect. And having a real hard time finding anything like stats, or case studies on it, lol. Dont mean to be a hog … but what kind of positive or mediocre results have U or people Uve worked with seen from going through the trouble of local listings ? Thanks again for giving me a rough timetable and some hope.

    Sorry I missed your post or wouldve acknowledged it in the prior posting. But was fixated on trying to offer any suggestions I could for jeff …. Thanks again David, the author and everyone who contributed useful info for us newbs.

  • Jeff Higbee
    April 28th, 2010 11:28 pm

    @david & dood,
    Guys I am beyond frustrated. I must have made 4-5 different questions on google help boards and I get no help from anyone at google. I don’t know what to do. I am losing soo much potential business by not being listed near the top of the searches and no one wants to help me figure this issue out. Any suggestions. Dood I have tried everything you said. And one other thing on my current dashboard it says that there is no data for your request listed. I don’t know what this means??? Or if it has anything to do with my problem. Thanks for helping.

  • DJ Muenchen
    April 29th, 2010 6:26 am

    Thank you very much for your advices…. very helpful.

  • dood
    April 30th, 2010 10:54 am

    Jeff … aggravating situation. Think David was right about trying to claim it from your new LBC account. When viewing that older listing, … does it ever give you the option of claiming/editing it ? What’s the old listing’s URL anyway ?

    Other than that there’s no way around doing research on the topic. You’re definitely not the only person experiencing problem with G’s local listings. And some of the forums or user groups you find while doing online research. Might either have your solution or people who can help. You’ve already found the google help forum …. which judging from the number of complaints Ive come across. They aren’t very responsive to people’s problems. But there are others out there devoted to the subject.

    Noting also that google isnt the only free search engine listing … claim your yahoo and bing listings too. Other than that, once again all I can say is research. Google your butt off on the topic … “cant claim my google local listing” … “problems claiming google listing” etc and so forth.

  • dood
    April 30th, 2010 11:03 am

    Hey Jeff … this is from 2009, but read this over. Apparently this was a solution for a woman with a similar problem to yours … don’t see why it wouldn’t still be valid.

  • dood
    April 30th, 2010 11:18 am

    Hey Jeff … found this wandering around online. Its from 2009, but seems to be the solution to problems similar to yours, give it a look.

  • Jeff Higbee
    May 9th, 2010 5:01 pm

    Hey thanks Dood and David and everyone on this post.
    My page got fixed. I guess you just have to be real real
    patient and wait it out. It finally changed last week.
    I took about a month or a bit longer.