SEO – Google shortnames and the case of the disappearing reviews
Late last month Google introduced a number of new GMB features, chief among them a short URL/shortname for businesses. However, last week SEOs started noticing that adding shortnames to their clients’ GMB profiles caused reviews to disappear or listings to be suspended.
These are apparently two separate issues, according to Google.
Two different problems, happening erratically. The disappearing reviews and listing suspensions weren’t happening consistently but often enough to impact numerous local SEOs. Here’s a representative example:
Local SEO PSA:
Not sure how true this is as I cant test it. pic.twitter.com/9gAWysCogg
— Joe Youngblood (@YoungbloodJoe) July 5, 2019
Shortnames are intended to provide a short URL that can be promoted anywhere by local businesses and will directly surface the GMB profile when searched on Maps or Google. Since first exposed last week, Google has been aware of the both the listings problem and the disappearing reviews.
Resolution coming “soon.” Google provided us with the following statement about what’s happening:
The recent concerns around the visibility of certain business listings are being corrected. The business listings were not suspended, but instead were not being shown as visible due to a technical issue. Business owners who experienced issues should be able to see their listings in Search soon. While some users may have experienced an improvement to the situation with the removal of their short name, the issue was not directly tied to the short name feature.
Apparently the problem of disappearing reviews is technically not identical to the missing listings bug. Both issues are being worked on. Google was not specific about a timeframe for resolution of these issues (beyond “soon”), but assured us they are being addressed.
Why we should care. Google shortnames is a very useful marketing and branding tool for local businesses and a convenient way for consumers to quickly search for specific businesses. It’s unfortunate that the rollout has been buggy but it’s expected that the problem will be resolved and marketers can resume adding shortnames to their customers’ GMB profiles.