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Hi Local Search Forum! I'm handle local listing service at a search marketing firm. Currently, I claim G+L listings in separate Google accounts using a Google account supplied by the client. I've been pondering doing this differently because it's a pain for several reasons.

Can anyone see a serious downside to claiming many G+L pages from separate/unrelated clients under the same Google account?
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Philip,

Thanks for posting and I'm glad you asked before doing it.

Normally I end up helping consultants with this AFTER they have 50 clients in the same account and end up in a time consuming nightmare.

Lots of reasons NOT to do this.

1) If just one or 2 listing have a violation, even a violation of an unwritten rule you don't know about, Google will often suspend the ENTIRE account. That means all of your clients are suspended, even the ones with no problems. And there is no way to get out of suspended. You need to delete all the listings and start over which can cause rank drops and lost reviews.

2) Google wants a separate account the client can control if you part ways

Lots of other reasons too but #1 should scare you enough... :)

I've helped tons of consultants AFTER they got into the mess I mention in #1 and trust me when I say, it was a long nightmare with lots of upset clients every time.

But really if you know the short cuts and time savers for managing indiv accounts the right way, the verification issues and stuff aren't that bad. It's just that many consultants don't know the best ways and end up wasting time or getting into frustrating situations that are avoidable.
 
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Thanks for your very timely input, Linda. I'd like to respond to both of your points.

1) Obviously having an entire account suspended would be a nightmare if it contained listings for multiple clients. I did not realize this was a possiblity -- I have had a several clients individual listings suspended for quality guidelines infractions** but have had no experience of an entire account being suspended.

Has anyone besides Linda had this experience? What triggered this severe "retaliation"?

2) I was not aware of this, and haven't run across this requirement/guideline in any of Google's Places documentation. Can you provide a reference?

**GENERAL FYI: the suspension (listing de-publish) was usually based on "service area business" settings for a certain business type -- I was able to get the listings reinstated via a phone call to Places Support and an explanation of my reasoning for the settings I chose.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Philip,

Re #1 I've never experienced it personally. I've helped lots of consultants who have. There are a few posts here but there are LOTS of posts from consultants at the Google and your Business forum who have had the problem. (That's where I've helped lots of consultants with the problem.)

"What triggered this severe "retaliation"?"

All kinds of different things. You have to know how to read between the lines and know what the common violations are, as well as what the unwritten rules are.

But does not matter if different clients or all same client with different locations. In the past if just a couple had problems Google would often (not always) suspend the entire account. (For instance an attorney with 8 locations. 2 violations, the whole account is suspended.)

2) This is not in writing anywhere, it's just a well known commonly held assumption.

One of the things I stress in my training is you need to learn to think like Google. If you read the Google forum daily you'll see how many complaints there are like "I fired my SEO but they won't give me my own account back so I can manage my own listing." Or "They can't give me log in because my listing is in with other client listings."

And this creates a big support mess as well as frustration for the business owner who should have access to their own account.

Very subtle... but the guidelines do say "If possible, use an email account under your business domain. For example, if your business website is Google, a matching email address would be you@google.com."

Again you have to understand how Google thinks and know how to read between the lines, but when she says IF POSSIBLE she really means: "IF YOU ARE SMART YOU WILL!"

Having a separate account using a domain email address helps with trust and also helps with dual ownership disputes. If both accounts have an email like bestseo@gmail or even clientname@gmail it's more difficult and time consuming to prove you are the rightful owner. (Other related issues like this too.)
 

Linda Buquet

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**GENERAL FYI: the suspension (listing de-publish) was usually based on "service area business" settings for a certain business type -- I was able to get the listings reinstated via a phone call to Places Support and an explanation of my reasoning for the settings I chose.

Sounds like those were hidden address violations or maybe additional listings for service area businesses that aren't allowed. Usually those types of violations resulted in listings being deleted, not suspended. Deleted listings they'll sometimes re-instate. Officially suspended listings with the red warning in dash, they usually can't/won't re-instate.

FYI Phillip, all the things above and more are why I explained it's not a good idea to only take my On-site SEO training. Because you can do the SEO right, but if you have Places violations or don't understand all the unwritten rules and how to avoid problems, it can cause lots of wasted time and frustration too.
 
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Thanks for sharing your experience in a little more detail. The lesson I would take from it w/r/t my question of "what caused this type of severe retaliation?" is that Google admin will come down (more) harshly on accounts with multiple listing violations.

In this context I would definitely agree with your advice to not claim multiple clients' listings under the same Google/Places account. Forewarned, and thank you for the heads-up.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for sharing your experience in a little more detail. The lesson I would take from it w/r/t my question of "what caused this type of severe retaliation?" is that Google admin will come down (more) harshly on accounts with multiple listing violations.

Well I don't actually think that's the case. Sorry if that's how it sounded.

1 listing in 1 account. 1 or 2 violations. That account can be suspended.

10 listings in 1 account. 1 or 2 violations. That account can be suspended.

50 listings in 1 account. 1 or 2 violations. That account can be suspended.

So the point is 1 or 2 violations in any account can get it suspended. It just hurts more and is a ton more problematic if there are also a bunch of other innocent listings in that account.

Does that help clarify?
 
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