More threads by James Watt

Oct 25, 2013
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I saw an interesting thread on the GMB forum a few days ago, thought I'd share since I hadn't seen this before. Technical onpage SEO isn't something I've mastered yet, so if anyone spots something I missed, I'd love if we could round out this little ranking puzzle a bit. First, the backround links for anyone who wants to poke around a little before reading my synopsis.

here's the thread pt1 (business not showing in SERPs

thread pt2 (Can't add website to business profile)

plus page


User first posted because they weren't showing up in SERPs anywhere, even for a brand search. The next issue was that they couldn't add their website to their listing. I hadn't seen it before, but Helmut, one of the TCs, mentioned it as a potentially recurring issue.

Here's his quote:
I spoke with some other experienced folks and from what I understood there are few serious issues with your website.
This issues lead to all the hassle you are complaining about (and they lead also to some other problems if using the same website URL in MapMaker)
So its definitely not a GMB issue we are talking here about - but issues "hidden" in your website.

At least there is a redirecting issue (a 301 redirect)
There are likely other issues regarding the robot file.

I strongly recommend to contact your webmaster / webdesigner to clean up the website from all issues before trying again to provide it to GMB

So apparently certain kinds of under-the-hood sketch will make GMB (and map maker) spit your website back at you. Good to know.

I'd like to get a full understanding of what's going on though, so here's what I saw personally. The website itself solved canonical issues with the homepage (www vs no www) with a 301 redirect, and there doesn't appear to be any robots.txt file. I'd be really surprised if either of those issues caused this problem, but this isn't an area I'm super knowledgeable about. Anyone else see anything I'm missing?
Thanks James for adding a good technical troubleshooting problem.

I just barely scanned but do we know if he tried entering the non-www version of the link?
Looks like the web developer for the site posted an update in the forum, asking the business owner to try posting the non-www version if they hadn't already. Looks like we'll find out if you're right in a bit Linda! I know that trying to use a 301 page is a no-go on GMB profiles, so that could be it. Somehow I thought it'd be something more interesting than that though. Guess we'll see.
Hi James,

I've seen this happen in the past when the site has a penalty against it for some reason. Once that's been fixed then generally the site can be added to GMB. As per Linda, I didn't really look at this particular issue in depth so I'm not sure if that's the case here.

Also as you've mentioned GMB really does hate re-directs since it is such a well-known spammer tactic. That doesn't usually result in the website being removed though - 'just' in the page itself being penalised. On top of the possible penalty though, it may have been the straw that broke the camel's back in this case!
Seems I heard of this happening at the G forum once where the site was hacked or had malware or something? If I remember right the site had been cleaned, but GMB still would not accept the URL. Probably not the case here, but just mentioning...
Here's another case.

<a href="">Website URL Won't Stick - The Google Advertiser Community - 536523</a>

I just asked what URL she was trying to enter.

So maybe a bug brewing OR the 2 have something in common every one should be aware of.
Priya, are you meaning specifically a manual action listed in the search console, or are there other kinds of on-site penalties that'll prevent it from being added to a GMB profile? Good stuff to know either way.

Linda, very interesting... I haven't seen many posts like that at all over the last few months, a few in a few days is definitely a little out of the ordinary. If more keep popping up might be something new. We'll see?
Hi James,

From memory it was a manual penalty but I can't recall that we ever got feedback from the individual as to what happened after they'd cleaned up the site.

And yes, the fact there's a couple in a couple of days indicates to me too that there might be something else going on here!
Thanks for the clarification Priya.

For anyone reading this, now that GMB thread I linked to is about two pages long. There's definitely something strange going on, but it's not related to the www to non www redirect, and doesn't appear to be related to the robot.txt file either. No solution yet. I'll be interested to see if we see more stuff like this over the next while.

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