Sometimes we SEO types forget to take our own advice.

Several months ago, after not having touched my Google Places Page for years, I updated the photo. Immediately my edit was rejected and my listing was removed from Google Maps.

I misinterpreted this as a problem with the new image and resubmitted the old one, but the listing still got rejected. I then decided that I was finally encountering Google’s issue with SEOs so I changed my listing name to “Andrew Shotland Search Marketing” and like magic, I was back in Google Maps, except this time I didn’t rank #1 for “Pleasanton SEO” – I ranked more like #50.

It’s not that anyone ever searches for “Pleasanton SEO”, but sometimes we SEOs can be guilty of useless keyword vanity.

Last week, I was reading through my own local SEO checklist and Mike Blumenthal’s post on Google Places Rejection Algo and had one of those #Doh! moments. According to the post:

You are only allowed up to 3 capitals together to allow LLC or LTD on a company name.

Of course “SEO” is 3 capitals together so it shouldn’t have been a problem. But then I put on my tinfoil hat and figured that there are certain letter combinations, like “SEM”, “S&M” and “SEO” that get extra special rejection scrutiny. I immediately updated my listing name to “Local Seo Guide” and voila!:

Moral of the story: Check your work.  Get the basics right.  Sit up straight.  Stop mumbling.  Eat your peas.

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12 Response Comments

  • Stever  October 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

    And now with your name change you may see changes with your citation sources 🙂

  • Andrew Shotland  October 25, 2010 at 11:32 am


    I noticed when I initially changed the name, that my InsiderPages reviews disappeared from my Place Page. We’ll see how long it takes them to come back.

  • Urban  October 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm


    I had a similar situation happen to my listing. I also discovered that your listing will get rejected if it includes the use of Google as in “Google results.”

  • Andrew Baker  October 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Andrew – now this is really interesting, this must be a very recent addition to the rejection Algo, as I’ve updated my Page several times in the last few months…

    My Place Page name is my exact business name “SEO Edinburgh” – no marks for originality – like you I updated my Page with a new Logo and BANG – Rejected! I tried everything I preach to my clients but to no avail…

    I wonder what other 3 letter combinations have been added by Google to the Black List? PPC? SMM?

    Yet again as an SEO business I’m slapped (SEO “location” does not return a 7 pack in the UK) by Google even though I’m following their own guidelines!

    Thanks Andrew, off to change my Page! I’ll let yuo knwo how I get on…



  • YS  October 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Not the best way to demonstrate best practices regarding the use of business name as the Place Page title (ie “…so I changed my listing name to ‘Andrew Shotland Search Marketing'”)

  • Andrew Shotland  October 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Agreed YS. Guilty as charged. Very similar to commenting anonymously without including a link. 😛

  • Michiel Van Kets  October 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    interesting, I had already noticed that SEO doesn’t exist in the google adwords categories. but this is stunning!

    I’m aware that google doesn’t like us, but that they would go as far as discriminating an entire industry is 1 step beyond I would believe to be acceptable …

    but ok, thanks , lesson learned, I’ll start using Seo instead of SEO … it’s just too weird (almost childish)

  • Craig Mullins  October 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Yea, they’ve been going a lil crazy lately with local stuff…

    People may want to login and make sure your listing is still live, you may not get an email that it went under review…

  • Drew  October 26, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I noticed the same thing. If you just ad marketing to the end of your SEO listing it turns up no problem.

  • Mike Bunnell  November 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Andrew — to your knowledge, does Google reject business names that use “&” instead of “and”?

  • Andrew Shotland  November 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Not sure. Give it a shot and see what happens. It would probably be an algo rejection so if you get rejected you can change it back and it should immediately accept it, if all else is ok with the submission.

  • Mike Bunnell  November 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I’ll give it a shot — thanks.