Google Publishes User-Generated Content (UGC) Posting Restrictions
Colan Nielsen

Google just published a new article in the “Map User Contributed Policy” help center about posting restrictions. This is the first time that Google has broken down the various types of restrictions. These are specifically about user-generated content (UGC) restrictions. This means that the restrictions are referring to things like user-uploaded photos, videos, and reviews.

Types of restrictions

  1. Short-term restrictions – Posting may be turned off for a particular place for a short period of time to help protect the place or area from a spike in irrelevant or offensive content (for example, during a real-world event that attracts off-topic commentary on a particular place). We monitor the place and when we see the abuse attempts and the risk of policy-violating content subside, we lift the restrictions.
  2. Long-term restrictions – Posting on a particular place may be turned off for a longer period of time if its category or geographic area has experienced a continuous pattern of low-value or off-topic posts. Contributions are considered low value when they don’t typically play a large part in helping users decide whether to visit the place.
  3. Partial vs, full restrictions – Depending on the volume and pattern of policy-violating content, a particular place may have posting restrictions on some or all of the types of UGC (including Text Reviews, Ratings, Images, Videos).

Google goes on to state why some places may not have posts, or have only old posts.

Some places may have noticeably old content with no recent posts, or no historical posts at all (when you had noticed content before). This may be because the place experienced abuse and the content was removed.

So What?

We have known for a while that Google can turn off the ability for a business to receive new reviews as well as photos. With this new article, Google is creating transparency and offering business owners and marketers a little more understanding of why they take the actions that they do. As always, we suggest that you pay more attention to what Google actually does versus what they say.

Colan started in the local SEO world back in 2010 and is also deemed a product expert by Google as a Top Contributor on the Google My Business Forum. He is a contributor to Moz’s famous Local Search Ranking Factors survey and is a former Google MapMaker Regional Lead. Read Colan's full bio here.