Can I Restore my Google Plus Account?

This isn’t exactly the topic I wanted to jump-start my blogging efforts. It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I accidentally deleted my Google Plus account this morning, at 11:48 am to be exact. There is little to no information available about how or even if you can restore an account.  Writing about it seems like a good way to help others learn from my mistake.

“How did I manage to delete my Google Plus account” you ask?

Here’s what happened.

Over the weekend I spoke at a conference for a group of freelance writers, my topic was Google+ and Google Authorship. The presentation went well and I walked away even more excited about Google Plus. In the spirit of trying to have the best presence possible I decided to finally delete the duplicate profile that I’d set up many moons ago.

This morning I signed into Google and found the old profile, I carefully switched back and forth between the settings page to make sure I deleted the correct page. From the settings page of profile I wanted to remove, I clicked on delete and checked the box that said I understood it couldn’t be undone.

Delete Google Account - This service cannot be undone

What I didn’t stop to think about was that the two profiles have separate login’s. So, since I was logged into my main account that’s the one I deleted.  I don’t really understand why I could access the settings for the secondary account while signed into my main account, but apparently they were linked together in some way.

You can imagine my surprise when I clicked on my Google Plus bookmark and didn’t go to my Home stream, instead I landed on an empty shell of my about page.

About page

In a panic, I called Mark Vang (my Google Plus Go to Guy) and he started the troubleshooting process. He sent me a link to this page:

Restoring a deleted Google Plus account

 Looks promising, right? It looks like it might be as easy as going to the password-assistance page and completing a few steps.

I poked around a bit more and discovered which action to take once I get to the page and I found this page.

Deleted or restore a Google Account

So I followed the instructions (several times).

First I selection the option “I don’t know my password” and entered in my email address.

 

 Google Plus Don't Know my Password

 

Filled out the captcha code to verify I’m a real person.

Google Plus Profile Recovery step - enter captcha code

Entered in the last password I remembered:

Google Plus Profile Recovery step - confirm password reset to alternate email address

Selected “I can access my phone or back up options.” If you haven’t set up the two step verification process yet, now is a great time to do it.

Google Plus Profile Recovery step - I can access backup options

Next I followed the password reset instructions and created a new password.

I thought the next step would be some sort of form that I would have to fill out, verifying my identity and that my intent is to recover the account.  Instead it was a page entitled “Account recovery options” so I re-saved my verification details.

As of write now, the url for my profile page https://profiles.google.com/u/0/+BethBrowning/about – resolves to a nasty 404 error page, because it no longer exists.

Profile URL is a Page Not Found

 

Although it’s strange because according to Mark Vang.

The spirit of Beth’s profile lingers on….

“If I click on Beth’s image in one of the circles she’s in, I can open her old profile. If you look closely, it’s just the About section and when I refresh the page, it resolves to a 404 error.

 It’s like the spirit of Beth’s profile is lingering in some digital netherworld.

 Does anyone know a digital medium? Perhaps we can hold a virtual séance and try to communicate with her profile… Step away from the light Beth’s profile! Step away from the light!!

 I’m devastated. All of my posts, pictures, circles, Google Authorship verification, and whatever authority I’d built in the past year has disappeared.

So far, gmail, AdWords, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Drive all seem to be in tact. I sure hope the Google hamsters don’t run extra hard overnight and delete all of that as well.

In a Hail Mary move I sent a letter outlining my debacle to the Google office in Pittsburgh. More than likely it’s a wasted $27 to send it overnight, but hey – one never knows.

I’ll keep you posted and in the meantime you can find me here.

Word to the wise – if you have multiple Google Plus profiles and want to remove one, be sure you are signed into that account when you click delete.

 

Click here to learn about Google Plus training.

  • Hi Beth, so sorry about your loss! I too, am discovering the “awesomeness” of Google Plus. I write a Christian devotional blog, and have seen my pages hit great heights for my search terms since enacting Google Authorship. I am seeing that your “Discover Your Customers” page is still intact. That’s a good thing!

    What wondering if you might have an answer to my Google Plus question. I enjoyed all the benefits of Google Authorship for 4-5 months before my Google+ picture suddenly disappeared in the SERPs. I don’t know why it would be suddenly lost. I thought that maybe it was because I was using a new image of myself on my blog and changed all or most of my images so that they could be “in sync.” But, my face is still missing. All of my other Google authorship info shows up, except for my photo.

    My Google Plus URL is: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DebraTorres/

    Any ideas?

    • Hi Debra, Thanks for stopping by and visiting 🙂

      To answer your question – one of the things that isn’t as well known as it maybe should be is that there’s no guarantee that a profile image will display in search results.

      In October 2013 Matt Cutts promised that Google was tightening Authorship and there would be a 15% reduction in the display of rich snippets (the profile image) in search results. Since then there has indeed been a reduction and it also looks like different “classes” of authorship have emerged.

      The point of this post isn’t to discuss Google Authorship Kidnapping as coined by Mark Traphagen, but I do want to point out a few factors that are important to Google when it comes to determining whether or not to display the Authorship profile. Google’s

      John Mueller explained them at the most recent PUBCON.

      “Is the author someone Google recognizes as “worthy?”

      “Is the content high quality?”
      “Is the site known for publishing high quality content?”

      So how does Google determine whether or not an author is “worthy”? I could be wrong, but I think they’re still trying to figure that out as well. I can’t imagine how complex it must be to sort through.

      It’s widely believed that a concept called “Author Rank” will come into play at some point in time.

      I think were a ways away from Author Rank being fully implemented, but Google has confirmed that they are using a form author rank for in-depth posts, which means it’s only a matter of time.

  • Beth, for what little comfort it brings, you know there are many many many of us “out there” routing for you. Think if it this way … when (not if, but when) you do come back, you’ll be all the more appreciated.

  • Hi Beth,
    I stumbled upon your blog post while searching on ways how can I retrieve my Google Plus pages which I also accidentally deleted (early this morning). Does it also apply in the G+ Pages? (huhu *feeling hopeless)

  • Beth thank you for this descriptive blog post! I too just made the same error… kicking myself now in the bum.

    I guess it is time for a Fresh start – Lesson learned.