Getting your Google My Business Listing suspended can be a real headache and cost you business if you don't take care of it quickly. Sometimes, your Google My Business profile (GMB) can be taken down seemingly at random.
There are two types of GMB suspensions you can receive from Google.
- A Soft Suspension - A soft suspension generally means that Google is doubting your ownership of the listing. The profile will still be live on Google, but you will have to re-prove your ownership of the listing. This can be done in the typical ways. The easiest is usually just to send a postcard to your address. Google also gives some people the option to receive a phone call or do a video chat. Unfortunately, not everyone receives these efficient options. This type of suspension almost always happens when you move addresses, so if you've recently moved and are updating your GMB, expect a soft suspension until you verify your new address.
- A Hard Suspension - A hard suspension has much more vague reasoning, and unfortunately, is generally harder to solve. A hard suspension means that Google suspects you of violating their GMB guidelines, and has taken down your business entirely. Don't stress yourself out though, they can be resolved as long as you fix the problem that led to the hard suspension.
WHY WAS MY GMB PROFILE SUSPENDED?
If you find your Google My Business profile hard suspended, it can be difficult to figure out what happened. The first thing to do is consider any edits you've made to your Google My Business in the past month or two. Google can be very finicky about your edits. If you made a mistake, even on accident, they're often quick to suspend your profile. We'll go over some of the most common causes of GMB suspensions.
There are a number of things to check out when thinking about your suspension, but one of the best is the Google My Business Guidelines. These come straight from Google, so it's one of your best resources to look at before doing anything else.
Here are some of the most common reasons we've found clients to be suspended in the past:
Google tries to prevent as much spam as possible on their search engine. It is important to have proper signage outside your business with the business name clearly displayed. If your name is abbreviated or shortened on the sign, Google will drag their heels claiming that the name displayed is your correct name. If you're in an office building, make sure you're on the front directory, or have a nameplate or sign outside your office.
This is another one that seems to snag a lot of businesses. Google does not allow businesses that are operated out of a house or a location that is inaccessible to the public. BUT if you do have a storefront that the public cannot visit but still operates, you should set it up as a service area business, by deleting the address and putting in the area you service. So if you've made this mistake, you can still fix it and operate a GMB, just in an area instead of one specific location.
This one is a little harder to define, but Google is quick to suspend any listings it suspects of being fake or keyword stuffed. If you've recently added a ton of services or categories to your GMB, Google may have suspended you thinking you were just stuffing your listing to rank higher. If your services and categories were all real, the best way to put them into your listing is slowly. Try not to dump them in all at once. If many people are reporting your listing as Spam/Fake on Google maps, this can also trigger Google to suspend your listing. It is a good idea to make sure your business looks legitimate, so make sure you have uploaded pictures, added a website, phone number, etc.
There are multiple high-risk industries that risk getting taken down as spam more than others. Locksmiths, HVAC, and lawyers all have high spam frequency on Google maps. If you're a part of one of these industries, it's best to make sure you have everything perfect on your storefront and on your GMB, as people are likely reporting spam listings. Businesses that operate out of coworking buildings are especially susceptible to suspension, as many spammers put their fake businesses "inside" of coworking buildings.
SUSPENDED USERS ATTACHED TO THE LISTING
If you're not aware, Google My Business accounts can have multiple users attached to them. These users can have different levels of ownership on the listing and be attached to multiple listings. What happens sometimes is that a marketing email from an advertising company (or a work email attached to multiple of your locations) gets their account suspended for spam. This usually happens after multiple offenses. When their account gets suspended, it can take down any listing that has it attached as a user. This one often goes unnoticed by business owners as Google doesn't tell you an account associated with your business is suspended, and the attached account is still there with no extra markings. If you suspect an account on your GMB of being suspended, remove it immediately before filing a reinstatement form.
YOU'VE BEEN MARKED AS A DUPLICATE, OR HAVE DUPLICATE PROFILES ON YOUR ACCOUNT
Google really tries their best to avoid having duplicate listings on its search engine. You should Google your business name to see if there are any other duplicate GMB's on Google Maps. If there is, someone may have flagged your business as a duplicate. You'll likely have to re-verify your business with the postcard. On the flip side, if you've created multiple GMB's in the same location, then Google can suspend them all until you remove them from your account. NOTE: Even if the duplicates are suspended or taken down, Google still counts them against your account, so it’s best to remove them ASAP if you have a few in the same location on your account.
HOW DO I RESTORE MY SUSPENDED PROFILE?
Make sure to correct the error that got your Google My Business Profile suspended before you submit a form to get your GMB reinstated. If you don't, Google My Business Support will likely just reject it and not tell you why. If you really cannot figure out why it's best to go to a normal Google support form and try to get them to tell you. With a little bit of pressure, they'll usually let you know what went wrong.
Once you've fixed all the errors on your GMB, you can go ahead and submit a reinstatement request to Google. If you click in the suspended box on your profile, it should take you to a reinstatement form.
The first thing Google will ask you is if you have submitted a reinstatement form before:
Submitting multiple reinstatement forms will not make your case go any faster, it may actually slow down progress as Google has to wade through all the forms on your account. So, once you've submitted one, you've got to just wait for it to come back.
Next, Google will ask you if you are an official representative of the company. Click yes to proceed to the next question.
Google will then ask if you have read the Google My Business quality guidelines. Hopefully, you have, or have used this article to help figure out what your error was. You'll want to answer Yes or you will not be able to proceed.
Then, Google will ask you if your address or service area is indeed correct. Answer Yes to proceed.
The next question basically just confirms that your business is located where you say it is. Reminder that P.O. boxes are not allowed on Google as physical locations, nor are USPS stores. If one of these is your business location, you will have to set up a service area business or find an office.
Once again, Google is trying to figure out if you should be located in a service area. This one can trip a few people up, as even if you do deliver things in a service area if you have an actual office that customers can visit, you'll want to hit no.
Next, Google is trying to determine if you have duplicates on your account. As mentioned above, if you have old GMBs, even if they are suspended or taken down, those still count as duplicates and will reduce your chances of getting your Google My Business suspension removed.
The next step wants you to fill out all your information so Google can get back to you and so they can determine what happened and how to fix it. Any of the users that have access to the GMB may submit the form, so don't get too caught up on the official email address. You'll notice they ask you to clarify further down if it was an account suspension or business suspension. Usually, if you don't manage more than a few GMB listings, it will be a business suspension.
Google then asks for your address/service area, and to submit a link to the backend of your GMB. Do not attach the Google maps link (if it is still live) or Google will reject the form.
Finally, Google asks for clarifying information and your phone number. Google will rarely call you, instead choosing to go through email communication. In the additional information section, try to be clear about what happened. If you've fixed the mistake, say so. If you don't know what happened after searching, mention that as well. It's very helpful and will save you time if you attach a picture of your business signage in the "Choose file" section. Even though Google doesn't ask for it in the beginning, they most likely will down the line no matter what your suspension was for. Other good proof to offer that your business operates in the area you claim is the business license or a utility bill. Attaching a Google Street View of the outside of your store with the signage clearly visible can also help.
There is no clear time given of how long it can actually take to reinstate your business, but it can take up to two weeks. If you haven't heard a response by then, its best to contact Google support to see what's going on.
Getting your Google My Business listing suspended can be a huge hassle for any business. It can also take a lot of time to unravel what went wrong and how to fix it as quickly as possible. If you need any help getting your GMB reinstated or are confused about the whole process, feel free to give us a call here at Digital Division at (816) 774-1556.