Your Google My Business profile is key to how customers find you – in fact, 64% of consumers use it to find a business’s contact details and address, get directions, etc.
But more and more business owners log on to a nightmare – a bright red SUSPENDED next to their listing. Their business doesn’t show up in local searches anymore, and their customers can only find their competitors.
To make things worse, Google won’t tell you why your listing was suspended, making it much harder for you to rectify the problem.
So, the first thing you need to do is to work out why you were suspended.
Most suspensions are “soft” suspensions, where your business has become unverified and you lose access to manage the listing. It’s still there. Worse is a hard suspension, where your listing has been completely removed.
Why Was Your Profile Suspended?
Again, Google will not tell you why your profile was suspended, and your first course of action is to go through and verify that your business listing doesn’t have the following common problems:
- Your business is showing up at the same address as another business. This may happen because a suite number has been left off. It may also happen if you are using coworking space for your business. In fact, Google does not allow coworking or shared office space if you have an address set up.
- Your address is virtual or a P.O. Box. If you have a storefront, you need to provide the actual address customers can get to. Alternatively, you are a business that does not have an address but is a “service area” business and you forgot to disable the physical address field. This is a mistake a lot of people make. Google does not allow P.O. boxes or unsigned home offices because some businesses were adding listings in extra places just to improve their rankings.
- Your address isn’t the same between the listing and your website, which may happen if you move to a new office or if there’s a typo. You may also be suspended for a mismatch between Yelp or other directories and GMB. Make sure your address is the same everywhere.
- Your address, business name, website, phone number, or primary categories changed. You may need to re-verify your business after you change things. This is primarily to stop someone hacking your listing and, say, changing your phone number to direct your customers to a shady operator.
- You have more than one listing. Sometimes people forget they made a Google My Business listing and make another one, and this will flag.
- Your business name isn’t the same everywhere. Usually, this means there’s a typo somewhere. It could also mean that you or an SEO “expert” you hired added keywords to the business name.
- You link to a landing page or a forwarding URL rather than your actual website. Or you are using a tracking phone number or fake phone number to reduce the amount of telemarketing you get. You also cannot use your Facebook or other social media pages as your website.
- You don’t make face-to-face contact with customers. Businesses like online shops or freelancers who work entirely over the internet are not eligible for Google My Business listings.
- You are in a high-risk category, which generally means home services businesses and locksmiths, and there is even a tiny irregularity with your information.
- Spammer associated with your account. Somebody with access to your listing has been caught doing something spammy.
- You are selling age-restricted products and don’t have age restrictions set on your website.
What To Do If Your Google My Business Profile is Suspended?
If your listing is suspended, then you will most likely have to re-verify your business. Start by sending the following information to a volunteer Product Expert on the Google My Business Support Community.
- A photo of your storefront that contains both the signage and your address. You cannot use a home office that has no signs (which can be a problem if your HOA doesn’t allow you to put up a sign…and the signs have to be permanent).
- A copy of your business license showing your address.
- A utility bill showing your address.
- Proof you are not sharing office space with another business.
- A business license or tax document to prove your business is a service area business.
You may also have to remove anyone from the listing who has had their Google account suspended or whom Google considers to be a problem. You should only submit your reinstatement request after talking to the volunteer. Denials tend to come quickly, whilst approvals take longer, namely 1 to 7 days. This article contains a great walkthrough for using the reinstatement form. Make sure not to edit your listing for at least a few days after reinstatement. If you get an instant denial, contact a professional immediately.
How to Avoid Suspension
Avoiding suspension in the first place makes things much easier. You should:
- Make sure that the information you provide is accurate. Read it multiple times for typos. This includes information submitted to other directories.
- Change any information that changes across the web as quickly as possible. Don’t change your address, for example, in dribs and drabs, but set aside time or employee time to do it all in one go. Make sure to change your business license as well.
- Don’t attempt to get a Google My Business listing if you are not eligible. Online-only businesses are not eligible for GMB listings.
- Do not include any extra information with your business name.
- Display proper signage at your physical location. It has to be permanent.
- Bear in mind that you can’t use a coworking space as a physical address. You have to have a separate suite.
- Do not create a listing for temporary or virtual offices unless they are staffed during normal business hours by your staff (not contractors or a shared receptionist).
- Post your local phone number, not your call center.
- Do not use a landing page or social media page for your website, or a tracking phone for your number.
- Make sure your business is in the right category(ies).
We Can Help You Get Reinstated
Sometimes, it can be easy to get your listing restored. Other times, it can be a weeks-long back-and-forth with Google people who spend most of their time just sending you the same canned responses. If you’re a business dependant on local traffic, you simply can’t afford the loss of revenue a suspension can incur.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to seek professional help, especially if the suspension is not the result of something obvious like that one local listing site you never go to that still has your old address…
Here at LocalBizGuru, we work with a Google My Business Platinum Product Expert with a perfect reinstatement record. Knowing you have somebody like that in your corner will help you relax and trust that your listing will be reinstated, faster and with less effort than doing it yourself.
For further peace of mind, consider our Google My Business Insurance service where we monitor and protect your GMB listing for any unauthorized changes and suspensions. In the event your GMB listing is suspended, we will get it reinstated at no additional cost to you.
If you have a suspended Google My Business listing or otherwise need help with local SEO, contact LocalBizGuru today.
We’re here to help.