Google Business Suspension: Why it Happens and How to Fix It
Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly Google My Business, is an invaluable tool for local businesses seeking to establish an online presence and connect with potential customers. However, there are instances where a Google Business listing can get suspended, disrupting its online visibility and potentially harming its reputation. A suspension can occur for several reasons, and there are even different types of suspensions. This blog will cover why a Google Business profile may become suspended and how to reinstate it.
Understanding Google Business suspensions
Google is responsible for balancing the online experience for both businesses and consumers, meaning they’re tasked with protecting businesses from fraudulent consumer accounts and customers from fake businesses. If Google has a reason to believe a business isn’t legitimate, it may suspend its Google Business profile.
The consequences of a suspension depend on the type of suspension received.
- Soft Suspension: This will cause a business profile to become “unverified,” preventing the owner from being able to manage the listing. The profile will still show up on searches and Google Maps, but it will now be susceptible to users editing information on the profile, potentially leading to the addition of inaccurate information.
- Hard Suspension: This leads to the removal of the business profile from Google and will now display as “removed” when you check your listing’s record. A hard suspension usually occurs when a business doesn’t qualify for a listing or because Google believes the business is attempting to artificially increase its visibility on searches.
- Account Suspension: Rather than suspending a business profile, account suspension means that the owner’s Google Account has been removed, removing all associated accounts with it.
Causes for a Google Business suspension
While the Google Business guidelines may be vague at points, it’s essential to follow them to the best of your abilities. If your Google Business profile becomes suspended, it’s likely because Google believes you are committing at least one of the following violations.
If a business doesn’t have permanent signage at the location of its shop or office, the Google Business profile may be suspended. This violation can apply to signs hung as banners or set up on sidewalks, like sandwich boards. There are exceptions to this, such as if the business is located in a mall or office building that they share with other businesses.
Google has pretty strict guidelines for what qualifies as an acceptable address. Certain addresses like a P.O. Box or UPS Box typically won’t be accepted. Address violations can also apply to virtual businesses or co-working spaces. In addition, service area businesses that run out of a residence can be suspended.
Multiple businesses sharing an address or phone number
This guideline is aimed at businesses attempting to boost their Google rankings by listing multiple similar businesses at a single location. For instance, an interior furnishing business listing a cabinetry business at the same location, even though it’s just a service they offer. However, like other guidelines, Google allows exceptions, such as a car dealership with on-site repair service.
It may be tempting to add keywords to your Google Business name to boost search rankings, but if Google catches a business doing so, it will get suspended. Common culprits of this violation are businesses that attempt to add the city they are in or their type of business into their Google Business name.
Changes to the Google Business profile
Changing a core component of a Google Business profile will often lead to a suspension. Since a business rarely changes its name, address, phone number, or business category, Google will typically flag these changes as suspicious behavior.
A profile can also get suspended if many changes occur at once. If you’re making changes to your Google Business profile, it’s best to make only a few changes at a time and then make more changes a few hours later.
A profile was reported
The most straightforward reason a profile will get suspended is if someone reports it, which can occur because someone suggests an edit on a profile and Google recognizes a violation via the suggestion or because someone directly contacted Google to report a violation. Users can report fraudulent behavior, as well as inappropriate content on the profile.
How to get a Google Business reinstated
To get your suspended Google Business profile reinstated, you must submit a reinstatement form. Although most reinstatement requests will take less than two weeks to complete, they aren’t immediate, so it’s important to be patient during the process.
A request may be denied, but you can appeal it by providing Google with pictures of the front of the business and a summary of the business operations.
Once a request or appeal has been approved, you must make the necessary changes to comply with the guidelines. Google should notify you of the reason for the suspension, but if you have issues, you can contact their support.
If you’re having issues with requesting your reinstatement or want to ensure you’re completing the process correctly, you can reach out to a company that assists with reinstatements.
Prevention is the best strategy
While getting your Google Business reinstated is possible, it’s best never to have to do so. If you follow Google’s guidelines and do your best to avoid making any violations, then you may never have to worry about reinstatement.