If you have had your Google Business listing suspended recently, you are not alone. In fact, there has been a significant spike in suspensions recently, which is causing concern among business owners, and they’ve have been making their displeasure known online. The rash of suspensions is not only causing concern, but also leaving many confused as to the cause.
Let’s take a look at some possible reasons why your Google Business Listing is suspended and what you can do about it.
Types of Suspension
Google has two types of suspension, soft suspension and hard suspension.
Soft suspensions are becoming less common. With this type, even though you are suspended, you will continue to appear in search results. Normally, you can simply reclaim and reverify your listing with a new Google account. A hard suspension, however, requires that you follow specific guidelines and wait patiently for the result.
Why Have You Been Suspended?
Due to the unusually high number of suspensions of late, there has been speculation that Google may be enforcing policies that they had not been enforcing in the past, or that they may be introducing a new policy. Because Google does not disclose their reason when suspending an account, there has been no confirmation yet. Either way, there are several potential causes that could be to blame, including:
- Using a P.O. Box or UPS store address
- Using a virtual address
- Using a forwarding URL
- Using a forwarding phone number
- Multiple listings for the same business or location
- Keyword stuffing your business name
- Changing information in your business listing (business name, address, website URL, etc.)
- You have an online-only business
- You changed the listing from Storefront to Service Area Business
- You have a service-area business but are displaying a physical address
- You list the business as 24/7
- You are in a high-risk business category (plumbing, HVAC, lawyers, locksmiths, etc.)
How Do I Fix My Suspended Listing?
Having your listing suspended can be frustrating and worrisome, so fixing it right away will be a priority. But before applying for reinstatement, you will need to determine what the problem is and fix it. While you might think it easier to simply create a new listing, do not do this; it will only complicate matters.
Begin by reading Google’s guidelines to make sure that you have not violated any. Then review the “info” section of your profile to see if you can spot the problem. For example, if you notice that your business is listed as 24/7, then you can adjust it to read specific hours of operation.
Once you feel that you have corrected any potential issues, you can apply for reinstatement. You will have to answer a series of questions, with your responses determining the questions that follow.
Google may request information from you to prove that it is a legitimate business. Some of the proof you may need to provide includes:
- Proof of occupation of location, including utility bills or rental agreements/ deeds
- Photos of the business location with the business logo clearly visible, the street address, and/ or company vehicles with company logos parked at the building
- Tax identification papers
- Video verification
Upon submitting your appeal, Google will review it and decide whether you should be reinstated. You will receive an email giving you the status of your request.
It should normally take about two weeks for Google to review your request. If you haven’t heard back after 3 weeks, you should contact GMB support to request an update.
Although a suspension is often concerning, keep in mind that it can happen due to events such as making too many changes at once, or an easily fixed issue in the listing. Be sure to always follow Google’s guidelines to reduce your risk of future suspensions.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.