Can I Recover My Suspended Google Business Profile?
A suspended Google Business Profile (previously called Google My Business or Google Local) can be recovered and reinstated as long as your business is legitimate and can pass all of Google’s guidelines for representing your business.
Some pros of using Google My Business include:
– the ability to control your business’s information on Google,
– getting insights into how customers are finding and interacting with your business, and
– the potential to attract new customers.
– a knowledge panel for your business when it is searched on Google
However, some cons to using the service include:
– continuously need to manage your business’s information to ensure it is accurate
– the potential for negative reviews that might impact your business.
However, the biggest issue for many local businesses is when the Google bot disables or suspends a listing. If you start to rely on a Google Business Profile for leads (and it can be one of the BEST methods for a small to medium sized local business to generate high quality buyer leads) and then have it suspended or disabled, you will see all those leads and calls disappear literally overnight.
Google My Business Suspended or Disabled Listing
You’ve been going along happily receiving plenty of calls from your Google Business Profile or Google My Business listing and then suddenly, it all stops. The phone stops ringing, people drop into the shop less and less often and business has dried up!
This can happen when you receive a Google My Business suspension and you find you’re out in the wilderness.
What To Do When Your Business is Suspended
The first thing to do is not to panic. This can happen to any business. As long as you’re a legitimate business that should have a Google Business Profile, you will get reinstated.
Check whether your listing has a soft or hard suspension. There are different types of suspension that affect listings. A soft suspension is when your listing is still visible on Google when you type your name into the search bar. Whereas a hard suspension means you can’t be found anywhere and you might even have lost your reviews. This is harder to reinstate but not at all impossible. It is even possible to regain your reviews. Again, they must be legitimate. Google is now very good at knowing a fake review from a genuine one.
Google Business Profile Guidelines
Go through the Google My Business guidelines for representing your business on Google and make sure you are totally compliant.
If you have fake listings, you’re bound to get caught and suspended. Better to put your efforts into genuine listings with real business information.
Another thing to check is if you, or someone else, has accidentally created duplicate listings. This is easy to do and I’ve seen people not even realise that someone else created a duplicate. This is a big “no-no” for Google.
You can contact Google and request that they merge the two listings so you don’t lose reviews or comments. Contact them on this merge form to request this.
Other Reasons for Suspensions
Do you operate out of a physical location (a brick and mortar business) or do you work from home and go out and visit customers at their location (plumbers, electricians, locksmiths). If you work from home it’s called a “service area business”. Google can be very tough on any service area business so be very careful with your business listing. These listings are the most likely to get suspended or disabled.
What About a Service Area Business?
Service area businesses (SABs) must be able to show business licenses (if putting in a reinstatement request) and must not be an online-only business. Google Business Profiles can only be used by an actual business that can provide legal documents such as a tax form, company registration and trade licenses. There must be physical interaction between the listing owner (or their staff) and their clients.
Even services businesses that use a virtual address for correspondence will need to use a home address for postcard verification. Your address will be hidden and the listings will state that you visit customers at their home or business location.
A co-working space address can also be difficult to verify but if you have signage and your own office space that people visit and can provide images or video footage of the office and sign, then you have more of a chance.
Variety of Reasons for a Suspension
There are a range of reasons for a suspension and the Google My Business Guidelines won’t spell them out for you. The forums are full of business owners who have gone over and over the guidelines and can’t work out why they are in violation. Google My Business support isn’t always easy to connect with.
The reinstatement process can be very hard to understand for the average business owner who is not well versed in Google’s guidelines. Sometimes it will just say that you have “quality issues” or a “policy violation” without being specific. You just know it’s bad news for your business though!
Before you appeal for reinstatement it’s important to clean up your listing, even if you aren’t sure what is wrong. Once you have checked your business categories, business address, ensured business information accurate and your business name field only contains your exact business name. Once you’re ready to apply for reinstatement go to this form.
Common Reasons for a Suspension:
Keyword stuffing into your name field (adding the type of business or location) is one of the most common reasons for a suspension. For example, if your name is “Acme Helpers”, that is what you have to put into the name field. You can’t put “Acme Helpers Plumbers in Dallas”. This is a violation and can get you suspended.
Having a virtual office address is another one. You might have managed to get verified at a time when it was easier to do with virtual offices. But at a later date, your listing has been reviewed and the virtual address picked up. The following types of office address are not permitted on Google Business Profile listings:
- P.O. Box, UPS/FedEx Stores, Virtual Addresses
- Online-only businesses
- More than one listing for the same business location
- Forwarding phone numbers
- Forwarding URLs
If your business listing shows an incorrect physical address, has incorrect business hours or business days or if they consider your business description to be spammy and promotional instead of just a basic description, you might be found to be in violation.
Is your primary category wrong? Or have you got too many categories listed? You should only add the categories that best describe what you do. Check your top ranking competitors’ categories to see what they have and use the same for yours.
Are you in a “high risk industry”? These include plumbers, locksmiths, HVAC and other home services businesses.
I Can’t Work Out Why My Google Listing Was Suspended
The fact is, you may not even know what on earth you have done wrong. Google will tell you that you have “violated” their TOS and provide a link to the terms but these are vague at best and at worst, almost impossible for a typical business owner to unravel.
Fixing a Suspended Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile support forums are full of frustrated (and really stressed out) businesses that have lost most of their calls and new business overnight after Google disabled their listing. Sometimes there is not even a real reason and it was a mistake made by their bot. There is no manual review before a suspension (not until you can get someone at Google to check the reinstatement form). You will just suddenly notice fewer calls and when you try to find your listing on Google, it won’t be there.
The biggest problem is that Google maps is a HUGE percentage of the local market and without paying for ads (an expensive exercise for many small business owners), there aren’t many free options. Organic search results just don’t get enough real estate. They are now pushed down by the map pack and ads and you’re lucky if 3 – 5 real websites are shown on page 1. A hard task to overcome long term, authority sites.
The ranking power of Google Business Profiles can be much greater than from a website. This makes having a suspended Google Business Profile even more difficult for many local businesses. Google maps searches tend to be more buyer focused. If someone is searching for “emergency plumber Sydney” then it’s likely they need a plumber. Obviously, ranking at the top of the 3 pack is going to help a lot. It can also help your website to rank and bring more clicks to your site.
Having your Google Business Profile suspended can be a very stressful situation for any business owner. But as long as you understand that a legitimate business will be reinstated once they can clean up their listing and provide Google with the documents and licenses that prove that you are a genuine business.
Take the time to go through the guidelines and try to remove any violations you might see and slowly fill out the reinstatement form. It should only take Google 3 days to get back to you but it can take longer due to COVID affecting support times.
If you do have trouble getting reinstated, we can usually get it done for you within 72 hours. Get in touch for support or click here for rates.