In the last few months (Summer 2019) , we’ve seen an increase in Google My Business (GMB) listing suspensions. Why? Maybe Google filters have become more stringent. Maybe Google is cracking down on spammy listings. Whatever the reason, yes, there were many spammy listings removed, but there were also many legitimate businesses affected by this crackdown. In fact, there have been so many suspensions, and reinstatement requests that Google’s incorporated a banner notifying all users of the high volume of suspended listing questions.
What’s a Suspended Listing?
First of all, what does it mean to have a suspended Google listing? There are 2 types of suspensions, a soft suspension, and a hard suspension. We are not seeing many soft suspensions anymore, but once in a while, you may. This is simply when your GMB listing is still live, but in your account it shows as suspended. However, you no longer have the ability to manage it. On the other hand, hard suspensions are much more common. In this case, your entire listing has been removed from Google and shows as suspended in your account.
In either case, when your listing is suspended, Google feels you have violated their policies in some way, and you need to try to get it reinstated.
Why was my GMB listing suspended?
If your Google My Business listing was suspended, you’ll want to ask yourself if you are following all of Google’s guidelines. The number one reason a listing is suspended is because of Google’s policy violations. Some of the most common violations include:
- Your address is a P.O. Box or mailing facility
- Keyword stuffing – Your business name is stuffed with keywords and not simply your business name
- You are a service area business but haven’t listed yourself as a service area business
- There’s already another business or multiple businesses at the address you’ve provided
- Your listing has a website which is a forwarded URL
- You have multiple listings for the same business within close proximity
- You’ve had several recent changes to your business listing
- You’ve made multiple field edits at once
- Simply because you’re a “high-risk” industry which seems to many spammy listings such as Garage Door Contractors, Locksmiths, Plumbers, or other home-based, service-providing businesses
What can I do now?
Once you’ve reviewed all of Google’s policies and confirmed that none have been violated, or you’ve rectified any policy violations, you’ll need to “appeal for reinstatement”. To appeal, it’s fairly simple. You need to complete this form, https://support.google.com/business/troubleshooter/2690129?authuser=1. Once the form is completed, you’ll need to patiently wait till Google’s reviewed all your information. Once reviewed, they’ll send you a response via email with either a rejection:
Or approval of reinstatement:
Once in awhile, upon completion of the appeal for reinstatement form, Google may email you requesting proof of your business, it’s legitimacy and that you own it. In this case, depending on whether you’re a brick and mortar business or service area business, they may ask for an image showing signage of your storefront and the address or a state license or registration. Once submitted, you wait.
If you’ve waited for a few weeks and haven’t received a response from Google, the best way to reach out to Google support is via Twitter, @GoogleMyBiz.
How do I prevent a GMB suspension?
The first, and foremost way to avoid a GMB suspension is to not violate any of Google’s policies/guidelines. Check and double-check for policy violations by referring to this site, https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177.
Secondly, only allow manager access to people you actually want to manage your listing. Remove any additional users such as previous employees or previous marketing agencies.
And finally, keep your basic profile info consistent across the web, such as your name, address, phone number and website.